This is part of the post I was responding to with Concentric Londons, but Martin’s post reminded me that I should also have a little Proustian fugue on the subject of AA handbooks. As Oliver writes, they contained strip maps of the UK’s motorways, with the details cut back to just the intersections. Each had a carefully designed diagram, so the different designs of the four-level stack at the M25/M4 interchange was clearly different from the whirlpool of the nearby M25/M3 junction.
As with the London Underground diagram, which made the complexity of the city above irrelevant to me as a child visiting the Natural History Museum, the AA diagrams made the long stretches of road between Suffolk and Scotland easy to understand and handle.
I don’t imagine my parents kept the handbooks (certainly I can’t remember seeing one for ages), and there’s barely any record of them online. If you want an idea of what they looked like, though, you could do worse than visit the exit list pages (for example, for the London-Swansea M4) on the wonderful CBRD. If anyone does ever come across a mid-1980s AA Member’s Handbook, though, I’d love to see scans of the originals.