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Fiesta of star cars.

Byline: By Ian Johnson

It was like receiving an invitation to the top 'A list' party at the Cannes Film Festival - only this time the cars were the real stars, writes Ian Johnson.

Ford is riding on a high with its glitzy British International Motor Show launch of 'FAB 1' Lady Penelope's six-wheeled behemoth of a car starring in the new Thunderbirds film.

So the world giant decided to push the boat out and let classic car scribes get their hands on film star cars they had probably only ever dreamed of driving.

I mean in one day where else could you possibly go on a flight of fancy in Harry Potter's Ford Anglia, then take to the road in the mean and snarling Capri actually used by Bodie and Doyle in The Professionals?

And if you were still feeling tough you could put it about a bit in an early 70s Granada just like that used by Jack Regan in The Sweeney.

Driving this one it was more than easy to imagine the late John Thaw sitting in the passenger seat and yelling ' Don't just sit there you berk, get arfter 'im.'

And if all that was too much then you could ruffle up you hair and take the driving seat of one of the original Glam Cabs from the hilarious Carry on Cabby film.

Driving this beautiful old Cortina through the leafy lanes of Goodwood in Sussex, where the event was held, you could easily visualise Sid James leaning on the window of his black cab and laughing his socks off at the antics of journalists with a car that is a living veteran of the 'Carry-Ons.'

Feeling adventurous again I went the whole hog and levered my 15 stone frame into the very tight cockpit of a true living legend, the Ford GT40.

This film icon of the early 60s is as rare as hens' teeth. The road car, powered by a 4,763cc V8 is a 154mph car that is totally at home on the road and is a stunning drive.

Still feeling brave I slid onto the bench seat of one of the smoothest cars on the block. Starsky and Hutch's Ford Gran Torino. You know the one, a red job with the white go-faster stripes, a veritable tour de force of American power and visual might.

It was strange driving this one as I had always envied the crimefighting twosome of their set of wheels in my younger days.

And if it all got too much and you needed to take five from the moving feast of dream wheels then you could always go for a spin with a realistic Laurel and Hardy lookalike duo in a Model T.

Some of the cars at the Goodwood House show were part of the Ford Heritage collection while some were there with their owners, including a beautiful Ford Mustang, just like the one used by Steve McQueen on the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jun 25, 2004
Words:499
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