Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

Car Rants and Ramblings

Polite disclaimer – beauty is in the eye for the beholder, so owners of Jag estates, E-type 2+2s, VW Passats, etc, should not take this post personally.

It’s time. The old girl has done well for 13 years. Been to every corner of the country (including Ireland), served the cause through numerous election campaigns, but now it’s time for a change. Something bigger, and circumstances demand an estate.

Now estates have been on a rollercoaster of popularity in recent times, with the rise of MPVs and 4x4s, yet seem to be the more civilised of the trio of family-carrying options. Just as with 4x4s, though, the estate versions of popular saloons and hatchbacks don’t always work.

For instance, a Jaguar estate is … wrong. It’s nothing to do with its relative practicality, or the level of equipment or quality of its cabin, or the pros and cons of the fact that it is basically a Mondeo with a Coventry-built bodyshell (are they still Coventry-built?)

No, sorry, the very idea of a Jaguar estate is an affront to nature. It’s a mouse with an ear growing out of its back, or a LibDem with a ministerial red box. The fact that it is “just … no” shouldn’t require any further explanation because it’s plain to see. So, Clarkson-like, I will dismiss the idea with a snort of derision and move on. Next thing you know, Jag will be making 4×4 “off-roaders”. They should stick to making decent saloons and successors to the most beautiful car ever made, the E-type roadster. They should equally try to avoid making another one of the silliest proportioned cars ever made, the E-type 2+2 (fixed head coupe). What a difference putting on the wrong type of roof can make to a car.

Which brings us back to estates. Without boring you with the ins and outs of our decision making process, we’ve narrowed it down to the Audi, VW or … another Volvo.

Yes, yes, a Conservative accountant driving a Volvo. Go on, laugh – I’ve been driving one for the last 13 years, and my father has had his for the last 35 years. From new. Not that Gothenburg’s former ball bearing company hasn’t had its share of clangers, of course. In the 1970’s they had the horrid Volvo 66 – a re-badged Daf from the time the Dutch firm was swallowed up, which visually owed much to the dear old Triumph Herald – after all, both cars shared the same designer in Michelotti. Earlier, there was the P1800, a decent looker made famous by Roger Moore in The Saint, and made infamous for while by the dodgy job that Jensen did in throwing the things together, before production was moved back to Sweden with the P1800S.

As for the Audi or VW – we can’t help but think that no matter how good the thing looks inside or out (well, maybe the “outside bit” won’t apply to the Passat), and how many toys it might have, we already have the essential car (floorpan, running gear, power unit) in our workhorse Skoda Octavia. For goodness sake, look at the engine – it’s got the VW Audi logos stamped on it!

OK, I’ll get me anorak – it’s the one that smells of petrol….


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