The Cars of the Comic – Outsiders

If you know me personally (in fact, even if you don’t) you’ll know I absolutely adore cars from all eras. While I don’t love every single one of them, there are those which I feel are good enough to deserve a place in my various comic series.

So, without further ado, here’s a summary of the various automotive gems I’ve redrawn and placed into my comic series, either playing an important role in the plot, or just as background vehicles. Each one has a little description as to what it is, as well as the reason why such a car made it into the story.

For copyright reasons, many of the vehicles demonstrated on this page have minor differences between those which appear in the series and their real-life counterparts. As such, the vehicles within this series may not be factually accurate in all aspects.

1. 1983 Toyota Land Cruiser (J60)

girls in the truck

Making a return from its appearance in the Maddie Series, Siobhan Pattinson’s pride and joy is still the magnificent Toyota Land Cruiser, the strong and sturdy piece of Japanese motoring that nearly destroyed Land Rover in the rugged SUV market.

Toyota_Land_Cruiser_60_001In the early-1980’s, Toyota’s weren’t really sold here in the UK thanks largely to EU Import taxes on Japanese products, but some Land Cruisers did make it to Britain early on and, when you consider the reliability of these things compared to the indigenous competition, you can see why someone like Siobhan would go for it. At the time you had the choice of either the humdrum Land Rover Defender, which was as basic as a corrugated iron shed, and the Range Rover, which, even for the base models, was hideously expensive, so a Toyota would seem like the most logical solution.

2. 1980 Talbot Sunbeam

Eb in the talbot

An obscure car but one of the best, this boxy Talbot Sunbeam was put to use by Adria Mackenzie as part of her driving school. Its appearance in the series may be brief, but it’s role in helping Ebony learn to drive is somewhat vital in the grand scheme of things.

The choice of the Talbot Sunbeam came to me for two reasons; the first being it was Talbot_Sunbeam_Lotus_first_reg_August_1980_2172cca commonly used family car back in the day and made for an ideal learner’s vehicle, and secondly; this car truly is an unsung hero of that era for motorcars. Indeed many owners will tell you that the regular cars were unreliable and rusted faster than a junkyard dog; then again all cars did back then. However, the best of the breed, the Lotus Sunbeam, was one of the few bright sparks in this rather dull period in motoring history, one of the most capable race cars and one of the founding fathers of the hot hatchback.

Today these cars are near enough extinct due to the aforementioned rust issues, but they do obtain quite a cult following. I personally adore the Talbot Sunbeam for the fact that, while basic, it was very innovative; a strong and timeless design which truly cemented the concept of small, practical but incredibly fast motorcars.


3. 1984 Austin Maestro

eb on her test

Another classic British motor from the 1980’s, this time in the form of British Leyland’s Austin Maestro, one of the company’s best selling cars in spite of its woeful build quality. In the series, it once again inhabits a brief role as the car Ebony uses to pass her Driving Test, a role that many Maestros had the honour to fulfil back in the day.

The Austin Maestro formed one of three new motors built in the early 1980’s to help address the seemingly insurmountable reliability issues plaguing nationalised car builder British Leyland. Released to fill the market between the Austin Metro city-car and the Austin Montego family saloon, the Maestro was the family hatchback for the DSCF02991980’s, taking a British design and combining it with technology graciously provided by Honda.

The car was surprisingly well equipped for the time, and even included the now novel feature of a talking dashboard, similar to the likes of contemporary Chryslers and Fords in the USA.

However, while Honda mechanics should have helped resolve the car’s performance issues, the ever-present malcontent workforce were always on hand to build cars of such wretched quality that these things would literally fall apart in no time flat. Combine that with the car’s penchant for rust and you’ve got a match made in hell!