Large saloon cars from the 1960s - uk

Austin A110 Westminster, 1967
Austin A110 Westminster, 1967

Most of the major manufacturers produced a "big" car to top their range throughout the sixties. BMC made the Austin Westminster and Wolseley 6/99 and 6/1l0. These cars were larger version of the Farina styled A60 derivatives. They were conservative cars, but had a presence and elegance not associated with smaller saloons. The Westminster began the decade as the A99. It had BMC's 6 cylinder C series engine of 2912cc. Using twin carburettors, this engine developed 103bhp. It could propel the car to a speed of just under 100mph and reached 60mph from rest in 14.4 seconds - quite fast actually. These cars were surprisingly quite plainly finished inside, with only a painted metal dashboard. Along with the small Farina styled cars, the A99 was face lifted in 1961. It became the A110 with a 120bhp engine and a top speed of 102mph. A wood effect dashboard was also added at this time. Later in the decade, a super-deluxe version had full walnut facia and cappings and picnic tables for the rear passengers.

The Wolseley followed the same pattern, becoming the 6/110 in 1961 with the same facelift. Externally the car had Wolseley's famous illuminated radiator badge and traditional grille. Inside it was trimmed to sumptuous standards, featuring walnut facia and door cappings and deep pile carpeting.

Ford's Zephyr range was of similar size and performance. They started the decade with the Teddy Boys' favourite - the Zephyr MkII. Introduced originally in 1956, they belonged to the previous rock and roll era - fins and chrome. In 1962, Ford revamped the range and they became the Zephyr MkIII. The Consul name, which had been used to denote the 4-cylinder version of the earlier cars, was now dropped. Strangely enough, the Cortina was now the Consul Cortina. The new Zephyr still had fins, but a lot less chrome. Where the Austin represented solid conservative values, the Ford was flash, up to the minute and stylish. It was also a bit cheaper - by about 100. Ford's original line up had been Zephyr 4 (4 cylinders), Zephyr 6, and the glamorous Zodiac model. In 1965, they went one stage further in luxury and introduced the executive. These cars had a wonderfully stylish interior featuring deeply padded leather seats finished with leather buttons, as seen in many lounge bars of the era! The Executive sold for 1335 on its introduction - considerably more expensive than BMC's Wolseley 6/110 and indeed the basic Zodiac at 1048.

Vauxhall also competed in this area with the Velox and Cresta range.

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★