Saturday, May 14, 2011

British Cars.

When I was old enough to start driving Japanese cars were already on the scene in NZ, but the cars I could afford to buy were mostly British. I learned to drive in my Dad's Mk 2 Zephyr with it's two-and-half litre six and three speed column change.When I went to stay with my big sister, my brother-in-law would sometimes giving me extra driving lessons in his Morris 1100. Most British cars were well designed, but unfortunately not always well finished or as reliable as the Japanese models. I once had an owner of an Austin 1800 say to me,"The Poms can design anything, but don't let them build it". However I still have a soft spot for British cars.
Issigonis's "East-West" engine idea has been copied (and improved) by the rest of the world. I believe the British were the first to use disc brakes on an everyday family car. Permanent 4 wheel drive and anti-lock brakes were also British developments, but somehow the Japanese managed to put all these things into a simpler, easier serviced and more reliable packaged.
Almost every year I attend the British car meeting at, Trentham some of the following photos are from these events.
Jaguar's XK150 must have been an impressive machine in it's day in 1960, because it still impresses me over 50 years later. This was taken as a British car rally passed through Masterton some years ago.
The Morris Minor 1000 would be one of my favourite cars. Simple ,efficient and practical; they were the ideal small family car of their day. I have owned one in the past and would love to own one again. This was at Trentham in 2008.

This Vauxhall Friary, a station wagon (estate) based on the PA Velox saloon has been around for some time, always in immaculate condition. It had the same owners for many years, but I am not sure who owns it now.

This 1963 Vanguard Six remained in my hometown area for most of it's life. At the time of this photo it was owned by the late Brian Agnew who had bought it off one of his neighbours. Brian and his late son Bruce (tragically killed in a motor accident) were both lifelong car enthusiasts and active members of our local car club. So enthusiastically they competed with each other in club events, that we refered to them as the "Agnew Twins"

The Mk 2 Jaguar is my favourite British saloon for styling. I cannot think of a nicer car to own than one of the Beecham Jaguars which are built in NZ. Beecham Mk 2s use the original Mk 2 body shell with late model components installed, including electrically adjustable front seats, V8 motor (with supercharging if you so desire) and independent rear suspension to name a few.
This one, however, is a restored 1961 3.8 litre with 4speed  manual transmission with overdrive photographed at a Jaguar gathering on the Wellington waterfront.

The MG ZB saloons were  handsome vehicles. Their curved front grille gave them a softer look than the Wolseley equivalent with it's upright grille. This is a 1957 Varitone. Varitones had two-tone paint and the larger rear window.

The early MGs were cute little cars if not over endowed with power. Restored TCs are few and far between, but this an even rarer (though very similar) 1939 TB.

Triumph's GT6 was a beautiful little sports car. Based on the 4 cylinder Spitfire, but with the addition of a hardtop and the 6 cylinder motor from the 2000 saloon, they were no slug either.

This E-type Jaguar at the Jaguar meeting in Wellington had better than factory finish. The under bonnet paint was as glossy as the exterior and even a close inspection of the nuts and bolts did not reveal any spanner marks !

The big Wolseleys (and the equivalent Austins) were a roomy , comfortable saloon for those who wanted a large family car with a more traditional look than a Zephyr or Velox, but couldn't stretch finances to a Jaguar or Rover.

This  Rover 110 from 1963 was parked at a motel in Wanganui, when I stayed there in 2002.

About 7 or 8 years ago, Majestic Motors in Masterton had this1959 Vauxhall Cresta for sale with superb paint work. 

I saw this 1956 Vauxhall Cresta parked at the railway station in Upper Hutt early one morning.

I have always like the medium sized Rootes Group saloons. This is a top of the line Humber Sceptre of 1963. This is the first model of Sceptre, with the 1600cc motor.


Drop Suspension said...

We had totally opposite experiences. I am not so familiar with these British cars and I get to learn from it now.

Unknown said...