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cars and stamps croppedA craze for cars and philately – these are two hobbies which do not usually go together. Or do they? The folks at the Royal Mail seem to think so which is why they recently launched a series of stamps honouring some of Britain’s most iconic cars.

The six-stamp main series celebrates the ‘thoroughbreds’ of the British automotive industry, including the Aston Martin DB5, Jaguar E-Type, Lotus Esprit, MG MGB, Morgan Plus 8 and the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow.

A four-stamp miniseries features the Austin FX4 black cab, Ford Anglia 105E, Land Rover Defender 110 and Morris Minor Van; these cars are classified as the ‘workhorses’ of British roads. All the cars featured were produced in the 1960s and 1970s.

So what is the occasion? As it turns out, 2013 is a special year in the history of British automotives on two accounts. This year marks the 150th birth anniversary of Sir Henry Royce, who founded the luxury automotive brand, Rolls-Royce (along with Charles Rolls) and it also marks 100 years of Aston Martin – another legendary British car.

Speaking of the Aston Martin marque, the DB5 (featured in the stamp series) made its big screen debut in 1964, as 007’s vehicle of choice in Goldfinger, the third film in the James Bond series. The DB5 went on to be featured in a number of Bond films such as Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Casino Royale (2006) and most recently in Skyfall (2012) which incidentally also marked the 50th anniversary of the release of the first Bond film Dr No.

While the Aston Martin is all glamour and speed, the true workhorse of British streets is the Austin FX4 (featured in the mini stamp series). The iconic, all black, London taxi cab was produced by Austin from 1958 to 1997 at which time another manufacturer, London Taxis International (LTI) took over.

This series of stamps by the Royal Mail undoubtedly provides car and stamp enthusiasts a once in a lifetime opportunity – to ‘own’ these classic automobiles.

– Haroon Rasheed

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on October 6, 2013.

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