Above and Beyond: As advertising taglines go, this speaks to an essential truth in advertising. Because driving a Range Rover genuinely does suggest an altogether loftier plane, and it is this sense of elevation, otherwise the sole preserve of Rolls Royce owners, that is the car’s defining characteristic. Of course the corollary to splendid isolation is one not infrequently experienced by the privileged classes in wider society; a distancing from street level realities, something which can be observed in the manner some luxury SUV owners conduct themselves upon the roadway.
It is probably fair to say that the SUV as we know it originated in the USA, but on this side of the Atlantic, the advent of the Range Rover marked the beginning of our love affair with the concept of a luxurious off-road-capable vehicle. Originally created as a car for affluent farmers, the Range Rover quickly became an adopted urbanite, where its tall stature and panoramic visibility made them surprisingly effective city dwellers. As Land Rover’s BL masters belatedly realised its market potential, it increasingly became a more overtly luxurious machine and once it was introduced into the US market in the late 1980’s, its original utilitarian remit was swept away entirely. Continue reading “Home on the Range”
Car making CEOs are not generally known for their comedic skills. One expects variations of sobriety; suits, stoic faces, a modicum of good manners – even to the press. This is not a charity. Making money (and cars) is serious business. Anomalies do however occasionally surface. Maybe the planets line up in a certain order, a particularly cheeky Chateau Neuf de Pape loosens the guard, revealing the (not so) inner Dr. Nefario (with Gru peering over his shoulder) for a moment, allowing an otherwise unmined niche to Continue reading “Despicable Me – Parts 1,2,3 (And 4)”
I’ve been to just two motor shows and I found nothing glamorous about the aching feet and expanses of leased carpet.
[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”
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!”
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.
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”
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)
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”
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”
As a car stylist, you’re only as good as your last design. Oh dear…
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.
An old-fashioned Glamour Girl, or an unlikely precursor of Girl Power. We look at Norah Docker’s Golden Years.
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”
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”