While living in France in the 1950s I purchased a 1955 Hillman Husky because it was reported to be a good economy car. It was a fun-to-drive car but it was not fast, top speed being in the 65 mile per hour range. With a 1265 cc engine this little car with only 35 brake horsepower could have difficulty going up and down the many hills in France, despite having a four speed transmission.
In 1957 my wife and I decided to take our baby and make a trip across the Alps to Italy.
In Switzerland we got our first taste of alpine traveling, going first to Lucern and then headed for St. Gotthard Pass. It wasn’t long before I would no longer be using 4th gear, and while the drive from Lucerne was only about 85 km, I found myself shifting down to second gear after leaving Andermatt.
Now I was really traveling slow, never over 30 miles per hour. As the hotel at the top of the pass appeared through the windshield, I had to shift down to first gear. I was now beginning to wonder if the car would even get me to the pass.
Luckily it did! It would have really spoiled my trip to have to turn around and find an alternate route to northern Italy.