Friday, September 5, 2014

James May's "Cars Of The People"

James doing what he does best: arched-eyebrow satire.  In this case the happy, pre-war Nazi family vacation in a
Strength-through-Joy (KdF)-wagen.  As May explains in detail, World War Two intervened and no KdF-wagens
were delivered to the volk who had saved up for them on the lay-away plan.

I've swooned before over the linguistic stylings of James May: All Hail James, Master Presenter!  (He has the assistance of some excellent co-writers and production teams.)

May's Cars of the People seems to be a 3-episode mini-series filling in for the suspended Top Gear.  I like to be educated, and even moved to thought, while being entertained.  If the show includes British satire and irony, so much the better.  My sister often holds up the BBC as an example of what television could be.  Cars of the People is the automotive example of her point.

The for-UK-consumption programs, available on the internet, are both better and longer that the editied-down ones now running on BBC America.  Here are the links to each hour-long episode (British version).

Episode 1: totalitarian cars of the people.  I should mention here that I owned a 1968 Fiat 124 sedan, and it was fun.  Way more fun than a Beetle (which I also owned), but not as much fun as a Mini (ditto). That's what state-of-the-art suspension and an Italian power train will do for you.

Episode 2 is brilliant about my special weakness: the French generally, and the Citroen 2CV in particular.  Viewer Advisory: brief scenes of the customary Top Gear mayhem appear.

Episode 3 is about "aspirational" cars, like the Lamborghini Countach and the Porsche 911 Turbo.  My teenaged son had a Countach poster on his bedroom wall, along with one of Farrah Fawcett.  May demonstrates the lethality of the 911 Turbo in the hands of amateurs.  The Traveling Salesman Race is one of the funniest Top Gear-style bits I've seen.  Probably because I used to work with traveling salesmen and have an appreciation for the indignities they suffer.  This episode is marred only by a lame ending.

Let's have more automotive history from James May!

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