Essential Cool - Part Two: Cars

Every Cool must have a cool car or no car at all. Not having things, such as not having a TV, is cool. But if you have a car, the line,  "it gets me from A to B" is an admission that you tuck your shirt into your underpants and smell of Lenor.

Car deaths are cool. James Dean, Albert Camus, Mike Hawthorn, Falco, Eddie Cochran, Linda Lovelace, Jackson Pollock, Denis Brain, Grace Kelly, Isadora Duncan, Marc Bolan, Bessie Smith and a host of other cools died in auto accidents. Death is not cool as such, but you have to go sometime, and you may as well go in style. Having your cold, dead, corpse extricated from a Nissan Micra - a car any Cool would not be seen dead in, is an admission of failure in life. Being extracted from a Prius, which, moments before had a stuck accelerator pedal, is perhaps best left unmentioned. You are better off, in that case, being remembered for your endearing ability to fart La Marseillaise.

You do not have to be rich to have a cool car. Any twat can have a Ferrari if they can kick a ball straight enough. Cool cars are partly, who drives it, and partly, soul. Soul can be built into a car. Soul can acrue. The Italians used to build soul in a car, but then forgot about reliability. The last affordable cool car built by Italians was the Alfa Romeo Spider Type 4. Obviously not to drive, because it would have fallen to bits, but it was a looker.

The Swedes have always made cool cars. Saabs (I have had three) and the Volvo P1800 always defined driver independence. The French used to be sub-zero cool when it came to cars: Traction Avant, so beloved of the Gestapo, The DS, perfect for your French President and the little 2CV or the lesser known Bijou were all suitable for chilled transportation. The Germans have also made cool cars, but I would have to cite the Messerschmitt Kabinenroller as being possibly the coolest car on the planet, because it looks like a prop from Lost in Space, which is how the future was supposed to look way back in 1955. You pay up to Twenty Grand for a good KR 200, so cool like this does not come cheap.

Here in the UK we have a problem. Peter Mandelson is in charge of encouraging the British Car industry, which is a bit like Arthur Mullard being chief buyer for Victoria's Secret. Consequently, there is not a lot to talk about.

A lot of old British cars are cool. Here is a partial list:
Rolls Royce
The original Mini Cooper
Lotus Elan
Lotus 7s
Land Rovers
Jensen Interceptor
Triumph Herald Coupe

Not surprisingly, these Bristols looked like an aircraft cockpit inside and were definite bird pullers.

I won't say much about uncool cars, in case you have one, but I am afraid, if you have a Rover, (apart from an MGF) better just give up trying to be cool.

I shall stick my neck out here; I have a Volkswagen and a 12 year-old MGF vvc in British Racing Green, from the days when BMW were in charge. Perhaps not the coolest cars you can buy, but they get me from A to B.


back to the future said...

I saw a MK1 Ford Escort in my village today. Yellow with two go faster stripes down the side. I felt nostalgic for everything we have frittered away over the last 30 years.
I'd have loved to have stopped it and jumped in and said "take me to 1978".
It had the twin carbs with the aluminium air filter. Souped up or what !

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Yes, certainly cool, but perhaps with a touch of irony?

Spartan said...

l think cool cars are also gender orientated. lt maybe a cool car but having the wrong gender in it is not cool. Actually it seems to work only in one direction ... girls can look cool in virtually all iconic cars.

For example l never felt right when borrowing some of my wife's cars. These would be the Triumph Spitire (which l never wanted but she did), the Lotus Elan S3 (l'm never gonna be Emma Peel out of The Avengers) and even though many men did drive them .. the Triumph Stag (a bloody nightmare if you didn't take extreme care of regular and preventative servicing of said engine). Strangley to some, l felt he same about driving her Merc 350SL.

Yet she looked and felt great driving the Mini Cooper S and the Ford RS2000 MK2.

The RS2000 was outstanding ... l adored that car. lt just stuck to the road like glue and the performance was exceptional but there again it was helped by having a Group 1 engine.

The Mini Cooper S was great fun too. l'd taken the badge off the boot when it was resprayed and never replaced it. Consequently some people thought it was a standard Mini. How they missed the dead giveaway of the twin tanks is beyond me!

Happy days and to top it all l survived all the white knuckle driving to tell the tales!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I agree about the gender thing. I sometimes worry my MGF is a bit girlie.

Spartan said...

l felt fine in her MGB.

2 other cars l feel l should mention worthy of merit were the Volvo 1800ES and oddly ... a Pontiac Fiero

back to the future said...


Did your RS2000 have the concrete slabs in the boot to help with the rear wheel drive ? My friend had one and claimed the slabs improved the handling.

Spartan said...

back to the future ... no, certainly not. The car handled wonderfully and traction was never a problem.l wouldn't even contemplate adding weight to it ... especially concrete blocks!!!

Lucid_Dreamer said...

Wow man,

These are beautiful cars. Thanks for sharing.


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