Wednesday July 19, 2017
The announcement on July 16th of the Thirteenth Doctor sent me back to the distant past, one long before Christopher Eccleston – a time of disused quarries, entertaining rubber-costumed monsters and when masterminds who craved to rule the universe sported pointed beards to highlight their malign natures. And, as it turned out, quite a variety of cars…
7) Wolseley 6/80 – An Earthly Child 1963
What was the first car to ever appear in Doctor Who? The answer is the Wolseley driven by Ian Chesterton, as he and his colleague Barbara Wright try to discover why their latest student apparently lives in a police telephone box.
6) Citroen Dyane 6 – The Sea Devils 1972
Many of the Jon Pertwee era narratives were centred on Earth, which is excellent news for all car enthusiasts. Here we see how Roger Delgado’s Master was not only a renegade Time Lord of almost infinite cunning, he was also a practically-minded one. Planning the domination of the world via a race of ‘Sea Devils’ must have been an expensive business, so having one’s henchmen use a Dyane 6 for their fiendish work was the obvious solution.
5) Austin Maxi 1500 - Terror of the Autons 1971
If you were Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and required a British (of course) set of wheels that would allow you to reach the quarry set for this week’s adventure, an early Austin Maxi was a very innovative choice of car. The number plate would denote a BLMC press fleet car and given the viewing figures for Doctor Who at that time, this was a wise example of product placement. It also must be said that the Maxi’s screen time looks a good deal more convincing than the storyline’s notorious ‘death by plastic armchair sequence’…
4) Siva Edwardian Tourer – Doctor Who and the Silurians 1970
On screen, the Third Doctor’s company car was fitted with an anti-theft force field, a gravity stabilizer, and a minimum inertia hyperdrive amongst other accessories essential for any hard-working Time Lord who battles with irate intergalactic monsters on a regular basis. As most people know, the Siva was a GRP kit sold by a Dorset engineering firm to convert a side valve Ford into an ‘Edwardian Tourer’ for just £160. N.B. As Bessie’s top speed was reputed to be 15 mph, she was best suited to pursuing reasonably slow-aced monsters.
3) Triumph Spitfire Mk. II – Logopolis 1981
The car that played a small key role in the last series of the Fourth Doctor adorned with a very fake looking ‘1964’ number plate and a dent in the offside door.
2) The Whomobile – Invasion of the Dinosaurs 1974
Commissioned by Jon Pertwee himself, as opposed to the BBC, the Whomobile was built by the designer Peter Farries and despite only appearing in two episodes, remains one the cars most associated with the show. Power was from a tuned 875cc Hillman Imp engine, with a fibreglass body and a hovercraft-style rubber skirt which cunningly disguised the three-wheeled layout. I am just about old enough to remember being enthralled when it made a guest appearance on Blue Peter and as for the not overly ‘special’ effects, I think I was too enraptured by our first colour television set to notice!
1) Morris JB - Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. 1966
I refuse to become involved in debates as to whether the two 1960s feature films starring Peter Cushing were ‘canon’. All that I do know is that if I were confronted by an army of very cross pepper pots wielding deadly sink plungers, a 1959 Morris van is an ideal form of defence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozx6arQmWko