Great excitement in the office with the arrival of the 'Great Cars' book number 9, Jaguar C-type, the stunning story of the 1953 Le Mans winner. Driven to victory by Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton, it has continued to race in every decade since, winning hearts and minds for its combination of style and speed.
They certainly don’t make them like that any more, and never will again. Sadly, the beauty and petrol-driven prowess of such classic cars, which hail from an age when no one considered emissions and pit lanes were a fog of exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke, are valued little in some quarters today. Admittedly, no one wants to return to a day when drivers risked death both from spectacular crashes and lung cancer, but are we in danger of consigning competition-driven development to the past, too? The news of the 2040 end to petrol and diesel engines has caused consternation in the Porter Press office and across the classic-car world. We can’t help feeling that the policy ignores both the vast amount of work the car industry has put into making cars Greener and more efficient and the amount of extra electricity – with all the pollution that generates – that will be needed to run all these electric cars. Government-directed development risks driving progress down a single road without consideration for alternative, potentially better, methods. Hybrid cars, which could be switched between electric engines for city driving and petrol/diesel for rural roads, seem a sensible option. If the world’s best engineers cannot be left to develop an option that is the best for everyone, not merely the most politically expedient, we risk taking a wrong turn and stalling in the run-off area instead of taking the chequered flag.
As for self-driving cars, when we cannot even rely on our broadband working reliably, the idea of trusting our lives to a parcel of electronics seems rash in the extreme!