Le Blue Streak – Hyde Park – Part Two

I have a passion for blue French cars – my first vehicle was a blue Renault – but do not think I have encountered this Delage before today. It would have stood out sharply in my mind. As it is I was delighted with it.

From the radiator cap that doubles as a thermometer en francais…

 to the rather intriguing ” oleometre ” … ( I suspect the red segments of the cross open up to white as the oil pressure rises in the engine )…

to the extremely discrete speedometer and tachometer…

this is a triumph of Gallic style over substance. Or rather of French thinking which can be done after a long lunch in the shade. I recognize the laterality of it all from some of the ideas found on my Renault.

The back seat is positively decadent, if you can persuade anyone into it with you. I tried and the case comes up Monday.

I intend to plead diminished responsibility on account of the colour of the car and the polished metal bonnet. I shall tender a photograph of the capped crank coupling in front of the engine and the friction shock absorbers to prove that I was lead astray.

 

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Le Romantisme de la Bugatti

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The modern car enthusiasts who feed on superlatives produced by the motoring press and  video clip industry love the Bugatti Veyron. It goes ever faster in their programs – and as they are the ones telling you what that speed is, and you have no chance to see one in action whilst timing it, they can really make it go as fast as ever they want. If there is liquor involved as they sit at the computer keyboard it can be very fast indeed.

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It is rather like the French railways – the SNCF – they have a penchant ( French word for disreputable habit…) for holding record-breaking electric locomotive races through the centre of France between Paris, Lyon, Orleans, and Marseille. It is presumably quieter than doing the same thing with racing cars, and when they drag a train after them you can get something to drink in the bar/buffet. Of course the exercise is pointless – there are Frenchmen on either end of the journey so you are not really escaping from them in either direction. But it is good for national pride.

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Well, there were once Bugatti cars that did not go at 600Km/hr for the amusement. They did motor fast, and they did motor well, but it was with more common sense. They motored Gallicly, if that is a word. With style. With a logical shape that was made to be shapely. With visible engineering in odd shapes ( French, remember…) and rivets, and blue paint. Medium blue paint, of a particular shade. A paint that Monét would have approved of. A paint that Would have spoken to Van Gogh…in his good ear.

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Witness, if you please, the full size reality, the full size unreality, the virtual reality, and the tiny reality. Bon Chance!