Unique Cars - - TOYBOX -

NOW FOR THE Kingswood and the first thing you no­tice be­hind the wheel is how up­right and high you sit. In the Calais-V you sit low and look along the bon­net. In the Kingswood I felt like cocky on his perch look­ing down on the bon­net that is about the size of a garage roof.

As I said ear­lier vis­i­bil­ity is ex­cel­lent, but not so much the steer­ing with plenty of free play. Some can be put down to age, some to just how it was back then, tee­ter­ing around on 14-inch wheels. Guido didn’t men­tion it wasn’t power as­sisted and it was bloody heavy. Not sure if my mum could have wres­tled one into a park­ing spot back in the day.. Driv­ing meant con­stant mi­nor cor­rec­tions to keep it pointed where you wanted to go.

The 253 still had a deal of grunt and the brakes worked well; they just needed a hefty shove to get them to bite. It leaned through cor­ners with not a lot of feed­back from the wheel and I can only imag­ine what they must have been like be­fore Ra­dial Tuned Sus­pen­sion.

In­side there was plenty of room and com­fort for all with en­ter­tain­ment pro­vided by an AM/FM ra­dio.

I thor­oughly en­joyed my short drive in the Kingswood, the op­er­a­tive word be­ing ‘drive’, com­pletely unadul­ter­ated by elec­tron­ics, sen­sors and giz­mos.

On the safety front there wasn’t a great deal, apart from seat­belts but that’s how it was in 1979.

These two are very dif­fer­ent cars for very dif­fer­ent eras de­signed to do the same thing, take fam­i­lies on jour­neys and ex­pe­ri­ences. For many the Kingswood be­came a bit like the fam­ily pet, go­ing ev­ery­where with them. In time, the Calais-V might just be­come the same for a new gen­er­a­tion.

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