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Did you build this car at school in the 1960s?

by Antony Ingram
6 January 2022 2 min read
Did you build this car at school in the 1960s?
Students from St. John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate with the car they helped build. Photos: Bernard Smith

We all had our preferred subjects at school, but for a group of students growing up in the late 1960s, it’s difficult to imagine anything was more fun than building a car and racing it around the school grounds.

If that sounds familiar to you, then maybe you can help fill in some of the gaps in this story – because you might have been a student at St. John Fisher Catholic High School in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and your teacher may well have been my grandfather, Bernard Smith.

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The car was built under my grandfather’s guidance by members of the school’s car club, some of whom apparently got to tear around the playing fields to test the fruits of their engineering. It’s difficult to imagine a similar practice happening today, though no doubt a few rebels would revel in the ability to carve a path through the football field…

School students car build

It’s tricky to put a precise date on things, but one of the five photos I have of the car, in an early state of construction, is dated February 1968. The later photos of it in a driving state are likely to be no later than 1969 or 1970, meaning the students in the pictures are probably now in their mid 60s.

I know very little about the car or where some of its components came from, and while my grandfather is still with us, he’s not able to bring greater clarity to the finer points. My hope is one of you reading this might know more – whether you’re one of the students in the photo yourself, or whether one of them might be a friend or family member.

I’d like to think that one or more of those pictured, and any others who built the car, have gone on to a career or at the very least a hobby in the car scene, inspired by my grandfather’s lessons. So if you have any information, or are one of the students depicted in the photos, please get in touch at aingram @ hagerty.com (with the spaces removed) or leave a comment below.

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Comments

  • Dennis Tasker says:

    Yes I helped to build that car

    The teacher was endearingly called smithy

    We took the engine to smallest components and built the body from wood.

    He was a dedicated teacher.

    Had the kosh once from him. Never did me harm but never forgot 😂

    • Antony Ingram says:

      Hello Dennis, thank you so much for commenting. If you’re able to share more details it would be hugely appreciated – I’ve tried reaching you via the email you posted the comment with but unfortunately it isn’t getting through. You can reach me at antonywrites [at] gmail [dot] com.

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