Car (South Africa)
LONGING FOR THE FIZZ
I am experiencing a crisis. Not a midlife crisis … no, I am experiencing something much worse. I am losing interest in one of the greatest loves of my life, cars! I remember the day I first fell in love. It was a sunny day in 1992 when I picked up a CAR Magazine and saw her: a BMW 850i.
James May calls it the fizz; I call it the kringetjie gevoel, but Lord knows, it felt good. That experience, “losing my Carginity”, opened my eyes and formed the foundation of every braai conversation I’ve had in my life. The problem is, nowadays all cars do basically the same thing. Don’t get me wrong, I do admire new technology and safety features. But all cars on sale today have the same standard features you will find in a 2002 Mercedesbenz S-class.
Most new cars look pretty great. European, Japanese, Korean, hell … even the Indian and Chinese cars are all good looking. But here is the issue: The modern Italians look just as good. Where are the beautiful cars? Where are the cars that will make a fouryear-old child besotted with automobiles? The BMW 850CSI, Merc 300 SL Gullwing, Jaguar E-type, Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, Ferrari 288 GTO, Lamborghini Miura, Lotus Esprit V8, the Mclaren F1, Pagani Zonda, and one of my favourites, the Mercedes-benz Mclaren SLR with its angry 5,5-litre V8. In my opinion, the last truly beautiful car was the Alfa Romeo 8C. Future generations will have to get used to a Tesla going by like a silent fart, while I still get the kringetjie gevoel when I hear the distinct roar of a Mercedes AMG V8 – particularly the M156 6,2.
There might be some light at the end of the tunnel and design salvation may not come from the Italians. Looking at his new designs, our fellow South African Gordon Murray might save me.
PAUL VAN MARLE Limpopo
(Spoken like a true petrolhead, Paul. I know the aesthetics of vehicles are a subjective matter, but you’ve listed some timeless designs that I hope in the future can be successfully repeated for the electric era – editor.)