Sets of Wheels

We had a great talk at Probus last week on ‘Iconic Road Cars from 1950s to today’.

In the Q&A session after the talk there was a bit of a murmur about what iconic meant in this context, but our speaker, Graham, made it clear that it was his personal choices – and he soon added quite a few more cars, based on suggestions from car-mad members present!

His choices from the 1950s included the Morris Minor, which drew sighs of remembrance from lots of members. His slide show of different models from the different decades acted as a quiz throughout the presentation – and Graham reminded us of the different market segments that cars were aimed at under different economic times, how they drove (as well as how easy they were to maintain), and the ways the cars were marketed through their use in films, in motor car rallies, and to the very wealthy.
The very recent 1500 b.h.p Bugatti Chiron at £2.1M and The Aston Martin Valkyrie that achieves Formula 1 speeds for a very reasonable £2.5M attracted many!

I’m not sure that I’d count myself as a car enthusiast. At least one of our members goers off on regular adventures all over the world in frighteningly old cars, but I have more of an “it’s a way of getting from A to B” mind-set! I tend to look at the ‘number of miles to the gallon’ indicator rather than the speed dial, now!
I do appreciate a stylish car, especially something a bit sporty. In my dreams my hair flows elegantly in the breeze as I accelerate away from the lights on Hookstone Road … Then I realise that my hair isn’t quite full enough to blow in the breeze, and I would have trouble getting in (and especially getting out) of a sports car now!
Still, one can dream….

One thought on “Sets of Wheels

  1. D Graham

    Iconic road cars from the 1950’s and 60’s were invariably poor and very expensive compared to cars of today. (That’s why so many people can afford cars, considering also the historical low price of petrol and the low fuel consumption of modern cars)

    The 1950’s VW Beetle: in a serious front end crash you’d be speared by the steering wheel.
    The 1960 Ford Zephyr and Vauxhall Cresta “American style” cars: would be rusted and on the scrap heap after 6 to 8 years.
    The 1964 MGB. If it had wire wheels the wheel bearing weren’t the same as those for the solid wheel variety, despite looking the same. My friend changed his wheel bearings every month until a garage storemen confessed that he needed the special type.
    The 1973 NSU K70: a very fast car for the time but handled abysmally and a colleague rolled one on the M1. (These proved the saviour of VW, allowing VW to move on from those crap air-cooled sluggish engines)

    Our recent Vectra’s and Astra’s could never be described as classic cars, but they have never broken down, never cost a fortune in spares, never guzzled fuel, and were a whole lot more comfortable.
    (In case anyone likes to remember, my 1972 “basic” Ford Escort 1100 had rubber mats not carpet, and cost £900 brand new. About equivalent to £14500 in todays money.


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