WIN­TER 1959

It’s a cold Mon­day. These cars have driven down from Glas­gow and are now await­ing a spe­cial boat to Boulogne, then on­wards for the Monte Carlo Rally

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling - ANDREW ROBERTS

‘The stan­dard 10’s oc­cu­pants sur­vived a 200ft fall from a bridge af­ter suf­fer­ing a blowout’ lucky es­cape on The ‘59 rally

Film his­to­rian, un­briefed bar­ris­ter and mo­tor­ing cul­ture en­thu­si­ast. Blames his ca­reer in the lat­ter on hav­ing seen Carry On Cabby in 1975.

This is an im­age that could al­most have come from a 1959 Pathé News­reel, com­plete with a golly-gosh an­nouncer ex­tolling the virtues of manly Bri­tish cars and their hopes for vic­tory on the Monte Carlo rally. As it was, the out­right win­ner was Paul Coltel­loni in a Citroën ID 19, but there’s an air of an­tic­i­pa­tion here and a fas­ci­nat­ing mix of en­trants.

Some of the names of driv­ers and nav­i­ga­tors will be fa­mil­iar to the more ma­ture CCW reader and near­est to the cam­era is car 65, the John Melvin/Ed­win Fo­den Sunbeam Rapier Se­ries II with the 1494cc ‘Ral­ly­mas­ter’ en­gine. Be­hind the hand­some Rootes coupé is the diminu­tive form of the Stan­dard 10 of Cyril Cor­bish­ley and John Beau­mont; they mem­o­rably sur­vived a 200ft fall from a bridge dur­ing the rally af­ter suf­fer­ing blowouts in both off­side tyres.

Next in the queue is the Singer Gazelle of Amy and Fred­er­ick Vivian and inches away from its tail­fins is one Jaguar’s finest post­war of­fer­ings, a MkI 3.4 crewed by Ver­non Cooper and Ge­of­frey Barker. It was cer­tainly a marked con­trast to some of the other trans­port here. There’s another MkI sa­loon in the sec­ond row, il­lus­trat­ing the type’s high pro­file in 1950s ral­ly­ing. Just in front of it is another Jaguar – this time an XK150 Drop­head Coupé with the hood snugly raised, but the win­dow down, pre­sum­ably to pre­vent the win­dows from fog­ging over. To the rear of the XK, some­one has opted for a slightly more flam­boy­ant form of trans­port in the shape of a PA- Se­ries Vaux­hall. In the third row is what looks like a Ford Con­sul MkII Deluxe, the ‘three win­dow’ Vaux­hall PA of John Banks and CG Dunham and one of sev­eral Ri­ley One Point Fives en­tered in the 1959 Monte.

What lends this pic­ture spe­cial fas­ci­na­tion is not merely the ve­hi­cles but the fash­ions – cheese­cut­ter caps, Bryl­creem and Jack Hawkins-style duf­fle coats are ev­i­dently de rigueur for chaps – and the equip­ment fit­ted to the var­i­ous cars. This was a time when a ma­jor rally vic­tory was a greater mar­ket­ing tool than it is to­day; the var­i­ous Jaguars, Rootes­mo­biles and Vaux­halls may have been fit­ted with spot­lamps and Halda Speed­pi­lots, but they still looked much like the stan­dard road cars parked be­hind them.

In the far back­ground, an RAC pa­trol­man marches past a Redex Ford Thames 400E, the light com­mer­cial with ‘shock free sus­pen­sion’ and ‘dy­namic brak­ing power’. Lu­cas clearly favours an Austin Load­star, Long­bridge’s first post-war lorry, and to its right is a Hill­man ‘New Minx’ Spe­cial with its ex­ten­sive ex­tras – in­clud­ing ash­trays. The Stan­dard Super Ten along­side would have had slightly more lux­ury – namely a trip recorder, bumper over­rid­ers and an open­ing boot lid – although the ex­ter­nal sun visor does look rather sur­plus to re­quire­ments in such win­try weather.

Mov­ing along there is a four­door Mi­nor dec­o­rated with KLG spark plugs PR ma­te­rial, and a now phe­nom­e­nally rare Ford Con­sul MkII Farn­ham es­tate sand­wiched by two fine ex­am­ples of the Hill­man Husky. A Mi­nor 1000 ap­par­ently be­ing op­er­ated upon ob­structs the next ve­hi­cle in the line-up, but the Ford Thames 300E and the Stan­dard 7cwt (the lat­ter fea­tur­ing a roof­mounted Miche­lin Man) would have been ev­ery­day sights 58 years ago.

Par­tially ob­scur­ing an Austin A35 two-door is a Stan­dard Van­guard Phase IA Es­tate while the brace of RAC A35 vans an­tic­i­pates the even­tual demise of the as­so­ci­a­tion’s mo­tor­cy­cle-side­car com­bi­na­tions. Fac­ing the sea are two much older ma­chines, although the ad­vent of the MoT in 1960 would markedly re­duce the num­ber of such cars on Bri­tish roads. Fi­nally, just be­hind the Lodestar is an RAC scooter, as used by ‘Pa­tro­lettes’; those uni­formed young ladies who is­sued di­rec­tions, but didn’t re­pair cars.

‘There’s noth­ing like a smil­ing girl to hearten the most de­spon­dent mo­torist,’ claimed the RAC in a tone rem­i­nis­cent of a Les­lie Phillips’ com­edy. Pat Moss and Ann Wis­dom may have won the 1959 Monte’s Ladies Cup in their now­fa­mous Austin A40 Fa­rina ( XOE 778), but such ab­surd PR copy is proof pos­i­tive that 1959 was an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent world.

Fru­gal-minded driv­ers have sworn by redex fuel ad­di­tives since 1922. This Ford Thames is a suit­ably vi­brant ad­ver­tise­ment. ThAmES liNk This Moggy’s been adorned with klG spark plugs mar­ket­ing guff. a klG em­ployee, per­haps, or just an un­for­tu­nate pri­vate owner? mi­NOR pR

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