Cooking fat and Fords back on the menu
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.