I use flickr to host my images, and I got quite involved in the banter and comments. These are a selection of a few I've dug up:
These are of particular interest, they were photographed in the Cyprus city of Famagusta, which in 1974 was subject to a Turkish invasion. Part of the city was abandonded, and essentially stuck in 1974. One of the buildings in the that has been stuck in this time warp was this Toyota dealer. Before you book your tickets, please bear in mind that the security is extremely high and soldiers have been instructed to shoot on sight. There are quite a few websites about this place with precious few photographs. I read that since these photos were taken, Canadian soldiers vandalised the cars....
1973 judging by the ads on the front of the bus for "That'll Be The Day".
The bus must have been virtually new then in that case.
While browsing I also came accross this photo of Vale Garages in my old home town of Thirsk. Stated to be taken in 2005. I don't think it looks very much different now.
I worked at this garage on and off in around 1999-2001, as my dad had the use of the forecourt for selling his cars, while a mechanic friend of ours had the showroom for his repairs and servicing business, whom I helped out and also fixed up my own cars there. I have a photo of it somewhere from that time which I will try to dig out. I believe it was an Austin dealership originally, but the configuaration we knew it was as a Ford dealership which was unchanged in appearance since the 70s. Inside still had Ford signs and material on the walls but I believe they have now gone. It was owned by brothers Bryan, John and James Swales who all competed in motorsport in the 70s and 80s I believe. I think John may have died in a racing accident. Bryan ran the petrol and car wash side of things until about 1998 as far as I remember. The car wash broke down a couple of years earlier and was never repaired. I have strong memories of going in the car wash with my parents. It was located behind the "shop" building, and either Bryan (always with cigarette in mouth despite it being a pretol station) or his wife used to appear from a battered old metal door in the back of the shop and put a token in the machine for you. After the car wash had finished, you drove out of the other side and on your immidiate left was a gold Triumph Acclaim abandoned since years and rusting away. Years later when I actually got to look inside that Acclaim I found it to be full of condoms which was not a nice discovery. That Acclaim is the only link to Japanese cars in this story I am afraid. Behind the car wash and showroom was an overgrown field which had become a graveyard for 70s Escorts, Capris and Cortinas. As a nosey 12 year old, I used to go into the beer garden of the Lord Nelson pub which backed onto the field behind the garage with a fence and hedge between. Luckily the fence was not prickly and i used to climb right into the hedge and see what cars I could see in the overgrown field. I also have a few pics of that somewhere. There was a MK1 Transit with a tree growing through it. There was also an old bus with the seats removed which had been used for transporting race cars, and a Triumph Toledo with extra comedy switches on the dashboard labelled "Rocket Launcher", "Vertical Take Off" and silly things. One of the old Escorts in that field eventually donated its leaf springs and choke cable to my own Mk2 Escort after we had use of the premises. In the back workshop which we never got access to, there was a Mk2 Granada locked away. Might still be in there now.
Some time around 2001 we lost use of the garage as I believe the mechanic fell out with Bryan Swales over family matters (he was somehow related) and the garage became disused. I had had my C reg Astra parked there at the time for work on its sill for its MoT. I had fixed my Dolomite by this stage and didn't really need the Astra, so didn'y pay much attention to it. I did notice that one day as I drove past, the centre caps off the alloy wheels had gone. A little while later the alloys were gone and steels were in their place. Then I noticed the exhaust lying under it, then that disappeared. Then I went to get my radio out, but that had gone as had a rear window glass. A bit later we had a Cavalier with a siezed engine so I though't I'd see if I could use the Astra engine. When I opened the bonnet I found the engine had gone!. Later I saw the steel wheels gone, and the car was on bricks. Then the whole thing disappeared.
I have dug out my own old photos of this garage and scanned them in:
These above 3 were taken when the garage was still operating and selling petrol, as evidenced by the Wall's ice cream sign and lights on the petrol pumps. Wish petrol was that price nowadays. In the picture with the Stag in it, you can see a Mazda 323F in the background and just to the right of it is the bus I mentioned.
Looking into the entrance to the car wash, from behind the aforementioned Toledo.
Front shot of the Toledo. I had an enlargement of this photo on my bedroom wall during my sixth form days.
Couple of shots of the field behind the garage, showing the Mk1 Transit, various shapes of RWD Escorts, Capris, and Cortinas were hiding in that grass. On the back of the Cortina estate there is some sort of badge with something about Swales Racing on it.
Later on, this TR250 (American TR5) would be seen here regularly as it was the daily driver of the mechanic who worked there while we had use of the place.
And here it is while we were operating from it. Can see a few of my dad's cars for sale on the forecourt including my first car which I was selling off at the time, a 1969 Triumph 1300. On the close up of my Triumph if you look very hard out of the back quarter window you can just about make out the gold shape of the Triumph Acclaim which sat and greeted you at the exit of the car wash for many years. Note the bus has now gone. On the wide shot I managed to get the back light of a Daewoo Musso in the edge of the picture...specially for Lukas. The stamp on the back of these last ones states that they were developed at Thirsk Photo Express on 16/8/2000. I would have been 19.
Newby Wiske? I worked there too. Not at police head quarters, but just a bit further along, near Solberge Hall was a garage called Karl Lawson Car and Commercial. It was there that my dad got me a weekend job when I was 13 and from there that first got into mechanics and auto-electrics.