What Does Your Car Tell The World About You?
They say that people tend to resemble their dogs in both appearance and personality. Could the same be true, personality-wise, of people and the cars they drive? Unfortunately, most of us are restricted in the choice of car that we’d really like to own because of financial, family or other constraints. In the world of fictional TV series, however, there are no such constraints and producers often very cleverly provide the perfect match of car and character. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Can you imagine The Hon. John Steed driving anything other than that most aristocratic of British cars, a 41/2 Litre Blower Bentley? Steed is the personification of an English gentleman; educated at Eton, ex-Coldstream Guards, impeccable in manners and dress, and chivalrous to the point of obsession. If cars were human this is just the sort of upbringing and background that a Bentley would have had.
The first Bentleys were delivered to their lucky owners in 1921 and the marque soon became at home on the racetrack and as exclusive transport for the rich and famous. Even the first racing drivers for the cars, the legendary Bentley Boys, were wealthy enthusiasts who drove for the fun of it rather than for money. In their hands Bentleys almost ruled the Le Mans 24 hour race in the twenties, winning that gruelling, car breaker of a race no less than 5 times.
If Steed had been born a little earlier there is no doubt that he would have been one of the Bentley Boys.
At first the choice of a Volvo as the wheels for the suave, handsome, devil-may-care Simon Templar seems a bit odd. After all, Volvos are staid, reliable transport used by antique dealers and middle class families, aren’t they? So might the thoughts of the sixties TV watching public have run when the Saint first hit their screens. However, the newly launched Volvo P1800 of the time was unlike any Volvo that had gone before.
Being Volvo’s first sports car, the company wanted their new model to have a real impact on the buying public and they turned to Italy for the car’s exterior design. The stunning, curvaceous lines that the Italian designers came up with were a perfect match for the debonair flair and good looks of the Saint, played by Roger Moore. Although not a supercar, the P1800 was no slouch, its 100bhp engine giving it sufficient performance for those occasions when the Saint had to outrun the bad guys.
The P1800 was beautiful but it was also practical; it had a decent-sized boot and could comfortably accommodate four adults in its coupe styled body. Roger Moore was so impressed with the car that he chose to drive one himself.
The enigmatic lead character of this cult TV series, known only as Number 6, drove a Lotus Seven, a car that was itself something of an enigma in the world of motoring. A product of inspired engineering by its creator, Colin Chapman, the Seven of the late 1950s and 1960s was the nearest that most people could get to driving a racing car. Its extremely light weight gave the car excellent performance and handling. Indeed, the series 2 models of the 60s could show many Italian supercars a clean pair of heels in a race from 0 to 60 mph.
In spite of the car’s high performance it could be put on the road for a fraction of the cost of most family cars of the day as it was supplied in a CKD (Completely Knocked Down) form, ready to be built by the purchaser. The reason for this was that it avoided the buyer having to pay a “Purchase Tax”.
A quirky condition of the avoidance of purchase tax was that the manufacturers of a kit car, as the Lotus Seven was, couldn’t provide assembly instructions with the car. Lotus’s owner, Colin Chapman realised that there was no rule saying that dis-assembly instructions couldn’t be supplied so every Seven was equipped with a detailed guide on how to take the car apart! All the builder had to do was to follow the instructions in reverse order. I think Number 6 would have liked that.
There are many more similar examples of enlightened matching of driver with car that brighten our TV screens but these will have to await another article. I hope that at least one of your favourites has been included among the selections above. All that remains is for you to start asking yourself, “What does my choice of car tell the world about me?”