The big story

Baby boomer clas­sics

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

One of the Bri­tish mo­tor in­dus­try’s most in­ter­est­ing pe­ri­ods is the decade af­ter the war fin­ished; the mo­tor­ing world changed greatly be­tween 1945 and 1955, as some smaller com­pa­nies that could just get by im­me­di­ately af­ter 1945 col­lapsed, while big­ger busi­nesses strength­ened their grip on the mar­ket.

This was also the time when car mak­ers were co­erced into ex­port­ing as much of their out­put as pos­si­ble: the more they ex­ported, the greater amount of steel the Gov­ern­ment would al­low them. In the mean­time, with a do­mes­tic mar­ket des­per­ate for new mo­tors, the eas­i­est so­lu­tion was to rein­tro­duce cars be­ing made be­fore hos­til­i­ties be­gan.

It’s easy to think solely of the fa­mous three from 1948 – Jaguar XK120, Land Rover and Mor­ris Mi­nor – and early ex­am­ples of these mod­els (the 120 in par­tic­u­lar) make reg­u­lar auc­tion ap­pear­ances. But this pe­riod also saw com­pa­nies hang­ing on bravely – Lea-Fran­cis car­ried on un­til the end of the 1950s, and Al­lard sol­diered on for much the same time.

How­ever, to­day nu­mer­ous other Bri­tish cars, par­tic­u­larly sa­loons, from the post-war pe­riod of­fer us­able, re­li­able and af­ford­able clas­sic mo­tor­ing. South West Ve­hi­cle Auc­tions sold a very good 1951 MG YA for £18,360 in April and Brightwells of­fered a tidy, muchloved 1952 model in May, which sold for £7700.

An­glia Car Auc­tions of­fered a lit­tle-seen 1949 Vaux­hall Wyvern in its April sale, and while in need of work, it was well bought at £2520. In the same sale ACA of­fered a pair of 1954 Mor­ris Mi­nor four-doors, one mak­ing £4620 and the other £5250.

Com­pared with Mor­ris Mi­nors, Austin ‘county’ cars are far rarer, but H&H’s Na­tional Mo­tor­cy­cle Mu­seum sale came up with the goods – a 1954 A70 Here­ford from an Ir­ish col­lec­tion, it was in very good or­der, with paint, body and in­te­rior all in highly pre­sentable con­di­tion. It was good enough to make £8437.

Ri­ley of­fered a more sport­ing take on sa­loon cars and its com­bi­na­tion of looks and per­for­mance has en­sured a good fol­low­ing for mod­els that are of­ten seen in the same light as Lan­cias from the same era. ACA sold a 1953 RMF in Jan­uary for £15,540 and Char­ter­house a 1954 RME for £10,080, while the fol­low­ing month Here­ford­shire Vin­tage Auc­tions’ rea­son­able 1954 RME went for £8600.

So while the post-war pe­riod might seem some­thing of a Dark Ages for Bri­tish clas­sics, a fan­tas­tic se­lec­tion of cars built then still makes for in­ter­est­ing buys to­day.

‘These Bri­tish cars of­fer us­able and af­ford­able clas­sic mo­tor­ing’

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