Some small local private Car Clubs sprung up and some are
thought to have kept a ‘cash kitty’ to assist their stranded members, but
that was about as organised as it got for the poor motorist.
As the twentieth century got underway, two motoring clubs would become
large enough to have nationwide membership (they would no doubt say
These were of course The Automobile Association (formed
in 1905) and The Royal Automobile Club (formed in 1897 and named oyal
Both organisations were initially set up to help
motorists to obtain fair treatment from the authorities. Although the
organisations become more 'service' related as the years went by, both
later also diversified into several non motoring areas (with varying
The services they offered then however, bears little relationship to
those offered by today's clubs. Both organisations would try to repair
members vehicles, with the limited tools and parts their vehicle carried.
Spares could often be collect from the many local garages and the nature
of the vehicles was such that a block of wood, some clean dry cloth, a
roll of insulating tape and piece of rope could fix almost any fault.
was not until the fifties that those vehicles would be linked by radio
(the AA in 1950 the RAC in 1958). Consequently patrols had to go to their
box at prearranged times, to be allocated jobs. If a 'tow' was required, a
local garage would be called and the member would pay.
The first to offer a limited 'get you home service' was the RAC,
in 1912. Members could apply for a brass token which when handed to a
RAC Repairer, would "Bring the necessary assistance and will indemnify
you as the owner of the disc, against the cost of hiring another car to
get you and your party home"