Posts Tagged ‘Ford Cortina’

On occasion I’ve shared with you the summer exploits of the Anglophile/expat group I lead at my library.  Well, this year we decided to put on a British car show.

Our parking lot was a showcase of British motor engineering  – Lotuses, Mini Coopers, Jaguars, MGs, a Triumph or two, a Landrover, a Mini Moke and the most rare of all – a 1950 Healey Silverstone.

Our winner received a gift certificate for auto detailing and an almost one of a kind Stig Pincushion Cat.  If you want to buy one for yourself, check out Fat Cat Crafts here.

I was really chuffed with our first attempt.  We attracted 21 area car owners and drew a crowd of about 100 British automobile enthusiasts. We had beautiful weather, but it was the generous assistance of my fellow Anglophiles that made this inaugural event so successful.  From helping with set-up to recruiting car owners, from donating crisps and biscuits to being my cheerful greeting staff, their attendance and participation was key to such a wonderful day. They’re the best!

But as much as I enjoyed marveling at all these unique and sometimes exotic vehicles, when it comes to cars I’m a very practical woman. ( I drive a 1998 Toyota Camry with over 215,000 miles on it after all). So  I thought it might be nice to organize a little virtual cruise-in right here featuring some functional, hard-working, telly automobiles.

Welcome and please enjoy the Working Man’s British Car Show:

1. Ford Cortina TC Mark III GXL   – Life on Mars

Gene Hunt’s beloved Ford Cortina was involved in its share of police car chases in and around 1970’s Manchester.  I think he loved this car more than his wife…who we never did see, by the way.

2.  British Leyland Mini 1000 – Mr. Bean

Mr. Bean’s Mini was definitely an extension of the man himself.  It was quirky and reckless and multipurpose- whether he needed it to be a dressing room or a delivery van.

3.  Reliant Regal Supervan- Only Fools and Horses

Del Boy and Rodney ran their dodgy black market business, Trotters Independent Trading Company, out of their dilapidated Reliant Regal Supervan so it literally was a working man’s vehicle.  Though perhaps they shouldn’t have chosen such a conspicuous color or model if they wanted to avoid the notice of local coppers.

4. The Reasonably Priced Car- Top Gear

Top Gear‘s newest model for it’s reasonably priced car segment was the Vauxhall Astra.  That’s all anyone needs really, even a star like Benedict Cumberbatch.

5. Type 40 TARDIS – Doctor Who

I know. You’re saying hold on, the TARDIS isn’t a car.  But it’s my list, my blog and this classic British mode of transportation is exactly what I would choose if I could find one in working order. Besides they come with a Time Lord chauffeur.

Vote for the People’s Choice award by commenting below.  If you’re not satisfied with the entrants, write-in candidates are welcome.

Read Full Post »


Boston Duck Tour - Amphibious transport

An unexpected benefit of a recent family vacation to Boston was that my experiences on that trip have made me a more informed commuter and therefore completely qualified to complete this series of posts.  During this vacation, I relied on just about every form of public transit possible from airplanes to the subway; commuter trains, buses and a duck.   Don’t get me wrong.  I felt good about what mass transit does to help the environment and the lessons I learned about bus and subway etiquette were very valuable.  The people-watching opportunities alone were worth the experience.   But by the time I got back home, I was looking forward to hopping into my trusty 1998 Toyota Camry and driving where I wanted, whenever the fancy struck me.  Americans love their cars and the freedom driving represents.  So what has television taught me about the British attitude towards automobiles?  Let’s look at a few examples:

Mr. Bean shows us that sitting inside your car is for the conventional and unimaginative driver.


Minder – Used car salesmen are slimy and suspect on either side of the pond.


Open All Hours – In the UK, a Morris Minor can double as a changing room.

From the reckless speed of tedious car chase scenes in The Sweeney and Minder (and later Life on Mars  featuring a 1974 Ford Cortina) to gingerly navigating narrow village lanes and the even more treacherous winding country roads of All Creatures Great and Small, Doc Martin and Ballykissangel, I don’t think the British are all that different when it comes to taking to the open road.  The biggest difference of course is that whole driving on the left side of the road business and maybe roundabouts…

Read Full Post »