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OK UK?: Helpful Hints for English Car Lovers...
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?
Coolest swankiest car on the planet?
You get my drift. Back in the days when our little island had some degree of relevance, we made cars.
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.
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…
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...
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