Monday September 10, 2018
This image will be familiar to many readers who hail from Sheffield as for many years the Bentley Brothers were the city’s main dealers for Vauxhall and Bedford. This image dates from 1958 and, as you can see, the then-recently launched Victor F-Type is being heavily promoted, although the E-Series Crestas would have represented a considerable bargain for anyone who wanted six-seats and a definite ’49 Chevrolet sense of a flair.
Meanwhile, the Ford Zephyr-Zodiac and the Austin A40 Somerset look quite out of place on a forecourt dedicated to Luton’s finest; at the left of the shot the nose of the PA Cresta is just visible.
All of which brings us to this week’s gems from the archives which celebrates the art of car sales and promotion. This Pathé news footage of an auction staged at Beaulieu in 1961 is priceless for a) the sights of Bentleys, and Hispano-Suizas in full colour and b) for the idea that almost any new vehicle from that year would be as collectable as the Veteran and Vintage cars on sale-
And of course, any extra service to the motorist will enhance your emporium. Remaining in 1961,we have the sight of Stirling Moss arriving by Jaguar E-Type (9600HP, the original production coupe, no less) to experience a “car laundry” in the West End of London.
The idea is simple - by treating your five-year old Standard Ten to the same treatment, not only would it look better, but you would become a F1 racing driver by osmosis -
In 1956 the great Ken Wharton established a garage in Smethwick where an Austin A30 could be treated to a high-speed pit-stop fashion service -
A decade later, a petrol station in Harlow was notable for its self-service pumps – ‘but you still have to hand over the cash, even if it is to a pretty girl at the control desk’ advises our patronising narrator. But this establishment was not just concerned with selling fuel to Humber Sceptre owners, it also offers facilities to service your Ford Consul Mk. II, Riley Kestrel 1100 or Wolseley 1500 -
This next form of garage promotion is one that will probably be unfamiliar to anyone aged under 40; the advert for the local business that was screened at the Eastleigh Regal and other fine picture houses. It was an art form that was well-known for its strangulated voice-overs, acting in a sub-Crossroads class, and slightly out-of-focus still photographs.
Many of these enterprises were ‘only five minutes from this cinema!’ and this reel of adverts from the Worthing area in the 1970s promotes Volkswagens – including ‘the front-engine K70L’ – and a ‘quality used’ Triumph 2000TC Mk. II -
And finally, we have the 1959 Used Car Show which was staged at the London Olympia and included a 1929 Bugatti for £775, a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing and a 1924 Bentley:. I would include the announcer’s comments about the last named but they are too awful to write; just think bad Carry On film and you will have the idea. A young couple ultimately opt for a “Lowline” Consul De Luxe; personally, I would have chosen the Bugatti