Most British-built vehicles of the Fifties and 60s had their very own distinctive appeal – from the cutesy Morris Minor, Mini and Austin A30 to the MG and Triumph sports activities vehicles cherished on each side of the Atlantic.
However a couple of producers took their cues from the extra extravagantly styled vehicles from throughout the pond because the US loved a brash and affluent post-war motoring increase.
Granted, a lot of them got here from American-owned corporations with British car-making divisions, however we nonetheless considered these vehicles as very a lot our personal. Most of them have been vehicles with three entrance seats – or moderately, vehicles with entrance bench seats.
The great thing about a bench seat automobile within the 50s and 60s was that you possibly can safely transport your self and 5 passengers in consolation.
Right here, specialist traditional automobile insurance coverage dealer Adrian Flux takes a take a look at the British-made motors with an American accent, bench entrance seat, copious chrome, incredible fins and all.
1. Vauxhall Velox and Cresta PA
Within the Fifties, Vauxhall’s American homeowners Common Motors made a valiant try and convert us cussed Brits into lovers of chrome, fins and wraparound windscreens.
And with the Velox and Cresta, they did a mighty wonderful job, producing scale-down facsimiles of the monster motors ruling the roads within the US on the time.
Launched on the London Motor Present in 1957, the Velox and Cresta PA fashions have been pure Americana, that includes heavy, chrome-laden entrance bumpers, huge expanses of curved glass entrance and rear and, for the UK, comparatively massive Detroit-inspired fins.
Constructed on the Vauxhall plant at Luton, the vehicles echoed their large American brothers on the within too, with entrance bench seats and a three-speed column gearshift, a light-weight, ethereal cabin with wonderful visibility and incredible cruising potential because of an under-stressed 2262cc engine that boasted spectacular torque regardless of solely pumping out 75bhp.
The Cresta was principally an up-market model of the Velox, with optionally available two-tone paintwork, whitewall tyres and leather-based trim, making it some of the placing saloon vehicles of the time.
It was attractive sufficient for rock stars and stylish sufficient for even the Queen, who drove a tailor made Cresta PA property.
The Cresta may attain almost 90mph, rising to 94mph as soon as the engine had been elevated to 2651cc in 1960, a transfer that additionally improved acceleration to fifteen.2 seconds from 0-60mph, and gas consumption to almost 27mpg.
The fins gave solution to a extra conservative design with the PB in 1962, however in order for you a slice of 50s America in a British-built traditional that’s sufficiently small to park however massive sufficient to impress, you’ll be arduous pushed to beat a PA.
2. Nash / Austin Metropolitan
This can be thought-about dishonest as a result of, though the Metropolitan was in-built England by Austin, it was really a fully-fledged American automobile, conceived, designed and largely bought within the US beneath the Nash marque.
Within the early Fifties, whereas most American automakers have been making ever greater vehicles, Nash had different concepts, growing an idea for a small, economical automobile aimed on the commuter/buying automobile market.
However Nash had an issue – they’d no expertise of constructing a small automobile and the tooling prices concerned would have made the automobile uneconomical to construct within the US, so a deal was performed with Austin to fabricate the automobile at Longbridge.
It was the primary time a automobile supposed solely for the US market had been in-built Europe, with the primary prototype constructed by the British firm in 1952.
Out there as a convertible or saloon, the primary manufacturing vehicles rolled off the road in 1953 and featured trademark Nash design options together with closed in entrance wheels and bar-style grill.
Marketed as “luxurious in miniature” and “America’s completely new sort of automobile”, the Metropolitan was marketed largely at girls – a US first – and acquired usually beneficial early critiques, with reward for its 40mpg at 45mph and respectable poke from its little Austin A40 engine.
And the wealthy and well-known took to the automobile’s cutesy appears to be like if the listing of householders is something to go by, with Bridget Fonda, Paul Newman and Elvis Presley amongst these to squeeze behind the little automobile’s wheel.
The automobile was lastly manufactured in right-hand drive kind for the British market in 1956, with the primary Austin-badged examples obtainable the next 12 months.
The overtly American styling was at odds with all the pieces else popping out of the BMC steady on the time, and gross sales have been comparatively sluggish, with estimates ranging between 1,200 and 5,000 items bought within the UK.
Though not a gross sales success on this aspect of the Atlantic, the little automobile left one lasting legacy on the UK market – its identify. Typically shortened to the Austin Metro, British Leyland retained the identify for its personal small automobile – the Mini Metro – launched in 1980.
3. Humber Tremendous Snipe
Properly earlier than the Rootes Group was taken over by the US large Chrysler, the Humber Tremendous Snipe had leant on American styling, from the primary mannequin in 1938 to its demise in 1967.
But it surely was the mannequin launched in 1960, dubbed the mark 3 “new” Tremendous Snipe that bears an uncanny resemblance – notably from the entrance – to the 1959 Plymouth Fury, immortalised in Stephen King’s Christine. However whereas the Fury was an aggressive monster with large rear fins, the Snipe was a mile-eating limousine with extra understated strains.
These twin-headlamps that aped the Fury have been distinctive within the UK on the time, and the Tremendous Snipe additionally had different American touches together with wraparound entrance and rear home windows, two-tone paintwork and an enormous, full-width chromed entrance grill and bumpers.
By the point manufacture ceased in 1967, the engine had grown to three-litres producing a wholesome 124bhp, and the automobile was made for the brand new motorways criss-crossing the nation.
Not probably the most extravagant of our US-influenced vehicles, however notable by being completely British designed and constructed.
4. Ford Consul Capri
So the primary Ford to hold the Capri identify was principally a scaled down Thunderbird, with a touch of Galaxie Sunliner thrown in – certainly the Capri’s codename of Sunbird provides a big clue to the British automobile’s styling cues.
Based mostly on the Consul Traditional saloon, the Capri was initially destined for export solely however went on sale within the UK in 1962.
Virtually an identical on the entrance to a ‘59 Thunderbird, the Capri was smaller in stature and, in fact, engine measurement, boasting both 1,340cc or 1,498cc items in comparison with the large ‘Fowl’s 5.8-litre lump.
The rear featured a big boot and the identical angled fins and spherical hind lights discovered on the Thunderbird.
Sadly, although very fairly and an ideal marriage between British practicality and American styling, the Capri was an costly automobile to construct and solely 19,421 have been bought in simply over two years of manufacturing, together with 2002 GTs, which gave the automobile a much-needed efficiency increase to 78bhp and a prime pace of 95mph.
If you will discover a type of, you’ll have one of many best-looking British Fords ever made and an actual head-turner.
5. Ford Zephyr sequence
Ford’s large Z-cars, the Zephyr and its premium brother the Zodiac, at all times boasted styling cues from throughout the Atlantic and, all through the 50s and 60s they carried all earlier than them as big-car consumers flocked to the blue oval badge.
Initially together with the Consul – the British constructed vehicles have been often known as the “three graces” – the Zephyr and Zodiac have been restyled in 1956 to incorporate the important thing US styling factors of chrome grills and bumpers and fins on the rear.
The Zodiac was distinguished from the lesser variants by additional chrome detailing, a unique grill, two-tone paint and whitewall tyres.
The Consul was separated from the 2 Z-cars for the mark 3 launched in 1962, leaving the Zephyr and Zodiac because the flagship fashions of the Ford vary.
Detroit-inspired fins turned even sharper and extra angular, with a bigger bonnet and boot, and twin headlamps and further chrome for the Zodiac, that might prime 100mph because of its six-cylinder 2,553cc engine.
The mark 4 fashions misplaced their fins, and a few of their appeal, in 1966, however greater than 100,000 had been bought by 1972 when the Granada took over as Ford’s flagship UK mannequin.
The mark 3 is probably the most dramatically styled of all of the Z-cars, however the mark 2 virtually actually the prettiest.
Traditional automobile insurance coverage from Adrian Flux
When you’ve got a British constructed automobile thought-about a traditional you may get an important insurance coverage deal from Adrian Flux. Traditional automobile cowl prices from as little as £56.
Helpful options can embody:
- Agreed worth
- Restricted mileage reductions
- Homeowners membership reductions
- Laid up cowl
- Marriage ceremony rent cowl
Name 0800 369 8590 for a swift no-hassle quote – 81.5% of all clients receiving an internet quote in August 2022 may have obtained a less expensive quote over the cellphone. Alternatively e book a call-back at a time that fits you.
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