Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Bunny and the Tiger

Jo Collins with Her Sunbeam Tiger
Way back in 1965 Playboy was the leading men's lifestyle magazine with advice on everything from fashion to cars to, yes, sex. Major cities around the world boasted Playboy Clubs where members with a club "key" were welcomed by satin-clad young things sporting cotton tails and rabbit ears. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was instantly recognizable by his robe and pajamas and ever present pipe.

But the best known aspect of the Playboy empire was the monthly Playmate. These young ladies,  wearing not much more than a smile,  were the focus of a photo spread that included the legendary foldout that exposed the subject's charms over three pages. Every year one of the 12 Playmates was chosen to be the Playmate of the Year which meant that the lucky young lass won a package of high end gifts, likely provided by the magazine's advertisers in exchange for an editorial mention and a photo of their product with the winner (fully clothed, of course).

But back to 1965. That year's Playmate of the Year was one Jo Collins and she was awarded a Sunbeam Tiger. A pink Sunbeam Tiger. The Playmate of the Year cars remained pink until 1977 when the tradition was broken with a white Dodge Charger.

Fast forward to 1980 and the winner, August's Dorothy Stratten, was presented a red Jaguar XJS. Dorothy Stratten wouldn't be the only XJS driver as 1984's Playmate of the Year, Barbara Edwards, received one as well.

Jaguars were again presented in 1986 (an XJ6 to Kathy Shower) and in 1993 (still another XJS) to none other than Anna Nicole Smith.

Try as I might, I couldn't find where an MGB - pink or otherwise - was awarded to a Playmate.


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