We’re connected to cars. Very connected.
As most of us are undoubtedly aware, with every social media channel and retail website helpfully reminding us, today is Valentine’s Day. So, we thought we’d mark this annual celebration of love with some of the cars that have meant more to us than they really should as mere machines. You’ll find every element of classic love stories, from the one who got away to first romances, and even a little bit of betrayal and woe.
Whereas most machines are a mangled mess of metal and miscellaneous wiring, our cars are very different. We are connected to them. Often, it is because they contain the most human of qualities, flaws. Which is maybe why we can relate to them more than others.
Sam Wood, our CSS Intern, is a case in point. His 17-year old VW Polo had broken window cranks, worn-out brakes, and would cut out at 20mph randomly. Compared to his shiny new Kia Rio, it was a death-trap, but he still thinks of it nostalgically as ‘so bad it was good’.
Or Caroline Edwards, our Head of Marketing Insight, who has fond memories of days of cheaper insurance and running costs with her Citroen AX Dimension.
Alternatively, there are cars that create an inexplicable level of hatred, such as the Fiat Multipla, which could drive Guy Howland, Head of Creative, to road rage. On the other hand, his love for his BMW E36 is still true.
Here’s a few more of the cars we’ve loved and loathed at GForces.
Unrequited Love – Jennifer Allen, SEO Lead
The Nissan Figaro is a car I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for. Only available in four colours that represented the seasons, and made in limited numbers as a Japanese import, it always had that sense of being unattainable. Even now, there is a Figaro dealer who insists on meeting you first to see if you’re a good enough match for the car. That’s what I call exclusive.
When Nissan unveiled it at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show, it was under the slogan of ‘Back to the Future’. And it was an apt one too. With a chic, retro design that echoed 50s convertibles, but with all the modern convenience of modern Japanese reliability and technology, it was a flash of the past and a classic without the tears. Unless you didn’t make the waiting list for the extremely limited run.
The Figaro is cute, reliable, and a bit of a head-turner – which is why I love it.
Expensive Chocolate – Lewis Rogers, Software Support Executive
My current car is a Vauxhall Corsa VXR Clubsport. From its specialist, Remus exhaust, to its track-hero status, there’s a lot to love about this car. But as far as relationships go, it’s proving to be a bit of a heartbreaker.
No Valentines should really be without chocolate and my Clubsport is no exception, with pistons that appear to be made of A-Grade cocoa, melting and disforming at the slightest pressure. So, the only present I’ve been left by this gold digger is a broken wallet to match the engine.
The One that Got Away – Francesca Morgan, Brand Communications Manager
The first brand new car that I was lucky enough to afford when I was only 21, was a MINI Pimlico (a special edition), which meant it was a beautiful shade of blue with black running stripes, and a black panoramic sunroof which is no longer available! I absolutely loved it – the only downfall was the boot was full once I’d been on a light shopping spree or visited a friend overnight. This was the reason I had to change to something a little bigger when my finance deal was coming to an end. But I will always love that beautiful car!
The Love Bug – Sarah Goodbody, Receptionist
My first car was a wonderful VW Beetle. It was black and came complete with yellow and white daisies, harking perhaps to the flower-power history you might expect. Naturally, I adored it, and ignored anyone who suggested that I might be outgrowing it, or that an upgrade was more than due.
We had a good few years together, but the time came when I realised that maybe they were right. The cute and zany outfit was now a little embarrassing, and if we spent any more time together, I was sure reliability was going to become a problem. So, I moved on. But on balmy days, or with a bit of Jimi Hendrix or the Beach Boys on the radio, it’s not hard to think back to when my motoring life was a bit more free spirited!
First Love – Jennifer White, Senior Digital Advisor
Before I passed my test, I never gave much thought to what my first car would look like. Freedom was the first priority, and sixty(?!) lessons later, that’s just what I got…as well as a 1999 Nissan Micra ‘Inspiration’.
Nothing was going to stop me loving that car. Not the crash that battered it like an old bean can, nor the MOTs that crippled my cashflow. Like everything I grow to love, I invested everything, pouring good money after bad.
With the multi-coloured seventies, special edition interior, I convinced myself it was a moveable work of art. Even more so when a botched car-wrapping job saw me commuting in a silver car with random, salmon-coloured panels. They told me it would turn out red. They told me it would be wrapped in one go.
When I finally traded it in last November, it was with a heavy heart. Not just because I’d forked out £400 on its latest MOT, but because it marked the end of an era. To the garage, it was worth £100, but to me, I could no longer put a price on it.
I’ll never forget my first car, and with the combination of joy and embarrassment it caused, I suppose I can compare it to my first love. Some memories make me smile, whilst others just make me cringe! But my little Micra was loyal, reliable (mostly), and a great ride. Pretty good for a first timer I’d say!
The Ones We’ve Loved from Afar
From the iconic Aston Martin DB5, to its more modern counterpart, the Vantage V12 S, there are plenty of cars that have escaped our ownership but are firmly on the wishlist. With weirder wheeled wonders like the Portuguese UMM military vehicle and various modified Land Rovers also being mentioned, two things are for sure. First, we need another blog article to cover them, and secondly, GForces really are car connected!