At The Risk Of Dating Myself

Apropos of nothing, and at the risk of both dating myself and possibly freaking out a few of you, let me reach back to the 1960's and 70's in Bonnie Scotland, where I was born and grew up. 

Back then quite a few car models looked like petite version of 1940's and 50's US sedans and roadsters, with rounded fenders and the like. I came from a blue collar background, and as such we sometimes had cars - but not always. 

Looking back, they were generally not bad cars considering how little we had to spend on them, although they look largely ridiculous now, even to me.

The family car I recall us having when I was between 5 and maybe 12 or so was a Hillman Minx. I don't recall the exact year of the model, as we often did not go by the stated model year, but by the last letter of the license plate (indicating when it was first registered). 

Below was the model we had although I don't think it was ever this shiny and ours was a dark red color. I am pretty sure ours had the 1,200cc four cylinder motor - but as a 5 year-old, it may have been powered by small dragons as far as I knew. We got around a fair bit in that unlikely-looking jalopy.

A Hillman Minx

In the UK at that time, there were perhaps a surprising number of car makers - a lot of brands that will mean little to most in the US (and possibly to those in the UK now too). Hillman, Austin, Wolseley, Humber, Triumph, MG, Reliant and so on.

The first car I personally owned was either a Morris Minor, or a VW Beetle - the "Herbie"-era version. I did own both, but through the fog of time I can't recall which came first. I believe I liked the Minor better (the VW I had always seemed to have a really sloppy gearbox).

The VW was blue, and the Minor was "Taupe", a weird sort of greyish color. After I had screwed around with it, the Minor had one (possibly both, again I can't recall) fender spray painted a metalflake red (!) color, which had seemed like a really cool idea to me for some reason.

I ran out of both money and gumption, hence only the Minor's fenders (or "wings" in the UK) were ever painted. I wince now to think what it actually looked like, poor little thing.

A Morris Minor 1000

The Minor was very popular in the UK for a while, and there were "station wagon" and van versions in use for many years. You will likely see one if you watch any British movies from the 60's and early 70's - or TV shows set in that period, such as "Call The Midwife".

Honestly, the two favorite cars I owned were a blue Vauxhall Victor (because it looked sort of "American" - like maybe a mid-sixties Dodge Dart -  and had a column gearshift) and a grey Volvo 120. The Volvo took me and my buddy Colin on my first visit to the Scottish Highlands.

A Vauxhall Victor 101

Oddly, I find I don't really have any decent photos of my actual cars - but then the car culture was much less ingrained in the UK than the US. Also I was also probably too busy trying to scrounge up gas money to worry about taking photos of the cars . . .

A Volvo 120

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