Bond Asleep on the Back Seat
Hip adverts filled with grinning people portraying effortless lifestyles will be telling us that driverless cars are the thing in a few years. How will that affect the design of cars? The interior in particular has always centred on the driver. If there isn't one, does all the innovation happen on the back seat? Does a car become nothing more than a settee or a bed on wheels? And what of car chases in films? How will two driverless cars constrained to go at the legal speed limit make for thrilling viewing? Would Bond choose to be disconnected from his vehicle during a chase, reading The Gleaner on the back seat of a driverless Aston Martin, rather than working through the gears of that wonderful DBS below?
You can see the 1967 Aston Martin at the Haynes International Motor Museum near Yeovil, Somerset. I'm sure they will be making room for a driverless car section should the concept have a future; though you and I can't help feeling that the glorious exhibits from the golden age of motoring will still be the draw.
Marvelling at the beauty of the interior of the Rolls Royce Serenity piqued a desire to visit the museum and see the best examples of where art and design and manufacturing all come together to create a gesamkunstwerk of engineering.
The old cars with the classic marques and their hand-built quality have more personality in their chrome bumpers than any CAD-designed, box-ticked automotive excretion could ever have. Just look at the marvellous little 1956 Austin Healey and the 1973 Jenson Interceptor (my personal favourite) below.
(By the way, it was difficult for this bumbling amateur to take clear photos with all the shine on the cars.)
The museum has collections from the early age of motoring, with the best examples of sports cars and supercars from every era. Pride of place goes to the 1931 Duesenberg Model J (below). A stunning, and enormous, white-wheeled Jazz Age car worthy of Gatsby.
Incidentally, they also have a small exhibition of model cars at Haynes, which reminded me of my trip to Valencia to visit the excellent Lead Soldier Museum.
Land Rover Reborn
You will no doubt spot a classic Land Rover or two at Haynes, but since Land Rover halted production of the much-loved Defender, the chances of seeing a classic on the road will be greatly reduced.
I am pleased to report — or rather AutoBlog was pleased to report — that twenty-five Series 1 Land Rovers will be restored by Land Rover's Classic division and made available for sale as part of their Land Rover Reborn programme; thus helping to keep our motoring heritage alive. Perhaps future generations will feel suitably motivated to preserve driverless cars? (You and I doubt it.)
Take a look at the stunning before and after photos of the Land Rover they restored to factory quality.