A View From the North: Old Advert Archive.

Mike Humble:


Car adverts, and no I’m not referring to the box ads in the local rag but the glossy manufacturer based adverts in the magazines and local newspapers. Nowadays, your local dealer branch of C.U Cummin & Co tend to use a library image of the car, blind you with affordable figures and so on to entice you into the showroom. These modern adverts tend to be as bland as white bread and about as memorable as the last time you blinked, but years ago some adverts tended to be that little bit more special. Here’s a couple carefully removed and scanned from a late `70s northern lifestyle magazine that was imaginatively titled… Northern Life.

Anyway… enjoy the trip down memory lane 🙂


Example One: Royale with cheese


The Vauxhall Royale saloon and Coupe with a B.A Trident – is that `70s enough for you? But as for the photographer leaving the front window down… tsch tsch tsch.


MMMM! now this IS a tasty advert. Savour that proud if slightly cheesy image of a brace of top line Vauxhall saloons strategically parked on the concrete of Newcastle’s City Airport. Even just as lovely is the British Airways owned Hawker Siddeley 121 – or as its better known as the Trident. Clearly you can see this was taken not that many years after the merging of British European Airlines (BEA) and British Overseas Airline Corp (BOAC) to form the world respected British Airways, the old Speedbird logo of the old BOAC company can clearly be seen on the fuselage ahead of the cabin door. Go on then… who remembers their corporate slogan from this period? Answer at the bottom of this ramble!

As most of us older kinfolk know, the Royale eventually morphed into the Opel Senator and Opel Monza for the UK market and, by queer coincidence, 2017 marks thirty years since the phasing out of the Opel brand in the United Kingdom taking with it the Monza and one of my own childhood favourites – the Opel Manta. Post `87 the Senator continued but for UK consumption was badged only as a Vauxhall, you had to venture to Southern Ireland to honour the Opel “flash” logo. Just for a hoot, I forwarded the image to the current P.R manager with Vauxhall. He came back with the following:

Classic stuff! My uncle would have been in competition with these chaps. His Vauxhall franchise, Bluebell, was in Washington Tyne & Wear. Great ads though. Love that they forgot to wind up the Royale’s driver’s door window – the photographer would be locked up for that these days

Simon Hucknall – Vauxhall Motors Ltd P.R Manager

And then finally, there is the dealer itself. The old Adams & Gibbon company once ran a myriad of Vauxhall / Opel / Bedford dealers in the North East. After various closures and consolidation, the areas of Newcastle and the northern bits of County Durham in terms of Vauxhall are mostly catered for by Evans Halshaw these days. A less known fact about Adams & Gibbon was their part in film production. The movie version of The Likely Lads saw Bob Ferris’s Chevette and the CF van driven by best pal Terry Collier supplied by, oddly, the local dealer as opposed to the manufacturer.


Example Two: The thin end of the wedge of advertising


Another dealer group banished to the history pages were Dutton Forshaw. Here, this South Shields registered Princess 2 sporting some snazzy Unipart accessory driving lamps rests under the watchful eye of the River God Tyne sculpture affixed to the exterior wall of Newcastle’s Civic Centre. I’m a bit concerned about those rear radius arms though!

The Princess shown above is very much like the building its parked at – The Newcastle Civic Centre. Both are very much Marmite like in appearance… you either love them or you loath them. What does make me smile is the use of British Leyland’s Driving Farce (oops my finger slipped) slogan which dates back to the 1973 launch of the Allegro. Not only that but as for naming your dealer as a depot??? oh dear… doesn’t conjure up images of a gin palace showroom does it? Sadly Dutton Forshaw (once operating a national network of dealerships) ended up with financial issues and were taken over by its bankers who duly sold it to the Lookers Group back in 2007.

Despite the firms (B.L) turbulent times in the `70s, myself and my team were, and still are, incredibly proud of the Princess. I’d like to think its aged remarkably well and the finished article stayed fairly close to how we envisaged it on the drawing board

Harris Mann – Stylist with British Leyland

But from my own perspective, I quite like the Civic Centre as a demonstration of modern concrete based design… there’s a lot worse out there trust me – just Google image Bedford County Hall for example. As for the car? well I don’t mind the Princess either. In fact I think its worn its Harris Mann styling better than other Leyland offerings (or should that read offal) of the same decade. In fact, the man himself is rather proud of the Princess. A couple of years back at the NEC Harris told me: “Despite the firms (B.L) turbulent times in the `70s, myself and my team were, and still are, incredibly proud of the Princess. I’d like to think its aged remarkably well and the finished article stayed fairly close to how we envisaged it on the drawing board

Nicely put Harris!

Oh! the British Airways slogan was: “we’ll take more care of you – Fly The Flag





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.