With no small sports cars available in 1950s Britain,
Young enthusiasts set about making 22,000 of their own
As WW2 drew to a close, an unpleasant shock awaited all those expecting a swift return to pre-war conditions. The country found itself in debt to the tune of billions of pounds, and government strategies for dealing with this were to have a profound effect on all who lived through that period. Steel was only available to firms who could export their products, and cars remained almost totally unavailable on the home market for many years. Even more pronounced was the total absence of any affordable sports cars, which led enthusiasts with the right skills to attempt their own designs, using pre-war cars from scrapyards and whatever materials came to hand. The resulting quality of the cars which came out of the period varied enormously, but it is true to say that much of the country's dominance in motor sport can be traced back to those times: Lotus, Ginetta, Marcos, TVR, Elva, Lola and Cosworth being among the firms who made the most of their opportunities.
Improvements in the economy as the 1960s approached brought a new generation of cars from the major manufacturers, and the industry fell apart almost as fast as it had sprung up - taking down some very fine cars with it. Les Brown's new book, Special Obsessions, looks at the cars developed in that period, and investigates for the first time the reasons for the biggest explosion in Special building that the world has ever seen, and the social conditions which led to its downfall. In addition to the familiar names of the industry, you will find Fairthorpe, Buckler, Rochdale, Tornado, RGS, Microplas, Martin, Leonard, HG, Hepworth, Convair, TWM, Nordec, Peel, Grenfell, McCandless, MVM, Unicar, Greenwood, Nobel,Excelsior, Anzani, Conversion, Triton, Norvin and many others.