Ford in Britain, by Martin Rawbone

Bittersweet review of Ford's past glories
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The Independent Culture

This is a delightful book about some not-so-delightful cars but it is also one that won't have to be updated. For there are no longer any cars made in the UK with the "blue oval" pinned to them and probably never will be.

Certainly Ford has some important British interests: Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin. But all those Focuses, Fiestas and Mondeos are not "British" in any meaningful sense. A Nissan Micra assembled in Sunderland will provide much more of a boost to the British economy than any Ford.

Mr Rawbone reminds us just how long ago Ford's drift to Europe began. The Capri and the Granada began British-made, but ended their long production lives made on the Continent.

As he rightly points out in his text, "for Ford of Britain, the 1976 Fiesta could be seen as the beginning of the end of its status as a primary manufacturing operation within Ford of Europe; in future it strength would lie in being the biggest and best sales company". So this book, like so many on the indigenous industry, allows us the bittersweet experience of resampling past glories with lavish period illustrations: the awesome Pilot V8, the cult classic Cortina 1600E, and various whale-tailed Escorts and Sierra Cosworths, or "Cossies" as they're known to their fans.

There is also the story of how close the Capri came to being made as a scaled-down version of the gorgeous original Mustang. Now that really was a missed opportunity.

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