Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Windermere Winner

Often on this blog and elsewhere I have mentioned in passing the 'fat Austin Somerset', but not until today do I have a good picture of one to show you. Gliding through a very stylised Windermere, here it is; a 1952 Somerset in a paint finish I don't remember seeing, but with that fabulous flying 'A' badge above the radiator grille and four tweeds-and-pearls passengers. The woman in the front passenger seat is saying to her husband through gritted teeth "I wish Brian'd stop waving that bloody pipe about". 'Austin' is somehow such a homely English name for a car, even more so with a list of model names that included not only the Somerset, but also the Austin Dorset, Devon, Hampshire and Hereford. "Darling if you don't mind awfully I'll drive you to the station in the Hampshire".

29 comments:

Diplomate said...

blimey - those were the days ! when you could sell a product by telling people they could depend on it. Why don't we just accept that any more ? ..." can I depend on it young man ... Yes? Really? marvelous - I'll have one."

The Vintage Knitter said...

I'd quite happily own an Austin A30.

Peter Ashley said...

Diplo: So right. Things, particularly advertising, was so much simpler. Watch this space next week for more of the same.

Vintage K: I like the A30, but love the van version even more. I'd like one in dark green with 'Unmitigated England' in Gill Medium in cream on the side panels.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Having an ad on the front cover must have made things simpler for the editor too. No expensive car shoots and agonizing over angles when Austin could supply you with the Somerset, plus Brian and his pipe. More vintage advertising, please!

office pest said...

Quite like the racy convertible with the louche eyes, myself

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Austin_Somerset_convertible.jpg

"Fancy a nice drive out to the country, poppet?", the 3rd gear drawled.

The Vintage Knitter said...

Ah, yes, the van would be one to covet too.

P.S. I'm with Mr. W re: more vintage advertising.

Jon Dudley said...

Sitting here in Charlotte North Carolina we are awaiting our flight home. This picture of Blighty brings a certain moistness to the eyes. Always exagerrated to enhance their size, (ooh err missus) these motoring illustrations are still beautifully executed and positively exude early Postwar England. You do us a great service in highlighting them and the work of the 'commercial artist' in general.

Herb of Romford said...

This scene made me reach for my £2 copy of 'Seeing Britain and the Continent from an Austin' by Alison Murray. The "savage" Kirkstone Pass was included in a 22-mile spin that 'disclosed more beautiful and varied scenes than on any stretch of similar length that I can remember.' The book is pre-war but would have been great to use with our Somerset - so long as we had the pipe ready filled.

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou Jon. And welcome Herb of R. I wonder what the pipe tobacco of choice should be in Unmitigated England? In a tin, obviously, something that will fit snugly in the glovebox. Player's Ready Rubbed?

Jon Dudley said...

Erinmore?

office pest said...

I reckon Wills Cut Golden Bar

Diplomate said...

deffo with JD on the Erinmore front

Peter Ashley said...

Erinmore seems to be the front winner so far, although that does sound a bit Scottish (no offence). Something from Player's or Wills perhaps, as Office Pest says...

Hels said...

The best thing about posters or magazine covers is that sometimes they manage to preserve what would otherwise be ephemera. Even though I am not terribly interested in cars per se, I DO want to see what was being advertised in 1952, and how it was displayed.

Peter Ashley said...

Hels: It's quite remarkable just how much paper ephemera has survived. I once moved into a cottage and on opening the door of an old bread oven a huge stack of 1950's Radio Times fell out. Which kept me occupied for some time, I can tell you, seeing in print what I'd listened to as a child.

Bucks Retronaut said...

Surely Players "No Name " tobacco would absolve you from any suspicion of jingoism ,Peter.If I remember correctly,it used to be in a tin drum with a rather elegantly scripted plain white label,the typeface being similar to that used for "Austin of England" in the chrome badges along the sides of the bonnet of the mighty Somerset.Just the job to stash alongside those strange "motoring sweets" by Kendricks in the gold tins.

Peter Ashley said...

Mmm, that sounds like the one, thankyou Bucks. Never did quite understand those Kendrick sweets, but do remember there was a great deal of suspicious-looking white powder left over after you'd finished them off.

Sue said...

Isn't the road itself glorious! No yellow lines, white lines (no, not talking about the powder in the Kendrick's sweets...), cones, cycle lanes, signs, roadworks, discarded plastic bags...

Peter Ashley said...

It is indeed Sue. Just hope a Somerset of similarly oversized airbrushed proportions doesn't come the other way.

expat said...

I learned to drive in one of those. Ours was very bouncy and prone to kangaroo along the road if you weren't careful with the clutch (especially with me at the wheel).

Windermere is very dramatic and alpine isn't it?

Jon Dudley said...

Bucks has it! I'd disremembered Players 'No Name'...bet that took what passed for the marketing department many hours of pipe smoking to come up with. Oh, and don't forget the silver and black Exide torch in the glove compartment...the one with the paper covered battery that leaked and caused the whole apparatus to gum up thus promoting the purchase of another...what a sales wheeze!. Ford Popular owners would have used a Ray-O-Vac.

Peter Ashley said...

Expat: Yes, scenery was often exaggerated too. Often with a red-coated huntsman talking to the car's occupants.

Jon: My father's first car was an apple green Ford Popular (SJF 437). I often wonder if it's still out there, with a 1963 yellow board covered AA Handbook in the glove compartment, and a brazil nut toffee wrapper still under the driver's seat.

Wartime Housewife said...

I want the car and I want the magazine.
When I am famous there will be fleet of Wartime Housewife A30 vans trundling around the country doing stuff. In a nice way.

killemallletgodsortemout said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
killemallletgodsortemout said...

That Austin! When I were a lad the neighbours had one. Black, with red, leather seats. The car's interior smelt wonderful! A mix of leather, pipe tobacco, burnt engine oil and damp.

Superb!

Alan Dengate said...

There's one for sale in Bexhill-on-Sea for nearly 4 grand of british money notes. In Black too, I wonder how much of it belongs to the original vehicle?

Peter Ashley said...

Welcome Alan, and thanks for getting me going. Is it parked outside the De La Warr Pavilion?

Alan Dengate said...

No, it's not outside the "Whiteish Elephant". It's outside a shop in Terminus Road, parked on the forecourt which looks like part of the pavement to me. It was still there this afternoon. Do you want a photo of it? I might be able to oblige!

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