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What was your first car and what did you pay

Posted on 17 October 2016

There’s something special about our first car

Can you remember your first car and what you paid for it? If it gave you your first taste of freedom, chances are it holds a special place in your heart.

It’s hard to believe that not so long ago the British car industry was thriving and most of the cars on our roads, from the Mini to the Jaguar E Type, were made here. How times have changed.

In the late 1940s, the Ford Anglia was one of the cheapest cars you could buy, costing £310 new. Sounds like a bargain, but when the average house price house in 1950 was under £2000 - it certainly wasn’t a steal. No wonder we were content with an old banger or pinching the parents’ car at every opportunity.

Take a look back at some of the most popular British made cars of the post war years. Have you been the proud owner of any of these?

Morris Minor - cost £358 10s 7d in 1948

A true British favourite, the Morris Minor came in all shapes and sizes, from the 2-door saloon, to the tourer convertible and the iconic wood-framed estate. Its popularity meant that in 1960 it became the first British car to sell more than a million. Even if it was nicknamed the Morris Minus, it never failed to capture our hearts.

Lady sitting in morris minor parked on a verge

Ford Anglia – cost £310 in 1950

This great-value family motor had three gears, a single windscreen wiper and the option of a radio and a heater if you were feeling flush. You could pick up a second hand Anglia for around £100, but you’d be nervous about parking up, just in case it never started again.

Friends picnicking in front of their Ford Anglia

Mini – cost £497 in 1959

The Mini was the car of the 60s. It’s quirky, compact nature made it a hit with the masses, as well as the rich and famous. You’d have to push it up big hills and fold up like origami to get in it, but we loved the fact you could park it anywhere.

Thirteen 1960's girls squeezed in to a mini

Morris Oxford V1 cost £869 in 1961

Early Morris Oxford models had a split screen, bench seat and three column speed change. You thought you were going like the clappers at a top speed of 30mph. And you’d often have to thump the side of the car to get the indicator to pop out.

Woman standing next to a Morris Oxford

Vauxhall Victor FB “Super” – cost £798 in 1961

This was the motor with three gears on the steering wheel, a panoramic windscreen and a two tone paint job. If you bought one new it was called a Vauxhall Victor, if you bought one second hand it was a “rust bucket” or a “knee knocker”.

Vauxhall Victor on parkland

Hillman Imp – cost £508 in 1963

These pint-sized cars were a driving instructor’s favourite. The nation’s teens were let loose on the roads in a Hillman Imp adorned with L-plates. While the adverts promised the car would be IMPressive, you’d have to drive at 50mph to make the heater work.

Advert for Hillman Imp

Ford Cortina – cost £963 in 1972

The Cortina’s design was a real revelation for Brits who’d been brought up on Morris Minors and Standard 8s. They even managed to look snazzy with a caravan in tow. With security not the problem it is today, it was also handy to know you could open it with your house key!

Ford Cortina towing a caravan, driving off a ferry

Ford Capri – cost £4,035 in 1978

The Ford Capri was the Brits’ answer to the American Mustang. Yes, you had to sit on a box to see the front of the bonnet, but its slick style and go-faster stripe made you feel like you were in a Dukes of Hazzard episode. And that did wonders for your street cred.

Ford Capri parked in a drive with boot open

Ford Escort RS1600i - £6,700 in 1983

And finally, in glorious 1980s technicolour… it’s the Ford Escort. Launched in the late 1960s, it only became a top seller in the 1980s. No wonder because there was an Escort for everyone – from sensible to soft top and run-around to rally car - we couldn’t get enough of it.

Ford Escort parked

Have you ever owned one of these? What was your first car and what did you pay for it? We’d love to hear your motoring memories.

Taking pictures of absolutely every living moment wasn’t as popular then as it is now, so we’ve matched the cars to the article as best as we can based on what we could find.

If you enjoyed this trip down memory lane to the days of bench seats and cars clad in timber, you may also enjoy our look back at the time when you were growing up and finding your feet - Born in the 40s, Born in the 50s or Born in the 60s.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife?

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services. Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.