Monday, September 25, 2006

My other car's a Lada

Welcome to a new feature on Bloggobbledegook:

The Best Cars - Ever

In which your blogmaster shall present a drive down memory lane, to the days when cars really were cars, and were often manufactured by good, honest British workers, in the five weeks of the year in which they weren't on strike.

Amongst the cars you can expect to see in future installments shall be the Ford Granada, the Ford Capri (the working man's Ferrari) and the Austin Maxi.

I would like to remind my readers that for cheap car insurance visit Endsleigh - Number One for insurance in the UK.

But, let us hasten now to our first trip down the motoring memory-lane:

Austin Allegro

Designed by Labour MP for Grimsby, Austin Mitchell, the Allegro was British Leyland's answer to the ubiquitous Paul Raymond designed Ford Escort. Mark One hit the roads in May 1973 with a quadrilateral steering-wheel designed by Fred Dinenage. 'Allegro', as every music-lover knows, means 'quick' in Italian, and my word was the Allegro quick. It could do 0-60 in 6.2 minutes and had a top-speed of 61mph. A standard late-70s model was the first car my dad got, and I was enthralled that it had a 'sports stripes' sticker along the side.

Even more exciting was the incredible model owned by my Uncle Trevor however. This was the Allegro 'Vanden Plas' (pictured above), which was a normal Allegro with a radiator grill in the style of a Bentley or similar luxury car.

You simply do not get cars of this class on the roads today.

Fiat 126

It must have been about 1981 and some bloke at the top of our street was eager to flog his wife's 'runaround' (also a children's quiz hosted by Mike Read - "baby, baby, love of my life, Pat, Pat, Pat, baby, listen to me, listen to me"). I was all for it. I had a child's fascination with the Fiat 126 - this midget of a car. This was a car which made the Mini look spacious. The test-drive (on which I was present) however, was not a success. The car started to wobble at any speed above 20mph, and at one point we were overtaken by the paperboy on his Raleigh Grifter. I recall my dad telling the bloke that he would, "have to have a think about it", and the Fiat (which my dad ensured me were all 'rust-buckets' anyway) was not to be ours.

This minuscule automobile was introduced by Fiat in 1972 and had a top-speed of 33mph. Famous owners included Giant Haystacks and Cyril Smith.



lol,absoulte class,great idea and bloody funny to boot...

the allegro 2.4 brown turbo hatchback with flintstone floor option was a favourite of mine,i used to go out an about in it after i had watched the a team on sat night in 1983....i boot polished ma face to resemble mr.t

Spencer said...

Brilliant entry.
Such classic cars! I would love to try a trip to London in one of those (better set aside a few days/weeks).
Have Top Gear been in touch yet re the job?

Paul McQuillan said...

If I remember correctly, Episode 214 of The A-Team saw 'the guys' transform a Ford Cortina into an armoured tank using nothing more than a standard garage toolbox, and of course BA Robertson's portable welder, which he carried with him at all times.

Unto Spencer: For business trips to the big smoke I would perhaps recommend a more executive automobile. May I recommend the Morris Marina (as driven by Terry and June) or perhaps the staple of Play Your Cards Right star prizes, The Talbot Sunbeam. (I am of course referring to the early 80s Play Your Cards Right, not the 90s revival, where the Dolly Dealers were re-named Darling Dealers, in a dubious conscession to feminism and Germaine Greer's burnt bra).

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