The Editor Reflects on the Need for Change
The facelift, once a rather quirky thing, has become accepted. A nip, a tuck, a chop, a stretch. No-one seems embarrassed. Your Editor is aware of these things because, much as he would prefer to always shop at Fortnum and Mason, circumstances (thank you Eoin and Sean) dictate that he has to stand in supermarket queues with everyone else. Therefore he cannot avoid the temptation to browse through those strange little magazines on offer beside the tills and read about these things.
Speaking for myself and my milieu, I am at a loss. We all age and, although we might wish it were not so, we cannot escape the fact. The aches, the pains and the disillusionment do not disappear just because an abnormally tight and shiny face greets you in the bathroom mirror. Somewhere, in a distant attic, your true portrait exists and the facelift is just whistling in the dark, trying to postpone the inevitable. And so it has always been with cars.
Has there ever been a facelift in the motoring industry that didn’t besmirch even the most lacklustre original? To answer that question before you can, I would say yes, but very, very rarely. The Series 3 Jaguar XJ was the Miss Dolly Parton of the automotive World, managing to retain freshness, elegance and outstanding ability – your musical and other tastes might not concur with mine so I will not labour the parallel. However, despite Jaguar’s clever collaboration with Pininfarina, there was a price to pay. By extending the basic vehicle’s life by more than another model cycle, it set Jaguar into that onanistic spiral of retrogressive design that it took decades to escape from. So I will contend that even a good facelift is, ultimately, a bad one.
Generally a facelift suggests one of three things. First, that the design team got it wrong initially and is merely ‘rolling it in glitter’. Second, and even more dispiriting, that a new designer is seeking to mark their territory by imposing their style over their predecessor. Third, that the basic vehicle is overdue for a complete change, but all the manufacturer can manage is this year’s stick-ons. Nevertheless, in each case the facelift is screaming “Do Not Buy Me!”
However, you might disagree and, if so, we would be grateful for your comments. I’ll also be happy to hear you tell me that I am completely correct.