Back To The Future

Back To The Future

There are a couple of anniversaries this year I’m keen to mark in some way. The Geneva Motor Show opens in about 10 days and it’s the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Jaguar E-type.


 I’d normally expect a new concept from Jaguar to mark the anniversary but last year they built the rather wonderful C-X75 as a 75th birthday present to themselves. That car was an awful lot of concepts all rolled into one: a range-extended, plug in, gas turbine-powered hybrid with four in-hub electric motors and a ridiculously gorgeous two-seat supercar body. All that engineering effort means that there is probably precious little left over to build a new E-type even though such a car has been mooted for years now. I expect there will be some kind of special edition XK or XKR with some nice leather seats, a turned aluminium dash and some crackle black trimmings to the fascia.

You might also expect Renault to party like it’s 1961. That’s when they launched the Renault 4. The boxy little Renault is pretty much everything the Shaguar isn’t. It’s lack of overt sex appeal was such that it is alleged that one Italian model refused to be photographed with it. I think it’s quite sexy in a French peasant way, you know like really rough wine, cheese that smells like a goat with halitosis and a mustache that’s been marinaded in Pernod for years. Having said all that, the Quatrelle was in production for much longer than even the Jag and that lasted in three series until 1974. The Renault was in production until 1992 and it changed a lot less than the Jaguar did.

Renault will no doubt have some kind of celebration planned for the anniversary. Its new electric cars could form part of the celebrations but none of them are the basic transport for four people that the Quatrelle was. The Fluence is probably closest but it’s a bit too posh. The Twizy is too small and weird. The closest in spirit to the 4 in the current Renault line-up is the Kangoo van-with-windows thing. It’s nice and simple and has a big hatch at the back. It’s one of the things I like. Renault will build an electric Kangoo van and it would be the work of but a moment to add the windows, back seats and big hatch and I would have only the second electric car that I actually like.

Another of the things I like is the new Morgan 3 Wheeler. Only Morgan could introduce a car which looks even older than the car it’s had in production since the Norman Conquest. It has a big, throbby, 100bhp Harley-Davidson engine and a five speed gearbox from a Mazda. It’s made from aluminium but to be honest, from not much aluminium so it only weighs about 500kg. It has leather seats and a cockpit like a Tiger Moth. The brochure says it has an aerodynamic bullet-shaped body. Yeah, right. Adrian Newey would laugh his very technical socks off at that notion. The brochure also talks about a feeling of flying through the air so its top speed will probably feel about 400mph. In truth, it’ll be flat out at 115mph but frankly, who cares? It’s a thing a beauty and a joy for ever. The price will likely to be around £30,000 and that’s quite a lot of money for three wheels, some tubes, the engine from a Hog and the instruments from a biplane. On the other hand, it’s not much to pay for the most fun you can have with your bobble hat on.

Tally ho, chaps!

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