Ford Capri

Ever since Steve McQueen had bounced over San Francisco hills in a Ford Mustang fastback in Bullitt (1968), the design staff at Ford’s Dagenham headquarters had been desperate for a version for themselves – Rumour has it that they’d all been wearing black polo neck jumpers to work, too. The Mustang was too big for the UK’s(…)

Ford Escort

As well as the Cortina getting the flared treatment, it’s little brother the Escort had a make-over in 1970 when the Mexico model (the World Cup was played in Mexico that year) was introduced, bearing bright paint, flared arches and sporty alloy wheels. It proved to be the only classic non-specialist Escort.

Ford Granada

The Sweeney was the programme for bestowing Glam status on a car. Which is why the Granada (which used the same 3.0 litre engine as the Capri) and especially its fastback brother, the Consul GT, were Uber-Glam. The Granada had it all: Vinyl roof (or factory-fitted peel-back sunroof), an eight-track cartridge stereo, black and chrome sports wheels,(…)

Green Book, The


Launched in 1976, the Grifter became the ultimate 80s bike – chunky and funky with hand-twist gears. This was BMX before BMX. You even got blisters on the insides of your hands (from doing wheelies you understand). And with a deft fold of the mud flap you had a realistic moto-cross noise – even if it did(…)


The hovercraft was invented by Suffolk boat builder Christopher Cockerell in 1956. The theory behind one of the most successful inventions of the 20th century – named the Hovercraft – was originally tested in 1955 using an empty cat food tin inside a coffee tin, an industrial air blower and a pair of kitchen scales.(…)

Jensen Interceptor

The Jensen Interceptor was a sporting GT-class car, hand-built at the Kelvin Way Factory, West Bromwich (near Birmingham) by Jensen Motors between 1966 and 1976. The Interceptor name had been used previously by Jensen for a vehicle made between 1950 and 1957 at the Carters Green factory.

Leyland P76

The controversial Leyland P76 was introduced in Australia in 1973 but ceased production in 1975 after less than two years on the market. Most Australians turned their back on the Leyland P76. Even for the period, the lines were really blocky and uncomfortable. The P76 was BMC-Leyland’s first and only attempt to break into the(…)


The first pictures of British Motor Corporation’s new mini-car were released in August 1959. The compact four-seater, invented by Alec Issigonis, achieved roominess by placing the four small wheels at the corners and mounting the engine sideways in front. The interior was austere with pull strings to open the two doors and sliding fitment of(…)

Monster Trucks

The Monster Truck craze was inspired in 1974 by Robert Chandler’s Bigfoot – a souped up Ford with four-foot-high tires, named after the hairy ape-like creature currently popping up all over Pacific Northwest USA. At county fairs across the US, people flocked to see Chandler demonstrate Bigfoot’s prowess, which usually involved just rolling over heaps(…)

Morris Marina

As the swinging sixties segued into the glam seventies, down the A40 in Oxford, Morris were busy tuning their previously pedestrian Marina and dipping the bodies in deep purple, electric blue and bright yellow paint. The Marina twin-carb turned a dull 1800 engine into a sporty, racy, throbbing unit which, when the steering wheel was trimmed(…)

New Car Prices in Australia in 1978

Datsun 120Y  – $4,299Datsun 180B – $4,999Datsun 200B – $5,148HZ Holden Kingswood – $5,446Holden Sunbird – $5,495Mini S – $3,895Mini LS – $4,250Moke Californian – $3,375Toyota Corolla Van – $4,449Mazda 121 – $6,912Triumph S – $9,995Triumph TC – $7,995Ford Escort Ghia – $4,990

Outspan (Orange) Mini

The Outspan Orange car was shaped like an orange, had orange skin-textured bodywork, and looked like an orange but was, in fact, a Mini (albeit a highly modified Mini). Six of the customised minis were commissioned by Outspan from a company called Brian Waite Enterprise Ltd, based at Bodium in East Sussex. They were built(…)

Raleigh Chopper

In 1888, Sir Frank Bowden’s doctor told him that cycling could improve his health. He bought an interest in a small bicycle company in Raleigh Street, Nottingham, where 12 men were making three bicycles a week. By 1896 Raleigh owned a factory that employed 850 people and international champions were winning races on Raleigh bikes.(…)

Reliant Regal/Robin

There were several advantages to owning a Reliant Regal or a Reliant Robin. Because they were three-wheelers you only needed a motorcycle licence to drive one, and they were much cheaper to tax. You never needed to worry about being asked to give someone at work a lift home either – there was no chance(…)

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