Just Three

Evil Bastard I mean Loyal Reader Petec directs my gaze to this bunch of Brit ne’er-do-well resto-modders, and my question to everyone is this:

Forget the price, and ignore the fact that it may have been sold;  list your top 3 of the cars on either the “Blue Chip” or “Prestige” pages.

Mine are, in no specific order:

Trying to pick a #1 from this lot is like trying to pick a favorite child.

And if New Wife wanted in, I’d get her this little beauty (because she thinks most modern sports cars are utterly vulgar and horrible):

It’s a good thing that I haven’t won the lottery, or these guys would be getting a visit from me.

Another Modernized Failure

I have written before about auto companies relaunching beloved older models, but in modern (post-modern?) shape and form.  To remind everyone of the concept:

Now comes Land Rover, who sold their soul company to some furriners, only to have said furriners turnaround and re-release a model long ago discontinued by the British Land Rover (for reasons which escaped me then, and still do).  I speak of course of the peerless Defender model, as exemplified by the one owned by The Englishman, Stout Bulldog that he is:

In that Defender’s place comes the newer version, to the universal acclaim of journalists and the undiluted scorn of the people who are in the target market of prospective purchasers.  Even better [eyecross], the New-N-Improved Defender is made not in Britishland, but in Slovakia.

I’m not going to post any pics of the new version because copyright hucksters and asshole lawyers (some overlap), but follow the link above and form your own opinions.  (Spoiler:  it’s the one that looks like a 4×4 New Mini.)

Now all that said:  maybe the new Slovo-Defender provides a more comfortable ride than the Anglo-Defender — it could hardly be less  comfortable, and I speak as one who has driven from Wiltshire to Scotland and back in Mr. Free Market’s Defender, as well as from Wiltshire to Cornwall and back in The Englishman’s one, and have the distressed kidneys to prove it.  But that’s not the point of a Defender, is it?  I mean, one could (technically speaking) drive a Caterpillar bulldozer from Wisconsin to Iowa along the interstate highway system, but that’s not what it was designed for.

However, I rather think that I’m missing the point.  I bet that the target market is not members of the farmer-Stout Bulldog Set [massive overlap]  such as The aforementioned Englishman and Mr. Free Market.  Instead, the new owners of Land Rover are aiming for the suburban / urban middle class, purchasers of “utility” vehicles such as the Porsche Macan, BMW X3 and Audi Q5 (vehicles referred to in Britishland as “Chelsea Tractors” and in north Texas as “Plano Off-Roaders”, for obvious reasons).

And this was written in all seriousness:

“…down the toilet.” FIFY

Anyway, the reaction of existing Defender owners to this new product can best be summed up from a joint communique issued by Mr. Free Market and The Englishman via my email:

“Looks like we’ll be holding onto our old Defenders for some time to come.”

Oops.

And A Nation Yawns

…that nation, of course, being the United States when it comes to the Snooze Fest known as Formula 1, who have just announced the new F1 calendar for the 2020 season.

Twenty-two races (up from twenty), with seven back-to-back weekend races (F1 Grand Prix are usually spaced two weekends apart)… as one comedian noted in the comments:  just more races not to watch.

And Hanoi?  WTF were they thinking?  F1 couldn’t even get the South Korean Grand Prix to break even, and that’s in a Third World country that isn’t  a post-Communist shithole.

I had to laugh when I read another comment which suggested Johannesburg’s Kyalami track.  The main reason that F1 doesn’t go to South Africa anymore is that it would be the only venue where the cars could be carjacked during the race itself.  (That said, Kyalami is a brilliant track — I saw the late Niki Lauda win there, back when the teams were racing Fred Flintstone cars, comparatively speaking.  But the races were still more exciting than today’s.)

That said, I’m starting to lose enthusiasm for my lifelong passion — and if I can lose it, a lot more people aren’t going to take it on.

Sic semper res taedia.

Shapely

Longtime Readers are no doubt getting tired of me griping about the sameness of modern automobiles.  Yet the other day I found myself looking at a pic of the new Corvette C8 — which, I have to admit, I don’t hate too  much  — and asking myself:  “Where have I seen this before?”

 

Then it came to me:

 

That’s the Ferrari 458, and although the rear is different, the front isn’t, much.

I’m not into “supercars”, really, but I have to think that if someone asked me to pick one (ignoring the investment differential vis-a-vis the Ferrari), I’d probably refuse both.  Which begs the question:  “Okay, Kim… so which modern supercar of today would you pick?”

Only because I find it the least ugly of all of them, the Aston Martin DB11:

 

…although, as I stated earlier on these pages, I’d rather not have any  supercar, but a simple sports car, the 2015 Jaguar XK:

 

I saw one as it burbled past me the other day in Plano’s Legacy West area, and I was filled with an unreasonable hatred towards its owner.  And I’m not even an envious socialist.

A Little While Ago vs. Right Now

My earlier posts on vintage British sports cars generated quite a bit of discussion (here and here).  So I thought I’d bring the post topic up to date somewhat, to review what’s been happening recently.

First a little history.  This, of course, is the E-Type we all know and love (from 1966):

 

Next, the Jaguar XK, which was discontinued in 2015:

 

Personally, I think this was the most beautiful Jag made since the X220.  Then, in a fit of stupidity idiocy foolishness mental retardation lunacy brilliance, Jaguar replaced the above with the “F-Type”:

 

Personally, I fucking hate the F-Type:  it’s ugly, brutish and classless, with all the modern doodads which supposedly appeal to the sports car buyer of today:  massive front grille, show-off brake calipers and totally superfluous air scoops with black accents.

So we went from sleek and sexy to fugly in 50 years.  I think they call that “progress”.  No prizes for guessing what I think it is.

Brit Bits 2

Following yesterday’s post about the exquisite Triumph TR4, I need to explain where I got the title of the two posts.  But first, a little exposition.

As much as I love and adore old cars, I have no interest — none —  in restoring one.  Indeed, even if I were tempted to buy one, I would never be one of Those Guys who spend hours over weekends trying to coax life into an old Weber carburetor or rewiring the dashboard switches.  I believe that all that stuff is best left to people who enjoy doing this stuff:  I’m a user, not a fixer or tinkerer, and think that if I were intended to venture into this dark world of vintage car ownership, God would not have invented auto mechanics or, for that matter, AAA.

However, when I do happen upon a temple dedicated to these endeavors, I’m happy to pass on the news in case there is the occasional Reader who might need to visit such an establishment.  So during my recent trip to New England, I happened to come upon Brit Bits, a marvelously-named place located in Rye, New Hampshire.  Here’s what I saw:

(I should point out that in her yoof, New Wife used to drive an MGB GT like the mustard-colored one — the color is Full Late-1960s — only hers was aubergine:  “purple”, to you and me.  If I’d had the money — and the nerve —  I would have bought her the white one and driven it back the Texas.)

But be still, my beating heart:  Morris Minors!

And don’t get me started about the Austin Healey Mk III:

The only problem with owning one of these, as any fule kno, is that one would need to move to Rye and form a very close relationship with the mechanics at Brit Bits (maybe even adoption should be considered), unless one were of the aforementioned fixers and tinkerers.

However, if I were to be presented with a “resto-mod” of the Healey, MGB or even that Morris Minor Traveller station wagon, I’d sell a firstborn or two.

And you have to love a place that features this July 4-themed pic on their website: