by Eddy Glass
The first car to run on petrol was built in 1885 by Karl Benz. We have come a long way since then. But sadly cars of today have lost their character and soul. They are all about zero emissions and good MPG but unfortunately when they go wrong you need nothing short of a rocket scientist and the latest software to fix it, gone are the days when you could tinker with your old Ford Cortina to get it running when it wouldn’t start. Cars were mechanical machines and not computerised boxes.
Marques like Jaguar BMW Audi and Porsches are now pandering to the luxury SUV market. So gone are the times you could tell an XJS from a 635 coupe from a 911 Turbo just by looking at them. So, you see they have sold their soul. But now it is all about money and not style. I wonder if Morgan will follow suit with their version of a Chelsea tractor.
I left school at 15 and went to work in a back street garage in south London as an apprentice mechanic where I cut my teeth on Ford Capris Escort’s Minis Austin 1100s and the like. They were simple and easy to work on. I progressed and got my own body shop after and was in the motor trade for over 35 years most of which was spent as a car dealer and literally 1000s of cars have passed through my hands most of which are now classics and worth thousands but then they were every day cars worth hundreds or less. They were just bread and butter cars.
I am a petrol head and have always loved cars so I was lucky to have a job I loved. During the next few weeks I shall be covering some of the cars that have passed through my hands and hope you can reminisce with me if you are that way inclined. Are you just a motorist or are you a driver?
These days most households have more than one car but when I was a kid there were only a few cars in my road and I could tell which make and model they were just by sight from a young age, the American style rear lights on a Ford Anglia, the wood on a Morris Traveller and the sheer size and presence of a Mk 10 jaguar etc.
Now I have to look at the badge just to tell what make a car is as they all look the same. To some people a car is just a mode of transport but to many they are works of art. Some love vintage cars like the model T Ford, MG J2 and Austin 7, some like American muscle cars and some the British classics. I like the last two groups and would often be found at classic car shows admiring the work people put into these beauties. It’s a labour of love.
My era was the 80s and 90s where I had several Arthur Daley car lots, you know the ones, a caravan for an office, twenty or so old bangers and plenty of bunting to let people know we were there. You could choose from a 3.0 litre Capri for £895 a 1960s Mini for £450 a series 2 Jag for £995 and so on. They were all ‘cheapies’ as we called them and they sold like hot cakes. Of course I had more expensive cars to sell but preferred the cheapies as it was a quicker turn over. You could get a nice late mark 5 Cortina for £1500 or six bangers, I preferred the latter.
I often look on E Bay at these old bangers and let me tell you they certainly are not cheapies now. That 3.0 Capri is now £5k+ the Mini and Jag are in that post code too. If only I had kept a few for my pension! In the next article I will be discussing Jags, I will talk about the iconic E type of course but in my opinion there are better looking Jags than that and I don’t mean their new Chelsea tractor either.
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