Ships That Pass In The Night

Ships That Pass In The Night

There’s something about a fleeting glimpse of a rare car at night, especially when it’s a rare car you like and especially, especially when it’s a rare car you like that hardly anybody else does. You see a flash of  unfamiliar headlights; the reflection of streetlights on chrome trim or side panels; or the red blaze of tail lights as the disappear again into the darkness. Like most things at night – rats rustling about in the undergrowth, foxes screaming somewhere not quite far enough away or cats fighting and fucking just round the corner – sounds attract the attention more than sight does. You can hear the howl of a flat-plane Ferrari V8 for a long time before you ever see it and there is a special quality to sound at night. I remember the first time I saw a Ferrari 360 Modena. I almost didn’t see it at all. I heard it coming in the stream of traffic but it disappeared round a corner and all I really saw was the tail-lights streaking red through the night.

The Modena is quite a rare car but not as rare in thse parts as a Cadillac CTS. The Caddy is a car that few people understand and even fewer actually like. I really do but I’m one of about four people in the UK who does. I don’t know why that is. It’s handsomely styled with a minimum of chrome trim. It’s well equipped and not that expensive. The interior doesn’t feel like it’s made from discarded wheelie bins and has nicely stitched leather trim and a sat-nav screen which rises from the top of the dash.  There’s no diesel engine but you can have a supercharged V8 that’s more or less the same as the one in the Corvette ZR1 and yesterday’s rant on sportiness notwithstanding, I know which one I’d rather have. There is a V6 in 2.8 or 3.6 litre flavours if you think 556bhp is excessive.

The one I saw last week was black. I saw the chrome grille flash orange under the streetlights and another bluish flash from the xenons as it passed the pedestrian crossing where I was waiting to begin my evening run with the rest of the Run Club. I recognised it but none of my friends gave it a second glance. I couldn’t take my eyes off it as it passed a couple of feet away. I swear that the tail lights had a red comet tail as it disappeared round the corner and over the rail bridge. It didn’t of course, but the CTS is a car which deserves its own comic and that’s how it happens in comics. The V6 like this one is Clarke Kent but the supercharged CTS-V definitely wears its underpants over its trousers whatever time of night it goes out.

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