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My first impression of the 2018 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show was merely this – any Austin Maxi will now turn heads, but a Maxi with a fawn vinyl roof and a Webasto is not so much eye-catching as utterly decadent.
60 years ago a new Hillman Minx was the company car that all ambitious sales representatives craved. No prospective client could fail to be impressed by those sharp modern lines with the wraparound rear screen while the boot was large enough for any number of sample cases.
Forty-five years ago, I regarded the FE-Series Ventora as one of the most handsome cars you were likely to encounter in the not very mean streets of Fareham. The vaguely Pontiac-style lines, the quad headlamps, the vinyl roof and the sound of that 3.3-litre straight-six engine denoted a car of modest but genuine distinction.
It is the morning of the 25th December, and you are handing a carefully wrapped package. What could be the wonders contained inside? At worst, it could be the box-set of every edition of Take The High Road -the soap opera where nothing seemed to happen bar the theft of a jar of raspberry jam from the local shop. But, the gift could equally be the accessory you had long craved to enhance your car of choice.
The Monkeemobiles had room for seven with bucket seats at the front and a wraparound bench at the rear. Jeffries also extended the nose and tail by foot, installed a taller windscreen and modified tail lamps, augmented the coachwork with side-exit exhaust pipes and even a parachute.