Clarkson Cobblers

You may think you look good in your convertible. But unless you are Pierce Brosnan, which you are not, you actually look like a tool”

So wrote Jeremy Clarkson in a lengthy article in last week’s Sunday Times. Here is some more:

“You may dream of driving a convertible car through the mountains of southern France on a beautiful summer’s day. But, having done this sort of thing on many occasions, I’m able to tell you that you will arrive at your destination with a comically red nose and a shirt that appears to have spent the past few months at the bottom of a stagnant pond.”

“What message are you giving out? That you are carefree? That you are young at heart? That you are available? But you aren’t. You’re middle aged and a bit pathetic, and if people are looking, they will laugh at you. Once you are past the age of 27, you can drive alfresco only when it is safe to drive naked. In other words, when no one is looking. To sum up, then, driving a convertible is uncomfortable and will cause other road users to think that you are a prat with manhood issues.”

I am well used at Jeremy’s rants after all these years and I just ignore him. At 66 I probably look incredibly silly in my MX5 with the roof down, but I couldn’t care less! However Ken Holland from Teignmouth in Devon felt strongly enough to write this pithy response:

“Jeremy Clarkson has just perpetuated every urban myth that surrounds driving a convertible car. Having owned three Mazda MX-5s over the past 10 years, I read the feature with a slack jaw.

I have never arrived at a destination with a comically red nose or stagnant-pond shirt: I’m usually cool, refreshed and very relaxed. I have never got frostnip on my fingers (the heater works very well), and driving topless on a frosty day is a wonderful experience (the Scott of the Antarctic wardrobe doesn’t get a look-in). My wife doesn’t get her hair messed up by the wind: the seats are low, and we have a wind-blocker behind the seats. I don’t drive around in a convertible to look good (probably the biggest urban myth of all): I drive a convertible because I enjoy the benefits of fresh air and the feeling of freedom.

I have no wish to appear carefree or young or available, and I happily admit to being middle-aged. I drive a convertible with the top down because I enjoy it, I feel better for it and it gives me great pleasure. It’s comfortable, reliable, cheap to run, fun to drive and puts a smile on my face. The perfect car, really.

Jeremy actually agrees: the MX-5 is “a car designed to thrill and excite and put a massive smile on your face at the sort of speed that won’t mess up your girlfriend’s hair” (Clarkson, August 16, 2009).”

Well said Ken!


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