Re: Print The Legend
I have just awoken from a bizarre dream, that I feel I should share with you all.
In my dream I was reading a motoring magazine called Luxo, which only reviewed cars with superlative ride comfort and luxuriant specifications. The magazine was created by a core of writers who found themselves out of work when their previous publication, Distinguished Car, was incorporated into another motoring monthly magazine.
Luxo had great success by focussing on the sorts of vehicles which it felt appealed to the true enthusiast motorist - the type who may wear a comfortable pair of carpet slippers or raffish brogues with their tweed motorist's garments. Rover Group, which continued to be the mass-market enthusiast staple with its range of models shared with owners Honda, had succeeded in capturing the upwardly-mobile shift in buying behaviour, and overtaken Ford with their Rover 65 compact executive saloon. Many commentators had nicknamed it The Midlands Mondeo, such was the ubiquity of the car on UK roads. The 65, particularly in its hard-core Vanden Plas specification, was a Luxo favourite, along with the Lexus LS limousine, the Citroen/Peugeot and Renault large saloons the Ford Granada and the new crop of luxuriant vehicles from Hyundai, garnering a reputation for their enthusiast-friendly pillow-soft ride, and the generosity of their standard specifications.
Luxo also managed to have an enviable collection of desirable longterm test vehicles, including the Rolls-Royce Phantom, which they offered their readers the opportunity to experience first-hand through Luxo-Active garden parties where the cars would be chauffeur-driven on a scenic tour of the surrounding countryside.
The BBC realised that this was an excellent gimmick for relaunching their flagship motoring entertainment show, Automatic Transmission. An anonymous chauffer, known as The Jeeves, was used to carry host James May on a timed lap of a pleasant country touring road reconstructed at the Auto Trans studios, whereupon he was often known for his catch-cries of 'comfort!' and 'that really is rather good'.
Against this backdrop of an industry obsessed with silence & relaxation, there was an odd group, often confined to online motoring forums or letters to the editor, who lamented the loss of handling prowess, acceleration and noise. Often found driving ascetic German cars in cold monochrome shades with dull plastic interiors and an apparent absence of springs and dampers, these fringe-dwellers wished for a time when manufacturers stopped fitting high aspect-ratio tyres, rich velour, wood and leather interior trims and dual mode engine silencers (normal and super-quiet). There were not enough of them to keep perennial basket-case and cult manufacturer Bavarian Motor Works in business, and after General Motors had attempted to add a healthy dose of Cadillac & Buick to these Spartan teutonic machines they sold the firm to Morgan, who had high hopes of creating a fine luxury sedan, perhaps to rival a Wolsley or some similarly-fine conveyance.
Then Stephen Fry's disembodied voice echoed around the room I was in as he asked me what I thought of the ashtrays in the new Lancia Flamina, and whether they could compare to his beloved Alvis...and I woke up.
Strange days indeed. Goodnight!