As you might have guessed by the 2-week silent period, travel took the place of car hunting (though not entirely – there was a candidate for the RustyButTrusty fleet that needed evaluating, which ended up seeming Rusty but not Trusty). And it’s amazing to see in person how, in spite of a climate that’s not very supportive of the classic car hobby, there are many old cars on the roads of England, even London. Among the cars not covered in this post were a short-wheelbase topless Mini, a Panther, Lotus 7, MGB, Triumph TR6, a pair of Peugeot 205s, and more. But let’s start with ones that were moving too slowly to escape a shooter hindered by a cell phone with a security code, like this Q-plated Land Rover 1/2 ton lightweight, parked on the market square in Newbury, England. Unlike other lettered plates, which correspond to a certain year, Q-plated cars (Q is for “query”) are of an undetermined build year, so this designation is used for ex-military vehicles, former write-offs, and more. The car itself is quite interesting, having been specified as light weight to be airlifted.
Next up is a VW Type 2 van, and based upon the B-plate it dates to 1964. This one’s had the California treatment, with a dropped ride and Porsche Fuchs alloys to go with its two-tone paint job. Seen on the streets of Winchester, it was down by the College, so not entirely out of its realm… kind of like it got dressed up to hang out at the fancy school.
Next up is a too-new but still quite interesting car that qualifies for being unusual. It doesn’t seem that the RCZ has been all that successful for Peugeot as a niche vehicle, since its handling lives in the shadow of its German competitors. That said, it makes up for it in character – where the Audi TT has drifted away from its original purist Bauhaus aesthetic, the RCZ offers a French twist on the TT concept.
As mentioned above, even the streets of London hold some interesting classics if you keep your eyes open. And some of these even earn their keep as more than a simple toy for their owners. This Austin 7 delivers baked goods for its owner, Newen’s Bakery near Kew Gardens. It was surprising to see it parked out in the rain that day, given cars of its age didn’t last very long in any climate – wood in the frame would dry rot, and the not-so-watertight build quality let water in where it could do damage. Nonetheless, it’s neat that it’s in regular use – what do you suppose is under the hood?
As if one classic delivery van wasn’t enough, here’s another, so apparently using an old van as more than a simple billboard is quite effective. Sadly, this Morris van also shows the risk in using a classic on the streets of modern London – the passenger side fender and headlight have been bumped, maybe in something as simple as a parking maneuver gone wrong – hopefully the culprit owned up to the deed.
What classic cars have you seen in regular use in unlikely places, like the streets of London?