Monday January 22, 2018
These films are not adverts per se but the genre of short feature that a car or component manufacturer would commission to show potential trade clients or train their sales teams. For me, the six examples here all stand out for the simple reason that each is so memorable:
1958: In the Rover Tradition
Addictive viewing for any Rover devotee, as Pathé charts the history of the famous marque – including the P4 “Cyclops” and the T3 Gas Turbine – to the new 3-Litre. We see a young David Bache at work in the drawing office and some beautiful two-tone P5s on the factory’s own test circuits. The final shots are of the great car being admired by a chap in a Tony Hancock, while the announcer rightly observes that ‘thoroughbred status cannot be achieved overnight’.
1962 BMC Quality
An absolute must-see for any enthusiast of 1960s British cars, with some of the British Motor Corporation’s finest saloons including Morris Oxford Series VI, Riley 4/72, Wolseley 6/110 and Austins Mini, A40 “Farina” Mk. II, A60 Cambridge and A110 Westminster being put through a series of Krypton Factor style endurance tests. The result, according to the faintly smug-sounding narrator, is ‘quality that discerning people in all walks of life recognise’, from a Morris Mini-Minor to an Austin-Healey 3000 and a Vanden Plas Princess 3-Litre.
1965 ARMSTRONG SHOCK ABSORBERS – The Vital Link
A narrative that opens with a Vauxhall Victor FB being hurled around the Motor Industry Research Proving Ground in the manner of a B-movie getaway has to be a classic of the genre. There is also an interview with Colin Chapman, footage of the Elan and the Lotus Cortina “Aeroflow” and a Saab 96 “Bullnose” in action – plus some exceptionally swinging jazz music.
1965 FORD 17M P5 TAUNUS
A tale of two salesman - Mr. Decent Chap in his immaculately polished Taunus 17M four-door and Mr. Cad in a poorly-maintained two-door model. Naturally the former has little difficulty in persuading a VW 1500 Type 3 owner of the joys of Ford ownership while the latter drives a two-door demonstrator like a maniac. This film is dubbed into English and shot in colour, the better to show off the 17M’s four-jet windscreen washers and steering column gear change – and how our hero achieves yet another sale. And what incredible cars in the background –Opel Kapitäns, Mercedes-Benz “Pontons”, Simca 1500s, Renault 4s, what looks like a police BMW “Baroque Angel”.
1968 VAUXHALL VENTORA FD – The Drive for Reliability
Be warned – this film contains excessive amounts of sheer grooviness. The score is by Alan Price; the opening shot is of a young lady playing an acoustic guitar as she is chauffeured through the countryside in a Vauxhall 30/98. The star of this brilliant short feature is the FD -series Ventora with a guest appearance from the Viva HB - and by the closing credits, few will remain unconverted to the cause of the Griffin badge. Far out…
1971 FORD CONSUL & GRANADA - Two at the Top
‘You don’t have to be a Grand Prix driver to enjoy it – you only have to be a connoisseur’. The UK launch of the Consul/Granada range in March 1972 marked the end of the Anglo-American style big Fords and this very well executed promotion emphasises how the new models differ from their predecessors. The unadorned red Consul L is a reminder of just how well-balanced the styling was and no flared trousered company director could fail to be impressed by the GXL’s vinyl roof. In fact, Mr. Voiceover is so obviously overcome by the magnificent of the Granada flagship that he even refers to it being ‘as wistful as autumn’.