A very racy motor show
QUESTION Did they really have totally nude models draped over the cars at the UK Motor Show in the Seventies? IN OCTOBer 1971, the TVr sports car manufacturer arrived at the British Motor Show with a 2,500-M Tuscan and a wedgeshaped TVr Vixen. Their appearance was a sensation, but it wasn’t the cars that caused the stir — two completely nude models were draped over the bonnets.
The stunt was the brainchild of TVr boss Martin Lilley, and not only did it generate the kind of publicity usually reserved for a royal birth, but it blazed a trail for using more overt sex as an advertising technique to sell automobiles.
After this performance, model helen Jones made it onto the cover of Parade magazine and Susan Shaw became the cover girl of Penthouse and Girl Illustrated under the name Karen McCook. She also made a famous appearance draped over F1 Champion James hunt.
TVr continued to use glamour models to sell its cars, eventually creating the limited edition TVr Penthouse S. Stirling Moss wrote an article for Penthouse celebrating the launch of the car, seductively titled It Takes Two To Turbo.
The official press release described a plethora of optional extras, including a walnut dashboard, full leather trim, Wilton carpets, electric windows, a wooden steering wheel and gear lever knob, a higher specification radio cassette player, mohair roof, tinted glass and discreet Penthouse logos.
The release was accompanied by shots of glamour model Maria Whittaker in a diamante bustier on the bonnet.
John Holness, Belfast. My FATher took me to the British Motor Show at earls Court, West London, every year in the late Sixties and early Seventies.
he didn’t show much interest in cars, but spent the day helping me collect car brochures before shifting them in carrier bags back home to hull, a full 18-hour day trip. Good old Dad.
As a 14-year-old in 1971, I wondered why he was showing so much enthusiasm before that year’s show, and all was revealed when we arrived at the TVr stand, the busiest: the two nude models draped over the bonnets of its car.
Jonathan Pyne, Hull. QUESTION Why was James Collis stripped of his Victoria Cross? Is he unique? ON JULy 28, 1880, Gunner James Collis (born in Cambridge, April 19, 1856), was serving with the royal horse Artillery, retreating to Kandahar after the defeat at Maiwand in the Second Afghan War.
During the battle, half the 2,000-strong British force was lost. In the retreat, an officer came under fire while recovering a limber (a two-wheeled cart designed to support the trail of an artillery piece) carrying wounded men.
Collis deliberately drew the enemy’s fire to himself and was subsequently awarded the VC on May 16, 1881. Later that year, he joined the Bombay Police, rising to be an inspector. In 1882, he married Adela Grace Skuse and two years later, he returned to Britain. In 1887 he re-enlisted in the Army, joining the Suffolk regiment. he returned to India in 1888, but was later invalided home. In 1893, he married Mary Goddard, and two years later was convicted of bigamy and sentenced to 18 months’ hard labour. Later that year, his VC was declared forfeit. By then he had pawned his VC for eight shillings and the decoration was retrieved by police for the Crown. Collis (pictured below) later settled in Bury St edmunds. In 1914, at the age of 58, he rejoined the Suffolk regiment, as a drill instructor. he was invalided out of the Army in 1917 and died at Battersea General hospital, London, on June 28, 1918, aged 62.
An appeal by Collis’s sister, hannah haylock, was sympathetically handled by George VI and Collis’s name was subsequently inscribed, along with all the corps’ other VC recipients, on the royal Artillery Memorial in Woolwich, London.
The rules for forfeiture were changed, and henceforward only ‘treason, cowardice, felony or any infamous crime’ would lead to forfeiture.
Overall, eight VCs have been forfeited, all in the Victorian era. The other recipients were Private Valentine Bambrick, 60th rifles (assault); Pte Frederick Corbett, King’s royal rifle Corps (sold his medal, thereby dishonouring it); Midshipman edward St John Daniels, rN (desertion and evading court martial); Pte Thomas Lane, 67th regiment of Foot (desertion on active service); Sergeant James McGuire, 1st Bengal (european) Fusiliers (cow rustling); Farrier Major Michael Murphy, Military Train (theft of military stores); and Pte George ravenhill, royal Scots Fusiliers (theft and non-payment of fines).
Jim Beglin, Leeds.
Causing a stir: Model Helen Jones and the TVR Tuscan at the 1971 Motor Show