Look­ing back at a Flintshire auc­tion in the sum­mer of 1961

It’s clas­sics un­der the ham­mer, al­beit from an era be­fore the term had re­ally been in­vented for sec­ond­hand cars

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Out & About - RICHARD GUNN Richard joined Clas­sic Car Weekly in 2000. Al­though now a free­lancer, he’s al­ways main­tained his con­nec­tion with the news­pa­per.

‘is Bernie here, sur­vey­ing his king­dom and won­der­ing how much the day’s re­ceipts will swell his cof­fers?’ wHere’s BerNie aT His aUc­TiON?

Oh, you just want to be here, don’t you? Brows­ing these rows of de­sir­able, and not-quite-so-de­sir­able clas­sics, back when they were just sec­ond­hand cars seek­ing fresh own­ers. Won­der­ing whether or not you can stretch to a triple fig­ure sum for the rather ropy Bed­ford CA or one of the pre-war-de­signed ve­hi­cles rel­e­gated to the outer fringes of the site. Con­tem­plat­ing a sen­si­ble choice like a nice Vaux­hall saloon or maybe push­ing the boat out with some­thing racier like a Tri­umph TR2. There’s some­thing here for every­body – and, it seems, every­body has turned up for a browse. Well, as­sum­ing your def­i­ni­tion of ‘every­body’ means gen­er­ally be­suited, ap­proach­ing or hav­ing at­tained mid­dle age (and be­yond) and not fe­male.

Our lo­ca­tion is the evoca­tive­lyti­tled Bernie’s Car Auc­tions in Queensferry, sit­u­ated in North Wales but only 17 miles and seven miles re­spec­tively from the ma­jor English pop­u­la­tion cen­tres of Liver­pool and Ch­ester. To­day the site is used by Wil­sons Auc­tions. Is Bernie here some­where, sur­vey­ing his king­dom and won­der­ing how much the day’s re­ceipts will swell his busi­ness and per­sonal cof­fers? Maybe that’s him on the left, in flat cap and vo­lu­mi­nous trousers, strid­ing con­tent­edly past the rear of the MG Y-type with a wry smile on his face. He cer­tainly looks like a bit of a Bernie…

The ex­act date of this shot isn’t recorded, but we’ll hazard a guess at sum­mer 1961. Why? Be­cause the ve­hi­cles range from the 1930s through to the late-1950s, but there’s no sign of any Mi­nis, Anglia 105Es or Her­alds etc, which would soon be­come the sta­ple diet of such sales. As for it be­ing sum­mer, well, the sun is out, the trees are in bloom, and every­body is in quite light­weight cloth­ing for any other sea­son in North Wales.

So, which of these ve­hi­cles would you bid on? Near­est to the cam­era – so near, in fact, that most of it didn’t make it into frame – is what we think is a sit-up-and-beg Ford Pop­u­lar, or one of its ear­lier Anglia or Pre­fect pre­de­ces­sors. This very spar­tan ma­chine is keep­ing com­pany with two of its more flam­boy­ant con­tem­po­raries: a Ford Ze­phyr MkI and a Vaux­hall Victor F Se­ries 1, which in turn is dwarf­ing the rather dated MG YA or YB our pos­si­ble Bernie is strolling away from.

Bid­ding will prob­a­bly be fierce for the only true sports car here; the Tri­umph TR2, which looks quite smart. It’s bound to fetch a lot more than its neigh­bour, a first gen­er­a­tion Bed­ford CA with two-piece wind­screen. It’s less than a decade old, but the sill in­side the driver’s door aper­ture looks thor­oughly rusty while the rear wing is packed with badly ap­plied filler. Ob­vi­ously life has been hard for it so far, and prob­a­bly won’t con­tinue for too much longer.

We as­sume the cars on the right are in the process of be­ing driven into the bid­ding area, judg­ing by the smoke from the rear of the Stan­dard 6cwt pick-up truck, based on the Ten model with a large chunk taken out of its rear. It’s joined in the queue by a Vaux­hall Velox or Wyvern E-type (styled on a 1949 Chevy) and a Ford Pop­u­lar 100E. The lat­ter would have been com­par­a­tively new here, hav­ing only been in­tro­duced as a model type in 1959, al­beit us­ing the detrimmed body and in­te­rior of 1953’s Anglia.

Else­where among the main­stream Fords, Vaux­halls, Austins and oth­ers is the sleek shape of a two-tone Ri­ley Pathfinder as well as an early 1949-52 Rover P4 with its cen­tral­ly­mounted ‘Cy­clops’ third head­lamp. And what’s hap­pen­ing up the top left-hand cor­ner, where an of­fi­cer of the law ap­pears to be mak­ing some en­quiries? We’re sure that ev­ery ve­hi­cle be­ing sold here must be com­pletely above board. Even that CA. Pos­si­bly…

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