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As I pottered down to the pie shop today I witnessed one of today’s less interesting motoring phenomena: the saddo in a Saxo. Citroen seem to have cornered the market by offloading their Gallic shopping trolleys to style conscious British teenagers. They must be laughing their socks off in Paris as their diminutive mummies car proves a sell out to adolescent boys.

As I watched the shirtless waif emerge from his car I reminisced fondly. Back in the eighties size mattered. Blokes had muscles and guts, not exposed ribs, and they drove the biggest cars they could lay their hands on. The top of the tree was of course the Ford Granada. With enough room to seat most of the Royal family, this was a practical, versatile and stylish workhorse. Here was a car you could arrive at either Ascot or a blag in equal style.



Four Up


Pub car parks were filled with burly blokes emerging from four-up Fords. These days scrawny teenagers mince in and fumble with the front seats to free their anaemic rear occupants. No pub was worth going to without a Granada Ghia X slung across a couple of parking spaces. The Ghia X - the peak of automotive evolution. Even more stylish when fitted with wheel spacers to kick the remoulds a couple of inches out of the arches - class. Somehow the Citroen Saxo Summertime Special doesn’t cut the mustard with me.


A weekend of car care in the eighties involved kicking away the rust with your DMs, slapping on a few pounds of Isopon and chucking a bag of cement in the boot to improve handling. Never mind front end resprays, eighties man was very handy with a roll of masking tape, a few copies of the Sun and a broad brush.




Reflecting these sad changes in style, Halfords isn’t the same as it used to be either. Now it’s full of fake twin headlamp kits (how sad are they?) and fluorescent bumper strips. I’m worried that the genetic desire for bolt on lights and ill fitting front air dams may have been bred out of the modern teenager. No self respecting Escort Mk II owner could be without a pair of 150W Cibies weighing down his rust speckled bumper a few years ago. It was well worth the risk of electrical fires to bolt on the biggest buggers possible. Cos it was cool! These days the adolescent trolley jockeys seem content with driving around with their factory fit fog lights on all the time. Where’s the single rear floodlight strapped to the back of your modern teen transport? Nowhere to be seen. It’s a disgrace.


On my return from the pastry outlet, my young friend was bouncing back into his pedal car with far too much zest for my liking. Resisting the temptation to re-educate him physically, I merely observed as he adopted the mandatory teen driving position, with his chest pinned firmly to the wheel, peering over the paltry bonnet. There’s a playground rumour that the further forward you sit, the more momentum you’ll have… basic physics innit?




Sadly it looks like this so called evolution is set to continue. There’s no ready supply of old blaggers’ cars any more because no one makes them. Kids need role models and there’s no obvious transport for a self respecting dubious character any more. I’m fearful of the day that they remake the Sweeney with Jack Regan lolling in the passenger seat of a Galaxy 1.9Tdi…

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