40 YEARS OF A VERY ROYALE VAUXHALL
By Lancaster Insurance Services |
20th June, 2018
October 1978 saw the launch of two crucial Vauxhall models, ones that were aimed at the sort of driver who thought nothing of using Luncheon Vouchers five times a week. We have already encountered the Carlton earlier this year and it was complimented by the first really upmarket Gryphon-badged product since the demise of the wonderfully flamboyant Viscount in 1972.
But now there was a car suited to drivers whose first company vehicle back in 1963 was a Viva De Luxe and who had spent the next decade and a half climbing the corporate ladder to boardroom status and, naturally, a car upholstered in the finest of velour cloth.
The debut of the Royale was greeted with considerable interest by the motoring press while Vauxhall immodestly stated that ‘only very occasionally a great new car is born…a car of commanding authority designed and built to the highest standards…a car for discerning motorists who will settle for nothing but the best’.
In short, what solicitor or cost and management accountant who cared about their social standing could afford to resist the lure of such a prestigious car?
The Royale saloon was based on the Senator A and the Coupe on the Monza – and were built in Russheim as opposed to Luton. They marked a further shift from Vauxhall’s previous image of producing scaled-down Americana for British and Commonwealth drivers as their appearance was very much late-1970s Euro-executive, albeit with an interior that made the cabin of a Toyota Crown seem understated, while the Coupe appealed to the driver who might have otherwise considered buying a Reliant Scimitar GTE or even a Datsun 240K Skyline Coupe.
Both Opel models were also sold in the UK, but these were powered by a 3-litre fuel injected engine while the Royales had a 2.8 litre carburettor unit. A Gryphon badged executive car was also deemed essential to compete with the Ford Granada Ghia or the Rover 3500 SD1 for senior managerial fleet sales.
In January 1979 Motor evaluated the saloon and concluded that just as the Senator had wooed ‘many traditional BMW and Mercedes drivers in Europe’ the Vauxhall ‘fully deserves to have the same impact on the equivalent market in the UK’.
They were also highly impressed by the electric windows, central locking, alloy wheels, multi-adjustable driver’s seat, the sound system and the sliding roof. The only two extras were air conditioning and manual transmission as the Royale normally came with 3-speed GM automatic as befitting a car intended to transport an aspiring tycoon along the M27.
The big Vauxhall also represented very good value for money - if £8,354 was a considerable sum 39 years ago, a Royale was still cheaper than a Granada, an Audi 100 CD 5E and a Volvo 264GLE.
Meanwhile Autocar tested a Coupe in that same month and thought that ‘it emphasizes how unusual and distinctive is the appeal of the Vauxhall Royale Coupe that we were not able to find any true competitor for it at the price’. Both versions were replaced in late 1982 by the A2-series Senator and Monza; the former was Opel-badged in the UK until 1984.
It almost goes without saying that you are more likely to encounter an episode of EastEnders that doesn’t sound like a convention of Anthony Newley/Dick Van Dyke impersonators than a 1979-vintage Vauxhall flagship in everyday use. Richard Hughes of Rickinghall in Suffolk found his 1980 example last year – ‘she was in pretty good condition with a very good interior’.
Another reason for buying his Royale saloon was, as with many a managerial-type before him, he fell prey to the lure of that living room-on-wheels appeal. ‘My car is finished in Agate Red Metallic, but first owner added a Sovereign Gold lower half’ – a paint scheme that further enhances that essential uber-early 1980s look.
Best of all, the Hughes Royale is still worthy of that brilliantly over-the-top name four decades ago there were those cynics who pointed out that this sounded less like the latest Vauxhall flagship and more like brand of chocolate mint.
And ironically, according to the marque’s historian David Booker: ‘The Viscount name was dropped in favour of Royale because the name had been registered by United Biscuits for their new chocolate mint cream biscuit!’
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UPDATE: the latest advice from the government makes it clear that non-essential travel in England over greater distances is now allowed. We have been receiving a lot of enquiries so have put together the guidance below to ensure you stay within the law as you take your classic car out again.
07 May 2020
Gavin Bushby is not only the Chairman of the Fiat Motor Club; he is also the proud owner of a very unusual Coventry-built saloon: a Talbot Solara Rapier. ‘Beautiful gold, with brown, brown, beige, and brown velour’. And the colour scheme was not the only attraction of this fine car as it presented the driver with plush ‘inserts on the door trim pads and ‘front hockey-stick armrests’.
04 May 2020
Thirty-four years ago, Patrick Bradley’s Austin Montego HL was as familiar a sight as people fleeing from Sigue Sigue Sputnik on Top of The Pops. He came this now rare car ‘last year as my dad had Maestros and Montego when I was a kid. I wanted to get one to remind me of my childhood. These cars were everywhere when I was growing up in the 90s – now there is hardly any left sadly.’
30 April 2020
Nostalgia for the 90s is in full swing at the moment – it’s enough to make those of us old enough to vividly remember the decade feel very old indeed.CLUB OF THE MONTH - The Fiat Motor Club
The Fiat Motor Club (GB) is dedicated to enhancing and promoting the motoring enjoyment of its members. You don’t have to own a Fiat to join, just a love for all things Italian such as cars, food and lifestyle.Ways you can save money when taking out insurance
If your insurance is up for renewal, we’d encourage you to give the team a call directly to discuss your circumstances. As a specialist classic broker, we truly understand the industry and can offer a number of benefits with our policies including a two year agreed value option, vital protection such as salvage retention options and choice of repairer are available.
29 April 2020
Ian Quarry remarks that his 1965 Morris Mini Traveller is often 'smiled at and noticed…'. This is not surprising, as the car that represented 'Wizardry at work again!'
28 April 2020
Manoeuvring a motorhome on Britain’s busy roads can be a challenge at the best of times. Narrow, congested lanes can mean getting your motorhome from A to B takes a fair amount of skill and precision.
27 April 2020
May 1950 saw the debut of a car with a fair claim to being the most important post-war Alfa Romeo. The 1900 was both their first with unitary bodywork and their first with LHD. The Italian rule of the road had changed from left to right in 1924.
23 April 2020
Organisers of the Lancaster Insurance Classic & Supercars Show have announced the 2020 event has been cancelled, due to the on-going climate, but can confirm the date for the 2021 show is Sunday 18th July.
22 April 2020
It would be fair to say that Dan Godley is a dyed in the wool Ford Granada enthusiast. ‘After I passed my driving test in 1994 I bought a 2-Litre for £40’.
21 April 2020
‘I’ve always had retro or classic cars. I was just looking for a new project and found the Granada. The fact it was an old police car was an added bonus, and it’s just opened up a whole new world’. B 457 AHJ is ‘a 2.8 Automatic’, and the mileage is just under 104,000.
20 April 2020
The 4CV is, without any sense of hyperbole, one of Renault’s most famous cars. It was their first to sell more than a million units, and it was developed in circumstances that are hard to envisage.
16 April 2020
An MG 1100 has to be one of the most attractive cars of its generation - especially when finished in Connaught Green. Brian Hall came across his 1967 example five years ago – ‘it appeared at local shows having just been bought from the original owner who had kept it for 40 years, I had the first refusal on it, but I thought he wanted too much for it so I didn’t buy it’MARK CLINTON’S FIAT 130 BERLINAS
As a child growing up in rural Hampshire in the early 1970s, there was a select group of cars that seemed to exemplify an impossibly remote world of glamour. Admittedly, I was raised in a village where Marty Wilde was still regarded as a young Teddy Boy and watching BBC2 a sign of dangerous radicalism. The fact that my family ran a succession of near wrecks also shaped my views concerning automotive excellence. At that time I classed any vehicle where the passenger door did not actually fall off as a “luxury car”.When Did You Last See – A Vauxhall Royale Coupe?
John Worth’s splendid Royale Coupe is a ‘not quite one family’ car. It belonged to his father ‘until 1985. He liked six-cylinder Vauxhalls, needed a hatchback and four seats - and enough towing capacity for a horsebox’.
15 April 2020
In the spring of 1980, a new motoring title hit the W H Smiths and Martins of the nation. The front cover featured an Austin A40 “Farina” and a Riley 4/47 while the name of this new publication was Practical Classics. And, in the words of the 2020 editor Danny Hopkins ‘the 40th anniversary edition is the May issue which goes on sale on 15th April’.Sir Stirling Moss 17th September 1929 – 12th April 2020
Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss passed away on the 12th April at the age of 90. His racing career commenced in 1948 as an 18-year-old racer in a Cooper 5000 and ended 14 years later with his crash at the International 100 race at Goodwood. During that time, as Giles Richards wrote in The Guardian, he went on:Mazda MX-5 winner joined Brian Chandler on track day
On Friday 6th March John Williams, the winner of our MX-5 competition last year, joined Lancaster Insurance and Brian Chandler at Donington Park to test the Mazda at one of the most internationally renowned and historically significant circuits in the world.
14 April 2020
Just as with cinema, food and literature, every country has its own unique take on car manufacture. Historically, the Europeans and Japanese have highlighted handling, while the traditional American approach was to go for power. And they don’t get much more powerful than the American muscle cars of the 60s and early 70s.
08 April 2020
‘People usually believe that the car is a hearse. As almost every car is now a hatchback, she does not generate that much attention anymore, but Jaguar folks are all highly amazed that there was ever a five-door XJ’. And this is quite understandable for the marque expert Georg Dönni owns one of the most exclusive cars ever to wear the famous Daimler fluted grille.
07 April 2020
There are some quite incredible classic car rallies to be found out there. As long as your classic car is up to the challenge (rallies can be quite the endurance test), you should really consider participating in one. But where?
02 April 2020
For many, spring signifies starting the engine of our classics and looking forward to the season ahead. This year, however, we understand enthusiasts will be unsure when they’ll be able to do this. We’ve been receiving a lot of queries from club members during this time, so Andrew Evanson, Senior Operations Manager at Lancaster Insurance, answers a number of these questions.
31 March 2020
‘When we bring her out the amount of people that come up and start asking about it…’ remarks Chris about the Cimitan family’s Fiat. And this is hardly surprising, as any 127 is now a very unusual sight – let alone the third-generation GT 1300.
30 March 2020
The public reaction to Stephen’s Citroen Rosalie 10CV (who, of course, goes by the name “Rosie”) is often one of surprise – ‘most people have never seen one or didn’t realise that Citroen’s were ever built in the UK and the fact it is a RWD surprises most’.
27 March 2020
On the 29th September 1967, ITV screened the first episode of The Prisoner which featured an unusual taxi cab - one that offered a ‘local service’ only.MID-BEDS VEHICLE RESTORATION AND THE SWEENEY FORD CONSUL GT
The 2nd January 1975 saw the first episode of a new police series entitled The Sweeney and the major automotive star was a Ford Consul GT.TONY POUNDER AND HIS 1954 STANDARD TEN RALLY CAR
It would be fair to say that Tony Pounder is quite the fan of the Standard Eight family and one prize member of his fleet is a 1954 Ten that was ‘built by the works for pre-war racer Leslie Brooke it took part in the 1955 Monte Carlo and RAC Rallies and the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally – alas without much success!’AUBONE BRADDON AND HIS 1967 FORD ANGLIA PICK-UP
Aubone Braddon is a gentleman who clearly appreciates the Anglia 105E family as his fleet comprises twelve examples of “The World’s Most Exciting Light Car”.TONY BROOKS AND HIS ROVER P5B MOTOR CARAVAN
This P5B 3.5 Litre Motor Caravan owned by Tony Brooks goes by the name “Apollo”, and it is one of the most distinctive classics you are ever likely to encounter.FREDDY HARRIS AND HIS TWO MK. I FIAT PANDAS
Fiat GB marketed the original Panda as “The car that ‘knocks spots off its rivals”, and today they are as rare as a watchable episode of East Enders.MEET THE OWNER – PETER COBB AND HIS MGB LE ROADSTER
Peter Cobb finds the best aspect of driving his MG ‘is when you get it out on the B-roads in Surrey where I live, with the hood down it transports me back to the ‘eighties.’MEET THE OWNER – PAUL HAUGHEY AND HIS FIAT CROMAS
To see one Croma on the road is an unusual sight – but Paul Haughey’s fleet includes two! The blue one is a CHT with just over 48,000 miles, and the Green one is an IE Super with just over 21,500 miles.Club of the month
Our accolade this month goes to the Traction Owners Club. The clubs’ aim is to promote interest in all pre-1957 water cooled Citroën cars including rear wheel drive models and the iconic front wheel drive Traction Avant.
26 March 2020
If you wish to become a NHS volunteer using a vehicle insured with Lancaster (whether this is for delivering food, medicine or transporting patients to routine medical appointments) we will extend cover at no additional cost. Click here to find out more.PAUL WALSH AND HIS EX-GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE FORD CAPRI INJECTION SPECIAL
When Greater Manchester Police commissioned a fleet of twenty Injection Specials in 1986 marked the end of an era for the region’s traffic police. Fifteen years earlier the force first employed the 3000GT form, but by 1992 the Sierra RS Cosworth succeeded the last Capri Mk .IIIs1965 Morris LD30 Mk. III “Wandsworth” Ambulance
This is our tribute to the London Ambulance Service whose personnel voluntarily maintain a priceless historic fleet. One of the star exhibits is the Morris LD30 Mk. III “Wandsworth”.ADRIAN FELL AND HIS 1964 LAND-ROVER FIRE ENGINE
To restore a Land-Rover Fire Engine is a significant achievement – especially one that was once used by your father. Lees Fell worked for the Aylesbury printing firm Hazell, Watson and Viney where 16 members of its staff doubled as part-time firemen.
23 March 2020
The Two Point Six was a highly exclusive machine even when new – the production run was just 2,000 - and the Gerald Palmer designed coachwork, with its slight overtones of the Lancia Aurelia Berlina, must be some of the most elegant of the 1950s.MEET THE OWNER – JON HARPER AND HIS ROVER 2600
'Never been painted or welded, which goes to show miracles can happen'. And Jon Harper's 1978 Rover 2600 is believed to be the only example in Avocado, that uber-1970s BL colour scheme, still on the road in this county.MEET THE OWNER – TONY POUNDER AND HIS STANDARD TENS
To say Tony Pounder is an aficionado of the Standard Eight/Ten family would be a mild understatement. For starters, his fleet includes two 1958 Tens – one blue, one white – that are very much on the road.The Jabbeke Triumph TR2 Joins The British Motor Museum
It is Wednesday 20th May 1953, and the location is the Jabbeke highway in Belgium. When Ken Richardson took to the wheel of MVC 575, he set a new record for a two-litre production sports car. As the narrator puts it ‘it’s safe to predict a great future for new Triumph sports car’.
19 March 2020
We appreciate you might be worried about the impact the coronavirus may have on your insurance with us. Please be assured that we are closely monitoring the situation and doing all that we can to provide the services you require at this time.
16 March 2020
The very handsome Audax Series Hillman Minx owned by Budd Birkett is a prime example of a “Ronnie Stevens” motor-car. For those readers not devoted to 1950s and 1960s British comedy films, Mr. Stevens would often enter a scene wearing a snappy sports jacket and uttering the words ‘Hello, old man!’.DO YOU REMEMBER - THE FORD CORSAIR?
One of the most popular films of Ford Heritage’s superlative YouTube collection is a 1963 gem entitled Jim Clark Drives Corsairs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yybJ5yRzbA4.
13 March 2020
There is one question that Steve Waddingham is often asked regarding his 1975 Austin Allegro – 'where's the square steering wheel...?'.THE SHORT AMERICAN CAREER OF THE “AUSTIN MARINA”
What was the final Austin-badged car to be officially marketed in the USA? It was not the ADO16 or the Mini, for that honour goes to the Marina.
11 March 2020
During the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s there appeared to be seven main approaches to "Limited Edition" cars. The first was to adorn the tail-end of a long-running model with as many extras as possible.
09 March 2020
Some motor-cars look upon fashion with disdain – cars such as the Volvo PV444/544. The advertisements may have hinted at a world of excitement, glamour and Trad Jazz.
06 March 2020
The answer to the question is probably ‘no’, as the Hunter was in production for just two years, and it was never a major seller. Yet, as the swansong to the independent Singer marque and a motor car of integrity, it deserves to be better remembered.
03 March 2020
'A car awe-inspiring enough to be part of any tale too good to be true' wrote Ronald Barker in Car magazine of April 1981.DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIAT 850 COUPE?
‘There are three types of GT’ proclaimed Fiat GB in 1968. The ones that are little more than an ordinary saloon cars, nicely packaged. The ones that are hot but leave you cold aesthetically. And the ones that are real stoppers to look at – real goers when you get behind the wheel. In short, cars such as the 124 Coupe and the 850 Coupe – latter representing ‘11’ 10” of sheer excitement’.MEET THE OWNER – JOHN GORDON AND HILLMAN AVENGER SUNSEEKER
‘When I passed driving test my driving test forty years ago, my first car was an Avenger 1250 De Luxe’ remarks John Gordon. ‘I’ve driven at a lot of classics since that Hillman – but I was unable to resist the call of the Sunseeker’.60 YEARS OF THE MINI VAN
The British Motor Corporation unveiled the Austin and Morris Mini Van in 1960, and when production ceased twenty-two years later, they were as much part of everyday life as ageing punks mooching around the local Wimpy Bar.
28 February 2020
Sunday, March 1st marks the last of the current series of Top Gear - nearly 44 years after the first edition. Memories of the programme are often defined by the first presenter you recall, rather in the manner of your favourite Doctor Who. Some will recall Noel Edmonds, who seemed to really dislike the Strada and whose report incurred the wrath of Fiat GB. Others will always associate the programme with Chris Goffey. Sue Baker or Frank Pope. And, of course, there was the great William Woollard of subsequent "Woollarding" fame, seen here reviewing a Lada, an FSO, a Yugo and a Skoda.
27 February 2020
Lancaster Insurance is thrilled to be returning to the NEC for the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show, with Discovery!MEET THE OWNER - ROB FOSKETT AND HIS HILMAN SUPER MINX CONVERTIBLE
'I have had a few runs out with the roof down, but as I only bought it last September, I am looking forward to using it in better weather'. With a car such as a Super Minx Convertible, it is quite understandable why Rob Foskett is anticipating the summer.
26 February 2020
In 1960 The Morris Eight Tourer Club was formed, now known as The Morris Register, after a name change in 1968, the club admits all cars and commercials that were designed before 1940.
25 February 2020
At this time of the year, many of us dream of summer holidays; a time when the skies are not an almost permanent shade of grey.CAR OF THE MONTH – MICHAEL WALL AND HIS 1970 HILLMAN AVENGER SUPER
‘The younger generation sometimes say, “is that a Mk.1 Escort?” – much to my annoyance! I am very occasionally asked “is it a Viva?” but the most common reaction is “what is it?”.
24 February 2020
'My late father was into classic commercials and did the steam rallies when I was a kid with his old AECs and Fodens. I wanted to do the rallies again with my kids, so it needed to be able to tow a caravan. I'm into 50s and 60s Fords so it had to be a Mk. II or Mk. III Zodiac or Zephyr'.
20 February 2020
‘I’ve always been more a van man than car man’ remarks Stephen Hitchcock and, as proof, he is the proud owner of not one but two Austin A35s. The 1959 orange example has been a part of his fleet for the past two years and the grey (and red) 1960 model since 2004 - ‘I used it to advertise my business’.MEET THE OWNER – NATHAN WILLMOTT AND HIS HEARTBEAT MORRIS MINI VAN
‘I don’t think there’s another programme quite like Heartbeat. I think younger people relate to it being a part of their childhood as many I talk to had to go to bed after it finished on a Sunday evening watching it with the family and it also meant school was in the morning. Us older people appreciate the vehicles and the music’.50 YEARS OF THE HILLMAN AVENGER
The Hillman Avenger is one of the most uber-1970s cars that you are likely to encounter - one that firmly belongs to the realm of Fletcher Maths, How We Used To Live on ITV “Schools Television” and those strange “Pink Panther” chocolate bars from the corner newsagent.
14 February 2020
A select group of cars are instantly likeable – cars such as the Sunbeam Imp Sport and the Singer Chamois Sport. Their combination of looks, performance and charm, are quite formidable – ‘Sparkling sports performance with luxury saloon comfort’, as the Rootes Group put it.
12 February 2020
Before you strap the surf boards to the roof and jump into your trusty campervan, check out our top UK locations where you can find some serious surf action.Fire safety when touring in your campervan
Fires in campervans are extremely rare, but when they do happen they can cause a huge amount of damage. If you have ever lost a campervan to fire or seen one go up in flames, you’ll know just how dramatic, upsetting, and costly it can be.
04 February 2020
When Matt Debbage takes LLW 911K for a spin, the reactions from members of the public are usually ‘any combination of “nice car, my Dad / Grandad had one” /”I had one - it was so rusty” / “awful cars”/ “ooh look - a ‘Doloshite’” / “Is it a Sprint mate?”’.
03 February 2020
The Ford stand at the 1959 Motor Show famously hosted the new Anglia, but it also featured an old favourite with a fresh set of badges. The 105E did not entirely succeed all of Dagenham’s small cars, for the Prefect was upgraded with the 997cc engine as the 107E while the “New Popular replaced the venerable “sit up and beg” 103E.DO YOU REMEMBER – THE SUZUKI WHIZZKID?
I recently had the pleasure of experiencing the SC100 “Whizzkid” in the metal – and I had forgotten just how small they are. There were moments when I was convinced that it was ankle-height and the Suzuki remains one of the few cars that makes an Austin A35 seem as large as a Ford Granada.Best classic car shows of 2020
The start of a new year means a whole heap of new and exciting car shows to put in your calendar.FIVE 1970S ENTRY-LEVEL LARGE SALOONS
Or, how to achieve style and comfort with a minimum of outlay. Austin/Morris 1800 “Wedge”. When BL unveiled their replacement for the “Landcrab” in March 1975 -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxgdRAuDsTEhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxgdRAuDsTE - the focus was inevitably on the flagship Wolseley, but the four-cylinder Austin and Morris was equally important.
30 January 2020
When you see the Mazda belonging to Peter Linn, a certain number by Spandau Ballet inevitably comes to mind. Yet, this is not only one of the most uber-gold cars on the road today but an immaculate example of the very rare 929L Estate.ONE FAMILY FROM NEW – MICHAEL WRIGLEY’S RENAULT 20 TS
‘She’s a 1978 4 speed TS. The 5 speed came out May 1979, much to the chagrin of my father who bought her new’, remarks Michael Wrigley of his utterly magnificent one family Renault 20.
29 January 2020
The 1000MB was not the first Skoda marketed in the UK, but it was almost certainly the first to capture the attention of the family motorist on a restricted budget.CAR OF THE MONTH – MEIRION WOOLF AND HIS AUSTIN 8 CWT “MINOR” PICK-UP
Two years ago, Meirion Woolf brought himself a rather splendid present for his 40th birthday. ‘My parents owned a 1953 “Split Screen” and ever since then I’ve been a Minor fan’ - and so he acquired LEJ 443 J.
27 January 2020
Lancaster Insurance is delighted to be continuing its support of the 2020 MG Owners’ Club (MGOC) Race Championship, its 17th year as the headline sponsor.Club of the Month – The XR Owners Club
To celebrate the launch of our ‘win a 1984 Ford XR3i’ competition, our club of the month goes to The XR Owners Club. Formed in 1983 to bring together XR enthusiasts who share a common passion for the marque, the Club also caters for the Fiesta Supersport and the mk3 Escort 1.6i Cabriolet.
21 January 2020
2020 sees the 35th anniversary of one of the rarest cars in Britain – just one Turbo I.E. remains on the road: https://www.howmanyleft.co.uk/vehicle/fiat_croma_turbo_ie - and it is a Fiat that is unfairly overlooked. The Croma is the third member of the “Tipo Quattro” -Type 4 - family, following the Lancia Thema and the Saab 9000, but pre-dating the Alfa Romeo 164.GEMS FROM THE SAINSBURY’S ARCHIVE - SOUTHAMPTON 1977
The year is 1977, and the people of Southampton are still amazed by the recently opened Sainsbury’s hypermarket in the Lordshill district. Some say that this is the biggest news to hit the city since the Silver Jubilee celebrations or the FA Cup Victory of the previous year.
20 January 2020
Do you love having fun as much as you love classic cars? If so, you’re not alone and there’s a festival just for you!
17 January 2020
Fifty-four years ago, you might have been reading the motoring press when a startling advertisement catches your eye; ‘ISL 1982 - dial it if you dare’. The challenge was to ‘tame Audi – the saloon that sports Mercedes power’. Furthermore, ‘All that power plus front wheel drive means Audi likes to go. All the way around curves. Do you?’.“Forgotten Favourites” at the Beaulieu’s International Autojumble
As any visitor to the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show will tell you, the cars that often attract the crowds are the now rarer than rare family saloons of bygone years. Think Ford Cortina Mk. IV 1.6 GL, Austin Mini Metro L, the Hillman Super Minx Series III or the HB-series Vauxhall Viva SL.Do you know your European speed limits for motorhomes?
Travelling around Europe in your motorhome can be so much fun! Don’t allow your trip to be spoilt by legal pitfalls. Before you set off, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the speed limits and regulations of each country, as they often vary.
16 January 2020
Forty years ago, a new Fuego would have provoked second glances. It is not just that it looked so different to the 15 and 17 that it replaced; it is also that the Renault appeared to hail from another age in comparison with the Ford Capri Mk. III or the Opel Manta B.THE CITROEN 2CV6 SPECIAL – AN APPRECIATION
My next door neighbour recently gained custody of a 1987 2CV6 Special, which gave me the opportunity to experience true economy motoring of the 1980s. Anyone who complains about the sheer amount of distracting luxuries in modern smalls cars would surely appreciate the Citroën, as here is a car that proudly lacks nearly everything.
10 January 2020
There is something undeniably imposing about a Ford Zodiac Mk. III. It is the sort of car that demands a camel-haired overcoat and a trilby hat, one for trips to Goodwood or at least a journey in style to the cash and carry.4 of our favourite celebrity petrol heads
Celebrities with cash burning a hole in their pocket, are able to indulge their passion for classic cars in a way that the rest of us can only dream of. Which celebrity petrol heads are most aligned with your taste in classic motors?THE AUSTIN ALLEGRO RE-VISITED
For (too) many years, the Austin Allegro was an easy punch line for tired comedians. If you believe the myths, the official press launch on the 17th May 1973 was the occasion for universal abuse from the motoring press.The best motorhome clubs you can join
Owning a motorhome enables you to get away from it all. But did you know it can also provide you with a whole new community?
09 January 2020
Any reader who has a spare million dollars or so might care to attend Mecum Auctions tomorrow (10th January) in order to acquire the world’s most famous Ford Mustang.
06 January 2020
The 1960 Earls Court Motor Show was the venue for the re-appearance of one of Britain’s most famous car marques. This famous concern, well known for its vintage sports cars, makes a welcome return to motor manufacturing with a roadster of distinctive styling to say the least.
03 January 2020
South Hampshire in 1979 was a bleak and lonely place. It was a realm where remote communities were reputed to regard the Test Card as a form of witchcraft and Children of the Stones was thought to be a public information film.
02 January 2020
A fresh encounter with one of the first Austin Mini Metros. Those of us of an age to recall the 1980s will almost certainly remember the sound of the A-series engine in full spate. In the very early part of the decade you were less likely to encounter the S (do any of those survive) or the HLS than the L or the basic model.CELEBRATING – THE MORRIS 1100
Put simply, the British Motor Corporation’s ADO16 range is one of the most important family of cars in the history of the UK’s automotive industry. When the original Morris 1100 debuted on 15th August 1962, it was not just the Mini-formula writ large; it introduced thousands of drivers to the concepts of FWD and Italian-styling all at a price within reach of the average suburbanite.
19 December 2019
Auctions are a great place to pick up a classic car. Depending on which end of the market you’re operating in, you might be able to get your hands on a bargain or that rare gem you’ve always wanted. But to come away with a good deal, you’ve got to play your cards right.TOP TEN SMALL ESTATES OF THE 1970S
Or, ten ways to convey luggage, children, dogs, cats and the weekly shopping at MacFisheries in style: AUSTIN ALLEGRO ESTATE Yes, its looks were controversial, although Allegro fans prefer the word ‘individualistic’.The best UK pubs to visit on your next motorhome trip
Whatever your idea of the perfect motorhome holiday, you’re likely to want to include a visit to a pub while you’re away for a well-earned tipple after a day on the road.The Austin Tasman/Kimberley – The Landcrab From Down Under
Thirty-nine years ago, British Leyland Australia introduced the X6 range, their rivals to the Falcon, the Valiant and the Holden. The advertisements modestly proclaimed that ‘At last the kind of car Australian motorists have been waiting for. The new Kimberley X6 and Tasman X6 from British Leyland.THE VOLKSWAGEN TYPE 2 CAMPER
Sixty-eight years ago, the German coachbuilder Westfalia noted how many Type 2 owners would use their VW as overnight accommodation for weekend trips, and so they introduced their “camping box”. As the name suggests, it was a detachable compartment containing a folding bed, a two-burner cooker, a towel-rail, a “vanity mirror”, a washing up bowl and two drawers.
18 December 2019
Going abroad in your recreational vehicle is a great deal of fun. Planning your route and making the necessary preparations before you depart helps ensure your channel-crossing trip runs smoothly, so it’s well worth the effort.MEET THE OWNER – SIMON HOAR AND HIS FORD CORTINA 2.3S MK. IV
‘When I was growing up my dad owned a 2-litre Cortina Ghia Mk. IV. He’d owned it from new, and it was his pride and joy’. The eight-year-old Simon Hoar not only ‘learned vehicle mechanics from a very young age’ but developed a great affinity with Dagenham’s most famous product.DO YOU REMEMBER – THE FIRST RENAULT ESPACE?
It is hard to convey just how different the Renault Espace seemed from the majority of cars back in 1985 when British sales commenced. It bore no resemblance to the company’s 18 Estate and nor was it directly comparable with the likes of the Citroen CX Safari or the Peugeot 505 Familiale.50 YEARS YOUNG
On the 20th December, I reach my half-century. So, in celebration of my great age, here are some totally random recollections: My First Automotive Memories: It all began with the paternal Vauxhall Viva HB De Luxe – a two-door model finished in Turquoise.40 YEARS OF THE LANCIA DELTA
The 1979 Frankfurt Motor Show saw the launch of a crucial new Lancia. It was the belated heir to the Fulvia and an upmarket compact town car to complement the Beta and the Gamma. The Delta was declared Car of The Year 1980, but 40 years ago, there were considerable mutterings about the Delta’s relationship with the 1978 Ritmo/Strada; Fiat acquired Lancia in 1969.
16 December 2019
From everybody at Lancaster Insurance, we hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous start to the New Year! Below are the opening and closing times over the festive period, should you need to speak to one of our team.
11 December 2019
Christmas came early for John Williams from Cheltenham as he received the keys to our prize-giveaway Mazda MX-5. Following our 2019 competition, which ran from March up until the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show with Discovery in November, John beat thousands of other entrants to be randomly selected as our winner!
05 December 2019
Slick, stylish yet still affordable, the Ford Capri was Great Britain’s answer to the Mustang. As it celebrates it’s 50th anniversary, the everyman’s classic still endures, boasting a loyal fan-base and an iconic vehicular and pop cultural status.
04 December 2019
‘The Sprint must be the answer to many people’s prayers’. That is what Autocar thought of the latest Triumph back in July 1973, as the scribe raved about the ‘quite impeccable’ manners and how it was a ‘tremendously satisfying car to drive’. Today, thousands of enthusiasts would agree with those words.
03 December 2019
The array of models produced by the overseas plants of BMC/BL do tend to prompt one question – could any of them have succeeded in the UK? The Australian-market Wolseley 24/80 - a 16/60 powered by the locally-designed “Blue Streak” 2.4-litre six - certainly had its merits but by 1964 it would have clashed with the Austin 1800 “Landcrab”.
02 December 2019
One of the few times that I ever encountered a new Alfa Romeo Alfa 6 in the metal was at a car dealership in Salisbury circa 1984. It was certainly an impressive-looking machine albeit faintly dated, redolent more of 1972 than a car launched in 1979. It also appeared to share its doors with the smaller Alfetta saloon.
29 November 2019
The 2019 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, took place on Friday 8th to Sunday 10th November and was a Top Trump show not to be missed.
28 November 2019
You never forget the cars seen on television during your formative years, and so here are ten examples of fine machinery in now-forgotten series. Fans of The Danedyke Mystery, Touch and Go, Accident, King Cinder, Potter’s Picture Palace or The Freewheelers will have to wait for anther blog…
27 November 2019
Jack Barnes is the owner of a car that can be truly called a ‘time warp’ vehicle. He came by his 1968 Escort 1100 De Luxe Mk. I three years ago when there were a mere 18,000 miles on the clock and every detail reminds you of why the ‘small cars that aren’t’ made such an impact on British motoristsTHE ORIGINAL AUSTIN-HEALEY
One of the most famous stories about the 1952 London Motor Show is that the new Healey 100 was parked behind a post as Donald Healey was so dubious about the appearance of the radiator grille.40 YEARS OF THE TALBOT SUNBEAM LOTUS
“By any standards the first new model to bear the Talbot name has superb performance; by the standards of any other small three-door hatchback saloon — even the Vauxhall Chevette 2300 HS — the performance of this 2.2-litre, 150 bhp Lotus-engined Sunbeam is absolutely sensational.”
26 November 2019
Enthusiasts of British Motor Vehicles is a non-subscription Facebook-based group founded in 2014 and they have a worldwide membership of more than 25,000 and growing.
25 November 2019
A few weeks ago, we featured a blog about the Vespa 400 – and Eric Christoffersen is the proud owner of two examples. Few people in the UK are familiar with this splendid machine and so when he is out and about, the public reaction is often one of confusion.DO YOU REMEMBER THE CHRYSLER SUNBEAM?
In the late 1970s, a new Chrysler Sunbeam was the sort of car that cut a dash, one that seemed to belong in the same world as the hostess trolley and the Goblin Teasmade. A few people admiring one in the local shopping centre car park would have guessed it was developed at breakneck speed.A MINI ALTERNATIVE? – THE VESPA 400
In the aftermath of the Mini’s 60th birthday, it is always interesting to consider some of its alternatives from 1959 – such as this gem. When the Piaggio company created the original Vespa scooter in 1946, it literally revolutionised Italian mass-transport.
21 November 2019
Once again motoring enthusiasts flocked to Birmingham’s NEC in their thousands to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery. Over 71,000 attendees joined the three-day celebration and grand finale to the classic motoring show season.5 great British classics
We might be slightly biased, but we believe that British automotive engineering is the best in the world. So, trying to pick out just five great British-built classics is no mean feat.Which campsites in the UK are open all year round for motorhomes?
With the colder season now drawing in, it’s time to think about putting the motorhome away until it warms up again… or maybe not! A winter tour can be a lot of fun – you just need to know what campsites are open at this time of year.35 YEARS OF THE TOYOTA MR2
Signs That You Feel Old: Lesson Number 489 – when you realise the MR2 is now 35 years old. Virtually anyone who visited the 1984 Motor Show will remember the interest and the sheer excitement on seeing Toyota’s first mid-engine sports car – and the first mass-produced mid-engine car from Japan.
20 November 2019
1962 was the year of two crucial new MGs – the B and the marque’s first FWD car. The 1100 made its bow in October of that year, introducing motorists to the delights of the ‘Most Advanced MG of All Time'.40 YEARS OF THE VAUXHALL ASTRA
If you paid a visit to the Scottish Motor Show back in 1979, you might well have encountered a very significant new model from Vauxhall, in the forms of an Astra 1300S GL Hatchback – ‘Aerodynamics in Action’ - and 1300S L Estate – ‘Designed with Flair, engineered with quality’.Where are the best motorhome destinations this winter?
As a motorhome owner, you have complete freedom over where you go this winter. But, of course, you want to ensure you end up somewhere that’s going to make for a good time.Tips for your first classic car restoration project
We’re here to help ensure you don’t become yet another classic car enthusiast with a half-finished restoration project sat in the garage forever. Or perhaps you’ve already reached that point and you need to be inspired to get your tools out again?
19 November 2019
The 12th November 1949 marked the press launch of a rather remarkable commercial vehicle. It was a van that was essentially a box on wheels, with access to the load bay via side doors and a rear engine. Its standards of handling, gearchange and steering surpassed virtually all domestic rivals, and the new Volkswagen Type 2 looked set for a long career.
15 November 2019
‘Most people think it is either an Innocenti or a British Mini with Innocenti bits – about one person per year recognises it as an Authi’.70 YEARS OF THE VOLKSWAGEN TYPE 2
The 12th November 1949 marked the press launch of a rather remarkable commercial vehicle. It was a van that was essentially a box on wheels, with access to the load bay via side doors and a rear engine. Its standards of handling, gearchange and steering surpassed virtually all domestic rivals, and the new Volkswagen Type 2 looked set for a long career.
14 November 2019
Rotary Clubs distributed a total of £61,000 to one national and 18 local charities at Sherborne Castle on 8th November. Nigel Young, Chairman of Trustees for the Sherborne Classic Cars CIO, said ‘This was a truly astonishing result following 12 months of work by the Organising Committee from members of the Yeo Vale, Sherborne Castles and Brue Valley Rotary Clubs.'
13 November 2019
You really could not miss the Ford Mustang on the Lancaster Insurance stand at the 2019 Classic Motor Show. It was a vehicle so stunning that Mr. Steven McQueen himself would have undoubtedly fallen in love with it, had he entered a time portal during the planning for Bullitt.
12 November 2019
Such was the impact of the 2019 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, no mere report could possibly do it justice. Here are just 50 impressions of the event from our resident blog writer Andrew Roberts:
08 November 2019
Growing up in a Hampshire village where the local newspaper would bear a headline such as ‘Chaos As Radical New Strawberry Punnet Design Is Unveiled’, a Ford Escort Ghia Mk. II appeared the epitome of high living.Top Ten Limited Edition Ford Capris
Every Ford Capri is special, but some are more special than others. Here are ten examples from the Heyday of the Limited Edition Capri.
06 November 2019
For the past 71 years, Land-Rover has been associated with serving the public – police, fire, ambulance, coast-guard, mountain rescue – and, of course, the AA and the RAC.The Mini Cooper S MK.III - A Celebration
Many of you have been following https://www.facebook.com/italianjobmini/ and will be very familiar with Tanya Field’s Cooper S Mk III, which goes by the nom-de-Mini of “Paddy”.
05 November 2019
One of the many attractions of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show is the opportunity to play Top Trumps – a game that will resonate with many of my vintage.Car of the month: Andrew Bell's Ford Granada GL MK. I
‘A lot of people mention The Sweeney, and most assume it is the 3-litre - despite the badging on the wings’. But his splendid Ford is actually a 2-Litre G and, as it dates from April 1977, it is one of the last of examples of the Mk. I before the launch of the Mk. II.
04 November 2019
If you watch virtually any British police drama of the 1970s, you might have the idea that every vehicle that was not a Flying Squad Ford Consul GT was a Rover P6B or a Triumph 2.5 PI Mk. II. However, one vehicle that was equally associated with law enforcement was the BLMC ADO16 Panda Car.
01 November 2019
As the London – Brighton Veteran Car Run 2019 takes place this Sunday - https://www.veterancarrun.com/ - we are proud to present (cue Tim Turner-style jolly voiceover), a tribute to one of Britain’s greatest films; GenevieveThe M1 at 60
Britain’s first motorway, the Preston By-pass, commenced operations on the 5th December 1958 but this new highway promised a brave new world, one where motorists would eventually be able to travel to and from London with no speed limits.