Bring Back The Breadbox

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I could kick myself for my inattention to detail last year – I wandered about the car park for the summer Brockton run and had such a good time that I neglected to take a good frontal picture of this Vanguard station sedan. I hope I shall have an opportunity to repair my neglect some time.

The Standard Vanguards were a cooking-quality set of cars from Great Britain that went through the 50’s and part of the 60’s. I think you can fiddle Triumph in there somewhere in the name game as well, though they were  more sports and performance cars. The Vanguards were family sedans or – as in this case – regarded as estate cars.

The styling is British to the core, though they probably paid an Italian somewhere along the line to come up with the swooping side line. They may have decided to fire him by the time it came to devising the tail light cluster, but other models of car at the time out of Great Britain had some oddities as well. Perhaps it is a national characteristic like drinking warm beer.

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The general lumpiness of the rear treatment is not to be laughed at, though. Lots of other manufactures could not think how to do it better in their turn at the time, and at least the inclusion of things like external hinges and a twofold read entry mean that most of the square cargo space in the back can be utilised. In my small Japanese hatchback, the butt end is more stylish, but the slope of the hatch when it comes down is steep enough to reduce the interior by 10 cm in some areas. I am also applauding that full guttering around the rear of the roof. Wet weather loading is no fun with a sheet of water on the goods.

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Note from the rather cluttered image of the front wing that there is a two-tone paint scheme that follows the chrome trim. This is for-real factory painting – catalogs of the time show the design. And the colour scheme chosen is also very plausible. Again, I would welcome this sort of colour choice in today’s cars, but I doubt we will see it.

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Inside it is pure 50’s – from the AM radio to the column shift and the vinyl-piped seats. Hell in hot or cold weather but at least you could sponge ice-cream or blood off them easily. I’m still puzzling about the trafficator control but I definitely know where the panel switches come from. From a bargain bin at Henry’s Radio in Tottenham Court Road. The dash is a perfect illustration of 50’s safety consciousness. When your children’s heads hit it in a small accident you smacked them about the ear-hole for skinning up the leatherette with their teeth…

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Can I just make one plea to the driver? Please cover the steering wheel with a lace-on fake leather cover. It would be perfectly period and look so much better. Also a new radio dial? Everything else is superb.

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