Ode to Leylandia



With dole queues lengthening, a generally despised Labour government and revolution arising in Iran, It feels like 1979 all over again! What better time, then, for a bit of reminiscence back to the days of British Leyland and the cars that populated our streets, reflecting the temper of the times.

Daimler Sovereigns were built to fit right in to the reserved parking space for directors and upper management at the factories and workshops of British industry. Fragrant with walnut and leather and resounding with the giggles of saucy secretaries, the music of the fall of Empire jangled on its eight track stereo. Kiplinesque tones of self confidence radiated from its every sheaf of Sheffield steel.


The P6 Rover, however, reflected the stoic compliance of the British middle classes. Its hunkered down, steady practicality whispered of the success of franchise-broking shopkeepers. English dreamscapes populated by red brick Universities, Barratt Homes and steel-and-glass conservatories are evoked in its easy-to understand lines. The shape makes me think of Saturday night comfort TV in the form of On The Buses, Dad’s Army and Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game. Give us a twirl, Anthea!


The Morris Marina, last and resolutely least, is the proletarian tin can to end them all. Modest, unassuming but in the right hands feisty and agressive, the Marina represented the skilled working class for which it was marketed perfectly. It might be prone to overheating, corrosion and wasn’t exactly easy on the eye, but like the bloke who drove it, it knew its place.


2 Responses to “Ode to Leylandia”

  1. Teddy P

    Nice little thought provoker. Let’s hope Jaguar Rover survive the storm.

  2. If the dark days of Leyland fascinate you, then The British Car Industry Our Part in its Downfall is essential reading and it’s ooh, written by me. Has been very well reviewed too. Choc full of Daimlers that exploded, Allegros with squarial steering wheels and flares, power cuts and Choppers. Actually no Raleigh Choppers. They looked good but rode rubbish.