Sunday, 25 November 2012

Brushing up on the classics

I dislike the term “Classic Car” because it is vague and ill-defined.  I also suspect that it represents misuse of the English language.  Despite that I always seem to enjoy the big classic car show held every November at the National Exhibition Centre.

The most interesting thing (from a personal point of view) about the show is noticing what captures my attention.  Fancy stuff from the famous names seldom does it and my favourite cars get barely a cursory glance; it is the odd stuff, the things you don’t see every day (or in every other magazine). 

Passing time transforms the mundane into the interesting.  How else to account for my pleasure at seeing a well-preserved, low mileage Fiat 132?  It might not be the most inspiring car in the world but you could say the same of the Morris Marina, a car with a strong – if occasionally inexplicable – following.

From a certain point of view the appeal of Citroen’s 2CV is equally difficult to fathom.  It isn’t fast or pretty or luxurious.  Some cars have interiors that are like the inside of a gentlemen’s club; the 2CV is more like an old potting shed.  For all that, it was a very comfortable place to sit.  The simple, hammock seats somehow manage to provide all the comfort and support you need as you contemplate the seemingly random collection of instruments and switches on the dashboard.  Where else would you find a choke control labelled with an “S”?  In French “strangulateur” means choke – but don’t quote me on the spelling.