SUM­MER 1961 WEST STREET, FAREHAM

It was the year that Eric Carls­son and John Brown won the RAC Rally, and the Tufty Club came into be­ing

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling - AN­DREW ROBERTS Film his­to­rian and en­thu­si­ast of mo­tor­ing cul­ture, An­drew blames his en­tire ca­reer in this last field on hav­ing seen Carry On Cabby in 1975.

Read­ers from the So­lent area will have no dif­fi­culty in recog­nis­ing Fareham’s West Street some 14 years be­fore the shop­ping cen­tre was built. The weather looks tip-top and there’s time to visit P&S Cripps Fish­mon­gers or, for the fu­ture clas­sic en­thu­si­ast, spend five weeks’ pocket money on a Spot On Ford Zo­diac at Bunce’s model shop be­fore a nice cup of tea at Forte’s. There are no dou­ble yel­low lines to con­tend with for those ar­riv­ing by car for the weekly shop­ping, al­though the amount of traf­fic would have been un­think­able even ten years ear­lier.

The first car to catch the eye is the Austin A40 Fa­rina in the fore­ground, with a bootlid that de­notes the sa­loon as op­posed to the Coun­try­man hatch­back. This ex­am­ple also lacks rear over­rid­ers, a chrome wind­shield sur­round and open­ing side win­dows, so could it be that the owner saved £28 10s by pur­chas­ing the now very rare non-De Luxe model? Next to the Austin is the un­mis­tak­able pro­file of the Ford Ze­phyr MkII with the ‘Low­line roof’ and the ‘rally-proven six-cylin­der en­gine for a fine per­for­mance’.

To the left of the Ze­phyr is a fel­low Dagenham prod­uct that seems to hail from a re­mote world of aus­ter­ity and ra­tion books, de­spite pro­duc­tion hav­ing ceased only eight years pre­vi­ously. By this time, the E493A se­ries Pre­fect would have been a 200-guinea bar­gain for quite a few young mo­torists. The sta­tion wagon by the Pre­fect is a Stan­dard Com­pan­ion which would have only just been re­placed by the Tri­umph Her­ald es­tate 56 years ago. One of the Stan­dard’s ma­jor sell­ing points was its five-door coach­work – unique for a Bri­tish-built small es­tate of its era. It’s rest­ing along­side one of its clos­est ri­vals, the Ford 100E, here in its more ex­pen­sive Squire form.

Fur­ther along the row is a post­war Austin 10 and the nose of a late 1940s Stan­dard Eight – could this be the first car of a stu­dent of Fareham Tech­ni­cal Col­lege? The gas liv­ery on the Austin Half Ton Van would have been very fa­mil­iar in the early 1960s; it’s prob­a­bly wait­ing to drive down the A27 to the Northam gas hold­ers.

Mean­while, wait­ing on the left of the frame is an­other of Ford’s MkII ‘Three Graces’ range, a Thames 300E van fit­ted with larger back win­dows (pas­sen­ger wind­screen wiper an op­tional ex­tra), and a hand­some Jaguar Mk2; we are happy to wager that the last named is primed to take its owner to gins and tonic on the banks of the River Ham­ble. Fur­ther along, there is a prime ex­am­ple of the ‘Au­dax’ se­ries Hill­man Minx in what looks like Se­ries II guise, judg­ing by the square back num­ber­plate.

‘The MoT test in 1960 al­ready seems to have dec­i­mated the 1930s and 1940s cars’ THEY SUR­VIVED THE WAR, BUT...

In­deed, the cars here are so splen­did that it would be so tempt­ing to visit this scene, if only for a day, to ex­pe­ri­ence the Tri­umph Her­alds and Volk­swa­gen Bee­tles (the only for­eign car seen here). Head­ing away from the pho­tog­ra­pher is a mo­tor­cy­cle side­car com­bi­na­tion – it is of­ten for­got­ten how com­mon these were in the Bri­tain of Harold Macmil­lan and John Ley­ton records – and a Mor­ris Mi­nor 1000, while fur­ther down the central row of parked ve­hi­cles can be glimpsed a Rover P5 3-Litre, a Hum­ber Hawk and the ‘ bomb crater’ grille of a Stan­dard Eight. That fa­mous Coven­try mar­que was still a very fa­mil­iar sight, al­though by this time it only had two more years to live; an­other Com­pan­ion makes its way to­wards the cam­era while near the rear of the shot is a two-tone Van­guard Vig­nale pass­ing the old Em­bassy Cinema. The Teds and Ton Up Boys who fre­quented the Maytree Café would prob­a­bly have queued to see He­len Shapiro and Craig Dou­glas in It’s Trad, Dad with The Never Never Mur­der as the sec­ond feaster. Alas, the venue was de­mol­ished in 1983; the site is now a McDon­ald’s restau­rant.

There is so much here that res­onates – those shop awnings, an ap­par­ent dearth of Minis and the modern street lights that an­tic­i­pate a grey con­crete fu­ture while the in­tro­duc­tion of the MoT test in 1960 al­ready seems to have dec­i­mated the 1930s and 1940s cars. As for my favourite part, it is the dark-coloured Rover P4 left in de­fi­ance of the No Park­ing signs. Surely it can­not be about to take part in an early Six­ties B-film style raid on the Fareham branch of the National Pro­vin­cial Bank, with its driver con­stantly lis­ten­ing for the gong on a Hamp­shire Con­stab­u­lary Wolse­ley 6/99?

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