We’re on a day trip to London during the week of the Silver Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and we’re standing where The Strand meets with Trafalgar Square looking back towards Charing Cross. You couldn’t get more identifiably London, without bumping into a Beefeater chomping on a Steak and Kidney Pie.
It’s June 1977, and after what has been a rough couple of years economically, the national celebrations are doing a great job of lifting the nation’s spirits. Across the land, street parties are being celebrated, houses are bedecked with Union Flag tea towels and a large part of the population are joining in their appreciation of the Queen’s reign.
London Transport’s contribution to the celebration is to have 27 Routemaster buses in Jubilee silver and have them ply their trade on the city’s most important bus routes. It proves to be a memorable plan, no doubt aided in part by Corgi’s decision to sell its Routemaster toy buses in a limited edition silver as a nod to the celebrations. According to AROnline‘s resident bus expert Mike Humble, this one’s one of 17 that were sponsored by Woolworth’s…
Looks good, doesn’t it!
So, tell us about the cars
Obviously, centre stage is taken by the Routemaster. I mean, how can it not be star of the show on a weekend like this? Behind it, there’s a more conventionally-liveried Metro-Scania (or is it an RMS?), which just fades apologetically into the background here in Charing Cross.
Meanwhile, as for the cars, we have a Ford Capri Mk1 and Ford Escort Mk2 in Popular trim, and they are both sporting actual wing mirrors (not door mirrors that get referred to wing mirrors these days), which were already falling out of favour by the late 1970s. And it does beg the question – what on earth were they thinking with wing mirrors? In what way were they better than door mirrors?
Both of these cars would just have passed South Africa House on their left (and probably a few anti-apartheid protesters who were nearly always there in the 1970s). And where it says ‘Grand Arcade’ is now a Waterstones book shop.
Finally, we have a late-model Citroën DS, which still looked modern in 1973, having been replaced by the CX three years previously, and basically being a facelift of a car launched way back in 1955 (below). Imagine standing in London today, and spotting a car launched in 2000 looking so modern? Perhaps the Audi A2? You tell us… now that’s food for thought!
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