Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside, strolling along the prom, where the brass bands play, etc, etc. To many Brits, a trip to the seaside conjures up images of fish and chips, ‘kiss me quick’ hats and arcade machines, plus the smell of suncream and seaweed. Apropos of nothing, here’s a selection of Great British classic cars basking in the sun at the seaside. All photos by Martin Charles Hatch.
There’s something quintessentially British about this photo. All that’s missing is a pair of deckchairs and two people arguing about Brexit.
Triumph called the Herald Convertible ‘a suntrap on wheels’, with a press advert picturing the car alongside a topless model sunbathing on the beach. Very racy and quite risque for the 1960s. What would the people who have the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) on speed dial say about that?
Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow became a firm favourite of ‘end-of-the-pier’ entertainers, lending it a kind of faded seaside glamour. Those days are gone – turn up in one of these and folk will think you own the bingo hall.
The first Lotus not to be sold in kit form arrived in 1969, with the Elan+2 designed to be ‘capable of transporting two adults and two children, 1,000 miles in comfort with their luggage’. This one has made it to the beach.
The Nash Metropolitan was a little slice of Americana, built in Longbridge. There’s an almost toy-like quality to its styling and it must have lifted the mood in post-war America and the UK.
‘It only has two seats. It confirms her mother’s worst fears. And if you ever drove it flat out they’d probably lock you up.’ Triumph’s press ad from 1979 is yet another example of copywriting from a different era.
Morris Minor Traveller
A beautiful example of a Morris Minor Traveller, complete with optional dog bowl. Dog not pictured, sadly.
The famous headlights earned the Austin-Healey Sprite the nickname ‘Frogeye’, but the original plan was for the car to feature pop-ups. When these were ruled out on the grounds of cost, the familiar ‘bug eyes’ were added to the bonnet.
The Jaguar E-Type: second only to the Nissan Sunny ZX Coupe on the list of the most beautiful two-seaters ever made.
Up until its demise in 2009, Karmann was the largest independent car manufacturer in Germany. Although it’s most famous for the Karmann Ghia, the German coachbuilder was also responsible for the styling of the Triumph TR6. So now you know.
Here’s another British car to benefit from European input, with the last big Triumph styled by the Italian, Giovanni Michelotti. He also designed the Leyland National bus.
Although the TR4 looked very different to the Triumph TR3/TR3A, it was based on the same chassis. Unlike its predecessor, the TR4 featured side windows and air vents, which prompted some Triumph purists to accuse the car of going soft.
Ford Escort GT
The Escort arrived in 1968, with Ford marketing it as ‘the small car that isn’t’. Four models were available: De Luxe, Super, Super 1300cc and GT.
This Jensen C-V8 is powered by a massive 6.3-litre Chrysler V8 engine, giving it a top speed of 140mph. It was a fine Grand Tourer, but it’s not the Jensen everyone remembers.
Morris Oxford MO
Believe it or not, this Morris Oxford MO was dumped on Landguard Common in Felixstowe in the mid 1960s. After life as a makeshift children’s playground, it found its way to the port where it spent years under a tarpaulin. The transformation is incredible.
Too often overlooked, the Humber Sceptre was a posh, plush and almost flamboyant British family car. The Humber name disappeared in 1976.
The Standard name died earlier, in 1963, but the company had an illustrious past. It developed a strong reputation in the 1930s, before buying Triumph after the Second World War.
Today’s Ford Focus can trace its roots back to the Popular via the Escort and Anglia.
Having enjoyed watching historic racing, this looks ripe for some kind of motorsport conversion. Andrew Jordan has got a lot to answer for.