I moved to the countryside last week, to a place where the only public transport option is to stick out your thumb and wait. So, for the first time in three years, I am in the market for a proper car. Serendipitous it is, then, that the British International Motor Show has just started in Docklands and runs until 3 August.
I do love a good motor show. En masse, the smell of new cars can make me quite giddy. I love, too, the fantastical and lavish stands – like long-lost sets from Stanley Kubrick movies, but with canapés. Obviously I abhor the sexism that remains rife at these kinds of events, but what's good about the flimsily clothed models who stand beside the most important new launches is that you can stare at them for ages while pretending that you are looking at the cars. Anywhere else, you'd be arrested for that sort of thing so I see this as a useful safety valve for society. And the London show looks like a far more professional offering than recent UK car exhibitions, with more than 600 cars from 60 manufacturers on show – not least the lovely new Lotus Evora.
However, as usual, the Germans have undermined the whole thing. VW won't be there, which also means Lamborghini is staying at home. Neither will you be able to see new offerings from BMW or Audi. Porsche isn't bothering to turn up either, which, given the location, seems particularly ungrateful (how many cars have they sold to Docklands residents over the years, I wonder?). Most spiteful of all, some cold-hearted Bavarian has decided that, rather than fork out for a flatbed truck and a trayful of nibbles, Rolls-Royce will keep its lovely new Phantom Coupé holed up in deepest Sussex. Volvo and Fiat aren't coming either, but I don't think anyone will particularly notice.
I am not going anyway. Call me a lick-penny if you will, but in this economic climate, even Louis XVI would probably have cautioned against the squanderous depreciation of a new car purchase, and that – perhaps more than my disappointment at not being able to see the new Chrysler Sebring, perhaps more even than my fear of hitchhiking – will keep me in the countryside this weekend. Anyway, I've just seen a five-year-old Focus diesel in Autotrader. And that's not going to hang around for long.Reuse content