Family Saloons – an endangered species?

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  • RIAC National Classic Car Show
  • RDS on the 1st and 2nd March 2014.

The organisers of the RIAC National Classic Car Show, supported by AXA Insurance, have announced that the theme of this years show is “All our Yesterdays” and reflecting this is a centerpiece of the show, a display of 1950s and 1960s family saloons. Originally sold in there thousands there are few running examples of these iconic vehicles left on our roads today.
Show Director Bob Montgomery stated, “When we think of family cars today we most likely imagine people carriers or SUV’s. This was of course not always the case and before the seven seater four wheel drives there were the family saloons, which were hugely popular on our roads for decades. Some of us may even remember when you would fit five or six people into a Morris Minor or a VW Beetle for a family day trip to the sea side or when heading away on a holiday. While the cars on display will bring back happy memories for many, it will no doubt shock some of the current generation who can never imagine heading on a five hour road trip sitting on laps, poking your head out of the window to see what is going on – all without a DVD player in sight to keep you occupied.“
One of the most familiar and iconic family saloons on display will be the Morris Minor. Conceptualised by Sir Alec Issigonis, who also designed the Mini, the Morris Minor began production in 1948 and continued to appear on our roads in its various guises up to the early seventies. Marketed as an affordable small family car, more than 1.3 million were built which made it the first vehicle to pass the magical 1 million car sales mark of any British manufacturer. The example on show is a pristine early example of the Morris Minor – a wonderful survivor of the model.
While the Morris Minor has survived in fairly healthy numbers this is not the case for every family saloon from this period. A recent survey undertaken in the UK market has revealed that many of the most popular vehicles of their time are fast disappearing. Some examples of this are the Ford Cortina with just 0.1 per cent remaining, the Austin         Allegro 0.05 per cent remaining the MG 1100/1300 with 0.1 per cent remaining and even the more modern Ford Sierra is reported to have only 0.4 per cent remaining.

Bob continued, “Some of the vehicles on display are becoming so rare that they are in danger of becoming extinct. It’s a shame to think about the huge numbers of these vehicles that were once on our roads and realise that there may only be a handful left running today. It’s great that we will have many of the survivors on display at the show and we may even encourage some of our visitors to consider getting involved in preserving more for future generations.”
For spectacular displays of truly amazing classic cars, feature stands, autojumble, a dedicated Irish Motor sport section, a restoration feature and entertainment for all the family, visit The RIAC National Classic Car Show 1st and 2nd March 2014.