Sunday, 22 April 2012

Excitement in a car

    Every now and then I see a car review, either on TV or in print, and I get rather annoyed. You see, the journalist has to find something to say about the machine and if it hasn't immediately impressed them they start finding the most ludicrous faults. Disliking the black plastic interior, some minor niggle in the handling under extreme pressure, or some little noise that sometimes penetrates their self-absorbed halo.
    I wish I was In Charge, I really do. When I am dictator, such journalists will be required to undergo a punishment regime involving being made to drive nothing but everyday cars made in the 1950s. The aim of this exercise will be to forcibly remind them that all modern cars are pretty damn amazing.
   They stick to the road in corners like glue in all weathers, they're quiet and spacious to drive, they've got bucket loads of power and the brakes stop them almost instantly and without drama. Even the cheapest modern car made by the direst Pacific-rim carmaker from a cast-off 20-year-old Japanese design has these features, in short motoring journalists these days are so lucky they don't know they've been born!
    You can probably guess I've been pursuing my personal automotive folly again. The Wreck has an MOT this week and I took it out to ensure all was in order. I was caught in an intense April shower, suddenly the car was being assaulted by huge drops of mixed rain and hail, the road covered in a sheet of water as it was coming down too fast to drain away.
    I pulled the knob marked "wiper". No fancy stalks on the column for multi-speed clearance in those days! The little archaic chromed wipers wheezed into life, sweeping the water from side to side. Couldn't really see much, but it was better than nothing.
    A corner complex I breeze through in the Rollerskate could have been made to show up the Wreck's handling flaws in the wet. Wahey, we're all over the place!! The phrase 'Dab of oppo' springs to mind, but let's just say when it happens to a Wreck it's not as predictable as with some cars.
    Then the window started steaming up. No problem, throw the toggle switch marked "Fan". Not a lot happens. OK, warm air was coming into the cabin. It blew out a sleepy queen wasp who'd obviously been hibernating there. Great, I'm in a car with hardly any visibility on a slippery road, and I'm in a confined space with a disoriented wasp. I pulled into a gateway to shoo the unfortunate wasp out of the car and to wait for the window to clear.
    The shower passed, ushering in bright sunlight on the freshly-washed countryside. I made my way home deafened and smelling of hot multigrade oil, cursing the wet that would have spread mud everywhere underneath the car just before its MOT.
    Any journalist who dares to criticise a modern car whose only fault is to be merely unexciting should drive a Wreck in an April shower. That should educate them as to what 'excitement' in a car *really* is!


  1. I have come over all nostalgic...

  2. Yes but by choice mny of us woudl still opt for the odl wreck.

  3. Returning from Oxford on Saturday, I went through a triffic downpour, such that the Mog was skeetering on the surface water... the rain stopped as suddenly as it started, and I immediately saw a car that had spun off the road and was overhanging the embankment, then another on the opposite carriageway lying upside down. Silly buggers! The sense of control you get in a modern car may be a little spurious....

    1. I'd think that was just a case of bad driving Dru. If they can't handle a bit of water driving a modern car they shouldn't be driving at all.

      Shirley Anne x

    2. oh, I quite agree, Shirley Anne; but I suspect the drivers had a sense of impunity from not imagining they *could* be out of control - like the passenger on a ferry in Biscay during a hurricane, who complained that he was going to be late for an appointment and wanted to know what we were going to do about it.... at least with an old car there is a constant sense of disaster closely averted....

    3. And driving such a car brings out your true capabilities as a driver too I'll wager

      Shirley Anne x

  4. Ah yes, the challenges of an older car; that's what you live for. I can tell!

  5. Glad you got back in once piece...

    Being one of the last Spit's mine does at least have the stalk multi-speed wipers (oh the luxury ;p). They still don't make a blind bit of difference to the rain of course :)

    All part of the charm.


  6. Morning all,
    I like the description of a constant sense of disaster closely averted, sums it up very well.

    The Wreck passed its MOT I'm pleased to report. Another year of this, what fun! :)