Friday January 17, 2020
As any visitor to the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show will tell you, the cars that often attract the crowds are the now rarer than rare family saloons of bygone years.
Think Ford Cortina Mk. IV 1.6 GL, Austin Mini Metro L, the Hillman Super Minx Series III or the HB-series Vauxhall Viva SL.
All of them were once as much a part of British life as newsagents selling Toffos, Whizzer & Chips and those strange “Pink Panther” bars.
And this is why the National Motor Museum’s International Autojumble on 5th and 6th September this year will be even more unmissable than usual as it will play host to “Beaulieu’s Forgotten Favourites”.
This brand-new display will celebrate ‘once-common classics of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties’ and so here are some memories of that era:
A) The merciless heat. Travelling in a Cortina Super Mk. II during the summer where the eyeball vents admit warm air into the cabin, as the occupants languish on the vinyl upholstery.
Every surface bakes your fingers, from the top of the fascia to the steering wheel, while that Amazin’ Rasin Bar purchased at a Jet Station kiosk melts in the glove compartment.
Britons of a certain vintage will also remember that the sliding windows of early Minis were not overly effective for ventilation.
By contrast, the quarter lights on a Morris Oxford Series VI were worth a million pounds in hot weather. Some affluent types invested in a 12-volt ‘fridge powered via the cigarette lighter socket – an almost guaranteed method of draining the battery.
B) The holiday trips. Asides from the backseat Greek Chorus of ‘Are we nearly there yet’, which usually commenced five minutes after leaving the driveway, there were the standard pre-vacation-in-Bude rituals. The roof-rack needed to be secured, a dozen maps placed in the front parcel shelf and, most importantly of all, the purchase of several tins of travel sweets.
C) Sound systems. This is assuming that you were fortunate enough to travel in a car fitted with a MW/LW radio; therefore you would be able to experience the joys of a traffic jam on the A27 with the set jammed to Radio Victory.
Meanwhile, cartridge players seemed to have the strange knack of being able to jump whenever your car encountered a hump-back bridge/level crossing/small stone chip.
By the 1980s, many drivers experienced the joys of the cassette player, with their near-infallible ability to eat the works of Matt Bianco or The Jo-Boxers.
D) The school run - where the air was filled by the sound of the BMC/BL A-series engine at full spate.
E) Winter rituals – from blanking off the grille of your Citroën 2CV, Dyane 6 or Ami to covering the front of your Singer Gazelle VI with kitchen foil.
And of course, your local accessory shop would sell you the finest in adhesive demister panels for the rear screen plus any number of ice-scrapers.
In the words of Beaulieu, ‘all manner of pre-booked classics from 1960-1990 are invited to join Forgotten Favourites at the event in the grounds of the National Motor Museum’.
Any owner who wished to take part should contact the events team as ‘places are limited and show entry is free for vehicles that are accepted’:
www.beaulieu.co.uk/events/international-autojumble/ or call 01590 614614. And here are Tony Aitken and Roger Sloman demonstrating a Vauxhall Chevette in a very unforgettable way - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOyt9qm69R8.