Question of context: PH Blog


There's something rather appealing about seeing a car out of its regular context, isn't there? Just last week I was saying how fun it is when you catch sight of someone in a supercar doing something spectacularly ordinary, like going down B&Q or doing the school run. Just as it's a bit of a giggle when you see something incongruous at a track day. Which reminds me, there are obligations in that regard for the PH Dacia Duster to fulfil...

Rodeo in contention for 'most French car ever'
Rodeo in contention for 'most French car ever'
Saying that, there are cars I really admire and would really like to own. But, out of context, I fear might just look a bit ... wrong. Just the other week I was on holiday in a sunny French coastal resort where the default local transport seemed to be a battered old Citroen Mehari, usually driven by someone in shorts, vest and flip-flops and parked jauntily on, against or sometimes over the kerb with typically laissez-faire French attitude. I even saw some plastic-bodied piece of functional Renault brutalism (I'm guessing it was based on a 4 or a 5) called a Rodeo with faded cream and brown body panels enjoying what would best be described as a casual relationship with their neighbours. It wasn't pretty. But the owner's straw sun hat on the passenger seat conjured up an appealing image of lurching down to the boulangerie of a morning without a care in the world.

A romantic scene and one that works on a sunny day in rural France. Would I look so cool doing the same in West Yorkshire? Somehow I fear not. Especially in the case of the Rodeo. Definitely in the case of the straw hat.

... or is that the Mehari?
... or is that the Mehari?
Much as I love some of the more extrovert American cars of recent years I can't help but fear the same would be the case there. The Ford F-150 Raptor for instance. What a machine! But what works on the wide boulevards of Birmingham, Alabama might not be so appropriate for the streets of its West Midlands namesake. I like the idea of a Raptor, but I fear I'd look a bit of a prat driving one here.

There are more subtle manifestations of this too. Consider Porsche 911s. Were that my beat I'd feel totally comfortable driving a Targa, be that into the city on the daily commute or as a fun and stylish weekend road car. But, while it wouldn't disgrace itself on a lap of the Nordschleife, I'd feel a little self-conscious parking it among the GT3s and RSes outside the Pistenklause. Much as I would driving one of the latter through central London, where a big wing, stickers and Clubsport package of cage and harnesses rather suggest wannabe instead of track hero.

What are you doing with them here? Go drive!
What are you doing with them here? Go drive!
It can work though. I've seen a Liquid Yellow Clio V6 knocking about in Kensington and the juxtaposition of a very wild and unusual mid-engined Clio doing very mundane and ordinary Clio city car stuff is highly amusing. Among all the prissy, preened and pimped Land Rover Defenders you see in the city it would be, I think, quite cool to drive a 'proper' one with faded and dented panels of various colours, a rear door held shut by baling twine and muddy upholstery the like of which you'll still see bouncing around some of the more rural parts of the country. Assuming this was true patina of course, and not some carefully contrived rat look special. I wouldn't put it past some people asking for such a thing...

So, today's question. Which cars look cool out of context? And which look a bit tragic? Over to you...

Dan

 

 

 

Comments (42) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Master Bean 25 Jul 2017

    Any supercar driving around London. You're doing it wrong.

  • WCZ 25 Jul 2017

    Master Bean said:
    Any supercar driving around London. You're doing it wrong.
    not really, a massive part of owning a supercar is showing off / being involved in a social network of people who are similar

  • Goatboy 25 Jul 2017

    I believe that those two porkers are parked in the exact spot that a dealer leaves some stock. Not sure it is advertising but there are always two pieces of exotica parked there very close together. There have been some truly crazy things parked there over the years.





  • mybrainhurts 25 Jul 2017

    WCZ said:
    Master Bean said:
    Any supercar driving around London. You're doing it wrong.
    not really, a massive part of owning a supercar is showing off / being involved in a social network of people who are similar
    If you're that way inclined, it would cost a lot less to run around waving your willy about and join up with Flashers Anonymous.

    Strewth....

  • bluesierra 25 Jul 2017

    I saw an Ariel Atom parked at Sainsburys in Nine Elms, London, a couple of times. I had a chuckle at that - the idea of using an Atom as your only car, and wondering where you'd put the eggs and milk.

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