1948 and all that The Land Rover was far from the only stand-out in a watershed year. Giles Chapman picks his highlights from around the globe.
ALSO IN 1948
In 1948, the British Motor Show finally returned to Earl’s Court in West London after a gap of ten glum years. Here was an automotive cavalcade the like of which would rarely be witnessed again, and a bumper 562,954 visitors queued in the chilly October air to get in.
The headline acts, of course, were the impossibly rapid and beautiful Jaguar XK120 and the highly significant, almost-all-new Morris Minor. But virtually every manufacturer’s stand space framed brand new cars. In the dull-but-important category, a veritable galaxy of newcomers for everyday motoring included the Austin A70 Hampshire, Hillman Minx, Morris Oxford, Singer SM1500 and Vauxhall Velox/Wyvern. Many also had their first glimpse of the Jowett Javelin and Standard Vanguard.
Jaguar’s MkV and the Lagonda 2.6 represented the latest in British luxury, while the Daimler DB18 Sports Special Sports and Lea-Francis, Alvis TB14 and Triumph 2000 roadsters catered to fresh-air fantasies.
The US-influenced Austin A90 Atlantic convertible was like nothing else around but, as with much of the other tempting new metal, it was almost exclusively for export. The car industry was focused on selling abroad to suck foreign currency into the beleaguered British economy, although in one crucial foreign market, Australia, the locally conceived Holden would provide stiff opposition. You could admire the gleaming Earl’s Court line-up, but getting your chequebook out was largely futile…