Well, not exclusively ’50s movies – we love pretty much any old film in which you can spot some interesting cars – but that decade is a particularly rich seam. The London-to-Brighton comedy Genevieve (1953) is now as absorbing for its scenes of everyday traffic as for its veteran cars. Remember the Allard K1 that is press-ganged into giving the eponymous 1904 Darracq a tow?
Watching these old films is also a reminder of how varied the British automotive landscape could be. American cars appear surprisingly often; even that most Ealing of Ealing Studios comedies, The Ladykillers, made in 1955, featured a 1939 Packard Super Eight as the thieves’ getaway vehicle. But, of course, homegrown tin is by far the most popular, and never more so than when being driven by the cops. The Blue Lamp, Britain’s biggest box-office draw in 1950 (pictured right), had The Met’s finest thundering through London’s mean streets in imposing Humber Super Snipes. For those obsessed with identifying vehicles fleetingly glimpsed and then gone forever, help is at hand: The Internet Movie Car Database website, www.imcdb.org, is a treasure trove of screengrabs that you may well find more entertaining than the actual movie.