Monday, April 16, 2012

Imaginary cars - the golden years of motoring

The first post-war Creighton model was the 800cc Crumpet - based on an anti-aircraft gun chassis. Most parts were military-surplus. Headlights were reworked Home Guard bicycle clips, while the gearbox was an essentially unaltered NAAFI tea urn. A cream 2-stroke Crumpet Standard was Princess Elizabeth's first car.
In 1969 Hugh Fisk designed a box-kite capable of carrying a human aloft in light winds. In 1972, after a nearly-fatal crash in which the kite sheared in half, he added wheels to what was left and named his creation the Dreadnought. The marque was named Ruskin Fisk in honour of W.E.H. Ruskin, a pioneer of British male nursing.
We all recall the hit 70s TV series Spunky and Jed, about unconventional cop Jed Jenkins and his talking car Spunky, which was played by a '72 Tungsten Tourniquet. The much rarer Quagmire was only manufactured for six months. Inspired by the Harley Davidson's approach to engineering, it came with a megaphone in place of muffler as standard.
The Gumbleton range of motor cars needs no introduction. Throughout the 30s and early 40s it won every long distance rally going, from the Hawaii-Houston to the Java-Alaska-Chile Ring Of Fire Classic. The Thorax-5 was their first attempt to translate this success into a teardrop-shaped family sedan that could cope with the shopping and a Sunday drive to church, but if need be could continue on over a cliff and into the sea. Sales were poor.

The flagship of the booming Cypriot car and washing-machine industry in the 50s, The Makarios III company seemed to be incapable of putting a foot wrong. This purple patch came to an end with the Weasel. Available in four levels of luxury (Handsome Goatherd, Sinister Boatman, Proud Plutocrat and Romantic Duchess Plus, pictured here) it came in one colour only - Panflute Green. All four shared the same basic chassis which was unfortunately 4" too wide for any road in Cyprus.

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