How Many American Classics Are There In The UK?

75 replies [Last post]
GreaseMonkey (not verified)

V-8 Woodie wrote:

GM, These are great snaps. Apart from showing some interesting American cars which - at that time would have cost their owners probably little more than £1500 to buy, they also seem to capture a lovely old image of London that has disappeared forever. Stumbling upon old 'classics' parked in London's back streets was always very exciting, especially if they were of the American variety, great stuff!

I recognise a few of your earlier pics, the black '56 Chevy 4 door hard top belonged to a chap called Colin, he ran an insurance brokers in the Harrow road that  'specialised' in cover for American cars. I used his services for many years, not mainly because he was cheap - as all insurance was at that time- before it became the money making racket that it is today, but he was an extremely nice guy and was very knowledgeable about American cars which certainly was a bonus in the 1970s, as most insurance companies shied away when the word LHD was mentioned!!

I love the red '64 Ford Country Squire, not many of those survived in London with their plastic mock wood panelling unscathed, it was relatively easy to bash out or respray a wing, but to replace the wood effect panelling was beyond the skills of most body shops, cars were often seen with the 'wood'  trim either damaged or completely missing. A great wagon for towing an historic race car or better still, a 'period' dragster!

I have a photo of the Silver Z-28 Camaro cruising in the Kings road, I'll add it to the 'Chelsea cruise' thread later.

Thanks again for posting the pics, and I do appreciate as I'm sure others do, that these snaps were of a pre digital age!!

Colin, yes that was it, sorry I forgot his name, but yes he was very helpful with insurance on our mad cars. And that '56 was a nice tidy car, at a time when most got flame jobs and big wheels he kept it closer to original with just a set of 'chromies'. As a contrast here is a photo of another '56 four door hardtop that had the back doors filled in to pretend to be a two-door, not a very good look, (reg' looks like SUC962?) and yes that is YBE1 parked next to it, the old Kevin Pilling's '32 five-window coupe.

As for the Country Squire, I took that in p/ex for the previously mentioned Olds 98 convertible from a chap in Hillingdon, and used it as a daily smoker for a while. My favourite trick was picking on Triumph Stags at the lights and having burnt them off I would open the electric window in the tailgate and give them a wave over my shoulder. Funny how little things like that can make your day when you are a young lad-about-town! It had all the fake wood trim in good original order and a very clean bright red interior, but it died one day one the North Circ near Staples Corner (who remembers the eponymous Staples?) in a cloud of blue smoke. Mate Paul (no longer with us, that Z28 was his pride and joy) replaced the motor and sold it on - don't know where.

So here's another real American Classic, a mid thirties Packard Town Car, anyone recognise DMK687?

Chris Martin

GBt
GBt's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-06-01

Nope but I remember following a nice green Packard VTwelve(double six, on a Knebworth treasure hunt)with an Austin Metropolitan in tow one year.

There was a wedding going on where a lot of folk were staying and the Hunt ended,nearby, the Packard guys had become a little merry and were trying to invagle the bride into the back of the  limo. She did actually sportingly do so for a few photos-the Packard had come down from Aberdean via a freight train and deservedly won the Rosevelt period trophy. There was also a Cadilac V16 packed next to it and maybe even a Tucker that year, not certain, unless it was Pete i had in mind.

farther afield I saw my favourite a 57 Brougham. Dream cars had this very car in their premises, complete with silver goblets and decanters, when I called in with some friends(dont laugh in my other cars a Lada which was parked around a backstreet unlocked as usual just in case, for the cruise but in amongst those Yanks around dream cars stuff at that latish hour-but Stuart and Milt didnt hold that against us and Mum made teas all round, great times, nice folks.

Is that Packard a Super eight Coup de Ville???Nice whatever just as the featured Golfers coupe in this months'alternative mag is...no names, no pack drill

V-8 Woodie
V-8 Woodie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-06-02

GM, your photo of the 'reworked' '56 Chevy looks, if my memory serves me correctly, like the ex Mike Lintern car, Mike worked with Ray Hart who ran Action Automotive in Manor Road, Wallington, later to become American Automotive, still in business today.  Ahh, the  wonderful 1932- 5 Window Coup' owned by Kevin Pilling was one of my all time favourite cars in the '70s, sadly, I think it eventually got shipped to Sweden!  As for the Packard, I'm not sure who owned it, nice looking body style though.

Here are a few from my archives! 

As I mentioned previously, there were always some interesting cars to be found lurking in the side streets in London in 1970s. Here's a nice 1937 Buick Coupe parked in Fulham. It's a RHD car, probably shipped from South Africa.

 Here's my old 1955 Buick Super Sedan, which I found gathering dust and looking rather negleted parked in Earls Court, West London. I stuck a note on the windscreen asking the the owner to call me if the car was for sale, the next evening I got a call saying if you wanted the car bring £150 and it's yours, after a test drive I commented that the brakes needed some attention, the price was swiftly reduced to £100 and I drove away in the Buick with the the biggest smile imaginable!! 

 

GreaseMonkey (not verified)

Lovely '37 Buick, though my eye can't help but be drawn to the W108 series Mercedes across the street. But that reminds me of a balck '37 Chev Coupe on South African plates that was parked for a while outside Gerry Marshall's showroom on the Finchley Road; clean, straight and all original, I wonder where that went? But yes, LOVE the later Buick, any Tom Waits fan will know that his song Old '55, later a hit for The Eagles was about a '55 Buick, and I always had a perverse preference for the Buicks and Oldsmobiles over the Chev's of that vintage.

Chris M.

V-8 Woodie
V-8 Woodie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-06-02

GBt wrote:

farther afield I saw my favourite a 57 Brougham. Dream cars had this very car in their premises, complete with silver goblets and decanters, when I called in with some friends(dont laugh in my other cars a Lada which was parked around a backstreet unlocked as usual just in case, for the cruise but in amongst those Yanks around dream cars stuff at that latish hour-but Stuart and Milt didnt hold that against us and Mum made teas all round, great times, nice folks.

GBt,  The very rare 1957 Cadillac Brougham was sourced and shipped from California by Dream Cars for a customer, I recently saw the car at a show, it looked fabulous! I think they also imported a '58 Brougham. Funny that you mention their hospitality as it's something they are renowned for. Visits to their  Battersea showroom were always a blast,  their mother, the late Mrs Homan was always a delight to see, especially more so when she would suddenly present us visitors with a large tray of tea, sandwiches and cakes, wonderful times!! 

sunbeam53
Offline
Joined: 2011-07-22

What is about owners of  American cars that they find it necesary at classic events  to place aggressive  warnings if anyone dares to touch their   their ugly lumps of Detroit metal ?  If they're that concerned I suggest they keep their gas guzzlers in the garage , out of sight .

V-8 Woodie
V-8 Woodie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-06-02

 Hey Sunbeam, That's an interesting question, however, are you really suggesting that 'Don't Touch' signs can be deemed as 'aggressive- warnings', could the same be said then if they were displayed on a say a Ferrari Lusso at a concours event? Surely not!

GreaseMonkey (not verified)

V-8 Woodie wrote:

 Hey Sunbeam, That's an interesting question, however, are you really suggesting that 'Don't Touch' signs can be deemed as 'aggressive- warnings', could the same be said then if they were displayed on a say a Ferrari Lusso at a concours event? Surely not!

Or maybe he found a joker with one of those "You toucha my car, I smasha your face" signs, but then I had seen them on Minis too. "Please don't touch" is quite common and understandable, given the effort it takes to clean and polish your pride and joy for show, so it makes sense to ask the greasy burger eating fraternity to keep their fingers off, and stop their snotty kids spilling ice cream and cola. So, following that logic, it takes a lot more work to polish a '59 Cadillac than a '59 Mini, maybe that would explain something? From my experience at several 'Rally Of The Giants' both as a visitor and exhibitor, I never found any 'aggression', just a friendly welcome from all concerned.

I suppose our attitude should be as long as the visiting public shows some respect they will be treated likewise by the exhibitors, and I don't see why that should be any different whatever type of car is on show.

Chris M.

GreaseMonkey (not verified)

Some more classic Buicks seen at a Rally of The Giants at Burford Wildlife Park probably late seventies. All were RHD, clean and straight and surely must have survived since. Two '39s, the convertible of which (HYN478?) I suspect was bodied in the UK, Carlton maybe? The Century sedan is registered GAU915. The others are a '46 (600GLF) and a '51 (MGO2), so again, the inevitable question;

Where are they now?

Chris M.

GBt
GBt's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-06-01

Canadian made? that last reg must be worth a bit MGD 2(or is it MGO 2)?