The Big Pic­ture

Cel­e­brat­ing the dawn of the mod­ern era of mo­tor­ing

Practical Classics (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Sev­enty years since the mo­tor show that changed the world.

The 1948 Mo­tor Show opened at Earls Court on Oc­to­ber 27 – it was the place where mod­ern mo­tor­ing re­ally kicked in. It saw the UK un­veil­ing of the Jaguar XK120, Mor­ris Mi­nor, Land-rover, Ox­ford MO, Wolse­ley 4/50 and 6/80… a small sports car with the name Porsche on it, the list is im­pres­sive, al­most ev­ery ve­hi­cle a game changer in its own way. Some 32 Bri­tish man­u­fac­tur­ers were dis­play­ing their wares.

The fact that all this in­no­va­tion was present un­der one roof was all the more re­mark­able with petrol ra­tioning still in place and the shadow of wartime aus­ter­ity loom­ing large. Com­pa­nies had to sell three-quar­ters of their ve­hi­cles abroad to get the steel needed to build them in the first place and Bri­tish pur­chasers had to sign a con­tract stat­ing they would not sell their new car on. Trad­ing prac­tices so re­stric­tive that it is all the more re­mark­able that fac­to­ries were al­ready pro­duc­ing more cars than they were im­me­di­ately pre-war.

Of all the cars in the Halls the Jaguar XK120 Su­per Sports (to give it its full ti­tle) was, by many ac­counts, the star. The flow­ing beauty of its lines com­bined with a brand­new high-pow­ered six-cylin­der en­gine ren­dered most vis­i­tors speech­less or over­come. The hub­bub around the Jaguar stand al­most spilled over into a full-scale riot when the doors were opened and it be­came an im­me­di­ate hit.the car on the stand was the pro­to­type – 6600001 – it had no bootlid han­dle and was

‘The hub­bub around the Jaguar stand al­most caused a riot!’

fresh from de­vel­op­ment. It didn’t stop the or­ders com­ing. In fact, the Amer­i­can deal­ers Max Hoff­man and Charles Horn­burg di­vided the USA into two, with the di­vid­ing line be­ing the Mis­sis­sippi River, to make sure they didn’t step on each oth­ers’ toes.

At the Lan­caster In­sur­ance Clas­sic Mo­tor Show The Jaguar Driv­ers Club and Jaguar En­thu­si­ast Club (Stands 2-710, 2-730 re­spec­tively) will cel­e­brate the an­niver­sary.

The Mor­ris Mi­nor is an­other now-iconic Bari­tish car that de­buted at the 1948 Mo­tor Show. On the open­ing day of the show US deal­ers Max Hoff­man (left) and Charles Horn­burg (right), as­sess the pro­to­type XK120. Their en­thu­si­asm would rev­o­lu­tionise Jaguar’s sense of what could be pos­si­ble.

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