Mem­ory Lane

Practical Classics (UK) - - CONTENTS -

‘I’ll be a lit­tle late home, dear.’ Shoe Lane me­chan­i­cal park­ing in 1963.

This re­mark­able place must have seemed like a glimpse of the fu­ture when it opened back in 1963. Cars could be stacked in bays in a most ef­fi­cient use of space, slot­ting in be­tween the other tall build­ings in Far­ring­don. But such a de­sign has ob­vi­ous short­com­ings – if the lift breaks down, you can’t get your car back. Even if it’s run­ning smoothly, imag­ine how long you’d have to wait for your Austin West­min­ster if ev­ery­one wanted to leave at 5pm. Per­haps this ex­plains why it seems to have closed after just a few months, after which the site was re-worked to be­come a con­ven­tional multi-storey.

Right at the top edge of the main pic­ture we can see a cou­ple of Ford Anglias peep­ing at us, while the row be­low that be­gins with a Hill­man Minx and a Sun­beam Rapier next to a Mini with spot­lamps. There’s a gap, then an­other An­glia and a Mor­ris Ox­ford Se­ries VI. From left on the row be­low we have a glimpse of a Stan­dard Pen­nant then a Wolse­ley 16/60, a Ford Clas­sic, a Vaux­hall Vic­tor Deluxe, an Austin A55 Cam­bridge and an MG Mag­nette. On the ramp next to it is the ear­lier (non-fa­rina) species of Austin A55 Cam­bridge.

On the level

The row be­low is a Fa­rina-rich place, start­ing with a Wolse­ley 6/99 or 6/110, paus­ing for a Mini be­fore get­ting back to an Ox­ford Se­ries VI and an­other Austin Cam­bridge. Next we see a Vaux­hall PA Velox (or Cresta?) and then an FB Vic­tor. The row be­neath starts with a Ford Zo­diac MKIII, we think, and then has an An­glia, a Mor­ris Mi­nor, a Mor­ris Ox­ford Se­ries V, an A40 and an­other of Ford’s Con­sul Clas­sic fam­ily.

High­lights from the shot show­ing the lift in ac­tion (right) in­clude a Rover 12 P2 right at the top and two finny Fords on the row be­low (Con­sul Clas­sic and Zo­diac MKIII) while the car on the ramp is an­other Zo­diac – or maybe a Ze­phyr – MKII.

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