Way back in the blighted 1970’s – an era of three day weeks, power cuts and terrible trousers – an odious man called Edward Heath, who had somehow convinced the electorate that he should be Prime Minister, talked us into believing in something called the European Communities Bill.
Essentially, the public was simply conned by the words ‘Common Market’ into thinking that this was some sort of lovely free trade, easy travel kind of deal that would make holidays in Spain easier and more fun without having to speak the lingo. There was no mention of political union or indeed the horrible, bossy, bloated, gravy train shambles that it was to become.
Although we have retained the ‘Pound’ we immediately had to switched to metric currency because foreigners can only use money that divides by ten. Wonderful, historic coins like the treasured ‘half-crown’ or ‘sixpence’ were consigned to history and, much more importantly than that, as a knock-on effect, something happened that shook the very fabric of the nation. The benchmark of a car’s acceleration was reassigned at 100 kilometres per hour!
Imagine how that felt. Just imagine. I heard of incidences where strapping young men in their prime with their modded Mini’s and Cortina’s were known to have fainted clean away at the shock. Suddenly we were asked to accept this frankly arbitrary number of sixty-two miles per hour as the performance reading that we all were striving to improve in our cars.
‘No!’, cried the sporting drivers of Great Britain, ’60! The number is 60!’ but it was all for naught, their voices drowned out by the fanfare of trumpets, with just a whiff of garlic, from across the Channel. Suddenly, car makers of the world sat up and took notice. They saw that, through brainless industrial strife and shockingly bad management our home-grown car industry had been decimated and before we knew it cars with ridiculous names like Datsun and Skoda were disembarking on our shores. The rest is history.
The car I am driving at the time of writing is the new, revised and really rather good Kia Procee’d GT (another strange name) which reaches 62 MPH in 7.3 seconds. Back in the aforementioned day this was a very fast time merely dreamt about and only achieved by cubic capacity way beyond most peoples’ pockets. As time has passed we have grown to accept this pointless, spurious figure. We’ve had to, in the same way we’ve had to accept all the other utter cobblers that has come out of the mouths of our euro-masters. It appears on the specification sheets I publish with my car reviews but it has no meaning. It is just a number.
For your information Europe and the rest of the world (except Australia who still know how to drive properly), the correct benchmark number is 96.5606kph. Please ensure this is clearly marked on all speedometers in future.
Geoff Maxted (pro-Europe but anti-Euro politicians btw)