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Homepage. This page: Front view of a Ford-powered car that only sold in small numbers in the 1950s.

The 1172cc Paramount car.

While many home-built cars that utilised the 1172cc Ford 10hp engine have featured on the site over the years, a period photo of a car that was produced from new by a small company in Derbyshire, using the 1172cc engine for power, has turned up. This is the Paramount, an interesting aluminium-bodied tourer that echoed the styling of many more expensive motor-cars, yet beneath the skin was propelled by a modest 10hp sidevalve engine that can trace its roots to the early 1930s and the Ford 8, a basic machine built for the masses.
David, on behalf of the Aston family, kindly provided the photograph. In the 1950s his relatives ran garages in and around Coventry, Aston's was a well-known employer, and retailer of cars, at the time. In addition to supplying new BMC-produced vehicles (Austins, Morrises etc) they also held a franchise for the Paramount. The example shown below is parked outside one of the firm's premises (another can be seen further down the road, on the right). Alas the car's registration isn't visible.
Anyone who has owned a contemporary Austin may well recognise the Lucas sidelights and bumper overriders, both look suspiciously similar to those I had on my 1949 A40, while the 7" headlamps were fitted to most British cars of the day. A passer-by seeing a Paramount driving along could easily be forgiven for thinking that they were looking at some exotic machine, clothed by a coachbuilder from a distant land.
In addition to the car itself, the image incorporates other reminders of a long-gone era. Note the bicycle left propped up on the kerb, and the distinctive style of traffic light a little further away. A Ford E83W with a dropside wooden pickup body can be seen heading away from the parked Paramount. With its pre-war design and utilitarian role, who would believe that the humble pickup truck trundling by shared its engine (bar carburetion differences) with the swoopy tourer, parked outside the showroom?
Click to view:
The Paramount - front view of
The Paramount was introduced in 1950. In 1953 the firm was taken over by Camden Motors, with production switching to a facility in Leighton Buzzard. Offering a useful increase in power was a new version put on sale, powered this time by the 1508cc OHV unit normally found beneath the Mk1 Consul's bonnet. Buyers looking for yet more grunt could opt for a supercharged engine, although I've yet to find out whether the brakes and suspension also received improvements if such a hike in power was specified.

Advert from 1950.

Some time ago I found an advert issued by Paramount Cars in 1950. At the time the factory was sole distributor, so presumably Aston's came on board some time after this advert was published. List price for the Mark 1 10hp (RAC rating) Roadster was 498 GBP, or 575 GBP for the Drophead Coupe (all plus a hefty dose of Purchase Tax). The supercharger option would require an extra 75 GBP of expense.
"Designed to provide a Sports Car of exceptional beauty whilst retaining the distinctive British character favoured by most Sports Drivers.
"A coach-built car with all aluminium panelling on an ash frame.
"Excelling in Safety, Manoeuvrability, Comfort and Economy, the most important features of present day motoring.
Note the different grille and bumper arrangement on the illustrated "Paramount Mark 1". Possibly this was an artist's impression, pencilled before the finalised design had been agreed upon, given that the ad was distributed during 1950, the first year for the car. There's a restored example that appears at shows from time to time (photo on this page), and it bears the same front end styling as the car in David's photo (minus the overriders).
Advert from 1950
Anyone interested in Paramounts might find the following two forum threads, both part of this site, of interest:
A forum member's car
More info on this car.
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