The Old Days - Dogbreath
What were those straps that hung down under cars and touched the ground? I used to see these when I was a kid but you don't see them so much now. Was it something to do with static electricity?
The Old Days - Morris Ox
Think it was to do with some cockamamie theory that you'd also suffer less car sickness...that or they were just some modish accessory which did nothing but make a mint for halfords at the time.

Give me a nodding dog anyday.
The Old Days - Mark (RLBS)
They were supposed to be connected with static in some way, but I think they started dying out fairly soon after someone got prosecuted when it was proved that they couldn't possibly work.
The Old Days - Oz
Down Under at least the theory was that they would discharge to earth any static buildup on the car (especially relevant in a hot dry climate).
Sydney Harbour Bridge used to have copper brushes which touched the underneath of cars to discharge them before crossing the bridge, otherwise toll collectors would get a hefty boot every time the driver handed over the money!
Petrol road tankers used to have an earthing chain hanging down and touching the road to prevent static charge buildup.
At least these were conductive - I'm doubtful about the conductivity of leather straps, or, even if they did earth the car, whether that helped against car sickness.
Oz (as was)
The Old Days - Robin
These strips were/are supposed to prevent car, or more correctly motion, sickness. The idea is that it is the build up of static electricity that causes you to feel quesy. The strips dissipate the charge. Bunkum? Perhaps.
The Old Days - Bagpuss
The car is already earthed as the tyres are electrically conductive. That's why you sometimes get an electric shock when touching the car bodywork - the static electricity is discharging from you, through the car, to earth.
The Old Days - Wally Zebon
I remember when I was a kid being extremely prone to travel sickness (anything over 30 miles and I would perform a multicolour yawn!).

My mum and dad were always telling me that the car had a chain to stop this (it didn't work). At the time I thought it was a made up story to make me feel better, but to this day they still swear it existed.

Thankfully I've grown out of it as far as land and most air travel is concerned, but don't ever ask me to go on a boat for longer than half an hour.

The Old Days - Cliff Pope
When I was a child it was a chain, not a leather strap. The theory was exactly as described, but was obviusly practically implausible because the lowest link pretty quickly got worn away by the road and fell off.
However, pschologically there may well be something in it - children get car sick because of emotion or excitement as much as from just the motion, so if they believed the chain would work, it often did.
The Old Days - jud
I might be talking rubbish here, but i believe that car tyres are not conductive, due to not enough carbon black?. On the other hand plane tyres are conductive.
The Old Days - Andrew-T
Bagpuss - the tyres contain carbon which makes them somewhat conductive, but at the same time they don't offer a good electrical path, which is why shut in a car is a good place to be in a thunderstorm. I'm not sure whether the shock one gets is due to charge on the car or on the person, but if a voltage difference exists I suppose that is academic.
The Old Days - andymc {P}
Static charge on the car is earthed through the person, as it can't get to the ground through the tyres - that's why you only get the shock once your feet are in contact with the ground. If you do get a static shock from your car from time to time, try this - touch the outer metal of the door while still seated inside, ie not touching the ground. You will never get shocked this way. Stand outside the car and touch it - that's when the charge (if any) is earthed through you. Exception may be if you are wearing rubber-soled shoes! This is why in the event of a lightning storm, inside the car is a safe place to be - if lightning strikes the car, current can't be earthed through the tyres so you don't get electrocuted.
The Old Days - Dave_TD
I get shocks off the bodywork of most cars if I'm wearing trainers. But not if I'm wearing (insert designer label here) boots. I think the static must build up due to the motion of my feet (working the pedals) against the nylon carpet, maybe I need a Roller with Axminster!
A few years back I did once see one of these anti-static strips very securely bolted to the rear bumper of a car, and dangling down to touch the ground. Trouble was, the bumper was plastic...
The Old Days - Oz
With due attention to the title of this thread, who remembers the days of vinyl front bench seats? Great for courting, but a zapping nightmare if you slid across, got out and then touched the door handle.
Oz (as was)
The Old Days - Morris Ox
I remember them pretty well, since my nom de plume comes from YRD 546K, a 1971 Morris Oxford, one of the last off the line which my parents bought from Morris Garages, Reading, when new.

Majestic motor, its rolling acres of bonnet concealing a 1622cc lump which was decoked twice when I were a nipper. Ended up learning to drive in the old thing, which was fun because there was no syncro on first.

Getting back to the point, it also had vinyl seats, and boy did you know it when it was freezing cold or boiling hot...
The Old Days - frostbite
Going off at a tangent, and since you quoted that regn. MO, was that from memory, or a photo?

Reason I ask is that I can remember pretty well all of my past cars registrations, starting with Austin 12 DRT50 many decades ago.

Anyone else suffering from this curse?
The Old Days - PhilW
Yep, my Dad's old Morris Cowley (remember how the steering column was angled so the driver sat in the corner on that vinyl bench seat?) was MVN 929, followed by a sit-up-and-beg Ford Pop OPY 407 and even earlier (1955?) a "flying" Standard (which he brush painted black one summer) was DNN 627. Mind you I have trouble remembering my present number! A sign of advancing years I think!!
The Old Days - Nsar
Saw a static strip on sale today in Halfords. It seems that there is still one born every minute.
The Old Days - Tomo.
"Mind you I have trouble remembering my present number! A sign of advancing years I think!"

Not necessarily, I always had that trouble, especially when being asked by a nice traffic policeman; luckily SWMBO produced it.

On the other hand -

WG6883. 1938 Rover sports saloon.

BVA161 1940 Austin 8.

EUS 477 1947 2 1/2 Jag.

GM4718 1949 BSA B31

And nothing after that.

Perhaps it's like steam locomotive numbers; people grew out of remembering them.

The Old Days - wemyss
Not so Tomo.......
Its sad I know but I still remember the names and numbers of the old LMS Jubilee, Patriots, Royal Scots etc.etc..
The Old Days - r_welfare
Well, I for one am glad the days of vinyl seats have gone from this country at least, my mother had a couple of (whisper it) Ladas in the 80's and the seats were horrid in summer - not only did they burn your legs if attired in shorts (and what else would you wear as a kid in summer?), but they got awfully clammy. Excellent from a practicality perspective of course.

When did these things die out on the UK market? Mate of mine had a 1983 Escort 1.1 as a first car, and this had (non-reclining!) vinyl seats, must have been one of the last?

Incidentally Morris Ox, that garage you mentioned - was it the huge one on the Basingstoke Road that later became Penta garages? I remember going there several times as a nipper when my dad ran (variously) old Marinas, an Ital and finally a Princess 1700. What a car that was (so he says anyway, and who am I to doubt it?). You didn't need to go to gyms if you wanted a workout in the late 70's/early 80's - just drive a Princess without PAS on a regular basis. I remember my dad borrowing his boss's Granada 2.8i Ghia X and neatly pirroueting it in a carpark because he didn't realise it had PAS (or so much power)!
The Old Days - Morris Ox
Welfare, it was indeed the sprawl which later became Penta. As I remember it, they did a good deal on the Oxford since by that time Marinas were around and they were keen to shift the old barges as quickly as they could. Mind you, ours was a posh version - it had a heated rear window! The windscreen washers did work via a handpump, but it still felt like you were driving a dame.

We never took it back there; the car was serviced by a guy on Kidmore Road, Caversham, not far from where we lived. Decent bloke; even welded the seat for us when the frame broke (!).

Having learned to drive in a tank like the Oxford (think the steering wheel was inspired by something from a yacht) maneouvering seems a doddle these days.

Vinyl seats got very grubby in the grain but came up a treat with a bottle of Decosol.

By the way, Frostbite, I have the reg. number firmly imprinted in my memory and will never forget the car. Or indeed, the biker who finally bought it off my folks for £100 in the early 1980s. He needed family transport fast because two wheels didn't go with a pregnant girlfriend!
The Old Days - Flat in Fifth
"Anyone else suffering from this curse?"

OVC 87
198 GNW
etc etc etc

and its only last year that I threw out the petrol rationing coupons from the 70's crisis. can't be too careful tha knows lad.

The Old Days - peterb
Not a curse - they make excellent computer passwords!
The Old Days - Mark (RLBS)
>>excellent password

Yeah, in so far as they can be guessed by anyone who knows you.

If it is a password that matters, you should take a word you know well, mis-spell it, and then insert a numeral in the middle of it.

e.g. password/passwurd/pass3wurd
The Old Days - Altea Ego
Sorry to be pedantic, but the statement "This is why in the event of a lightning storm, inside the car is a safe place to be - if lightning strikes the car, current can't be earthed through the tyres so you don't get electrocuted." is half right but half wrong.

When you have several zillion volts of lightning hitting you or your car you will find that rubber shoes and rubber tyres will easily conduct an amount of that energy. I will be safe if I am wearing rubber shoes and lightning strikes me? I think not.
However you WILL be safe if lightning strikes the car. Why?
The car acts as a Faraday Cage and conducts all the energy around its shell (missing you as you are not a nice easy path to earth like the car shell)the earth being THROUGH the tyres - conductive or not (or any grass or twigs that touch the car body. I saw a car test where a golf was driven through a high voltage electricity testing station. Large zaps to the roof, driver gets out other end - no damage (paintwork on roof was tho!) Re the aircraft tyres, they are conductive. An aircraft builds up a large static charge while flying, and needs to be earthed or the first passenger climbing off the plane explodes in a ball of static (in theory)

Re the halford rubber strap? I bet that will conduct if the car is zapped with zillions of volts from a lightning strike.......!!!!

Old Days II - Dogbreath
My Dad had a green Wolsey 444. Build like a tank. I sat in the front on my mums lap (no seat belt) squashed against the dash. All the varnish from the wooden trim used to come off on my sticky fingers. Every car he had used to breakdown on long trips.
Old Days II - Morris Ox
A few snippets from the Morris Oxford. Quarterlights, the huge steering wheel with chrome horn push, the foot-operated dipping button, oversteer on crossplies, icing up inside the screen, playing with accelerator and manual choke to get the b***** to fire up in the many memories.

Most incredible of all: a 1972 driving tour all thr way from Denmark to Finland, driving up a dirt track to see a business acquaintance of my father near a city called Tampere, and hearing a terrific crash from underneath the car. Crawled to a garage expecting the worst (holed sump) only to find it was merely a smashed number plate mounting (hung below the huge chrome bumpers).

And the punchline? The garage guys didn't speak English, but knew what to look at - there was another Morris Oxford in their workshop!

In truth it was probably a terrible car and, even in the 1970s, way behind the times. But you felt like you were travelling in something majestic and quintessentially British.


Value my car