Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Back To The Future

Rolls Royce Phantom, in brown with a brown Everflex roof. STOP IT!

It's odd that a man who secretly thinks we're still living in 1987 has become a style and fashion guru. And believe me, it was entirely unintended - whilst I own silver suits and red braces, I don't parade the fashionable streets showing off, I've never contributed to fashion boards, and I let so few people photograph me I'll never become a pin-up.

My style icon status hasn't even been personal - for which I suppose the masses should be glad, though a return to the days of shoulder pads and perms needn't be a bad thing. No, my impact has been felt in the world of motoring.

You might recall my jubilation last year in discovering my first prediction had been right; that brown has returned as a colour option in many companies' motoring palettes. At the time I was unused to this sensation; having been right when predicting the return of a left-field choice many would rather forget. As such I focused my sights on the one item I genuinely thought would be left hidden at the back of the design cupboard of much shame in the stylists' sitting rooms.

But no. I've been proven right again to my eternal dismay. The vinyl roof, for so long considered passé, consigned to the history books and the world of the Las Vegas Limo, is starting to make a comeback.

We saw elements of this earlier in the decade with the Audi TT quattro Sport, with it's gloss black roof serving no purpose than to trumpet the return of vinyl-style contrat roofs. The Jaguar XJ's misguided black D pillar was strangely reminiscent of the P6 Series 2, too - that was the point at which I made my ridiculous prediction. But now two more manufacturers have come out in blatant support of the Everflex roof - and annoyingly both are REAL vinyl rather than a coat of paint.

Rolls Royce have offered vinyl roofed Phantoms for a fair few months now, including the Saudi spec Baynunah pictured above. And now Mazda have joined the act with the Mazda2 Black - complete with, you guessed it, a black vinyl roof.

What I'd normally have done at this point is blithely predict the return of the Ro-Style wheel or something like that. But I'm concerned I'm becoming something I hoped never to be. The trouble with fashion icons is they're revered briefly, then cast aside like the plastic seat protectors in a brand new Royce. I've always hankered after style, which is permanent but less adored. This explains my love of the Rover Sterling, the XJ40, and various old bits of tin from Crewe. Before long we'll be looking at cars like the M3 decked out in brown with a tan vinyl roof, and I'll have to become a hermit until all the fuss dies down. God in heaven, it'll be awful.

But what I am going to do, despite that rant, is make further predictions. We've seen the return on the Polo Bluemotion of Austin Rover economy spoilers as seen on all the best Metro and Maestro HLEs. I think that in these days of eco-friendliness we shall see more tributes to economy from the back catalogue of motoring. Let's see what we can suggest.

Clearly, first to go will be the large diameter, wide wheels. These only increase rolling resistance, meaning greater amounts of fuel are needed for propulsion. They'll have to go, bringing the pleasant side effect of less road noise. I predict that with them will go the craze for the alloy. Small steel wheels are bound to be lighter than anything sporting could ever be - readers will note that most sporting additions to cars make them heavier. All the toys will go, the quest for saving weight and thus fuel will put an end to on board computers, standard electric mirrors and windows, air conditioning and many more items. We'll end the craze for tall cars too, the lower a shape the better it cleaves through the air, and thus the better it'll be on fuel.

There. Four predictions for cars of the future that are unlikely to happen. And if they do, I'll give up and find a job in IT.

1 comment:

  1. Oh God no, please.

    Next it will be burgundy brushed velour and square(ish) steering wheels, Tom and Barbara Good wallpaper, kipper ties and wide suit lapels and, since we are on the subject of vinyl, let's not forget platform shoes and the Bay City Rollers.

    For God's sake, if all your predictions come true. predict something a little more palatable!