Cars Of My Ancestors: England’s Greatest Generation Edition

Austin Allegro

As my mother’s side of the family hails from Great Britain and I’ve had these few snapshots forever, it’s high time they are put to good use here.  Yes, I am a little ashamed to admit that my Grandfather George was the proud owner of this hearing-aid beige Austin Allegro, the car that Britons love to hate.

Photographed in Hull (in “The North” as it is dismissively referred to by Londonites) this was in fact taken in front of its garage next to my grandparents’ house.  I am sure I rode in it at least several times as a wee lad, but don’t have any concrete memories.  I have more memories of the garage which was, uh, concrete and always very cold but filled with interesting gadgets and “stuff”.

It was George’s last car and he took very good care of it.  I believe it took good care of him as well in return. The R-registration indicates that it is a 1976 or 1977 model known as the Allegro 2.  In the U.K., these were mocked similarly to how the AMC Pacer was mocked stateside although I am curious if there is some nostalgia starting to form now that they have become thin on the ground.

Austin Metro

After George stopped driving due to a stroke, my grandmother Helga took up those duties.  The Allegro was disposed of and replaced with the pride of Britain, a new Austin Metro.  I remember my grandmother speaking very fondly of this car.   I have no idea where this photo was taken, very likely in Arnesby, Leicestershire where my aunt lived.  It doesn’t look like Hull though.

The Austin Metro was first launched in 1980 (named the miniMetro) and intended as a replacement for the Mini.  That didn’t quite work out so they were sold side by side. The five-door bodystyle became available in 1985 which is what I believe this one to be.  The Metro was a huge seller in Britain over its 17-year run but it is fairly rare to see any these days.

Again, I have no idea what happened to this car either but my grandmother had a stroke as well, which also put an end to her driving days.  As a huge fan of the Group B Rally era, I am inordinately pleased that my grandmother drove the car that was the basis of the MG Metro 6R4.  (With the word Metro being the only actual commonality between the cars that I am aware of).

Uncle Phil's Mini

I was puzzled as to whose car this delightful red Mini was, but my mother told me it belonged to Uncle Phil after I texted the pictures to her.  I have no recollection of her Uncle Phil (my great-uncle) but he had good taste in cars.  Clearly a relative of mine took this picture as we share the common trait of chopping off part of the car in the picture.

Uncle Phil's Mini

The picture was taken in Hull as well, on the other side of George and Helga’s house just ahead of where the Allegro above was shot.  The T registration dates it as a late 1978 to early 1979 vehicle which is near the beginning of the time frame when the Mark IV’s were starting to be built.

I doubt Phil is still driving it as he’d be in his 90’s by now but hopefully he didn’t have a stroke as well.  Frankly, I’d rather not know for sure.  At least this generation of Brits in the family stuck true to their domestic product offerings and I do not recall a bad word ever being said about any of them.