Can you feel the love tonight?: Why a car is more than a piece of metal on four wheels


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“A way of transport that takes you from A to B”. I have heard a lot of people saying this about cars, including my dad. That is partly true, but I think there is way more to it. Jaguar co-founder, Sir William Lions, once said: “The car is the closest thing we will ever create to something that is alive.” Let me prove it to you by breaking the article down into three parts: voice, body and character.

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VOICE: I am 110% sure that you have listened to music at some point in life (if not, you need help). So you definitely have your favorite singer or band. Not just because of what is being played, but also the power of singer’s voice. And I am talking about music, not your Chris Wests or Kanye Browns, unless their favorite car noise is the one made by Toyota Prius. Everyone has their favorite that they love, and the one they don’t care about as it sounds like any other band. It’s the same with cars. Everyone loves a good noise of a car. Some might love their four-cylinder Fiesta engine noise, others – the bellow of a V8 Dodge Charger muscle car. Then there are those I understand the least – those who love Nissan Skyline engine noise. But that’s just my taste.

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BODY: girls go crazy over guys like Ryan Gosling, guys can’t get over how great Jennifer Lawrence looks like. And everyone has his or her favorite look of a car. Someone might love the perfect, human-like lines on a Lamborghini Miura. The opening scene in “The Italian Job” is to petrol heads what watching Gisele Bündchen on a catwalk is to the rest. It is so darn beautiful and sensual. A celebration of beauty.

Then there are others who like cars that have been designed with a ruler, like Lamborghini Countach. An angle has a beauty in an engineering sense. The whole car model culture (which, in my view, is pathetic. That shows you’ve made a car with such a bad design you actually need women to stand next to it and hoping it somehow is going to make it look better) started in the 1970s. The age of angles in the car industry. All those Lincolns, Italian wedge-shaped sportscars and boxy family cars. They all started in the 70s and progressed in the 80s. Then there are those who are un-traditional. Like me – I love the DeLorean DMC-12, but others just look at it and thing “ugh, ugly.”

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CHARACTER: there is always a car that has some sort of a character like a human being. You have your nerds, who are like Honda Jazz– they get a chemistry experiment perfectly right, but you will not jump up and down when it happens. You probably will be distracted by the guy next to you who in his hangover will make all things go horribly wrong – that’s a Russian car. You laugh about them and their faults amuse you.

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Then you have your temperamental lovers, which, stereotypically, are Italians and French. Same with cars: Italian and French cars have their culture of breakdowns and faults, but you don’t want to leave them. They kiss and woo you when they’re happy, but when they break down, they give you the biggest headache.

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Then there’s a car that always looks little and cute. Someone that always make you smile and waul out a little “awwww.” And every time you drive it, the car cheers you up and puts that endless smile on your face, which you cannot resist even in your dullest days. It’s a car that always smiles at you, always is happy. Like a little puppy labrador, that is waiting for you impatiently until you will take him out for a walk. That’s how a Mini is. Every time I see one and all the times I’ve been driven around in one I always cannot stop smiling. It is a happy machine. Probably that’s why the most careless, childish and most positive Englishman in the world was driving one.

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Then there is Aston Martin. Have you ever seen an Aston Martin with an aftermarket wing on the back? No. So it cannot be someone who wears gold chains, walking around, looking for attention, like a Bentley or a Ferrari. Also, it is elegant and smart. It always looks like it has to be parked near an opera. It whispers quietly, but when it speaks, you can’t forget its voice and you can hear it coming from miles away. It perfectly reflects James Bond. Thank God Ian Fleming swapped Bond’s car from Bentley to Aston Martin. It is just like him.

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Also, part of character is the bondage you get during some of your big events in life. Your first car, the fastest car you’ve driven, the car you drove to that successful interview. You will never forget those ones. See? A car is way more than a lump of metal with wheels that with some mechanics applied to it moves forwards. It is your friend, your pet, your favorite art, and your memory.

The Guy Near the Car

Hot Pursuit: Countries where you really should obey the law on the road


Today let us look at various police forces around the world. But we are not after just speed ticket fines here, oh no. We’re after police cars that are powerful and quick enough to give the baddies a hard time.

USA

The land of the free – free speech (sort of), free enterprise (that they are blindly following), free choice to hold a gun (this has entered a dead end, unfortunately) – but when it comes to police cars, it’s not as free as you think it is.

First of all it’s the violence of the police force when attempting to stop the bad guys. You have seen endless hours of footage where police cars are ramming the “bad guys” off the road. And it’s not some soft push, saying “please, can you stop now?” It’s like in the films: “FREEZE, BASTARD!” Like they do in Gran Theft Auto.

Then they have proper cars for the job. Long gone are those fat, long Ford Crown Victorias you used to see in films. Now there are new kids on the bloc. First one is Bloomfield Township Police Department’s Cadillac CTS-V. For those who don’t know, the V in a Cadillac model name is the performance designation, i.e. it is a hard core version of that model. Same as the M is for BMW, AMG is for Mercedes, the R for Jaguar etc. This car is powered by the same 6.2 litre V8 engine that you find in Chevrolet Camaro. It’s no surprise, as everything GM does is then freely shared among other cars in the company. Cost saving at its best….or maybe finest…or purest…it’s hard to find the right word because this kind of cost saving practice isn’t anything positive. Why not? Google “GM Recalls” and you’ll see why.

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But there are some cars they have that don’t spend their time at a dealership having everything stripped and rebuilt. One of more famous recent police fleet updates are Dodge Chargers. Just recently, Dodge updated the Charger and, indeed, made a police version of that new car too. Unless you have a high-end exotic like a Lamborghini or Pagani or Bugatti, when you see the Charger and red & blue lights in the mirror, pull up, just for your own life’s sake.

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UNITED KINGDOM

On the other hand you have the UK and the police force mainly containing old Vauxhall Astras and Volvo V70s. On the plus side, before police leave the station to trace down and apprehend the miscreant, they have to go through the thing Britain is doomed with nowadays – health and safety checks, so by the time police cars in London will get the backup they’ve asked for, the criminal will already be in Poland by then. And there is no ramming or bashing either. They are tactical there. So I would like to imagine police trying to catch a fast, out of control maniac who’s going all over the place on the motorway.

But luckily for them they have a couple of cars that could be up for the job. One of them is one of ultimate “I-didn’t-know-it-is-that-fast” cars: Lexus IS-F. Yes, a Lexus IS-F! In a fleet alongside those Astras and Volvos the Lexus is like a unicorn. A quick unicorn too. it has a 5.0 litre V8 engine, a top speed of 168 mph (270 km/h) and 0-100 km/h time of 4.7 seconds. This very car is one of official vehicles of the Humberside Police squad. The reason for that is, as one of police officers said, “to help the force run down drug dealers in high-powered sports cars, and it has been used to seize criminal assets, too.” Good thing Breaking Bad wasn’t set in Humberside.

Lexus IS-Force

Another surprise is in Norfolk. Of course, to represent local car manufacturing traditions, Norfolk police use Lotus Evora. It actually is one of the best cars for the job, because it is quick enough to stop runaways and it sticks to the road like glue (as you would expect from Lotus). There’s only one drawback – it’s Norfolk, the county that has the lowest crime rate in the UK. That’s like getting bouncers to watch there are no fights in the kindergarden. But it is still cool.

2010_Lotus_Evora_-_UK_Police_003_1128Finally, London Metropolitan police. They made one of the stupidest decisions in the world. What they did was they bought a Lamborghini Murcielago (which alone cost around £200 000 when it was new. And that’s tax payer’s money, ladies and gentlemen, that they used. They said they didn’t, but so did Viktor Yanukovych when he built a villa for himself) and turned it into a police car. So they got a bit over the top with expenditure. Secondly, it’s completely useless. They did make it just for an MPH Car Show in 2006, but a Lamborghini supercar as a police car in CENTRAL LONDON? Where fastest you can go is walking pace? Besides, of all the beautiful cars in 2006 (like Aston Martin DB9, Jaguar XK, Pagani Zonda or Mercedes SLR) they chose one of the ugliest Lamborghinis ever made. Well done, Rozzers.

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GERMANY

Of course Germany have been known for those fantastic autobahns with limitless speeds and fantastic cars. It seems like it is a country that has a match made in heaven. But just to be sure that this limit is not exceeded too far, they have made sure that those on the Autobahn still obey when they see Porsche 911 police cars in the mirrors. You have seen them, probably, in Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed, but they are real. German “autobahn politzei” actually use 911s in their fleet for a good reason – most of production cars nowadays come with a speed limiter of around 250 km/h or 155 mph. The Porsche 911 top speed in its model range starts from 180 mph or 290 km/h.

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UAE

When it comes to exclusive police cars we have to talk about Dubai. They have the fleet of police cars so exclusive that some actually want to break the law just to be apprehended and taken around in one just to enjoy the ride of their lives before landing behind bars and getting lashed by their judges.

Just have a look at this escort:

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Back to front in this picture you see a Bentley Continental GT, McLaren MP4-12C, Ferrari FF and Bugatti Veyron. And judging by those people taking photos in the background, this picture is absolutely real.

I have no issues with the Dubai police….well I didn’t, until I saw THIS:

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If it was a Bugatti Veryon, I wouldn’t be bothered. But it isn’t. It is, in fact, an Aston Martin One-77. A car that is a masterpiece. It is the ultimate toy of a petrolhead car collector, an ode to automotive industry. What those morons in the Dubai police force did was take the actual painting of Mona Lisa and with a graffiti spray paint wrote “PROPERTY OF THE DUBAI NATIONAL ART GALLERY!” Why? The name One-77 is a clue. This car has only 77 hand made, patiently crafted beauties on the road. They basically ruined one of them. Just strapped some police lights, put some liveries on it and just ruined it. This car deserves to be driven around Stelvio pass with windows right down, stereo off and revs going as high as possible, NOT to be a show car for the wealthy. I just can’t stand when such delicate car brands are being ruined by these filthy-from-money individuals. First it happened with Bentley. Before the Continental GT came out Bentleys were known for their Le Mans history, for being elegant and fast get-about for the true gentlemen. Since the Continental GT came out, people from such “talent shows” as “The Only Way is Chelsea” or “Made in Essex” (I know I’ve written it wrong but I am so mad I just can’t be bothered to write it correctly) are buying these cars to show off. Therefore the whole reputation of the brand is RUINED. Everyone now who looks at a Bentley is thinking “oh look, a snobs car”. Same applies to Mercedes. I don’t want Aston to be part of this terrible fate. It is supposed to be like James Bond – mysterious, sharp and masculine – not like James Packer.

Next time, let’s talk about countries where you don’t have to fear from police.