This was my first car. If you’re not familiar with the model then it’s a saloon car built by British Leyland between 1972-1980 aimed at the “compact performance-luxury” market. Bearing in mind the year of the car, whilst I am old, I’m not mega-old yet but when it’s your first car then it’s a question of buying a bit of an old car or a ‘banger’ as they’re known in the UK.
It may have been a banger but I loved it. I’d actually love to get another one now but as is typical with that story they are either rusted away entirely or are far too expensive as classics now.
Mine was upgraded in a few areas to make it faster, and that’s on top of the fact that back in the day it was actually a pretty tasty car as standard.
Mine was an 1850HL which as standard produced 91bhp from it’s twin-carb slant-four engine. If you happen to be a true car nerd then you may spot that the one I’ve drawn has Sprint wheels, that was also part of the upgrade along with an overdrive gearbox and Sprint carbs.
It was also downgraded in many areas with wear, tear and a fair amount of rust. The tin worm plagued literally every car from that era from Minis to Jaguars so that’s nothing against my particular car. It did mean that I didn’t have to be overly precious with it, I didn’t have to worry about getting car-park “dings” and having perfect paintwork.
One of the best times in this car was a race shortly after buying it, a “well off” friend had also recently bought a new-ish Escort XR3, the precursor to the XR3i which along with the Golf GTi leading the charge of the new hot-hatch craze.
We set off up Bluebell Hill, a long uphill dual carriageway with three wide lanes. Initially he pulled away and I thought “fair enough, his is a new sporty car whereas mine has a touch of luxury”. But then I started slowly to catch up, and then when alongside I flicked the “magic switch” on the gear change. This was the overdrive and gave me effectively an extra “half” gear without the need to dip the clutch and lose momentum. It was then my turn to slowly start pulling away from him, his face was priceless and as I recall he stormed it straight home and didn’t talk to me for a few weeks after 🤣
Here’s one of the process shots, I was adding some ink to a printout of the design at the time. A bit odd maybe but I found it easier to visualise with the physical artwork.
And this is the finished article. Now I must admit that like the Coffee Cup van from before, I’d started this project in completely the wrong way.
The end result I’m relatively happy with but it took far too long and too much effort with constant corrections the way I did it.
I’ve already started on the next one and put more thought into the process before starting out, as with learning drawing, then ink drawing, then watercolour painting, etc. it’s a question of making mistakes and then learning from them. I think it’s already going better. The end result won’t necessarily be better but if it takes less effort to achieve it then that is still progress of sorts.
Hope you like this style of art as there’ll be plenty more as I work my way through some of my car ownership history to decorate the garage walls 🚙