Friday June 22, 2018
A warning to any to any reader of an age to remember The Goodies, Rentaghost and Cadbury’s Aztec Bars – these film clips may make you feel slightly older than Methuselah. So, bearing that in mind -
The Kinolibrary archive does not give an exact date for this look at Slough but judging by the traffic I would suggest that the year is 1974. And what traffic it is, with cars that will have the viewer constantly freeze-framing the screen from the Sunbeam Rapier H120 and the Daf 66 to the Hillman Super Minx Estate and the amazingly rare sight of a Standard Atlas pick-up truck. For me, there are two intensively nostalgic sights in the short but fascinatingly look at Berkshire traffic. The first is the white Ford Cortina Mk. I “Aeroflow” 4-door decorated with an aftermarket green stripe, for at time you might still encounter any number of ambitious if not overly rapid “Lotus” replicas. The second is the Royal Mail BLMC J4 van, the sound of which was as once a part of my morning routine as the arrival of the Unigate Milk Float and Bohemian Rhapsody being played yet again on Radio One.
Again, there is no precise date but judging by the occasional N-plate vehicle I am hazarding a guess that the year is 1975. So, prepare to execute a double-take when viewing this silent footage as one of the first cars on screen is a Fiat 125 closely followed by a Volvo 145. The Austin-Morris 250 JU and the Bedford CF were archetypal panel vans of the 1970s that both appeared to vanish circa 1986. Ford enthusiasts will revel in the metallic green Consul 2500L, the plethora of Cortina Mk. IIIs and, of course, the Transit. Meanwhile a Renault 4, the Fiat 128 and, fantastically, a Toyota Crown 2600 Estate are all reminders that the 1970s was the decade in which great numbers of imported cars were first seen on British roads. Of the older models still in use, there is the awesome sight of a Vauxhall Viscount, quite a few Cortina Mk. IIs and a Morris Oxford Series VI. And I had forgotten just how many Rootes “Arrows”, Morris Marinas, FE Victors and Bedford TKs were part of everyday life in the mid-1970s.
Ye gods, a Datsun 140J Violet! That was my initial reaction to seeing London circa 1975 followed by another cry of amazement at spotting a C1 series Audi 100. Add any number of Austin FX4s (some of them pre-1969 models with the “Bunny Ear” indicators), a Fiat 127 and a strikingly handsome first-generation Toyota Celica. Best of all, virtually every pedestrian has the look of an extra in an episode of The Sweeney.
Or the traffic of outside of Swan & Edgar department store at Piccadilly Circus including a Vauxhall Victor FD, a Triumph 1300 with a Webasto sunroof and a very dashing Jaguar XK150. What truly dates this shot, asides from the clothes and groovy moustaches, is that Bedford CF being piloted with an opened driver’s door and the police telephone box. And if this were not sufficiently nostalgia inducing, we then travel to West London to witness a Princess 1800, Fiat 128, Triumph 1500 and Austin Maxi at full speed. N.B. The caption says 1973 but looking at the cars I would guess at 1978.