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paulrhd29nz

Query about Downton Abbey cars.

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I’ve been watching the series since it’s beginning. It’s in its final season now. 
I’ve always questioned why every episode has/shows three or four Model T’s in the background. Never inaction, but as part of the scene, just in the background. The family seams to be well off with Bentleys, Rolls and the odd Daimler, but the back ground cars are all and always Ford

Model T’s. Seams odd to me for such a popular series filmed in the Uk that is so dedicated to the way things were back then to only have Model T’s as props. 
 

 

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Also did you notice that the Model T's in the early Series were several years, perhaps almost a decade later than the show's time period.

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There were plenty of Fords in England, Ford called it The Universal Car for a reason. They had a factory at Trafford Park making Fords for the English market from 1911. You would see them around a country estate in utility roles, as station wagons and light trucks. Or they might belong to local people or delivery men. I don't know why they had them around in that show but, it would not be unusual to see them in England at the time.

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Actually,  the T was the best selling car in England until the twenties, when it was surpassed by the "Bullnose" Morris Cowley.

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I have never seen the show, but my guess is because they are available to the film crew. 

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Posted (edited)

I am not a normal viewer at all, but I happened on a episode this week that featured a racing meeting. Some very nice racing cars but the age of the cars was all over the map. At least a 15 year spread from the newest to the oldest.

Very sloppy background research. That sort of spread would not have happened at a single race. Especially a race that attracted a pair of first line racing Bentleys and a Bugatti or two.

I have heard quite a bit of buzz about Downton Abbey and expected it to be a well researched,  big budget production. When you consider the depth of knowledge about period racing sports cars in England it just smacks of a slip shod production.

 

 

Greg in Canada

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)

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One more TV show I've never seen due to the fact I don't know what channel carries it. Bob

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Usually whatever channel your local PBS uses. I have very basic cable but it has been on KCTS Seattle and WGBH Boston for years. And no doubt others as well.

 

Greg

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1 hour ago, 1937hd45 said:

One more TV show I've never seen due to the fact I don't know what channel carries it. Bob

Big hit for PBS.  Also generated a movie version that played in theaters several months ago.  Good storyline but like most TV shows trying to represent period times the choice of automobiles will not be accurate for the trained eyes.

 

Another PBS show for car spotting is “A Place Called Home” filmed in Australia.  Too much of a soap opera for me but the cars have been interesting.

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2 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

I am not a normal viewer at all, but I happened on a episode this week that featured a racing meeting. Some very nice racing cars but the age of the cars was all over the map. At least a 15 year spread from the newest to the oldest.

Very sloppy background research. That sort of spread would not have happened at a single race. Especially a race that attracted a pair of first line racing Bentleys and a Bugatti or two.

I have heard quite a bit of buzz about Downton Abbey and expected it to be a well researched,  big budget production. When you consider the depth of knowledge about period racing sports cars in England it just smacks of a slip shod production.

 

 

Greg in Canada

I'm with you.  I heard it was a good show so I watched the first episode, could not get past the first 5 minutes. It was just all wrong for a 1912 setting. Like it was written by a millennial who thought the world began in 2000 and thought the secret to a historical drama was to dress the actors in funny clothes. In other words a total anachronism.

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Idle hands.....

OK, I'll bite. Someone has to speak in defense of this series if, for no other reason, than complete lack of anything better to do and having just downed two fresh cups of "Seattle's Best".

I'll be your heretic.

 

For a period, when I was younger, I wrangled cars for Hollywood. Movies, TV, commercials, etc. and while I worked with many Transportation Captains, I never met one that was an actual "car guy".  They were generally well paid union members, with some basic knowledge of cars and they got the job done to the satisfaction of their directors (who are also not "car guys").

So, we as real "car guys" have way too much knowledge to let these errors pass unmentioned, making us completely unfair and completely harsh judges of other's lack of ability to recognize what we see. Let me give you a for instance:

I was watching a good movie with a friend who happens to belong to the Audubon Society. A scene in this film involved a bird hunt and some very relevant story dialogue. So while I'm hanging on every word, my friend lights up in the middle of the scene in acrimonious disbelief on how "anybody would know" that, that bird wouldn't be in those woods at that particular time of year and how the hunter shot a male but the dog returned with a female!!! OUTRAGEOUS!

I look at him like he has the intellect of a pigeon and say "Who Cares? It doesn't really effect the story."

 

Then I had the epiphany.....

 

I suddenly see this man as I've been to my wife or anyone else who will listen to me when I'm watching a movie set in 1969 and suddenly a 1952 Plymouth shows up on the street, in mint condition with 3 inch wide whitewalls.  That Plymouth (and that sex changing bird) didn't change the fact that "the butler did it" in both movies. Sadly, 99% of the movie-going public will never know, ......or care.

 

Julian Fellowes is the writer for Downton Abbey and i have to say, I really enjoy his style. I find his work to be reasonably accurate and engaging. However he does not have the final say in production. Wardrobe is out of his hands as is transportation and properties, etc. They did engage a very competent historian in Alistair Bruce but his expertise was based more in ceremony and customs of the time. I recognized the flaws with the cars but  mostly enjoyed the series. My disappointment came, as it usually does these days, with the formulaic political correctness ingrained in every single new movie and television show. For me the blatant re-writing of history's morals, codes and social rankings to appease a professionally offended audience rings more in "That would never have happened" category than the wrong car, bird or costume blunder.

 

 

(Yeah, but that Plymouth still bugs me.....)

 

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Didn’t John Wayne ride into town in the Plymouth, hence his famous tag line, “hey Pilgrim”?

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the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

1 hour ago, GregLaR said:

 

So, we as real "car guys" have way too much knowledge to let these errors pass unmentioned, making us completely unfair and completely harsh judges of other's lack of ability to recognize what we see.

 

 

Having extensive knowledge of an arcane subject does not always make one happy ... sometimes it just makes one somewhat of a grouch.   I have to admit that I've been there, but learned early on to not interject critical comments during the denouement of a particularly drama-ridden movie or play ... especially if I ever wanted to date her again (or if married, to promote marital harmony). ;)   What especially riles me these days is watching a TV show or a movie showing a modern turbine powered helicopter in flight accompanied by the sound effects of an old piston-engined Bell 47 helicopter ( the type featured in "Mash").

 

I think that the best attention to period vehicle details was evidenced by the vehicles shown in "American Graffiti".  There must have been some, but I don't recall seeing a single vehicle that was out of place.  Even the airplane, a DC-7, was period correct.

 

Stay healthy out there.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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While on tour with an old car  in England a few years ago, we had lunch at the castle. The grounds were fantastic, the lunch was something I will always remember, but the building itself is actually falling apart..........recently they have begun trying to save it......as it’s actually in danger of being abandoned...............seems upkeep is a bit pricey. I didn’t see one single T while we were there. Lots of great other stuff.......

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I don't object to slight anachronisms in cars, clothes, etc in a movie. I understand that they are telling a story. My problem is I have read an awful lot of books from the 19th and 20th century and know a lot of history. I know how people thought and acted back then. When I see a show supposedly taking place in 1900 but the characters ideas, motivations, beliefs, language etc are pure 2020 the illusion is ruined. There are some things so cringey I can't watch them.

 

We actually have movies dating back to the 1910s and talkies as far back as the early 1930s. I know they are fiction but they give a better idea of how people thought and what the popular culture was at the time.

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4 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

I don't object to slight anachronisms When I see a show supposedly taking place in 1900 but the characters ideas, motivations, beliefs, language etc are pure 2020 the illusion is ruined. 

True this.

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On a side note, when we were in the UK last year we were passing by the town where they filmed part of the show - the town it's self was nice but man it was expensive - it was like £10 to park and then if you wanted to go to the church where they filmed stuff it was £15 (we were a bit over looking at churches at that point) but nice little town with a nice pub and chocolate shop

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I guess it’s like what has been said,

availability to the film crew. Budget driven prop contractors. 
it’s still a very enjoyable show with a good glimpse into days gone by. I would enjoy seeing the odd English relic. 

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On 4/3/2020 at 3:55 PM, capngrog said:

the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

 

Having extensive knowledge of an arcane subject does not always make one happy ... sometimes it just makes one somewhat of a grouch.   I have to admit that I've been there, but learned early on to not interject critical comments during the denouement of a particularly drama-ridden movie or play ... especially if I ever wanted to date her again (or if married, to promote marital harmony). ;)   What especially riles me these days is watching a TV show or a movie showing a modern turbine powered helicopter in flight accompanied by the sound effects of an old piston-engined Bell 47 helicopter ( the type featured in "Mash").

 

I think that the best attention to period vehicle details was evidenced by the vehicles shown in "American Graffiti".  There must have been some, but I don't recall seeing a single vehicle that was out of place.  Even the airplane, a DC-7, was period correct.

 

Stay healthy out there.

 

Cheers,

Grog

 

On 4/3/2020 at 3:55 PM, capngrog said:

I think that the best attention to period vehicle details was evidenced by the vehicles shown in "American Graffiti".  There must have been some, but I don't recall seeing a single vehicle that was out of place.  Even the airplane, a DC-7, was period correct.

All depends on your specialty. The automobiles might be close to correct, the jukebox was not a 1947 Wurlitzer 1015 (still out of place for a modern establishment like Mel's) but a Wurlitzer 1050 from the 1973 same year as the movie. I think we all have an inner grouch waiting to bloom.

 

Kurt M

jukejunkie

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I have a nice 1968 Seeburg LS-1 that's just collecting dust.

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On 4/3/2020 at 6:55 PM, capngrog said:

the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

 

Having extensive knowledge of an arcane subject does not always make one happy ... sometimes it just makes one somewhat of a grouch.   I have to admit that I've been there, but learned early on to not interject critical comments during the denouement of a particularly drama-ridden movie or play ... especially if I ever wanted to date her again (or if married, to promote marital harmony). ;)   What especially riles me these days is watching a TV show or a movie showing a modern turbine powered helicopter in flight accompanied by the sound effects of an old piston-engined Bell 47 helicopter ( the type featured in "Mash").

 

I think that the best attention to period vehicle details was evidenced by the vehicles shown in "American Graffiti".  There must have been some, but I don't recall seeing a single vehicle that was out of place.  Even the airplane, a DC-7, was period correct.

 

Stay healthy out there.

 

Cheers,

Grog

In the opening of American Grafitti street scene there is a green 1968 Chevrolet, it is only on the screen for an eye blink but it is there. Then there is the Chev with painted wheels they wrecked at the end, not the same car as Falfa was driving. Both tiny forgivable blots on a movie that otherwise nailed it, especially considering it was not a big budget production.

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On 4/3/2020 at 6:55 PM, capngrog said:

the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

 

Having extensive knowledge of an arcane subject does not always make one happy ... sometimes it just makes one somewhat of a grouch.   I have to admit that I've been there, but learned early on to not interject critical comments during the denouement of a particularly drama-ridden movie or play ... especially if I ever wanted to date her again (or if married, to promote marital harmony). ;)   What especially riles me these days is watching a TV show or a movie showing a modern turbine powered helicopter in flight accompanied by the sound effects of an old piston-engined Bell 47 helicopter ( the type featured in "Mash").

 

I think that the best attention to period vehicle details was evidenced by the vehicles shown in "American Graffiti".  There must have been some, but I don't recall seeing a single vehicle that was out of place.  Even the airplane, a DC-7, was period correct.

 

Stay healthy out there.

 

Cheers,

Grog

 

Not that it matters, but the Citroen 2CV that Richard Dreyfuss' character drives in the movie is a 1967.  I only know this because I looked up info about the cars in the movie to include in a quiz I put together a few year when our region had a "Movie Night" barbecue and showed American Graffiti

 

The 2CV was produced from 1948-1990.  I'm sure a true Citroen aficionado can tell the difference between each model year and probably howled when they saw this particular year car in the movie, but the extent of my knowledge is being able to identify any of them as Citroen 2CVs, so the discontinuity didn't jump out at me.  I just enjoyed the movie and still do.  (A little surprisingly, the winners of the quiz at our region's Movie Night were two teenagers--and they didn't use their smartphones to find the answers.  I think they had a little advantage over the "vintage" members, though--I think they watched the movie the weekend before to prepare for the quiz.  Good on them--like anything in life, preparation usually pays off.)

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Posted (edited)

I just remembered a bit of poetry from the time period in question that may shed some light on the matter -

 

The Garden Party by Hilaire Belloc

 

The Rich arrived in pairs
And also in Rolls Royces;
They talked of their affairs
In loud and strident voices...

The Poor arrived in Fords,
Whose features they resembled;
They laughed to see so many Lords
And Ladies all assembled.

The People in Between
Looked underdone and harassed,
And out of place and mean,
And Horribly embarrassed.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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