Until the 17th of October the Paris Motor Show will take place, but major magazines already present photographs of the new models. Clicking through these collections I come to the conclusion that the new models are the old models – I miss something.
Most cars look the same. And if it’s low and loud it’s a Porsche – but I do not want to ride one inch over the tarmac and peep trucks under the belly while overtaking.Porsches surely are good cars, reliable, fast, carrying tons of status and a handbag. They are produced in high numbers, what is basically no bad thing. They combine the high quality of modern industrialized production with the possibility of individualization: My Porsche is green with pink stars, see? A Mangusta is assembled by hand, as is a Wiesmann, let alone the iconic Morgan Roadster with it’s wooden frame, in production since – oh, before the war. Of course Morgan uses Ford engines, as Wiesmann the BMW power plants, while Porsche still builds it’s own six cylinder boxer.
One has always the possibility to build a kit, put an individual body shell over a frame – by far no new idea. There is still a hard-core community for 2 CV conversions and various small companies offer their products. After WWII a lot of kits were produced in the UK and elsewhere, Ashley and Scimitar may be known still today. A nice publication is OldClassicCars. Actual one can have a boattail from Deco Rides for example.
But all these cars are or at least pretend to be sports cars: Low, loud, fast. To sum it up: Uncomfortable.
Of course one must not turn to the other extreme and jump in – or better climb onto a Landrover. It was once built under license by German company Tempo, who had developed a very interesting overland vehicle of it’s own. But riding high over the tarmac and having the theoretical possibility to drive the beast nearly anywhere on the planet not necessarily includes comfort.
Comfort as it was found in the DS for example, years after production’s end still a design and technical icon. A friend once owned a real Pallas seven-seater and I can assure you that it is like riding on the magic carpet. Sadly enough déesses rust away in exceptional speed. The hydropneumatical suspension and spring responsible for the smooth ride is developed further, actual Citroen cars are fitted with mark three of the system.
While Stutz is out of production my personal favorite is the Blenheim 3 G by Bristol Cars. It’s comfortable, compact but roomy and no-nonsense. A comfy fauteuil on wheels. And as I see it the last really independent car producer.