Thursday April 5, 2018
The passing of Bill Maynard on the 30th March has made me think of both a certain Rover P6B that was in some need of restoration – and of the many and various cars that made in an impact of so many viewers. Sometimes they were associated with the run of the series, sometimes they make, but one appearance but the memories abide after many decades…
Wolseley 2200 “Wedge” – Fawlty Towers
Not the Austin 1100 Countryman Mk. I of Gourmet Night but a guest car from The Anniversary. I’ve selected this episode, partially as it is one of my favourites and because it is so unusual to encounter, the Wolseley badged “Wedge” on screen. What is even more galling for Basil is that the ghastly Roger (the great Ken Campbell) is driving the sort of car that he aspires to own.
Ford Granada Estate – George and Mildred
Jeffrey Fourmile is one of the great sitcom straight men of all times, with Norman Eshley creating a pompous yet very likeable next-door neighbour. His principal transport is a metallic green Ford Granada Mk. I Estate and its finest hour was in Where My Caravan Has Rested, where it speeds to a scrapyard to prevent George from being literally crushed.
Leyland Princess/Austin Ambassador – Terry and June
Terry and June were not exactly beneficial to the image of the “Wedge” – a Tara Green Princess 2 1700 HL, a Brooklands Green 2200 HL and a Nautilus Blue Austin Ambassador - but there is no denying the success of the programme. Even now the series is associated with the boss suddenly arriving for dinner only to sit on a chocolate cake/discover that Terry is dressing like a punk rocker/find that someone’s trousers are missing. With hilarious consequences.
Morris Minor – Sorry
I am quite a fan of this still underrated vehicle for Ronnie Corbett, and in The Godfather his 1955 Morris Minor four-door saloon tries to outrun the Jaguar Mk. X that is piloted by the ubiquitous film and TV heavy Robert Russell. Now that really is entertainment.
Vauxhall Velox PB – Only Fools and Horses
Repeat the following line – ‘there is no such vehicle as a “Robin Reliant”’. Furthermore, the black Velox PB that Derek Trotter drove in 1981 episode Cash and Curry suited the character even more than the Regal, from the dilapidated black coachwork to the “Playboy” badge on the grille.
Austin Maestro – The Brittas Empire
Or rather two - a 1.3L, and a 1.6L – and the Maestro’s finest hour is in the 1992 story Back From The Dead in which it is treated to an ad hoc roof conversion via a JCB.
Ford Probe – Coogan’s Run
The Probe certainly created an impression with its guest role in Dearth of a Salesman - unfortunately, it was a not entirely positive one. For many years the Ford that allowed you to ‘you go own way’ was associated with sales reps in Hugo Boss suits utterly such lines as these.
Rover 800 “Vitesse” – Knowing Me, Knowing Yule with Alan Partridge
Probably Alan’s finest/worst hour although the local dealer has evidently not informed Norwich’s premier DJ that the “Vitesse” is actually an 820 Si.
Hillman Avenger 1500 GL – One Foot in The Grave
A car that only appeared in one episode but it is a reminder of just how long ago the series entered production a time when a fair number of the Avenger were still seen on the roads. Plus, it did prompt one of Victor’s greatest lines.
Rover 216 - Keeping Up Appearances
The sales publicity displayed visions of the yuppie dream, but Richard Bucket’s Rover perfectly illustrated how the 216 was often acquired by the sort of motorist who once drove a Triumph Toledo or possibly a Vanden Plas 1500. As for Onslow’s Ford Cortina 1.6 GL Mk. IV, it is in a class of its own.