Alternative Fuel


You could buy a second-hand VW Jetta TDI for less than half the price of a Tesla.  The Jetta has a 20-gallon diesel fuel tank which will take you over 500 miles, and which will burn those 20 gallons of diesel more efficiently with a lower carbon footprint than the generator takes to burn 9.  And at 30,000 miles, you won’t have to spend a further $10,000 to replace its battery.

Just a thought.

The Problem With Jaguar

In yesterday’s post (), I said that I disagreed with Frank Stephenson’s Top 3 choices of outstanding Jaguar design (and if you haven’t read it yet, you should because otherwise a lot of which follows may not be understood).

“O Kim,”  I hear you saying, “who are you to argue with the design choices of an actual car designer, you ignoramus?”

As with all things, it comes down to categorization.  So let’s look at Stephenson’s Top 3 Jaguar designs:

1) 1954 Jag D-type:

Is it jaw-droppingly gorgeous?  Hell, yes, and sexy withal.  But the problem was that it was designed as a race car — a track car, and therefore made in tiny quantities (which is reflected in the prices asked for each of the two dozen or so still known to exist).  But I think the D-type is more important for what it did to Jag’s production sports car line which followed, and you all know where this is leading:

And as much as I like swoopy curves, I think the E-type is the design which not only set Jag apart, but caused others to try to copy its appeal in their cars, and failed.

To be fair, Stephenson does think that the E-type is the greatest car design ever, and I’m not sure that too many will disagree with him.  But I think he did it a disservice by excluding it from his Top3 Jag designs, putting in instead the earlier D-type racer.  Now did the D influence the E?  Undoubtedly;  but the E-type is still the superior design.  His next choice, though, cannot be questioned:

2) 1950 Jaguar XK 120 OTS

If you were to rebuild an exact replica of this car, modernizing only the electro-mechanical shortfalls of that vintage, there is not a man (nor maybe woman) alive who would turn it down if parked in his driveway as a gift.  It is unmistakably a Jaguar, undoubtedly a classic, and irrefutably the supercar of its time.  Its design would set the standard for Jaguar for a decade or more.

Finally, we come to Stephenson’s last choice:

3) 1955 Jaguar Mk 2

I’m not going to argue with this choice too much, because it was a good design — for Jaguar.  Unfortunately, there were also more than a few cars around at the time which looked quite like it, e.g. the Lancia Aurelia:

Honestly, if we’re going to look at an excellent Jaguar design perhaps worthy of a Top 3 position, we need to consider this one:

1969 Jaguar XJ6

Over the next four decades, every single new XJ passenger car model flowed from this design, and like all the classic Jaguar designs, it was all about what Jaguar represented:  understated, classy, yet with a hint of snarling power waiting to be unleashed.

So there you have my choices:  the E-type, the XK 120 and the XJ6.

Feel free to discuss in Comments, as always.

Top 3 Designs

Not mine, this time, but those of a guy named Frank Stephenson who, it must be said, is a bona fide  car designer and not just some guy on the Internet with an opinion — that would be me, among so many others.

Like me, though, Stephenson seems to favor cars designed in the pre-wind tunnel era — and certainly his design of, for example, the Ferrari 430 bears that out, even though he never actually admits it as such.

Anyway, our Frank opines on several brands’ designs — designs which he feel are statement cars and ones which either set, or reshaped the manufacturers’ designs for years to come.

Amazingly, though, I am in agreement with a lot of his selections despite my being a total amateur in this field.  His take on BMW’s three best designs are spot on, for example — the M1, 507 (which are my top pair, as you may recall) and the E9 / 3.0l CSi (which would be my number 3 choice, by the way).

I don’t agree with all his Ferrari choices, though.  Of course I agree with his selection of the Dino 246 GT and the 1960s-era 250 GT Lusso, but not so much with the 1970s 365 GT BB (which was really just a knock-off of the Lambo Miura P400 — as Stephenson himself acknowledges).  From a pure design standard, I would have picked one of the Scuderia’s other offerings, although which one I’m not quite sure.

Anyway, here are the episodes I think are interesting:

So kiss your Saturday goodbye, and if yer Missus yells at you, blame me.  I’ll be talking more about this topic tomorrow.


This post was prompted by my (belated) Sunday post from earlier this week, wherein I described the BMW 507 and M1 as my choice of “companion” cars.

Which leads me to wonder the following:  if you had to pick two models from the same badge on the hood as your companion pieces, which two would you select?  (Examples:  Ford GT and F150, Mercedes G-wagen and SL*, Toyota Prius and Corolla — okay, that one’s a joke — or MGB and MG Midget, etc. )

When picking a model, be as specific as you can. — e.g. Mercedes 230 SL / Mercedes 500 SL, with the year if possible.

In addition to the BMW pair above, I’d also like the 1956 Mercedes 300S Coupe and 1964 Mercedes 230 SL:

No need to provide pics;  if I run another post later on the choices, I’ll get them myself.