Classic car sales are out of this world!

TELEVISION drama series Life On Mars captured viewers' imaginations with its unusual plot which saw a 21st century detective waking up in 1973. In the show John Simm's character, DCI Sam Taylor, was regularly seen about town in a shiny new Ford Cortina as he tried to get his head around why he found himself in a world of flared trousers, big collars and old-fashioned attitudes.

TELEVISION drama series Life On Mars captured viewers' imaginations with its unusual plot which saw a 21st century detective waking up in 1973.

In the show John Simm's character, DCI Sam Taylor, was regularly seen about town in a shiny new Ford Cortina as he tried to get his head around why he found himself in a world of flared trousers, big collars and old-fashioned attitudes.

And it seems the retro feel is spreading and a classic car garage in Essex has found itself inundated with fans of the series, which finished last week, keen to get their hands on a Mark Three Cortina.

Roger Chinery is the owner of Affordable Classics in Great Yeldham, near Halstead, a garage where you find the Fords of yesteryear rather than the latest Mondeos and Fiestas.

He said interest in the Mark Threes started growing when a specialist magazine ran an article on one he was selling that was very similar to that featured in the BBC series.

Mr Chinery's garage is more museum than state-of-the-art showroom and had old-fashioned petrol pumps and even boasts a chopper bike, perfect reminiscing material for any child of the 70s.

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He said: “There are not that many cars out there of the type in Life on Mars and although I would not say sales have gone through the roof, I hope it has made people more aware of classic cars and perhaps got them into a new hobby.

“The Mark Three looks nice, it is a 70s icon really along with the chopper and flared trousers.”

An original Mark Three in very good condition could sell for anything between £2,000 and £4,000 and

Mr Chinery admitted to being a big fan having bought a second hand one back in the day for £185.

Whether the interest in Ford Cortinas sparks a return to old-fashioned flares, space hoppers and spangles remains to be seen but Mark Three enthusiast clubs have also been enjoying new interest.

Lee Reynolds, chairman of the Mark Three Owners Club, said: “People look at the Cortina and they remember it as their dad's car.

“A lot of people in our club own a Cortina which used to belong to a grandparent or their dad and I think people watching Life on Mars have been getting sentimental feelings.

“We have probably had about two new members joining each week having watched the programme, so we are more than happy.”

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