DO YOU EVER look at a photo from decades ago and wonder what was going through the heads of the people in it, and the person taking the shot? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who’ll happily fritter away time on what is a mildly entertaining but probably pointless pursuit.

To me, this press shot of an XT being flung around is rich with possibilities and questions. As someone who actually gets paid to dump their psychological issues on a wider audience via this fine family organ, I’ve had the opportunity to witness and participate in numerous photo shoots over the years. And I can tell you this shot is a cracker, mostly because it is rich with detail that would no longer be tolerated in a more gentle age when people seriously object to being run over by a car – even a Ford GT!

Clearly the car has been driven at the photographer and then turned sharply at the last minute. This demonstrates a lot of faith on the part of the photographer, who has risked his or her future ability to breathe on several flawed assumptions:

First, the driver isn’t myopic. This was an age when vain men didn’t wear glasses in front of a camera, regardless of the consequences. Even if they were a pilot.

Second, the ball joints on the Ford will hold together under this stress – there are no guarantees with a car from this era.

Third, the monster will go where it’s pointed. While the driver may have turned the wheel, that doesn’t mean the car will obey. Given this stunt is being performed on a loose surface (a paddock out back of Broadmeadows, I suspect), there is absolutely no guarantee it won’t just happily plough on, following its original trajectory.

Still, you can see this is a safety-conscious shoot, because our hero is wearing a helmet. Okay, it’s a Cromwell-style that was totally inadequate when it was first designed in the 1920s, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Funny thing is, while you might as well have taped a used ice-cream bucket to your head for all the good it would have done, those helmets are now (of course!) collectible and that one is probably worth at least a few hundred bucks. I wonder if he hung on to it? Oh, and if anyone needed a helmet, it was the photographer, not the driver – and you can bet your crankshaft they didn’t have one.

Call me psychic, but I’m also guessing the people involved had no idea some nitwit would be giving them a hard time about the result, five decades later.

And they certainly wouldn’t have anticipated that all this time later, that very car may well be the subject of a loving restoration and is now worth a small fortune. You’d like to think they’d be delighted at the thought, wouldn’t you?

Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

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