Tis the season and all that, so we thought we’d have a bit of fun.
With a bit of thinking there are some fun links between the festive season and the classic car world, so we thought we’d offer you a light-hearted bit of fun as Christmas draws near.
Not to be taken too seriously, here’s our look at Christmas classics. They’re as fun as they are random, we reckon.
Chevy Chase, a Christmas tree and a memorable car
Many people, possibly those now reaching their 30s, will remember the National Lampoon series of films starring Chevy Chase. We’re thinking primarily, of course, of the 1989 flick National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It was the third instalment in the comedy series and features the Griswold family’s memorable hunt for a Christmas tree.
Photo credited to Warner Bros
Clark Griswold, played by Chase, decides to gather his family and drive out to the country, where he picks out a huge tree. Realising that they forgot their tools, they uproot the tree before taking it, roots and all, away on the roof of their car. The car was dubbed Queen Family Truckster Station Wagon, it was based on a Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon typical of the time and of the style seen in many an 80s American film, wood sides and all.
The Griswolds’ was heavily modified to amplify bad taste, with over-the-top styling, lots of wood panels and eight headlights.
Holidays are coming…
It’s the Christmas advert to top all Christmas adverts – the sight of those Coca-Cola trucks driving through a winter wonderland signals the beginning of the festive season for many. The red delivery trucks are typically American-looking, if actually non-descript as far as make goes, but it is the notion of the feelings that they evoke that struck a chord with many.
Photo credited to Coca-Cola
The ad is now 20 years old and such was the popularity of it that, after it fell away in 2001, it was brought back six years later and now features on our screens every year.
And, more than that, the truck itself tours the UK every year and can be seen in the flesh in towns and cities up and down the country.
A different kind of Elf
There can’t be any other cars with such a strong association with Christmas, in name at least. The Riley Elf was conceived as a more luxurious version of the Mini and went on sale in 1961 alongside the Wolseley Hornet. The Elf and Hornet were memorable for their longer, slightly finned rear wings and larger boots, making them a bit more practical than their arguably cooler cousin.
Looks-wise its upright front grille gave it a more luxurious appearance than the Mini, as did chrome adornments and wood-veneer on the dashboards. The Elf was the more expensive of the two cars and featured a full-width dashboard and some even featured leather seats. If you’re looking for one now, Christmas fans might consider their own red or green leather seats for that really festive Elf feel…
In all, 30,912 Elfs were made before both it and the Hornet ceased being produced towards the end of 1969.
How to get that Christmas tree home…
There comes that time each year, if you’re going for a real Christmas tree, that you head out to buy one and bring it home. After sifting through the varying qualities, greenness and heights of your fir, the issue of getting it home comes to the fore. If you want to avoid an aforementioned National Lampoon situation, then you’re going to need a decent vehicle.
And what better – and more British – than a Land Rover or Range Rover?
Who knows how many Christmas trees have made the journey to their temporary homes of front rooms across the land in the back of such a 4x4. First sold in 1948, the original Land Rover was the utility vehicle to beat them all, surviving as it has right up to this day, although emissions rules mean it is finally on its way out in its traditional form. The rear compartment was perfect for a Christmas tree, featuring as it did side bench seats (if any) rather than front-facing benches.
And let’s not forget the original Range Rover. First on sale in 1970, it was originally a utility vehicle through-and-through and offered even more space for your Christmas tree. It wasn’t until 1996 that the second-gen came along, such was the original’s success. Nowadays, with the Rangie a super-luxury vehicle – although still hugely capable off-road – you’re less likely to want to cover your leather seats in pine needles.