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An Impression of Speed

An Impression of Speed

And it came to pass that Man invented the automobile and saw that it was good. So pleased were those original car makers that they thought to themselves, y’know, we can do better. Thus began the drive to go faster and satisfy that need for speed. Forever after, the desire to go as quickly as possible has resulted in benefits for us in the form some rather splendid motors today.

Initially, the idea was to sit two terrified occupants behind a stonking great engine with a wheel on each corner. It was considered that such cars – like the 1929 Bentley Blower pictured – should not so much just push the air out of the way as brutalise it. Luxury road going cars and racers alike were designed to look butch – but in a manly way, obviously.

Then something happened. Something bad. With hindsight we can see that what came next has a sort of wearying inevitability to it, had we but known. Some charmless individual decided that all these gung-ho chappies were having far too much of a splendid time of it and had to be reined in by a few choice rules. The rest, as they say, is history.

A flawless example of a car such as the one featured in the snap recently sold in America for £5 million, such is the pull of the real golden age of motoring. Sadly, those halcyon days are far behind us and the prospect of owning a piece of motoring memorabilia is beyond the majority of us and we have to resort to the more mundane modern offerings.

But cheer up. Things are not so bad. Look at the car above and compare it to your own wheels. OK, fair enough, that’s not a great idea, so compare it to a car that you would really like to own if you had a reasonable budget. What’s different?

Obviously automotive science has moved on but that’s not the point. What’s really different is design. The Bentley, when stationary, looks like a bull patiently waiting to get into a china shop, giving the impression as it does of brute force. Modern cars give an impression of speed. Ever since the mid 20th Century car makers have looked at the merits of aero design and that’s what gives modern cars their desirable looks.

Today, our cars aren’t allowed to go fast; po-faced descendants of that geezer from the distant past have seen to that; but you can have a car that looks fast. With swoops and lines even the humblest Fiesta or C’eed looks as if it can get it on when the need arises. That’s something we can thank car makers for. We aren’t allowed to achieve the potential of what a car can do but we can sure look as if we are doing it. This is what makes owning even the most basic of cars a pleasure, even today. That’s not something that can be regulated against.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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bG9nZ2VyX0xvZ28uanBnIjtpOjI7czo3MzoiaHR0cDovL21vdG9yYmxvZ2dlci5jby51ay93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtTW90b3JfQmxvZ2dlcl9Mb2dvLnBuZyI7fTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3ZpZGVvX2NhdGVnb3J5PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQXV0byBOZXdzPC9saT48L3VsPg==