September – October 2017

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The Oxford English Dictionary defines indoctrination as, “The process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.”

Indoctrination works best with the very young. Their youthful brains retain philosophies for their whole lives. Obviously, there is good and evil indoctrination, so let’s focus on a good one: automotive indoctrination.

The Mille Miglia road race ran annually from 1927 to 1957, with a small gap when Italy was fighting World War 2 with the Germans – when the Germans were winning – and against the Germans, when they were not. A tip for warriors: In war, it is better to be on the winning side.

After 1957, the Mille Miglia was banned because too many spectators got killed. Sir Stirling Moss, who won the whacky race in 1955, told me that the spectators – placing their children to the front – would lean into the road, watching for the next car. Eventually the long line of ‘leaners’ would reduce the width of the road to zero. Moss travelling at 150mph, would gently wobble the steering; appearing to be out of control. This ploy alarmed the spectators into retreat and opened up the road. Since 1982 the Mille Miglia is now a delightfully bonkers road rally. I ran in the event in 2011 and was pleased to see the spectators still holding their children aloft close to the cars flashing by; thereby positively indoctrinating the next generation.

When my 18-month-old grand-daughter travels in a car, it is in a rear-facing safety seat in the back of a Range Rover. Therefore, she is deprived of seeing a driver at the helm of a vehicle. Conversely, as a toddler, I rode in a car unrestrained on the front seat. Sometimes on the driver’s lap.  Or sometimes standing on the top of the seat leaning out of the sunroof. Add growing up with Calabrian gun culture and fishing with dynamite, it is no wonder that I am indoctrinated to do things that today are considered dangerous.

My grand-daughter has been deprived of car culture indoctrination. However, she is now old enough to come motor racing. More importantly, I bought her a 1955 Austin J40 pedal car that she can race at Goodwood in the Settrington Cup. That is when her legs are long enough to reach the pedals. So, Blog readers, get out there and indoctrinate future generations.