Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Clarkson on the Bugatti Veyron

The Veyron must be some beast, eh?

"The Veyron has rendered everything I've ever said about any other car obsolete"

Some notable quotes:

"I mean it's on sale now at £840,000. And, for that money, you could buy a house."

A house? Reminds me of one of the reasons I left the UK. Six-figure sums for starter flats and the almost complete lack of access to the property market for anybody who has not mortgaged themselves to the hilt straight out of university.

What I find so notable about things like the Bugatti Veyron is the way they completely alter our frames of reference. Until something else comes along and ups the ante once again, that is.

I am lucky enough to live in a part of the world full of women I find incredibly sexy and beguiling. However, I recently worked with an aspiring young female runway model who I suspect does indeed have the looks and character to make it at the top levels of international modeling. I found my frame of reference for beautiful women completely reset.

Likewise with supercars.

Eight hundred and forty thousand British pounds for a sports car? Remember when half a million was "outrageous"? How about when only those demi-gods who lived in the rarified upper financial stratosphere could afford even to get on the waiting list for the Porsche 959?

Remember when a "supercar" had less than 300 bhp and got from 0 to 60mph in under 7 seconds? It was not all that long ago. We (well you fureeks, at least) were wearing bell-bottoms and freaking out over Saturday Night Live. Having arrived on an 1100 cc Suzuki superbike that topped out at 120 bell-bottom-balooning mph and slaughtered a hundreds at the first corner. Not much later, we had whacked-out bahnstormers from Porsche tuners like RUF that wowed us with 0-100mph in under ten seconds but, again, would slaughter hundreds at the first corner.

A few years later, we had quarter-litre two-stroke race replica motorbikes that exceeded 120 mph. Until they seized in a corner and slaughetered hundreds, of course.....

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