Sunday, April 23, 2006

Styling and money pits

click photo to enlarge
"Car: a wheeled motor-vehicle, usually propelled by an internal combustion engine". So says the dictionary. But to many people, particularly men, they are so much more. An obsession, a reflection or extension of personality, a status symbol, an object of beauty, a lifetime hobby, a money-pit: I'm sure you can add to this list. Oh, and for some people they are a form of transport!

Now, neither my best friends nor my worst enemies would describe me as a "petrol-head". I'm one of those people who see cars as a regrettable means of getting from A to B. What tipped me into buying a car was the arrival of a second child and unfortunate experiences on British Rail due to the depredations of the Thatcher years. Up to that point bicycles and public transport had served my needs. Now I use a car daily, and choose my model based principally on economy and reliability: I drive a Honda!

At this point, given my attitude to cars, you might be thinking, why the picture of the front end of an old Jaguar? Well, I've always been interested in design, and to a lesser extent, style (though I've no interest in fashion), and cars are the recipients of more styling than virtually any other manufactured object. Inevitably, with that amount of attention, some cars are going to have great styling, and sculptural qualities that can be appreciated in their own right. As I walked down a line of veteran and vintage vehicles on display in St Annes, Lancashire, I stopped at this Jaguar and admired the sensuous styling of the bonnet, radiator, light clusters and bumper. "Sculptural" is the only word to describe this delightful ensemble, and so I took my photograph of the best bit of the car.

For those who need to know, I believe this to be a Jaguar "S Type" 3.4 litre, manufactured between 1963 and 1968. If I'm wrong please correct me.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen