Thanks to the joys of the Internet, you’re now all able to see the world as I see it. Yes, you see, the online world isn’t just a force for bad – and lots of negativity – there are great repositories of information, photos and nostalgia in general. The news that the Sainsbury Archive has uploaded literally thousands of images of Sainsbury’s car parks and petrol stations has filled me with unbridled joy.
If you’re not familiar with the Sainsbury Archive, take a moment to search through it, and maybe click on a couple of the links I’ve added below, because many of the images are pure gold. The image above is straight out of my childhood (and how I wish the world still looked today), while the one below is what greeted me every time I filled up one of my first cars back in 1987… Check out those fuel prices now and tell me that we have it better today and than we did back then.
The price of fuel in 1979 (when the top image was taken) was actually higher in real terms than it was in 1987, and it could be argued that we were in a golden era fo driving even if we didn’t know it at the time. Despite that, the 1970s picture is the one that’s the most interesting to look at today, clearly showing how distant the world was then to how it is now.
This was clearly taken in the summer of 1979, when we were in the throes of the Second Energy Crisis as a result of unrest in the Middle East. Fuel was in short supply (although not as bad as the end of 1973) and it was getting more expensive by the day. This image clearly depicts the queueing that ensued as people battled to get to the cheapest petrol in town – a cool 73p per gallon or 16.4p per litre in today’s terms.
The cars in the queue are interesting – the Marina and the Dolomite nearest to the camera were pretty typical of what people were driving back there, but look closer and there are some gems in there. The Fiat 128, Simca 1000 and Opel Commodore would have turned my head back then as a nine-year-old schoolboy just as much as they do now. If you’d like to see more of this, do as I did, and lose yourself in the archive – coming back to present day might be the only problem I can think of when following this course of action…
Enjoy – and, if you want more, let me know, and I’ll run some more of these Looking Back in Pictures-type posts!
Search for yourself at:
- Concepts and prototypes : Hyundai/Rover Oden (1992) - 9 November 2023
- Opinion : So, maybe the Montego was the best they could do… - 8 November 2023
- The cars : Austin Montego (LM11) development story - 7 November 2023