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Top 10: Classic repmobiles

For as long as most of us can remember, sales reps have been thrashing their four-wheeled workhorses along the highways, byways and motorways of our little island. It’s as true now of the sharp-suited BMW 3-series driver as it was of his Cortina-driving predecessor of 40 years ago.

Many fleets operated all-Ford or all-BL policies back then. It meant being allocated the Escort, Cortina or Marina that your fleet manager insisted on. And you’d be grateful, of course. You’d revel in its velour upholstery, its garish paintwork; and if yours happened to be a GL or HL rather than a measly L, you’d look sneeringly at your neighbour’s plainly inferior version.

These were the cars via which sales targets were chased. These were the cars that kept Britain’s army of sales representatives on the move.

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Ford Cortina

From the original Consul Cortina of 1962 through to the MkIV Cortina of 1976-82, this range of mass-market Fords epitomised the perfect company car: simple in spec, reliable by nature and – being a Ford – economical to run. No wonder it dominated the company car sales charts for two decades. The Cortina wasn’t exciting, and neither was it a class leader in later life; but it when it came to fulfilling its company car brief, nothing could touch it.


rob thailand    on 11 October 2016

Company cars were so important to salesmen.
My first was a 1965 Hillman Imp - takeover equaled redundancy
Van sales took over with an Austin LD 30 cwt then an FG with the 45 degree doors
Then agricultural sales 1974 brand new Ford Consul Estate 2.5 V6 followed by a Peugeot 504 estate these were some sort of company cars as most were driving Vivas and Marinas and even Allegros.
Moved to Pharma Veterinary 1977 Cavalier 1300!! mk1 blew it up 3 times
Then Cortina 1600s times 4 - loved em
Then Sierras 1800s times 6 - great cars
Cavalier 1800 then a 2000
Vectra 2.5 and 2.6
Volvo S60 D5 Then retired
It was still magic picking up your new company car. (had various 2nd hand company cars when joining companies Marina 1.8 - really fast and faster than my next - a Mk3 Cortina 2.0 GT can you believe?)
Also ran my own cars and super bikes - a bit of a petrol head I must admit.

HJ Neeser    on 13 October 2016

I owned the predecessor Chrysler Alpine for some years, with the excellent Simca sub-1.5-litre engine - a lovely car, but its body shell was of really low-grade steel, prone to irreversible pitting.

SteveTTT    on 3 July 2017

Here's my succession of company motors from the mid 1980s (many in the list above due to British-only and even British Leyland only company car policies of the time) through to my early retirement this year. Like the OP these included a number of hand-me-downs when changing jobs, but thankfully I got to choose most of the more interesting stuff:
1. Vauxhall Cavalier Mk1 1600L
2. Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2 1600L
3. Austin Metro 1.3S
4. Ford Escort Mk3 1.6 Ghia
5. Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2 SRi
6. Austin Princess 1800
7. Ford Granada 2.0L Auto
8. Ford Sierra XR4x4 2.8
9. Vauxhall Cavalier Mk4 GSi 4x4 16v (dreadful reliability)
10. VW Corrado VR6
11. Volvo 850 auto
12. BMW E36 328i SE
13. Audi A6 C5 1.9tdi SE
14. BMW E46 320d SE Touring
15. BMW E60 525d SE auto
16. Audi A5 2.0tdi S-Line
17. BMW E60 530d M-Sport auto
18. Lexus CT200h (we all make mistakes)
19. Audi A4 Avant Quattro B7 2.0tdi S-Line
20. BMW F10 520d SE
21. Jaguar XF 2.0d R-Sport.
List of weekend toys is a different topic altogether...

Peter McGuire    on 7 March 2018

Steve, you obviously climbed well up the corporate ladder in the 80's - from a Cavalier to Jag!

rob thailand    on 9 March 2018

Wow Steve you cerainly worked for far sighted companies but more likely you earned promotion - it always amazed me how pathetic the company car lists were in the 70s and 80s. Office managers got better cars than the guys driving 40 - 50 k a year. It was only when the perk of a company car was taken away, by heavily taxing them, that companies had to rethink their policies. Remember the fixed car phone? Had to pay one pound a week tax on that because the revenue considered it a yuppie phone. Also cars became more reliable and in my case working for global pharma, cars that were changed at 40 K ended up having to last for 120K. Paying top big tax on old much depreciated bangers.

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