The great discovery of our time has been revealed in the Economics and Math section of e! Science News. Now we know that in cars driven by teenagers when there is loud talking and horseplay they are more likely to prang. We await the views of the Jaguar Driver's Club, "You were meant to belong".
The little car above, the same as my first one, was a car that needed constant attention to drive. The gears were not synchromesh so changing entailed double de-clutching, the steering was very positive, most of the time, but wobbly on some cambers and the braking had a mind of its own.
Apart from that it was relatively safe, except perhaps when carrying several blokes on the local gallon run, a series of eight pubs where the aim was to have a pint in each, all taken in one go and still remain standing, more or less.
The lighting could be temperamental, sensitive bulbs and wiring given to separating out after a long or rough ride. The prudent driver would carry spare bicycle lamps to strap over them if needed. They didn't give much light but at least you were legal, depending on the policeman.
The technology that has made cars so much easier to handle and more reliable also means that there is a lot more to see and do on the dashboard and controls. Also, they are quieter and built in such a way that the driver feels to be apart from the world; in a cocoon almost.
More to the point, the performance, speed and handling of the basic modern cars is a lot better than those of the expensive cars of the past.
For everyman his equivalent of the racing cars that ran the old Nurburgring. There was a time when you could take the family car on that for 5 DM and try your luck, insurance excluded.
A factor these days there is so much more going on to distract drivers. Where they have modern gizmos's on the go as well for music and messaging it seems that many are more and more occupied on tasks other than driving.
Whether driving skills and manners are better or worse is one of those arguments between the generations that will never be resolved. Modern drivers because of the capability of their vehicles seem to leave much less margin for error but get away with it because the braking and controls are so much better.
Until the bad weather comes and pileups occur. Or until teenagers are in control and turning up the sound.