Port shuns the PlayStation generation for something rather older

| 9 Aug 2012

Another holiday over (nothing too adventurous, just a week in Devon) and, as is inevitable, there was the odd bit of classic-spotting in between cream teas, surfing and trying to keep five children and two dogs occupied (not all mine I hasten to add).

A brace of Volkswagen Beetles satisfied Mrs P – particularly given that, like hers, they were clearly well-used daily drivers, as was the splitscreen camper that belonged to Museum of British Surfing director, Peter Robinson (see C&SC Facebook post last week).

As a departure to the expected air-cooled machinery, a Triumph 2000 estate complete with child seats in the back was spotted at various intervals over the week before our return journey back up a sticky A361 was made slightly more enjoyable by a rorty ‘led-sled’ Volvo Amazon that flew past on the opposite carriageway.

Highlight of the holiday however, came not from a classic car, but from a visit to Watermouth Castle near Combe Martin.

The castle itself was built in 1825 and, as well as the slightly dubious ‘Merry-go-land’ and ‘Gnome Land’, now hosts an impressive collection of classic arcade amusements from the Victorian era onwards.

Coupled with a curious mix of household objects from ‘yesteryear’ that would get any collector of period artefacts enthused, there was plenty to look at, but it was the amusements that kept the kids, well, amused.

Without doubt, the best of these were two driving games from the 1950s and '60s, both of which both tested your ability as a driver – all you have to do is keep your vehicle on the correct side of the road as the track in front moves from one side to the other.

The “M1 Road Test” is a sit-in model where you control what oddly looks to be a Mercedes 300SLR (on the M1?!) via a lovely wood-rimmed wheel, while the other offers you the chance to control a Dodge ‘Fresh Up’ delivery van, circa 1949 with a Bakelite wheel mounted to the front of a significant wooden cabinet.

As someone passionate for all things old (and mostly knackered), I would love to have been able to load both of these machines into the car and install them back in my house where they would take pride of place of my living room.

I have a feeling that my children would also like them – providing there was an endless supply of 10p pieces that is. Time to get hunting on ebay…