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


“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.


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.

Car & Woman

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.”


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.


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.

Alfa Romeo 8c_Snapseed

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.


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.


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


About being a true petrolhead

Who do you think you are?!: What makes a true petrolhead?



I hesitated to talk about this topic for long but, after a desperate invitation on Instagram I’ve decided to let it loose and expose these “petrolhead wannabes”.


The guy in question invited to follow his profile on Instagram. He said it’s about “cars” and I just thought I might check out this guy. But as soon as I opened it, it was yet another one of those million profiles out there, one of those who think they know about cars and think that the flashier the brand is, the cooler the car is. Umm….NO. STOP IT!



Just to give a flavor of what I’m talking about here are a few of his (not sure if his, but they are there) photos. Just a bunch of ordinary midlife crisis cars.


First of all, if you are a true petrolhead, you can’t possibly like just new Ferraris (he had quite a few on there). If you say “hey, I love that Ferrari 458” or “Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is the best car in the world”, I laugh my insides out (in my mind, of course), because a true petrolhead doesn’t like just recent Ferraris…or Ferraris in general. Do you know why? Because anyone in the world knows what a Ferrari is and non-enthusiast’s first supercar of choice will always be a Ferrari. It’s a dream car for unimaginative businessmen and for those who think “LSD” is a drug, not a piece of car technology that improves handling. Someone who likes a Ferrari can be regarded to be a petrolhead ONLY if they have a knowledge of the brand and they like the genuine Ferraris (Daytona, 250 GTO, Flat-12 engined Testarossa). They have knowledge and they can say that those cars then were Ferraris. If Enzo Ferrari was alive today, he’d punch Ferrari executives of today directly in the face because the company nowadays go completely against his principals – he made cars to be piece of art and don’t even try and think of doing excessive mass production of them. Enzo made cars primarily to fund his F1 team.


Ferrari Daytona. If you can tell more about Daytona, then I might think you are a petrolhead

Then there’s the “crown” of petrolhead wannabes – Bugatti “Škoda Headlights” Veyron. Some post pictures and write that that is the coolest, most beautiful car in the world. Excuse me? Lamborghini Miura is beautiful, Aston Martin DBS is cool. Veyron is an example of over-engineered, overpriced, overrated car for people with “SCS” (Small Cock Syndrome); for those who just don’t know what to do with their money and they waste on a car that you can’t drive (more about it in my

About Veyron drivers and Bertone” article.


Tell me once again that Bugatti Veryon is cooler and prettier than this Aston Martin DBS and I will recommend you an optician to visit because you are possibly blind.


Then there are those who think wrapped cars are cool. How in the name of God can you call yourself a petrolhead if you cannot appreciate car’s original looks? The ones that really get on my nerves (and there have been quite a few of those wrapped in shiny wraps) are Bentley Continental GTs, the ultimate show-off Napoleon’s car (and by “Napoleon” I mean a guy who makes himself look “greater” by buying these “bling-bling” automobiles. I know Napoleon himself was an interesting character, but let’s stick to showing off). There will always be someone driving around town in a Bentley at night…wearing sunglasses. That’s just their nature. No wise man will buy a Bentley. You say “oh hang on, but what about the Flying Spur?” Sorry, Gullible Gustav, but “Flying Spur” is just a VW Phaeton with a Bentley badge stuck on the bonnet (one of worst badge-engineering examples ever executed by VW). Don’t get me wrong, Phaeton is a great car, but why waste thousands more buying a Bentley when you can buy a VW for a fraction? If you want prestige, buy a Jaguar XJ, Maserati Quatroporte or a Mercedes S-Class. Or, in worst case, an Aston Martin Rapide. Use common sense.


Bentley Continental GT. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…well…this happened. WHY?


So, now you might as, if you are a petrolhead, how can you prove that? Simple. I like cars based on their heritage, technology and personality, not based on what everyone else thinks. The most important thing of being a petrolhead is to be individual, to not be afraid to share views on any car or any brand. Then you might ask “what cars do you like then and why?” Ok, let’s list just a few, shall we?:


1)   Jaguar E-type 4.2 liter Series 1:



It has to be Series 1, because, personally, I have a feeling that those sealed headlights make that car complete. And the Series 2 and 3 are too American (Jaguar had to customize them to American needs), so they became fatter and more ordinary. I think the ugliest E-type of them all is the E-type Series 3 2+2. Simply because the cabin silhouette is a bit too big, it starts to make this British beauty look like a fishbowl on wheels. Anyway…Series 1 4.2 liter simply because it gave the power that Jaguar promised and because that noise is my favorite car noise in the whole world. I can listen to it day and night and never get tired from it.

2)   DeLorean DMC-12:



Ok, some might protest now. I know, I know. DeLorean wasn’t that brilliant. It had its flaws such as its engineering (doors, if opened to rapidly, can be deformed, hence that plastic line on the side might look “broken” because of increased panel gaps), performance (the PRV-6 engine combined with laughable American emission restrictions made this car as powerful as a base trim Hyundai of today) and its infamous creator, genius and felon John Zachary DeLorean . But at the same time this story is so mysterious and crazy that it makes me to love this car. I am one of few people in the world who loves the stock car more than the Time Machine in “Back To The Future” and I am definitely considering of owning one in the future when time will be right.

3)   Face-lifted SAAB 900 Turbo Coupe:


The classic one, obviously. It still is a rather cool and great to drive car. Coupe somehow is well proportioned and it is, I think, the best-looking SAAB there ever was and will be. Also because, though being fast and great to drive, it is still as comfy as Queen Elizabeth’s bed and is one of few coupes that can sit 5 people easily.

4)   Jaguar XK:


It is the best looking car of today. Forget about the useless rear seats, this car is for gentlemen. Because it saved Jaguar in 2000s, when Ford made such a hustle of it (but it was nothing compared to the disaster that GM created out of SAAB) and because it is a car that truly can be treated like a woman. It’s hips over the rear wheels, the long hood, cat-eyes and the window frame (somehow classic). And because it’s a Jaaaaag.

5)   Lamborghini Miura:


The genesis of supercars and a Mona Lisa of automotive culture. Read more about it in my “About Veyron drivers and Bertone” article.

6)   Rover Mini Cooper:


The pre-2001 Minis were Minis. It’s hard to call the post-2001 ones Minis as it’s hard to see in what way are they small. But the original Mini, I’ve driven it, it is brilliant, corners like nothing else out there, is super cute and it is the only car that I’ve seen who’s drivers are waving at each other as they pass. Gives you a feeling that you’re part of another big family, doesn’t it?



About Geneva motor show and eulogy to Jaguar XK

The good, the bad and the ugly: the most notable cars of Geneva Motor show

The Geneva Motor Show has over the years been one of the biggest and (for carmakers) the most important car show in the world. The show has seen introductions of world greats such as Jaguar E-Type, Aston Martin DB-7, Jaguar XF, Cadillac CTS, DeLorean DMC-12 and many more. This year hasn’t been an exception for introductions of many great automobiles…and some that I have no idea why car manufacturers wasted their money on making them. Here are some of the good ones:



Not the most radical of redesigns from the outside. Probably this has happened because of Volkswagen Group’s acquisition of Porsche and, as you know, Porsche designers have been known for their “innovative” design by keeping the car looking almost exactly the same through the generations. It’s possible that Audi designers went to see them for advice. Anyway, the most important change is from the inside. I found it hard to believe that Audi could improve more on their wonderful interior…yet they have. No mid-mounted touch screen nonsense. Instead they have placed the screen in front of the driver, behind the wheel. Smart move.


Engines have been mildly tweaked…however I heard that Audi is going to re-introduce their fantastic 5-cylinder engine that once used to be placed in the fabulous Audi Quattro (ur-Quattro, to be precise). AUDI, PLEASE DO THAT!!!



In my view not the best new design I’ve ever seen to come from Bologna. But every next time I see it, it seems to look…better. However I really doubt it is going to be better looking than Gallardo. Good news: it keeps its 5.2 V10 (how “sorry” I feel now for Greenpeace) which now has been beefed up to 602 BHP! Image

Let’s hope that we will not hear in the news in further years of about one of these being on fire unlike its predecessors have been. Both Gallardo and Lambo’s V12 monsters who always have had something flammable in their construction, something that Italian masters have forgotten to insert. Oops.



5 litre twin-turbo V8, Shark-tale wing…those things are not important. What is important, though, is the message behind it’s name – it has 1340 horsepower to move it’s 1340 kg body around. Which means it is the first super car to reach the before impossible target – 1000 horsepower per ton. Many people (including Monsieur Jeremy Clarkson) think that POWEEEER is everything. Well…an ordinary cruise ship has massive diesels that produce 100 000 hp each…but how fast it goes? just over 21 knots.


The answer is, what legendary Colin Chapman of Lotus always mastered, is INCREASE POWER and REDUCE WEIGHT. The claimed top speed of this beauty is 440 km/h (273 mph) which is 5 mph faster than that ugly, disgusting, Škoda-eyed, cockish Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. I cannot wait for the day when this Swedish rocket will make the Germans get into the corner to weep that they have been beaten…again.

Now there were three cars in Geneva motor show that made me ask “…why?” Here they are

1) McLaren 650S


Typical General Motors engineering – get bits of different cars you’ve made, put them together and call it a “Brand new from ground up” car. That’s exactly what McLaren did with this 650S. They got the nose of the marvelous P1, the rear and the engine from MP4-12C and voilá, called it a “brand new McLaren.” Sorry, NO! Image

The top speed is 207 mph (EXACTLY the same as 12C), yet it’s classified as a “Class higher” automobile. What, has McLaren’s marketing department has nothing to do or something?

2) BMW 4-series Gran Coupe


What is it? Really? Is it a larger 3-series saloon or a shorter 5-series? Why was it created? Who is going to buy it? BMW, do I have to ask these questions for you? This has been the most pointless creation in the history of your brand, and I mean it. First you created the 4-series as, in the previous generation, the 3-series coupe was totally different from the actual saloon. Fair enough. BUT STAY WITH THE BLOODY COUPE. Don’t waste money. Remember the failed BMW 5-series GT. Same idea. You tried to introduce a “brand new BMW”. What happened? Nobody bought it. Learn from your mistakes at last.

3) Mini Clubman Concept


Two fundamental flaws with this car: 1) it’s so big that the brand “Mini” seems to be out of place for this vehicle; and 2) This is not a clubman anymore. A clubman, as you remember, is a car with a split-door boot and an extra door on one side of the car. Now, it is simply a “Mini Countryman” which is another enormous “Mini”. The question is…the new Mini Cooper has gotten larger, so has the Clubman…what’s gonna happen with the new “Countryman” gonna be like, if BMW will be as visionless as they have been so far with the Mini brand and will allow it to go into production? Enough already!!



It’s been 18 years since the world got known with the model designation “XK”. Yes, back in 1996 the first Jaguar XK (XK8) was introduced to replace the aging, barge-like, not-so-agile Jaguar XJ-S. With a new car came a new Era, as, because of Ford’s influence, the new model featured a first in Jaguar’s history – a V8 engine, that is still used today in all of Jaguar models. Car magazines praised this great, new machine for its looks, it’s comfortable yet still sporty ride. There was one problem that somehow remained through the years in Jaguar XK’s – to sit at the back you had to saw off your legs and cut off your head. Therefore they were used for luggage. So XK was created to be a practical Grand Tourer.Image

The years went and the XK matured. Then in 2006 came the more beautiful, more sporty and elegant 2nd Generation XK. It came at a tough time for Jaguar when they were experiencing losses and falling reputation for their reliability of the S-type and the crazy concept of the X-type (which, many argue, was the main reason why Jaguar stagnated in the 00ties). So the skeptics started to see this as Jaguar’s “Last hurrah”…but in 2008 Tata bought the company…and the prancing Cat is still with us today.Image

So why is being cancelled? Well, as businesses work, usually the main reason is poor sales…and it s the case with the XK. It has been the worst selling Jaguar for past 3 years, unfortunately. And recently, after the introduction of the F-type roadster and coupe that are based on the same platform as the XK, only shorter, the XK somehow loses it’s significance. Sad, really sad. Jaguar XK has been in my top 10 of favorite cars (towards the top, along with DeLorean DMC-12, Jaguar E-type, F-type and Jensen Interceptor) and its design has been called “the best” by many over the years. Ian Callum, thank you, sir! Thank you for creating a masterpiece that has my favorite car design feature that I call the “shoulder”, i.e. the bulk above the rear wheels (as seen below. This Jag was standing outside my University).


So I bow my head and say “farewell, XK”. Of course, it will still remain in the used car market, but it’s sad to know that after this summer, no new beauties will be rolling off the production line at Castle Bromwich.