Just a few of the great cars made in Britain – Ford Anglia, Prefect, Zephyr and Cortina, Morris, Austin, Riley and Vauxhall and the mighty Land Rover.
I was down at the Cardrona for a photo shoot a few years ago. When it opened in 1863 it was a gold miners pub and after the gold was gone, the pub continued serving the local farming community. The long serving publican, Jimmy Patterson, would regulate how much his patrons could drink – one drink for those heading up the road over the treacherous Crown Range, and two for others heading down the road to Wanaka. None for the women. Jimmy died in 1961, aged 91, and the hotel was closed. It sat empty for years, slowly deteriorating until a local bought it in the 90’s and did it up. After the shoot, we drove up the road a bit to visit my wife’s uncles in Clyde – Bill and Alan. They are Southern men of few words, can put you in your place with a raised eyebrow, or will end a half finished story with a chuckle leaving you to finish the story yourself. Masters of the understatement. In fact, an entire story could be a chuckle, they’ll all understand and have a wee chuckle themselves. We told them about our week at the Cardrona filming and it was followed by a bit of a pause. Eventually Bill piped up and said ‘Oh yip’. Another pause (pauses are normal though, nothing’s urgent in this part of the country), and then he added ‘The Cardrona aye? Hear it’s changed a bit since I was up there last … awe, in 1943’.
When my wife was a design student some years ago, her car of choice was a Morry. Common to students at the time, insurance was beyond her budget once the weekly pub expenses were covered (she has always had an admirable sense of priority). She also has a strong sense of social responsibility and having no insurance was something of a burden. With this in mind, she developed a strategy to keep her, and her fellow motorists, safe on the road. Every panel on her Morry was painted a different colour. Rough as guts its was. My wife (who was always ‘very creative’, according to her mum) regarded it as a work of art, others regarded it an old banger. Whether a work of art or old banger, it made other drivers nervous. Change lanes on the motorway, no problem, everyone stayed clear. Park at the supermarket, no problem, everyone stayed clear. Shoot an orange light, no problem, everyone stayed clear. Worked a treat it did, never so much as a scratch.