From the arrival of flashing indicators and the launch of the iconic Mini, to Suez crisis petrol-rationing and today’s highly efficient, low carbon technologies, Queen Elizabeth II has witnessed each and every change over the past 60 years of UK automotive history.
In celebration of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, UK automotive trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), highlights some of the key automotive events through her long and continued reign.
1 January 1954: Flashing indicators became legal on Britain's cars. These were either amber all-round or white at the front and red at the rear.
1 June 1954: Standard introduced Britain's first diesel engine, a version of the Vanguard, powered by a two-litre engine, derived from that used in the Ferguson tractor which Standard also built.
December 1956: Petrol-rationing was introduced, the result of the Suez crisis that closed the Canal to oil tankers. It remained in force until May 1957.
10 July 1958: Britain's first parking meters were installed in London's Grosvenor Square. Charges were 6d (2.5p) for half an hour and 1 shilling (5p) for one hour.
December 1958: The first stretch of motorway in Britain was opened, the 8.2 mile long Preston by-pass, which is today part of the M6.
August 1959: A ‘triumph of front-wheel-drive packaging’ BMC’s Mini Minor was launched for under £500.
January 1964: Paddy Hopkirk and Henry Liddon drove a Mini Cooper S that gave the British Motor Corporation its first victory in the Monte Carlo Rally.
Continues on Page Two...