My greatest automotive passion is classic race cars, any type, any era.
When they raced, they were the ultimate expression of speed, and by still being around they give us a window into a bygone era.
One of the best memories, is from the first running of the le Mans classic (Go if you have never been!……really do!)
Imagine a beautiful sunny day, just before practice of the late 60’s early 70’s cars, (my favorite era) and I was completely under the spell of these heroes of yesteryear.
917, 512, 911, 934, 935, Corvettes…..they were all there!
Mechanics were working on their charges, getting them ready for first practice.
The announcement was made that practice was about to start, instead of running to the track to see these beasts in action, I stood in the middle of the paddock, closed my eyes, and felt the sun on my face. I was in Le Mans, the sun was shining and I was surround by race cars. My version of heaven.
Everything got a little bit quieter, and from behind me, after turning over for a few seconds a Porsche 908 exploded into life.
Sending shivers down my spine and bringing a lump to my throat.
It was closely followed by it’s brethren, all of them revving to keep the temperamental engines running.
The air smelled of Castrol R and unburnt fuel.
Like I said….Heaven!
To me all those cars have a soul, they represent stories of running around a track in the dark, heartbreak from failures and elation from finishing.
If you stand in Parc Fermeè after a race and listen closely, you can hear them telling their story in pings from cooling down , drips of fluid and the smell of heated rubber and plastic.
It is visible on the outside, a tiremark here, crack or a tear there. It all tells a story…you just have to see it.
Machines of war have it too, they also tell stories of victory or defeat, of escaping from the jaws of death or succumbing to tragedy.
And closer to home?
Do our mundane everyday cars have a soul, what stories do they have to tell?
If you’re like me you’ll have rose tinted memories about every car you have owned.
Scrimping and saving for that first one and taking all your friends out in it.
Losing it in the snow, sliding slowly towards a pole and coming to a halt just mm from it.
That trip you made with friends (where one of you sat on a carton of yoghurt….it was everywhere!)
Maybe that dent in the bumper reminds you of the time you wanted to coolly reverse your car out of a spot quickly….and you looked a right plonker after hitting that pole.
Driving my wife to the hospital in the middle of her contractions….and driving home after….a dad.
All this add to the story, the story of you, but also of your car.
So do machines have a soul?
Of course not, but it is fun to think they do, they are reminders of our own history.
They’ve brought us where we wanted to go, kept us safe and dry, even let us down occasionally.
And when we see them go it is always a sad moment.
So keep making history in your car, keep adding to it’s story and give it it’s own soul.