A very racy mo­tor show

Daily Mail - - Let­ters - Com­piled by Charles Legge

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

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