By Rod Ward
It is often said that the choice of vehicle you drive is a reflection of your personality, or possibly of hidden personality traits. In an age of mass-production it is understandable that some people find off-the-shelf vehicles driven by everyone else are too ‘ordinary’. Those who want something less ordinary may choose to paint their car like a flower garden or a brick wall, but others try to find something even less ordinary, so included in this publication are repro, pastiche, retro, and novelty vehicles, which enliven the conformist traffic on the roads of the world. This is a very wide and complex field of interest, so we can only describe and illustrate a selection of the most important, the most interesting, or the merely odd. First, some notes of how we define the broad groupings of vehicles covered in these pages: Repro: reproductions of classic vehicles, sometimes known as ‘replicars’; copies of cars made by companies other than the original makers. We exclude cars which are continuations of classic styles (i.e. Morgan or Caterham) or relaunches of an entire car design virtually unchanged (such as the Middlebridge Scimitar or the various Jensen revivals). For inclusion in this category an attempt must have been made to make the replica as accurate as reasonably possible; vague approximations are regarded here as ‘pastiches’. Pastiche vehicles are old-style, but not copies of any specific car, using more modern running gear, such as Excalibur, Panther, Royale, Asquith etc. Retro-style cars; following the interest in classic and retro designs, major manufacturers got in on the act with the Volkswagen New Beetle, BMW Mini, Fiat 500, Nissans, Toyotas etc., in the spirit of earlier cars by the same maker, repeating design cues from the original iconic cars. Novelty vehicles are often ‘productmobiles’ for advertising purposes, where the bodywork is styled like some unlikely object; an orange, a bottle, a hot dog sausage etc. Also included in this category are a few Parade floats. Thousands of vehicles have been dressed up as floats for street parades and events, usually temporary conversions, often with flimsy bodywork additions, but some have been very elaborate constructions. There have also been many whimsical one-off novelty vehicles made down the years, a few of which are pictured in these pages.