Cook­ing fat and Fords back on the menu

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - The Way We Were -

I’ve left the car that best en­cap­su­lates the spirit of the age – the Ford Ze­phyr Zo­diac on the right of the frame – un­til last. Re­gard­ing ap­pear­ance, it looks down­right jaunty (or ‘spiv-like’, as some Bris­to­lians may have mut­tered) – less ‘make do and mend’ and more ‘live now, pay later.’

The full-width uni­tary body and two-tone paint fin­ish is in marked con­trast to the many up­right pre-war ve­hi­cles at the Horse­fair round­about, and it even had a cig­a­rette lighter and a heater as stan­dard equip­ment.

Bad pe­riod re­con­struc­tions of the 1950s on tele­vi­sion (of which there are quite a num­ber to choose from), would have you be­lieve that ev­ery­one sud­denly rushed out to buy a new car dur­ing this era, but £851 was still a very sub­stan­tial sum of money when the typ­i­cal weekly wage was just £10.

The Zo­diac rep­re­sented a fu­ture of Tech­ni­color ad­ver­tise­ments rather than black and white aus­ter­ity. 1954 was the year when but­ter, cheese, mar­garine, cook­ing fat, ba­con and ‘meat’ were fi­nally de-ra­tioned.

But even then, a driver had to wait for lit­er­ally years for his/her new car in the im­me­di­ate post-war years and it came with a covenant that was de­signed to pre­vent you from re-selling it at a sig­nif­i­cant profit (many man­aged to get round that, though).

Now Da­gen­ham promised you a white­walled, Tech­ni­color fu­ture, where a wellap­pointed six-cylin­der fam­ily car would be ex­pen­sive – but not en­tirely unattain­able.

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