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The VW Golf GTi Mk. I may have been one of the most notable ‘hot hatchbacks’ of the 1970s but it was neither the only or even the first of the breed. The half-dozen cars described below are my own selection – all front wheel drive, all with a third or fifth rear door and all of them highly entertaining.
As with many of my generation, I first encountered the Austin K2/Y via re-screenings of Ice Cold in Alex on television. It is a film that showcases the talents of John Mills and Anthony Quayle at their considerable best and one of the principal characters is the battered but indomitable ambulance, which was one of the key British military vehicles of the Second World War.
Decent weather is final upon us (at least it was when I wrote those words!) and, as the cinema adverts used to claim back in the 1960s, now is the time for ice cream. Highly decorated and still a part of the motoring landscape, the ice cream van is a very welcome sight at the end of a long summer’s day so here are six classic examples.
This column is by way of a tribute to one of the most interesting public service vehicles of post-war Britain - the Bedford ‘Green Goddess’ fire appliance. Its origins date back to 1949 when the Home Office created the Civil Defence Corps (CDC), whose purpose was to work alongside the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) in the aftermath of a nuclear war.
Back in the 1970s, the likes of the Ford Granada GXL or Ghia Mk. I were often regarded as vehicles for the local elite; factory owners or the proprietor of a small chain of tobacconists. You were more likely to encounter one of the cheaper models as a minicab, company car or estate carrying a family to a holiday in Swanage and for these versions, Ford revived a famous badge - the Consul.
In those distant days before the introduction of the Transit in 1965, a remote time when listening to Adam Faith’s records was regarded as evidence of mild decadence, the van of choice for many a builder, grocer or jobbing gardener was the Ford Thames 400E.
"I was back in the UK for a whirlwind week during a break from filming Wheeler Dealers to catch up with business, charity and to host an event. First up it was off to Sheffield to film at my Mike Brewer Motors Dealership, then it was a blast down south to pop into the impressive Moss Europe where I collected the parts I need for my 1959 MGA project. A quick look around some special cars at Rally Preparation Services in Oxford before I finally got to Swindon and Cross Street Garage to meet the team from Lancaster Car Insurance and see how things are progressing with the #ClassicRumble Escort XR3i Cabriolet.
We were split into two groups for qualifying as entry numbers again were very high which is very encouraging to see!