Birth Year II — The British Saloons

Last week we looked at the sports cars that were buzzing around the city streets and country roads during 1954.  Now we’ll be featuring the saloon cars of that era. First, let’s look at some British cars that take my fancy for various reasons (it’s not  a comprehensive list):

Bentley Continental R Fastback

Rolls Royce Silver Dawn

Alvis TC 21/100

Daimler Conquest Series II

Sunbeam Talbot 90

Jensen 541S

But those are luxury  cars.  The commoners (hoi polloi) drove cars that were far more modest and prosaic:

Rover P4-110

Wolseley 4/44

Austin A40 Cambridge

Hillman Minx Mk VII

And if you were the lowest of the polloi, you drove things like this:

Morris Minor Series II (my Mum had one)

Austin A30

Other than the Bentley or the Jensen, I wouldn’t be caught dead in any of them.  That said, my grandfather drove an Austin A40 (in the early 1960s), my Mum drove a Morris Minor, and my buddy’s mother used to drive us to primary school in an Austin A30…

One of the downsides of being a British colony in the 1950s.

Next week, the Europeans.


  1. You start off with some serious heavy metal and then you end up with the lite sounds of crickets or maybe riding lawn mowers. Older brother and his wife had a Morris Minor that would almost do zero to sixty…….. ……. …… after some time depending upon which way the wind was blowing, up hill or down, how many in the car, going to the grocery store or coming home with several pounds of coffee and stuff.

  2. My first car. A Morris Minor convertible. WELL used when I got it. Its mighty powerhouse 803cc engine
    made, if it was lucky, 30 horses, many of which were lame. Its brakes were capable of asking it to slow down, gently. The only thing weaker than its gearbox was its exhaust valves which needed frequent replacement.

    1. “The youths were released on Saturday evening on conditional bail pending further inquiries.”

      Total the costs, then seize the property of the parents.

    2. “Youths”, huh? Well, it’ England so I guess we can imagine what they’re trying to hide.

  3. Oh yas, the Dadster had a Mighty Morris Minor convertible from which I helped him deliver newspapers. From there he moved on to a Hillman Minx station wagon, which was really a fun car ’cause some dude with an MG background had done some work to the engine and trannie. Damn thing was pretty perky for the time.
    Of course the brother and I figured both of these were improvements over the Crosley station wagon he had used before the Limmies invaded. And with the tailgate down in the Minx it was possible to lie in the back with “friend” to watch the movies at the drive-in, heh, heh, heh.

  4. Now that’s gong back in time, my first car was an Austin Cambridge, I sold it for being too staid, (I was 17), and, unbelievably bought an Austin A30, (three steps back), it didn’t have two separate systems of braking, in fact it hardly had one, then came a split screen Morris Minor van, a wheel fell off in Oxford Street in the rush hour, (kingpin pulled out – a common fault apparently). I’d had enough, I bought a mini van, then a mini pickup and then a mini moke, (fashion), they were all terrific, I zoomed everywhere in them before I collected enough money to buy that first Ford Zodiack 3 litre. (the mini pickup was especially useful for collecting dead motorbikes, which, I’m sorry to say, were mostly British). (As was the Austin A60 pickup).

  5. When I was a kid — circa 10-12 — there was a Jaguar Mark 9 parked on a local used car lot that I fell in love with for no other reason than I like the lines of it. I’m guessing the model year was late 50s, early 60s, though.

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