Spaced Oddities

Spaced Oddities

I had a rare sighting today. I saw a Bristol 603. In gold. It was one of those scruffy old classics you see doing service day after day. This one was on the Parkway heading out of Sheffield in the middle of the rush hour traffic. It had steel wheels like an old XJ and one of the exhaust tail pipes was loose, rattling gently with the throb of its Chrysler V8 engine. I caught sight of it in my driver’s door mirror as moved to overtake me as soon as it joined the carriageway. In the time it took to move out of the blindspot and past me, my thought process went like this: “Ooh, Bristol. No, can’t be. You just don’t see Bristols in Sheffield. Wait, it is a Bristol.” I liked it. I liked its down-at-heel demeanour. It was like one of those scruffy, well-spoken old men you sometimes see hanging round the bookies giving out dodgy tips while smelling gently of whisky and sadness. It woofled and burbled and lurched gently changing lanes before its driver got fed up queuing with the rest of the traffic for the roundabout to get onto the M1. He took off up the inside of the line of cars waiting to go southbound. That old Bristol showed an admirable turn of speed.

As if that small pleasure wasn’t enough, while the Bristol was ahead of me in the queue, I was followed by a Holden Maloo. You don’t see many of them in Britain. I’ve only seen one other. That one was parked up in the Sainsbury’s car park in Coldham’s Lane in Cambridge, of all places. Today’s blue example was in motion and I had to wind the window down to listen the small block brumble as it cruised past me a few minutes after we both left the M1 and joined the M18. For all their alleged practicality, the Maloo only really makes sense in motion. It’s the NASCAR-lite soundtrack that does it for me. I’m not at all sure about that practicality. The Maloo has those two seats and some stowage space behind them as well as that covered cargo bed. The cargo bed seems so big that things will rattle round in there quite horribly unless they are tied down. Or wedged in with crates of XXXX.

Cars like the Bristol and Maloo really brighten your day. I’m surely not the only person thinks that. One word of advice though: don’t do what I did a few years ago. I ran off towards a Lamborghini Diablo when I heard it starting up in the car park next to Richmond station. True, you don’t get to hear that very often but telling your girlfriend that when you’re supposed to be taking her out for a romantic birthday treat doesn’t always go down well. Not everyone is like us. Remember that.

2 Replies to “Spaced Oddities”

    1. Was that your Bristol? I loved it. It’s a proper old motor.

      Maybe the Maloo was red and my memory was confused by the ad Vauxhall ran a few years ago with the tagline It’s a Maloo, Blue.

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