Sdtrk: ‘Island of birds’ by Sven Libaek
As periodic readers of ‘Shouting etc etc’ are already aware, there’s not a single thing that I like about the annual Woodward Dream cruise. I’ve mentioned why before, so I’ll not go on about it again if you’re a new visitor; you are welcome. One of the main issues that I have with it, apart from the fact that the event hampers the mobility of local non-participants, or the lack of logic of taking part in such an event when regular petrol is hovering just under $4 a gallon, is that the cars are large, ungainly, and mostly unsightly. Sorry, klassic kruisers, your cars are simply too goddamned big. The only exception to that aesthetic choice would be the 1970 Plymouth Superbird, as it is so comically overproportioned it’s awesome. And classic hearses; you can’t go wrong with those, either.
In making my way down Woodward earlier last week on the way home, I’d seen the safety orange advisory signs bolted to normal traffic signs, reminding people that the week-end of the 16th would be taken over by the Nightmare cruise. What if, I thought to myself, what if all those giant landboats were replaced with smart little classic foreign autos instead? Well, for one, I’d be out on the sidewalk every year, taking footage of the endless stream of European and Japanese cars. Cars such as
the Alpine A110
the Citroën 2CV
the BMW Isetta
the Jaguar E-type
the Studebaker Avanti (yes, I’m well aware this is an American vehicle, but it gets a pass)
and the Subaru 360, amongst others. And although I’d fully expect to see both the modern and classic versions of the Fiat 500, the MINI, and the Volkswagen Beetle is that those selections are pretty much a given.
And since ‘classic’ is a loose descriptor, I’d get some automobiles from the glorious Eighties in there as well.
the Citroën Karin Concept, from 1980
the Renault Fuego (I have a soft spot for these, as it was the third car my parents ever had)
and you can’t properly represent the Eighties without some DeLoreans in there. And I’ve noticed that two of the four cars I’d just listed never made it into production. Huh.
This new, more Continental/Japanese-flavoured Cruise would also have allowances for relatively modern cars with retro styling, such as the Nissan Pao, the Nissan Figaro, or the Mazda Autozam AZ-1. In a lot of ways, modern cars with classic appearances combine the best of both worlds: they don’t have the generically bland ‘style’ of contemporary vehicles, but they possess features that older cars didn’t have, such as power steering and air conditioning.
Micro- to mid-sized cars are fantastic! They take up very little space, and more importantly, they don’t scream to the world that you’re making up for some other, more personal, shortcomings! And really, I’m not what you would describe as a ‘car guy’. Meaning, I don’t give a toss about torque, or horsepower, or technical details such as that. I like the cars that I like due almost strictly to their aesthetics.
There’s a whole bunch of cars I’d not mentioned, as I didn’t want this post to be as long as the cruise it would describe. But would you have a make and/or model of car you’d like to see in the improved Dream cruise? Why not mention it in the comments below?