Friday January 26, 2018
Or – how to sell the idea of low-cost motoring with maximum flair -
1949 BOND MINICAR - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiwSHCSvPrA
69 years ago the 122cc Bond Minicar was advertised as ‘the world’s most economical car, offering 100 mpg, although you would have to specify the deluxe model if you craved such luxuries as an electric (as opposed to a manual) windscreen wiper. N.B. Until 1963 owners of three wheelers who had only a motorcycle – as opposed to a car – licence were legally obliged to have the reverse gear blanked off while the Bond merely had forward gears as standard.
1952 AC PETITE - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxuVjbI1kYQ
40 mph, 60 mpg and running costs of ‘a penny ha’penny a mile’ – well, who could afford to ignore the delights of the AC Petite? Even if, as this newsreel demonstrates, they were at their best on well-surfaced roads.
1954 MESSERSCHMITT KR175 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iphWsbxATuA
This is one of my all-time favourite newsreels due to a) the looks of stunned amazement of the residents of Upper Norwood citizens on encountering a Messerschmitt and b) the opportunity to see one of these prime bubble cars in action.
1957 BMW 600 AND BWW ISETTA - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDyOAkVXr6A
This BMW film illustrates how their light car range was marketed as the ideal family transport. All I can say is that an Isetta plus the short-lived but very desirable 600 (four seats, four wheels and two doors) and an enthusiast keyboard player equals cinematic magic.
1957 BRUTSCH MOPETTA - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfelRFbFYjE
In addition to the Borgward Isabella, the Tatra T-603 and the Messerschmitt Tiger, one of the stars of the Frankfurt Motor show was the unforgettable Brütsch Mopetta. A convertible body, a blistering 22 mph and 50cc – this was economy motoring with flair, even if the Pathé announcer does not seem to think much of it.
1958 ZUNDAPP JANUS – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TijSJmzwo8
Here, various chaps and ladies react with quite understandable amazement to a Zundapp Janus descending from the skies. Marvel at the seat layout, the versatility, the performance and the sheer style – although we strong advise any reader NOT to copy the stunt work with the motor scooters.
1962 PEEL P50 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxYqgCYmKcQ&list=PLLlDzIWMQsI3z9ywqgXeCLkKxZwLtJnlZ
Or, possibly the world’s most adept (if slightly compact) town car. As a bonus, here is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0LuuivwYXE, a silent but still priceless sales film of the Peel P50 in action in its Manx homeland. Yes, for a mere £199, you too could be enjoying 49cc and a top speed of 28 mph.
And if this were not enough, here is the -
1964 PEEL TRIDENT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0LuuivwYXE
‘Almost cheaper than walking’ claimed the adverts but the sight of the Tridents heading towards the camera resembles less a factory promotion and more a lost 1960s sci-fi B-feature entitled Invasion of The Peels.
1968 SUBARU 360 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLPp-NFInXw
In 1958 the 360 became the first ever Subaru car and in its homeland it occupies a place in the national affections akin to the Morris Minor in the UK. It was also marketed in the USA during the 1960s although without great success; one problem was that the doors would blow open on the freeway…
1973 RELIANT ROBIN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7luU68y5cQ
The fact that there is no soundtrack is to be regretted but the footage of the Robins in their prime is absolutely priceless. For a motorist looking to trade in their 1967 Regal, the new dashboard alone would have appeared the epitome of modernity and that is before you consider the very-1970s pain finishes. And there is that shot of the new Reliants en masse which strongly infers that with a Robin you will be the Lord Brett Sinclair of your cul-de-sac. Albeit on three wheels.