A long time ago I was a great football fan. I had a season ticket at Chelsea and this was at a time when their sole tactic was for a defender to toe-punt the ball as far up the field as possible and get everyone else to chase it. The match was like watching a gang of toddlers at a crèche kick-about. The highlight was always the meat pie at half-time.
The players however were paid a sensible wage and were generally likeable, self-effacing and part of the community. Not so now. Like many sports (Bernie E please take note) soccer is spoiled by money. Over-hyped, over-privileged players are lauded and hero worshipped for kicking a ball. Football was about sporting endeavour, winning rather than earning, and four-four-two. I’ve gone right off the game.
This is why I’m worried about the future of cars, steeped as I am in the dark days of Twentieth Century motoring when we were connected by small red structures at intervals along the side of the road. The back seat of a car had a much greater significance than today. Of course, you can’t stop progress; the future will happen with or without you. I don’t expect that just because I’m grumbling about cars the motor industry is going to sit up and say they’ve got it all wrong. Although I don’t see why not, frankly.
Take the Renault Captur. There’s an ad currently on the goggle-box about this car. It doesn’t mention engines or suspension or handling at all. It just shows an unfortunate actor trawling through his imaginary life, meeting new friends, finding a bride and generally having a lovely time, all thanks to his lifestyle motor. It is a decent and popular motor certainly, but exciting it isn’t.
The truth is nobody really gives a monkey’s about what car you drive – ever. People are only concerned about their own wheels. The only time a car will help you find love is if you are a wealthy footballer, in which case you won’t be driving a Captur.
In the same way that football and Formula One have become boring thanks to the cult of personality mixed with corporate financial interest at the expense of excitement and sporting excellence, so cars are beginning to go the same way. Certainly, there are an some technically excellent cars around today but which are, in any meaningful motoring sense, boring.
The race for the global car is resulting, unsurprisingly, in dull motors, all with that dreadful and overused ‘lifestyle’ tag. Economies of scale and decisions made by committee will always end up as a fudge.
Obviously, not all cars are like this. There are still some very exciting and exotic vehicles available to buy. The problem is that they mostly come with exciting and exotic price tags. Premiership footballers can afford them. Whingeing motor racers can afford them but, and let’s be honest here, you can’t. There’s still some great drives around though. The Lotus sports car in the image at the top of the page for example, but even that’s not cheap. Come back Colin Chapman – the world of motoring needs you.