As unashamed fans of all things retro we can’t help but feel the internet is a bit of a fad. We scrapped the telex and invested in a fax machine at MotorPunk HQ only for the ruddy thing to be made obsolete almost instantly. Dr Octane still has a perfectly serviceable semaphore at home although, as he lives in Wales, it’s still considered high-tech. As technology charges on the only constant is inbuilt obsolescence and the fact that retro is always cool, even if using it today makes internetting a bit harder. We’d happily swap YouTube and it’s 30 second commercials prior to mobile-phone quality kitten footage for the way films were once shared. In the Sixties they did it better. They had the Ministry of Technology, who spent a million pounds on seven of these Bedford mobile cinemas, built to help promote technology in industry.

There is, thankfully, one of these mobile cinemas remaining. Built in 1967 here it is recently, pre-restoration. What a colossal job this must have been!

And here it is, finished. It still has a Bell and Howell 16mm projector in that fantastic aluminium and perspex dome to maintain originality, but films are now shown using the latest projector equipment, with Dolby 7.1 surround sound. The cinema can seat 22 in air-conditioned luxury and now tours blighty showing peculiar little films like this story about a plastic bag.

We have huge admiration for the team who restored the mobile cinema, and those now touring with it as a business. Please click through to see more of their work and their touring schedule online here. I’d like to share this information with you via post but am all out of penny blacks. I guess we’re stuck with the internet for now.

Pictures courtesy of the Vintage Mobile Cinema and Wikipedia


About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich Duisberg* has had work published in Classic & Sportscar, Practical Performance Car, Modern Mini, Banzai, MogMag, Evo, GT Porsche, Complete Kit Car, Absolute Lotus, Alternative Cars, Classic Retro Modern, and elsewhere. Rich often appears on CBS’s XCAR and Carfection channels, and Motors TV, plus JayEmm on Cars, enthusing about historic motoring. His latest book (find his work on Amazon) was described by SniffPetrol as "hilarious", although he was also threatened with legal action by elderly DJ Tim Westwood. In his Midlands man cave is a 1972 Fiat 500, a Lotus Elise, a BMW barge and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike. Previous machines of interest include an Mk1 MX5 (owned for 14 years!), an Alfa GTV6, a Porsche 968 and a Sinclair C5. The Metro (right) was bought for an experiment, and abandoned in Africa. "I am not getting in a car with him" -  said Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. *A nom-de-plume inspired by the BBC's League of Gentlemen.

One Response

  1. Tim Pimm

    Think I saw this at Goodwood a couple of years ago showing old ministry of info films. Wish I’d had a poke about then when I had a chance.
    Is it for hire? do you MotorPunks have a contact number?


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