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OK UK?: Helpful Hints for English Car Lovers...

Updated on December 15, 2011
Would this man buy a car?
Would this man buy a car?

Jaguar - Say It With Me...

A quick elocution lesson for my American friends: Jaguar is not pronounced in two syllables " Jag" and "Waar", it has three (and a bit) syllables, "jag" "you" and "ahhhh..." OK try it. Don't be shy, no one can hear you... Jag-you-ahhh, one more time for luck, Jag-you-ahhh. Much better. Don't you just feel all superior and Englishy right now?

Now we can get on with the business of the day.

We Brits say motorcar because there could be other cars out there, lurking, ready to fool you into getting into them and driving off into the sunset, like, for instance rail cars, and street cars. Except they only say that in America and Brits call them carriages and trams respectively. There are bumper cars at the fairground, but really, other than a couple of the smaller Fiats and Citroens, you are not likely to get that confused.

Anyway, better to safe than sorry, so motorcars it is.

Apparently, we don't drive in the UK, we 'motor', if the Mini ads are to be believed, because on an island that is as old as it's hills (no really), nostalgia is big business.

Coolest car on the planet?

Aston Martin DB something or other

Swankiest car on the planet?

Rolls Royce...

Coolest swankiest car on the planet?

Bentley...

You get my drift. Back in the days when our little island had some degree of relevance, we made cars.

Worst car in the world?
Worst car in the world?

We also made some outrageous crap. Exhibit one, the Allegro. British Leyland, which was a conglomeration of nine hundred and sixty five smaller companies, produced the worst cars in the world not made behind the Iron Curtain (a separate category entirely).

Fans of Fawlty Towers will remember with fondness, as John Cleese beats the bejesus out of his car after verbal threats would not get it to start. That was an Austin 1300 in its natural state. Broken.

Austin 1300 - with paint
Austin 1300 - with paint
Our Baby Blue Baby
Our Baby Blue Baby
The much maligned Maxi
The much maligned Maxi

My family had one of those. All the paint (Harvest Gold) came off. I mean every single bit of it. It was a sad chapter in Lincoln family history.

We started out with Minis. The original one, and it truly was something special. We then moved up to the mini countryman, with wood attachments- yup, we drove around in a half timbered car...

We then had a car that British Leyland couldn't even be bothered to name properly, the Austin 1300, then the transition into the first of two Maxis. We narrowly avoided the Allegro, but did get fooled into thinking we were really buying a Rover, when they bought the MG Maestro.

Now I'm all kinds of liberal and pinko, but honest to God, no socialist has ever built a decent car.  And that includes the Socialist Republic of Little Britain; through it's monstrous creation of British Leyland.

Once upon a time, or more accurately between the wars, Britain produced some wonderful cars. True, they broke down a lot and rusted like the Dickens, but they were fun and had character.

I know, I know, their electrical systems had personality, and most brake systems seemed to be manic depressive French school girls, but… 

Jag-you-ahhh Mark Three
Jag-you-ahhh Mark Three

I owned a much used Jaguar MkIII for about thirty-six hours. It was broken for thirty of them, but it was still my favorite car. Ever.

Now this is important. The powers that be, have discovered that we are not too excited about plonking down a giant wad of hard earned cash for the latest blandmobile. We want character. So, if they carefully sell us a heaping helping of back-story along with our blandmobiles, we are much happier. The cars seemingly last forever, so we die of terminal boredom before the car dies, and thus look for something with more je ne sais quoi... (“I don't know what” that means…)

Just to confuse us, this multinational bland-brand conglomerate has created a new game for us to play; you know "where is my car from?" And if you said anything other than the dealer's lot, you are probably wrong.

British icon, the Mini, built by Bavarian Motor Works, could be England, could be Holland, could be, well, anywhere if you figure out where the parts come from.

Jaguar (say it properly or I won't let you read any more...), Jaguar escaped from British Leyland, got swallowed up by Ford and is now owned by Tata Motors of India. Oh yes, the colonies have a way of sneaking up on you like that. Imagine if you will, ten years from now, your Camero being built in Kandahar, yes, it hurts.

Bentley's are built by whom, exactly? Ja, mien Herr, VW (but they gain cool points for also building the Buggatti Veyron…) and our friends over at BMW are the purveyors of the most British car in the world (even the exhaust has an accent), the stately Rolls Royce.

Who won those World Wars exactly...?

I digress. The truth is car production is a worldwide endeavor. Even if you buy a Mercedes that is made in Germany of mostly German parts, there is a good chance it was assembled by a Turk, or a Pole, or a robot (from mars...)

So we get to the hard sell. If you buy car "A" you are the rugged outdoor type, car "B" a soccer mom, car "C" a rich bastard, car "D" a family man, car "E" a business woman, car "F" hung like the proverbial horse, etc, etc.

This has completely changed car buying. We now purchase our desired personality. I mean, be honest, is there anyone who bought an Aston Martin who doesn't say, "Bond, James Bond" as he, or she, gets behind the wheel. At that moment, you are not the very boring manager of a mutual fund; you are an international super spy.

You can't do that in your regulation Kia Blando unless you have an outrageously creative fantasy life. So the admen and the salesmen (now collectively called life enhancement operatives) help you...

I am of course hoping that within my cadre of six or so followers, one of them works for Jaguar (say it properly), and is so thrilled at my attempt to correct the pronunciation of the people in it's largest market (so they can be the English Gentry they so yearn to be), that they'll send me a free one...

Dear Hub Reader


If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

Available directly from:

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/homo-domesticus/12217500

Chris


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    • ChrisLincoln profile imageAUTHOR

      ChrisLincoln 

      7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Thanks Dallas!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Flag up ! Enjoyed article.

    • ChrisLincoln profile imageAUTHOR

      ChrisLincoln 

      7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Sue,

      Imagine the image of class and ladylikeness you will be when you order your next pizza at the gas station.

      Keep practicing girl, you know it's worth it....

    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      Jahg yoo ahhhh. I'm not sure if my hillbilly potty mouth can make those snobby sounds! lol!

    • ChrisLincoln profile imageAUTHOR

      ChrisLincoln 

      7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Oh, and Sue, drop the W,

      jahg...yoo...ahhhhhh......

    • ChrisLincoln profile imageAUTHOR

      ChrisLincoln 

      7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Will,

      Then you totally get it. They are building new Truimphs (in India I think), as I said, nostalgia is big business...

      Sue,

      Glad to promote quality education wherever I can...

      Very "britty" hub, I know

      Yes you recognized well, John Cleese was one of the Pythons, Fawlty Towers came later... (he was allso in A Fish Named Wanda)

    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      Jag You Waaarrr. I'm still working on it, I put Chelsea to work on it as well. She balked at first, insisting that it was only pronounced that way in England. I pushed back, saying that was were the car was from, therefore, it MUST be the correct way to pronounce Jag You Waarrr. Such is our grammar lesson for today.

      This was funny, I didn't get the cars I don't know (most of them) but I LOVED the video. I recognize the guy beating his car from some of the Monty Python skits we were watching last night. Or could it be that all brits look the same?

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I've always been fascinated by British motor vehicles. I've owned two Triumph motorcycles, quirky machines that were almost never ridden without a half hour of maintenance or repair prior to kicking them to life.

    • ChrisLincoln profile imageAUTHOR

      ChrisLincoln 

      7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      Will,

      As always, love that you drop by, read and comment. This is a hub that could get very ex-pat, as we end up waxing lyrical on cars many of my American friends have never heard of (another reason for loving the USA!)

      C

    • ChrisLincoln profile imageAUTHOR

      ChrisLincoln 

      7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      PJ,

      Not only is it said differently, it is spelled differently too...

      And I feel your pain re the DB5 - convertible too...

      I believe you are allowed to cry openly in public about that...

      Chris

    • ChrisLincoln profile imageAUTHOR

      ChrisLincoln 

      7 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

      AttHum,

      It was you who forgot the undercoat on our Maxi, you dog!

      Are you safe enough over in Australia to tell the truth about the car industry? I only got the Daily Mail version, I bet it was a whole lot more interesting...

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Funny stuff!

    • profile image

      pjwrites 

      7 years ago from Florida

      I guess I have an outrageously creative fantasy life, which must be why I feel all Bond-y in my Hyundai Santa Fe. It is black, so at least it's got that going for it.

      Fun article, Chris. Back in the late 60's my step-father had a red 1965 Aston Martin DB5 convertible. I coveted that thing something awful, but only got to ride it in once. It would be worth a fortune today if it still exists somewhere.

      Thanks for the lesson on pronunciation. Now, can you tell me how to say "aluminum" in Brit?

      lol.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Very funny indeed Chris. I used to um um turn up at British Leyland for twelve months prior to coming out here to Oz. I'd read one book in two shifts. My middle brother worked there for thirty five years on shift work but has since escaped. I had a 1959 Mini, built like a tank, OK a very small tank. Maybe a fish tank, thinking about it. The Aston Martin was a db6. Great hub from the American/british ambassador.

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