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10 MORE NEWSREEL MOMENTS

10 more gems from the archives of British Pathe and Movietone, from the days when newsreels were as much as a part of an evening at the cinema as flat Kia-Ora and teddy boys heckling the screen from the back-row seats -

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DO YOU REMEMBER – THE MONTEGO?

One of the most enjoyable journeys I have ever experienced in a classic car was in a friend’s late-model Montego Countryman to Elstree Studios. Anyone can arrive at such a venue in a hired stretched limousine, but I think being chauffeured in the Rover Group’s finest shows a particular sense of style - especially if said car was eventually parked by Dame Judi Dench’s private bay.

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Old Adverts – Austin A30 & A35

In the days before the launch of ITV in 1955, advertising a new car in cinemas was a very popular practice. And during the interval between the B-film and the main feature, who would not be enthused by this promotion for the Austin A30? Mere words cannot describe how wonderful this commercial is, from the script to the scenes of this splendid little car in action, especially as it reassures the viewer about the efficiency of the hydro-mech brakes. Another major sales asset was Dick Burzi’s styling of the monocoque coachwork (a first for Austin) and it can be seen to its best advantage in this Pathe footage celebrating the A30’s launch in 1951.

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DO YOU REMEMBER – THE FORD 100E?

The 100E is the epitome of a car that could never fall into the category of ‘Forgotten Classic’. Today there is a thriving owners’ club for the Ford that was once as much a part of British motoring as traffic lights on black and white striped poles. On a personal note, when growing up in the 1970s, I saw a good many customised examples, often driven by gentlemen whose look was inspired by Les Gray, the lead singer of Mud.

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DO YOU REMEMBER – THE CITROEN AMI?

Watching an Ami 6 negotiate a roundabout was one of the most alarming, yet fascinating, sights ever experienced by my younger self - at one point it looked as though the body was at a 45-degree angle to the tarmac as its engine sounded like an irate banshee. A Citroen Dyane looked dramatic enough when cornering but the Ami 6’s distinctive styling made the entire process even more entertaining.

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DO YOU REMEMBER – THE VAUXHALL ASTRA Mk. I?

I imagine nearly everyone will recall the original Astra; the first Vauxhall-badged car with front wheel drive and one of the defining cars of the early 1980s. The Astra was more than a very worthy competitor for the VW Golf and the soon to be launched Ford Escort Mk. III, it was as typically early 1980s as listening to Madness’ House of Fun on a Sony Walkman while hiring a Betamax tape of Jaws 2 at your local video library.

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Car of the month - Citroen AX GT

For this month’s ‘Car of the Month’ I look back fondly through my own car history and the only car I have ever owned twice, my Citroen AX GT. Sadly, DVLA records show that H220 TUB disappeared off their radar and was probably scrapped early in 2002 so I’m unlikely to own it for a third time.

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Club of the month – Porsche 924 Owners Club

Being a 924 Owners Club member brings far more benefits than just events; for a start there's the first class, full-colour, club magazine, 'TwoFour', which has been 'club magazine of the month' in Classic Car Weekly twice and also received an honourable mention at the Classic & Sports Car awards!

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DO YOU REMEMBER – THE DATSUN 100A CHERRY?

The Datsun 100A Cherry is an exclusive sight these days and a well-preserved survivor that has the power to evoke days of Cola Rola ice lollies and Kenny Everett announcing Celebrity Squares on ATV. It was also the first Nissan with front wheel drive and a car that helped to radically alter British attitudes towards Japanese imports.

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SEVEN MORE FOUR-SEATER CONVERTIBLES

Summer is nearly upon us, although I refuse to take any responsibility if you are reading this in the middle of a Force 9 storm, and the criteria for this magnificent pricing is ‘reasonable’ seating for at least a quartet of adults and enough room in the boot for a decent-sized picnic hamper. For those missing the Reliant Scimitar GTC or the VW Golf Cabriolet, these and many others will all feature in future Top Tens – watch this space. But, for now - Citroen Visa Decapotable

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DVD OF THE WEEK – THE ADVENTURER

Viewing too much late-night television can often lead to your mind playing tricks. Did Harry H Corbett once play a gangster with a taste for Ford Consul Mk. IIs? Was there really a British Z-film in which the private eye anti-hero drove an Austin A30 saloon? And did I dream a 1972 adventure series packed with FE-Series Vauxhalls in which the leading man appeared to have covered himself in glue and then ran through the nearest branch of Brentford Nylons?

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DO YOU REMEMBER – THE MOSKVITCH 412?

Before names such as Lada, FSO and Polski Fiat had entered the vocabulary of the average British motorist, one of the best-known marques from the former Eastern Bloc was Moskvitch. Well into the 1970s, the saloon and the estate with their faintly retro-1950s enjoyed quite a following with drivers who needed a medium-sized car on a Mini sized budget, while the vans and pick-ups were positively luxurious compared with your average Bedford HA.

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OLD ADVERTS - STANDARD

In the late 1940s and early 1950s the marque name of Standard spoke quality, dignity – and a decidedly lack of spivvishness. For many years their key model was the Vanguard although the illustration in this 1948 brochure for the original Phase 1 model does not actually do justice to its trans-Atlantic styling. Inside, such phrases as ‘accommodates six grown persons within moderate overall dimensions’ would have given hope and frustration in equal measure to thousands of motorists. The new Standard really was ‘Made in Britain…Designed for the World’ while UK drivers would have to put their names on a waiting list of literally years. By 1950, petrol rationing had finally been abolished but many would-be Vanguard owners could still only dream of owning the Standard with ‘suction controlled automatic ignition advance’.

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Car of the Month - August 2017

This month’s club of the month features one of my favourite ‘modern classic’ 2-seater roadsters. Whilst Lancaster Insurance can usually arrange specialist insurance for all models of MX-5, even the newer ones, the Car of the Month looks back at where it all began with the MK1.

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