The swinging 70s

The 1970s were famous for many things in the UK. The three day week, power cuts, strikes, hyper-inflation, an IMF bail-out, rampant unemployment and sex scandal cover-ups. It also saw the advent of a permissive attitude to sex (the swinging 60s were quite London-centric) and some of the best looking cars to ever hit the road. These two things converged in Pampas grass covered houses across every provincial town in the UK.


There were many considerations when holding a swinging party, such as – does my super tight roll-neck jumper go with my crimpolene flares, should I lay on bottles of Black Tower or splash out on the Blue Nun, should I take my socks off when I get down to it and have I got enough Tizer to make Duck a l’Orange for 12 people? Another more pressing concern was whether it was possible to control an uneasy feeling of jealousy, confusion and anger after a gallon of cheap German wine (the short answer – NO).

The business end of the evening could be quite stressful too. To the uninitiated it consisted of throwing your car keys into a bowl for the (un)lucky ladies to choose from. It was like being selected for the school footie team all over again. Would you be the last chosen? Would there be a look of disappointment on the face of the woman who chose you? When the sex happened would you get down to it with a grim faced determination reminiscent of Captain Ahab going down with his ship? And most importantly what do my car keys say about me?

We’re only really qualified to comment on the car aspect of this whole scenario (although Chris does have a suspiciously large pile of Pampas grass springing out of the front of his house). It got us thinking if we were heading off to a swingers party in the 70s, what car would we ideally take?

Mercedes 450SL

[label type=”small”]Photo: Nigel Case[/label]
Essentially you’ve made it in life. Your waterbed business is booming and you feel like the good times aren’t about to stop. When your keys are in the bowl it will reinforce what everyone already thinks about you. You’re a top guy. We have one of these motors at the club. We’ve never been swinging in it.

Alfa Romeo GTV

[label type=”small”]Photo: Shutterstock[/label]
You’re an hour late for the party because your car wouldn’t actually start, but it only reinforces the illusion that you’re a cool dude who turns up casually late. Fortunately no-one saw the tantrum you threw as you desperately tried to get the motor running only to flood the engine before breaking down in tears.

Ford Cortina

[label type=”small”]Photo: Shutterstock[/label]
The Cortina is the kind of car that you’re convinced is the right choice. Only to find out you hadn’t really thought things through properly and the whole thing turns into a disaster. A bit like swinging in a lot of ways.

Volvo 164

[label type=”small”]Photo: Volvo[/label]
A reliable workhorse full of grunt. The kind of car that never fails to take on the task in hand. Handsome in it’s own way. You’ll fail dismally to live up to the kind of performance that this car promises.

Austin Maxi

[label type=”small”]Photo: British Leyland Archive[/label]
You’ve given up on life and this party is your last chance at enjoying some kind of excitement. It won’t seem that way at the end of the night when your wife is having a three hour sex session while you fail to rise to the occasion. You console yourself by watching late night snooker on the TV while you slowly die inside.
Jaguar E-Type

[label type=”small”]Photo: Nigel Case[/label]
You’re not married but you’ve turned up anyway.


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