Stars and Their Cars
iNostalgia takes a look at Manchester stars and their cars, ranging from George Best and his sporty Iso Rivolta to Nobby Stiles and his Austin 1100
When it came to stylish motors, nobody did it better than Manchester United legend George Best.
The Northern Ireland international swapped cars almost as swiftly as girlfriends in the 1960s and 70s, owning everything from Jaguars and Bentleys to more exotic marques like the Iso Rivolta and Lotus Elan.
Known for his fast moves on the pitch, the mercurial winger was even swifter off it. His iconic 1970 E-Type Jaguar had a top speed of more than 150 mph and could notch up 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds.
The Iso Rivolta he picked up in February 1969 was no slouch either. Our photo shows him at the wheel of the luxury soft-top eager to drive it out of the showroom.
Graceful on the outside, the Rivolta was a beast on the inside. It was powered by a massive 5.4 litre Chevrolet engine capable of 160 mph. By contrast, Iso also made the tiny Isetta bubble car with a top speed of 53 mph.
But no amount of speed could save Best from the crowds who mobbed his Rolls Royce when he made a visit to Dublin in August 1970.
More than 1,500 fans greeted the player as climbed out of his car – you can just about make out his trademark mop-top as he’s shielded by police in our picture.
The welcome was far more restrained, but no less sincere, when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill drove into Manchester on a surprise morale-boosting visit in April 1941.
It was the height of World War II and a few months earlier Manchester had been bombed in the Christmas Blitz.
Standing in the back of an open-top car, Churchill touched hearts wherever he went offering hope and defiance in the nation’s darkest hours.
Our photo shows the wartime leader sharing a joke and raising a smile with Mancunians of all ages in Chorlton.
It’s hard to glimpse the make of Churchill’s car, but it probably wasn’t one of Manchester’s new Ford taxis delivered in January 1935. Alongside it in our picture is reputed to be the oldest taxi in the city.
Both cars were probably much older than Ken Dodd’s vintage mode of transport, which often appeared on his TV show Doddy’s Music Box. It was filmed at the ABC studios in Didsbury.
The programme featured DJ David Hamilton and a variety of guests from the pop world. In January 1967 it was the turn of singer Sandie Shaw, who won the Eurovision Song Contest for Britain later that year with Puppet on a String.
Manchester United stars were out in force in August 1994 to launch a raffle for the Mend A Broken Wing appeal for the Pendlebury Children’s Hospital.
First prize was the Triumph TR7 presented to Reds’ man-of-the-match Jimmy Greenhoff after the team’s 1977 FA Cup win.
Pictured with manager Alex Ferguson are, from left, Lee Sharpe, David May, Brian McClair, Gary Pallister (at the wheel), Peter Schmeichel, Dion Dublin (passenger seat), Mark Hughes, Paul Ince, Eric Cantona and Ryan Giggs.
Coronation Street’s Dennis Tanner, played by Philip Lowrie, was meant to be filming scenes at a race meeting for the popular soap in April 1965.
The scene was actually shot in the Granada studios’ car park with actress Amanda Reiss at the wheel. Reiss played Tanner’s upmarket girlfriend Caroline Critchley.
Driving himself after appearing on ITV’s Scene at 6.30 current affairs show at Manchester’s Granada studios is Rolling Stones’ lead singer Mick Jagger. The date is March 1965.
Finally in our round-up, no Iso Rivoltas or Rolls Royces for tough-tackling Manchester United and England midfielder Nobby Stiles.
It’s an Austin 1100 all the way for him, although he was having a spot of bother with it after training with his team mates in March 1965. Perhaps George Best could give him a lift!
Many more memorable images of the past can be found in Clive Hardy’s brilliant book Around Manchester in the 1970s.
It’s crammed with more than 300 photos and illustrations that truly bring the decade to life.