It does feel like I’m jumping on the bandwagon a little here, but In reality I have been an advocate of the unloved cars of the past for a very long time, the crap cars, the cars that you really didn’t want your mates to see you in at the school gates.
I have never hidden my desires from anyone, in fact if you watch repeats of Bangers I can be seen proudly confessing my love for an orange Morris Marina on national TV.
I have always known that one day the nation would listen and listen they have!!
2021 has seen an emergence of crap car enthusiasts, bold as brass, usually a little nerdy, maybe dressed a little different to most, but they are alive. No longer afraid to rave about beige velour on social media or post arty shots of their much-loved Allegro next to a block of 70’s council flats. And it’s not just ordinary folk who are talking about them, the shiny people have realised too. With articles hitting the web from well respected ‘car greats’ reminiscing about vehicles ‘Uncle Harry ‘used to own back in the day when we were sticking bread tags on the spokes of our bicycles.
But it seems that talking about them isn’t enough, no. One man has gone one step further and opened a museum full of them – and it is ace. The Great British Car Journey in Derbyshire is more than a building full of cars, it’s a place where memories are evoked, smiles are generated and we get chance to breathe in the heady aroma of the British Motor industry. A narrated journey through 100 years of some, let’s face it, pretty amazing cars took me back to the days when we adventured to the North East in dads Maxi. Dad loved that car, he spent more time under it than driving it, but he didn’t care. It was his, bought and paid for on a trucker’s salary. The sills were so rotten he’d bodged them with ply and the holes in the floor offered the chance to spot roadkill, off we went on a cold wet bank holiday weekend. It was grim. But it gave us laughs that have lasted a lifetime.
The Drive Dad’s Car part of the museum is genius. Pick from a selection of time warps and tootle around the tarmac. No Maxi on offer so I opted for the next-best motor, the Applejack Allegro; it didn’t disappoint.
Onwards and upwards to The Festival of the Unexceptional at the end of the month, something tells me the display is going to be bigger and better than ever, with onlookers drooling over the most unextraordinary vehicles.
So, why is it that in 2021 we are embracing the cars we loved to hate? Why are Reliant Scimitars and Bond Bugs seeing an increase in value, why are marques from the Rootes Group flying at auction? And who suddenly decided that if you own a Wedge you’re cool?
Well let me tell you, I ain’t bothered who, I’m just eternally grateful that many of the cars formerly left to rust in shame are now being saved. These motors are part of our heritage and long may they live.