“THAT’s a couple of unusual cars you’ve asked us to identify,” said Mike McLaren of the vehicles in Darlington’s Bondgate in December 1961 that were featured in Memories 517.

“They are at opposite ends of the economy/luxury spectrum,” said Richard Stone.

Nearest the camera, agreed all of our old car spotters, was a Renault Dauphine.

“Dauphines were cheap, economical, and comfortable but had questionable handling, limited power, and a propensity to rust away before the first MoT test, as did my employer’s,” said Richard.

Mike Crawley said: “This brought back memories of the swinging Sixties for me when I was a junior salesman at a Renault dealership.

“The Dauphine was a very basic car, costing £660 plus purchase tax in 1961. It had a rear engine which gave very strange, rear heavy handling, and many drivers carried a sack of potatoes or sand in the front luggage compartment to try to balance the weight distribution.

“In March 1959, Renault brought out a souped up Gordini version of the Dauphine, with better handling, mainly to qualify for the Monte Carlo rally.

“I think the car in the pic is a Gordini as this model had separate front sidelights and indicators like this one.

“A Gordini was priced at £797 plus purchase tax.

“The owner of this car seems to have had a Desmo wing mirror as an extra. They were usually priced at around £4.”

A Desmo Boomerang mirror was made by a company in Staffordshire and, unlike a fixed mirror, it would be boomerang back into place if knocked.

There was almost unanimity that the vehicle behind was an Austin Vanden Plas Princess.

“It was a very luxurious car, leather from a herd of cows, lovely woodwork and a four litre Rolls Royce engine,” said Mike McLaren.

“It was an expensive, luxurious, thirsty, beast,” said Richard Stone. “The bodyshell was an enhanced version of that of an Austin Westminster. The interior was sumptuously trimmed with Connolly leather, burr walnut dash and trims, and deep carpeting. Some motoring pundits of the time considered it superior to the contemporary Rolls Royce.”

John Lambard momentarily lifted his eyes from the cars to consider the pies. “My first job was in an office in Blackwellgate, very close to Zisslers’ shop in Skinnergate,” he said. “Their pork pies were to die for, juicy and hot. They just had the edge on Taylors!”

And Peter Daniels in Bishop Auckland added: “weren’t those the days? Every shop was occupied and you could buy anything you wanted in town!”

Other old car spotters included Mark Cooper, John Weighell of Neasham, Geoff Mansfield and John Waddleton of Darlington.