Personal Car – À rebours


This, I believe, is the car Joris -Karl Huysmans would have owned had it been available in the 19th century. I must re-read À rebours to see if the colour is possible, but the basic premise of the car is correct to the text.


I must be cautious here – the Bufori depicted in the photographs is very likely to be the property of a good person. They would not appreciate snide remarks. And as their car is licensed and driven on Western Australian roads – and driven well and with courtesy, I daresay, all is well.



This is a motor vehicle that suggests a great deal. It exhibits many of the attributes of famous automobiles. It is stylish, in a way that exhibits style…rather than possesses it. It shows admirable engineering, but in the manner of a carnival – the mechanics of it are glimpsed like a pea under a walnut shell in a sideshow game. The finish is gorgeous, but it is reminiscent of a Venetian mask.


The car is built upon a Volkswagen chassis – 1970, apparently, The engine is from some form of Subaru. The body is patently fibreglass – the interior appointments taken from many sources, as are the small details like tail lights. I am thinking Jaguar for these, but I may be wrong. In any case the the multiple sourcing of detailed parts is no more than the normal process of constructing a hot rod or kustom car – and as this has been shown at several hot rod shows, it is perfectly appropriate.




The front storage bin lid line ( I cannot bring myself to refer to it as a bonnet.) is meant to suggest a Packard. The side line is meant to suggest a British two-seater. The tail is meant to suggest a boat tail speedster mated with a 20’s Indianapolis car. Or an Auto Union C. Or D. Oh, I don’t bloody know… The overall effect is racy, but I can’t help feel that we are seeing the automotive equivalent of a lighted plastic model of the Vatican suspended from fishing lines above a television set in an Italian household*. Riveting sight, but not for a good reason.


Well, Let’s hope he sells it and the new owner is happy. Happiness is what the Personal Car is all about. If it comes to matters of taste, the Bufori owner can legitimately rib me about the fluoro-green seat covers on my Suzuki. I will grin sheepishly and nod.

  • Yes, it was.



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