You perhaps wouldn’t expect that point of view from me, but it’s true. What’s interesting about row after row of cars all parked up?
Perhaps it’s because in this digital age, we can not only read about cars and look at pictures of them, but also watch videos of them in action. We can go to events where cars are driven – whether in anger or just for the pleasure of doing so. I find that much more interesting.
I can liken this to meeting a film star. If you just see them in the street, or sitting down reading a magazine, it kind of highlights that they’re just another human really. You get that initial “OMG IT’S…” moment, then nothing much else happens. You might be brave enough to speak to them, ask for a photo, but when you get home, you’ll just realise that there are a zillion better photos of this person on the internet. Yes, you met them, were in the same place as them, but what’s special about that?
It’s like that with cars. Yes, it can be nice to see something special or unique at a show, but what can you do with the experience? Some cars are very, very pretty, so you can stare at them for a bit and go “hmmmm.” But that doesn’t last long. I’ve seen a Bugatti Veyron parked up, and if you stare at it long enough, it just becomes rather bland.
Watch one in action though and it all becomes rather more astonishing. The whoosh as it tries to put down some of its many horsepowers, the brain-baffling speed at which it moves and the grace of those lines as they slip through the air become something well worth remembering. I know this because every time I go to La Vie En Bleu at Prescott Hillclimb, I get the same giddy thrill. Walking around the paddock looking at them parked up does nothing for me.
It isn’t just the fancy stuff either. Looking at a Citroen 2CV is all well and good, but how much better is it to see one cornering on its doorhandles? Cars are about so much more than how they look. It pleases me that there are more and more road runs going on around the country. Then you get the full package. Not just the looks, but the bellow of an exhaust, the induction roar, the scream of a transmission. It’s like seeing that film star right in front of you doing what they do best. It’s the full package.
I’ve nothing against the ‘boring’ static shows to be honest, but they’re more suited to the people displaying than the people attending. It’s always nice to catch up with people in relaxing surroundings, but a group of people chattering next to a shiny car is not going to set pulses racing.
I’m off to an event this weekend which promises plenty of action – albeit at a rather more gentle pace than a Veyron can manage. That’s fine. As long as there is action, people will be captivated.