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We can be icons, just for one day (letter of the month)
Reading Gavin Green’s column on DS Automobiles (CAR, February) reminded me of a photograph I saw recently in a tribute to David Bowie. It’s October 1977 and Bowie is at the Dorchester doing interviews to promote Heroes. He is pictured leaning over a balcony, looking back at the camera. He looks relaxed and confident, an artist back at the height of his powers. In amongst the Park Lane traffic in the background, the car that stands out is parked at the foot of the image. The unmistakable sweptback windscreen and tapered roofline of a Citroën CX is at once both futuristic and effortlessly cool against the humdrum assortment of ’60s and ’70s shapes. It must have had a similar impact on the car world as Bowie had on pop culture, as Ziggy.
My dad always wanted a CX, but never quite managed it. At the time of the photograph though, he was driving us around in a Lancia Beta, which he swapped late the following year for an early Rover 3500 SD1. In these days of relentlessly competent and dependable, yet unimaginative premium cars, it is hard not to feel some sort of nostalgia for these pioneers of the ’70s, daring to be different, like Bowie.
Feeling Ford’s pain > via email
Highlight of the excellent March issue was Ben Miller’s story on the Ford GT’s ill-fated racing comeback at Daytona. Great access, great excitement and some really juicy pics. Boy, that car looks amazing, and although the race itself was understandably dogged by problems, it’s clear this is a real Le Mans contender. Arguably they’ll be stronger come Le Mans time for the lessons learned at Daytona.
On the Alpine Concept > via car online
I do not want to sound overtly negative, but this is a lazy design. The boys did not take any risk by referring to the A110 and a bit of Audi TT. It’s not bad but it’s not reflecting the company created by Jean Rédélé who was more a visionary and risk taker.
I’m in the stunning camp (not me, the car) but the big question is: at what price level will it be pitched? If it’s against cars ranging from GT86 to 4-series coupe it will have a fantastic chance. If Renault thinks it can command Cayman premiums, it will go the sad way of a few French coupes.
Austin powerless > via email
I think the guy who admitted last month to owning an Austin Maxi in the ’70s (CAR, January), needs to have his subscription cancelled.
On Ferrari GTC4 Lusso > via facebook
Told the wife I’d bought a new estate car, with room for the kids and the dog in the back. She was happy, so I left out some of the details... (Then I woke up!).
Singer not exactly a song > via email
Anybody with even a drop of petrol in their veins wants a Singer Porsche (CAR, March). But for all the fabulous craftsmanship, skill and attention to detail $600,000 (about £430k) – after I’ve bought the donor car – seems preposterously overblown. Even when I win the lottery I’ll be thinking, ‘Hmm, I could get two 488 GTBs and a 911 for that…’
Graeme Singer (no, really!)
The pies, the pies > via email
Regarding Mark Walton’s exciting advice to invest in pies (CAR, March). People should remember that pies can come up as well as go down.
On the Ford Mustang > via twitter
Aw. Watching the UK get the Mustang is like seeing somebody watch Commando for the first time.
Anthony ffrench-Hero > via email
‘Wider than a horse’s arse’ (CAR, March). I saw the title and just knew who the author was before my eyes scanned below – yep, Anthony ffrench-Constant. Made me smile. Once my subscription copy hits the doormat, I first read through the wisdom of editor McNamara and then search for AFC as my next port of call. Such a refreshing point of view, if not always politically correct. Suits me. He’s my hero.
Lease is more > via email
Having initially not been that fussed about your ‘amazing lease deals’ feature (CAR, March) I found myself rather drawn in. Although some of your headline monthly payment figures conceal a few awkward reality checks (mostly to do with the size of the deposit required) there is no doubt that leasing opens the door to a wide range of cool cars I wouldn’t ordinarily consider. The 911, at £852 a month, still seems pie in the sky, but an F-Pace for £423 a month with a deposit under £4k? Now that is a bargain.
Ford on a different plane > via email
Hugely enjoyed the March issue but may I raise a point of accuracy related to your piece on the ‘private jet scandal’ involving the bosses of the big three US car makers. In 2008, although the big three were on the brink of bankruptcy, Ford had already privately raised $30-odd billion with the banks (what Alan Mulally called the world’s biggest home-improvement loan).
Ford didn’t ‘desperately need government help’, nor a bailout, and did not attend the Senate hearings to source either of those. Unlike GM and Chrysler, Ford used its own money to manage its own affairs – albeit with squeaky-close margins. Mulally flew in his jet to support the US auto industry in general – he never asked for taxpayers’ money. A small point, you might say, but it’s a very big deal in the US and it sparked a surge in favourable opinion that drove today’s sales success and record profitability.
Read more from the April 2016 issue of CAR magazine