The other day I gently placed a tiny gauntlet at the feet of the readers, a challenge concerning the set of boring parked cars. What had they in common, I inquired softly.
I received some jolly interesting replies ranging from observations about their grilles to their general banality. There was also a good guess about engine displacements. Alas, despite their ingenuity and their not being 100% wrong, none of the replies were precisely, exactly and perfectly what I was looking for. So, in order to lower people’s tension levels I will reveal the answer to the puzzle now.
Let’s review the cars in the image insofar as I am able – the ones at the back are slightly harder to see in the image.
In the front sat the Honda Jazz from 2009. Next to it shivered the 2008 Mazda 2. By that car’s side we see a Seat Leon from 2006. If we look right of that: a Mitsubishi Colt from 2005. Mazda have another representative in the form of a Three (2004). Parked further away still is Citroen’s 2003 charmer the C3.
And Peugeot’s very own 307 from 2002 lingers at an even greater distance from the front. By the end of the row we have reached the 2001 Skoda Fabia, a car of timeless correctness, if you ask me. Missing from the sequence – and this perhaps might have confused people or thrown them off the scent like a rodeo rider being hurled from an angry mare: the 2007 Opel Corsa.
I presume the pattern is now clear: all of the cars were winners of the Danish Car of The Year award. The second photo shows a few more of them, parked outside a building in an industrial estate in Viborg, Denmark. The building and grounds are temporary home to an exhibition showing almost all the winners of the Danish COTY from its inception in 1969 to date. There wasn’t a single Daf or Mercedes in among them, now that I come to think about it. No Rover either. No Lancia.
The second photo shows another selection: the VAG Up trio (2013) and the 2015 Citroen Cactus. The 2014 Octavia is not in sight. Though a pleasure to see some of the older winners, the general exhibition left a lot to be desired. One of the deficiencies was the slightly irregular layout of the cars where the odd winner was misplaced. And second, the incredible banality of the exterior display where the more recent winners look like nothing so much as any third-tier used car dealer in Jutland.
I notice that of the winners since 1969, only one brand is extinct though many have changed owners. That dead brand is Simca whose 1307/1308 won in 1976. That by an amusing irony brings me to the recent spontaneous competition to find the car with the most nameplates. The Simca 1307 had many names : 1309, Chrysler Alpine, Chrysler 150, Simca-Talbot 1510, Dodge Alpine and Simca-Talbot Solara.
Isn’t the 1307 etc name remarkably odd? Four digit names are rare and usually involve lots of zeros e.g 9000 and 6000 or at least end in a zero 2000 and 3500. 1307? It’s a number for a combination lock.
I will return to the exhibition in greater detail very soon.