Theme: Glamour – Motor Shows

I’ve been to just two motor shows and I found nothing glamorous about the aching feet and expanses of leased carpet.

2011 Berton B99:d-talks.com
2011 Bertone B99:d-talks.com

[It’s a coincidence that we posted an essay on this topic only yesterday. Simon Kearne, the editor, asked for more articles on this theme so I feel I must oblige even if it means a repeat. That said, Sean took a different tack and if you don’t like his dry, elegant style you can sample my self-consciously writerly gimmicks and see if you prefer that approach].

As a regular paying customer to the pompously named Automobile Salons you don’t see a great deal of the same visual excitement as the press do on the opening days. The models have usually gone away and the folks stalking the stands only want to Continue reading “Theme: Glamour – Motor Shows”

Theme : Glamour – It’s Showtime!

Motor Shows – A Litany Of Broken Promises

Auto China 2010 - image Feng Li/Getty Images
Auto China 2010 – image Feng Li/Getty Images

I’ve not been to a Motor Show for ages. I went to a few many years ago, when they were at Earls Court each Autumn. All I got was a pain in my chest and a load of brochures. I don’t miss them. Cars just seem different at shows. The lights show up everything, so they are polished relentlessly. They look perfect, and that’s probably why I don’t want to see them under such circumstances.
Continue reading “Theme : Glamour – It’s Showtime!”

Theme: Glamour – Car Designers

There’s nothing like spending weeks at meetings to discuss technical issues of draft angles, paint finishes and packaging requirements. Car design isn’t all glamour.

Malcolm Ward of Opel explains a design detail: opelpost.com
Malcolm Ward of Opel explains a design detail: opelpost.com

But it has that too. Car designers get to see and shape the future, travel to car shows in nice cities and Detroit and wear striking shirts as well. Like the performing arts, car design mixes episodes of gruelling tedium with bursts of flamboyant style. Creativity is really about doing something very boring for a very long time so that someone else gets a nice visual surprise. The shirts, car shows and interviews are a payoff for all the drudgery that is required up to the point the project is revealed.  Continue reading “Theme: Glamour – Car Designers”

Theme: Glamour – A Very Irish Coupé

Tainted Love: There wasn’t a lot of glamour to be found in 1970’s Ireland. Not too many coupés either. (Originally published on 23 February 2014)

Image via autobild.de
Nuala and Rory mostly communicate through the medium of silence. Image: autobild.de

The coupé evokes a variety of adjectives in our automotive lexicon, most of which we broadly aspire to; words like glamour, sophistication, affluence. As an ideal it’s suffused with images of impossibly salubrious locations; languid cocktails on the shores of Lake Como, nibbling swan canapés on the Croisette, driving west on Sunset. So from the foregoing it’s fairly safe to assume that Ireland is not a place that readily springs to mind when the subject of the coupé is raised over the hors d’oeuvres. Continue reading “Theme: Glamour – A Very Irish Coupé”

Theme : Glamour – More Flash For Your Cash

We look at Glamour from a turbulent time.

1937 Pourtout Delage D8-120S ultimatecarpage-com
1937 Pourtout Delage D8-120S – image ultimatecarpage.com

Though a fool for Romance, I am rather impervious to Glamour. I certainly don’t suggest that I’m spiritually above the vulgar charms of diamonds and mink, and this isn’t a case of me eschewing something that I really want but can’t afford. It’s just that I could never take myself seriously in that world. Today’s high-end supercars leave me cold, since their ultimate abilities would be beyond my skills, and climbing into them with dignity is so difficult. And, although I might quite find the idea of the Rolls Royce Starlight Headliner, in a constellation of my own choice, quite intriguing on technical grounds, for me the simple moulded rippling wave inside the roof of my Nissan Cube does the job better. Continue reading “Theme : Glamour – More Flash For Your Cash”

Theme: Glamour/Disappointment – The Rise And Fall Of Henrik Fisker

 As a car stylist, you’re only as good as your last design. Oh dear…

henrik_fisker
Would you buy a watch from this man? Photo (c) http://www.stuartmcclymont.com

Once upon a time, there was a dashing Dane who, it appeared, could do no wrong when it came to creating sleek, elegant, timeless shapes for sophisticated sports cars. A mere decade later, little of this reputation remains intact – which also taints his past body of work.

I am writing this as someone who used to Continue reading “Theme: Glamour/Disappointment – The Rise And Fall Of Henrik Fisker”

Theme : Glamour – Grit in the Mascara

An old-fashioned Glamour Girl, or an unlikely precursor of Girl Power. We look at Norah Docker’s Golden Years.

One of the more tasteful ones - Blue Clover
One of the more tasteful ones – Blue Clover

In the period after the Second World War, and the long climb out of austerity, the Dockers were the visible end of the malaise of much of UK industry, particularly the motor industry. Most car companies had been started by hard working individuals, often from humble backgrounds, and their energy and ambition had allowed them to prosper, But, by the middle of the Century, many had become personal fiefdoms, run by bosses who were, at best, paternalistic philanthropists such as William Morris (Lord Nuffield) and, at worst, greedy and self-important incompetents.
Continue reading “Theme : Glamour – Grit in the Mascara”

Theme : Glamour – Introduction

The Editor welcomes a New Year and a New Theme

Facel Vega Col

After a Disappointing end to 2015, we start the first month of the New Year with an upbeat Theme. But what exactly is Glamour? Well, it is certainly not to be confused with November’s theme subject, Romance.

Both may be ethereal but, unlike Romance, Glamour is strictly a fleeting thing. Even the Glamorous only experience it for short periods. It is the accoutrements that give the appearance of Glamour. Individually, naked, we are not Glamorous, which is ironic bearing in mind the traditional euphemistic use of the word to describe a niche of the British publishing industry. This reminds us that there is always something not quite respectable lurking beneath the veneer of Glamour. Continue reading “Theme : Glamour – Introduction”