On the road…

I am, by my own admission, a petrol head. I don’t care what it is, car, bike or boat, if it has an engine, I’m there.

Two stroke, four stroke, diesel, rotary, even gas turbine… I don’t care. I love them all equally and thanks to the delights of my engineering background, am more than capable of pissing about with any of them for hours.

Now being a petrol head, it stands to reason that I have a love of motorsport and since I was a nipper, there has been one particular discipline that has captured my heart. I’ve watched it, raced it, I even put it on TV and to this day, I cannot get enough of it. I speak of the sport of Formula One Stock Car racing.

Known as ‘the working mans motorsport’ on account of its inner-city roots, it is finally, after years of prodding by hundreds if not thousands of people, about to come to the BBC. I won’t say anything more, just check this out.  Must watch TV

I cannot wait. Really, I can’t. And in case you were wondering, yes, that really is my old stock car in the picture. Happy days.

Of course being a petrol head and a bloke, some people assume that I must have certain opinions relating to women drivers but this is not the case. Indeed, I can honestly say that most of the women I know are excellent behind the wheel. I certainly feel safer in their passenger seats than I do with most of men I’ve had the misfortune to be driven by recently

That said, I do have quite firmly entrenched opinions about cars. Or to be more specific, what cars men should or should not drive. And these are based not on what’s under the bonnet or even how fast they go, but on what they look like.

As far as I’m concerned, men should drive cars that are big and butch. Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar, big Mercedes, BMW’s or Audi saloons fit the bill perfectly. Personally, I consider anyone who drives a Chrysler 300 to have both testicles firmly in place because they look like they actually run on testosterone.

Conversely, whilst it would be reasonable to assume that given their performance, I would be ok with men who drive sports cars, this is not the case. If I see a male driving a Porsche for example, one of two things springs to mind; mid-life crisis or gay. Similarly, I consider convertibles to be the preserve of women. Period. The only exception being if they are old and American.

On the subject of ‘non-blokey’ cars, any male who drives anything with either ‘hybrid’ or ‘people carrier’ in the description clearly falls under the tag of ‘new man’ (for which read ‘sad man’) and should be ashamed of themselves. Anyone without ovaries who drives a Smart car clearly has problems.

4×4’s are another vehicle I have issues with. Both BMW and Mercedes versions have always had something ‘girlie’ about them whilst the same thing has also begun to infect the Range Rover. Once the ultimate man’s vehicle, I seem to see so many of them being driven by blondes these days that there’s no way they can be considered masculine any more. As for the large pickups that have begun to infest our roads, whilst they undoubtedly have their merits and are obviously de rigour in the US of A, here in the UK they do have certain connotations associated with them. And who wants that?

The irony is of course, that I drive none of the above. For whilst my two previous cars were old Jaguar XJ’s (possibly the all time classic English lads motor) these days I drive a VW Golf. Not exactly blokey I’ll admit but I do love it to bits.

Then again, I’m confident enough in my sexuality to drive what I like. And besides, as far as I’m concerned, the ultimate male vehicle doesn’t have four wheels at all. Just the two.



16 thoughts on “On the road…”

  1. Not so sure about the Chrysler 300, Dougie. I recall seeing an article in the paper stating that among gay men in the US, it is considered the best looking car around.

    Of course, that could just be a rumour circulated by GM or Ford.

    Personally, I doubt it!
    Its, sort of………the Vee-rod of the car world.

  2. Hmmm… but considering its butchness, would it not be wrong if gay men DIDN’T like it?

    I actually think the basic V-rod is a bit camp (all that chrome) but the nightrod in all black is something else. It even beats the V-Max and that really is one beefy bike!

    1. At the risk of seeming, well, old…I don’t think you can beat an Egli Vincent.
      Polished alloy, spokes, kick-start, straight-through pipes. Hey! That almost describes my last Duke.
      By the way, your cousin Geoff still has his round-case 750 Sport. A bit non-standard as it has a 905 kit, desmo heads, flat-slide Kehins, diaphragm clutch, plain-bearing big-end conversion,, electronic ignition and a whopping big disc and caliper off a late model Duke. Rather more neddies than the original.
      Upsets those wanker purists no end.
      Still has his Pantah too. Nearly 200,000 kms and still going strong.
      Have you been to a Harley dealership lately?
      I went to one some years back, not to buy one I hasten to add! No, I just needed a crate (went to the right place…) to get Geoff’s Sport to him from Western Australia.
      Well, I thought I’d wandered in to some boutique or leather fetishist’s shop. It really was rather…………un-blokey.
      Sadly, Ducati dealerships appear to have gone the same way. I’m pretty sure I saw some clip-on ponytails last time I went to one.

  3. I share your concerns about Harley dealers but having once spent a day filming with the Hells Angels, I am loathe to make any comment!!!

    The notion of what makes a masculine bike is an interesting one. There are obviously some that need no further comment (BSA Gold Star, Manx Norton, any Triton, Vincent Black Shadow, etc, etc) merely because they are clearly only capable of being started let alone ridden by a butch male.

    However, any bike that features the word ‘evil’ or the term ‘widow-maker’ in a review has to be considered masculine. After all, no one but a real man would even want to ride one let alone be capable of taming it. To that end, the three most obvious are the Suzuki TL1000S, any of the big Kawasaki 2-stroke triples and of course, the V-Max.

    Ironically, three of my favourite bikes!

    1. You need not go to the trouble of buying a Mach111 Kwaka or V-max. Might I suggest that all you need to do is modify whatever bike you happen to own.
      1. Let the tyres down to 10 psi.
      2. Loosen head stem bearings.
      3. Drain oil from one or both fork legs.
      4. Max. preload on the rear shock(s), minimum damping.

      Same result for minimal effort and a whole lot cheaper than a Harley!

  4. Well, I must agree with you Dougie, old bean. Monday night at 10.30 on BBC1 is going to be momentous for those of us who have followed the sport for more than 40 years (jeez, I’m really starting to become very old). Like you, I can’t wait.

    Not only that, but I predict that some of those on the show (not necessarily the drivers!) will get their 15 minutes of fame – which I don’t think is a bad thing at all.

    The other good thing is that the six-part series coincides with the World Final at Coventry in September – hopefully, that will draw even more interest.

    As for cars that I have driven, I always have fond memories of my old Lancia Thema 2.0 Turbo. A real tyre-burner – although not as much as the beefed up Lancia Thema 8.32 with the 3-litre V8 Ferrari engine powering the front wheels! What a mad car that was. Only wish I had owned one.

    The most brutish car I ever drove was a TVR Griffith 500. Jaw-droppingly quick. The back end would kick out with the slightest accelleration in second and third gears – brilliant fun!

  5. Well it goes without saying that real cars have rear wheel drive.

    Agree with you about the 15 minute’s of fame. I can certainly hazard a guess on who’re going to be the real stars of this series though!

    Maybe ‘infamy’ is a better description!

  6. Sorry Dave, missed your comment.

    The trouble of buying a VMax!!! I had one and it was the greatest bike I’ve ever owned!!! Savage to ride on anything approaching a bend but in a straight line… awesome!

    However, I’m not sure having to tweak a bike to make it evil handling is in the true spirit of things. After all, whilst all men should be able to fix things, making them worse is surely unacceptable!

    I feel a blog coming on!!! 😀

  7. Making them worse is unacceptable!
    I’d best give up DIY then.

    What I was getting at was that most modern bikes are so good that they are much less challenging to ride than in days of yore.
    Hard to get your jollies except at speeds that would have you arrested in Nanny-state Australia.
    A blokey thing to do is to get out there and find the machines limits, so, logically, if the limits of the machine are too high, lower the limits. You can challenge yourself (still find fear) at much lower speeds!
    Seriously though, I doubt that modern bikes are ‘better’ than old ones.
    Better in the sense of being more enjoyable, which is the goal, surely. If you were to believe how much better the latest model is than the year’s before, by extrapolation, anything designed twenty years ago would be unrideable.
    Too many people seem to base their ideas of a bike’s qualities on how fast it goes around a race-track when ridden by some former racer. Totally irrelevant except for the wank value of owning ‘the fastest’ according to some marketing tool, I mean Bike magazine.
    Like a lot of blokes, I’ve turned to dirt-bikes because you can hoon around all you like without the fun nazis spoiling your day. There is a large element of marketing BS in dirtbikes too, of course. I was perousing a magazine recently. About two-thirds dealt with clothing. ‘New seasons colours’. Christ, I nearly threw up into my pudding-bowl helmet.
    And another thing, while I’m ranting: what about those overweight geezers that buy a bicycle ‘to get fit’. So they go and buy a carbon fibre frame, super-light this, featherweightium that. Wouldn’t it be better to buy a heavy one?
    Modernity….bah! Humbug!

  8. oh good god, not two Brimsons at it? although, at least there’s two heads to bang together to knock some sense into the pair of you. Having said that, being blokes, ‘sense’ went out the window with puberty…… 😉

  9. I think there is something in that although you are missing one fundamental point.

    What happens when we hit puberty? Exactly, we discover women. And once we fall under that particular spell, we have no chance. Hence the expression, he hasn’t got the sense he was born with! 🙂

  10. You cheeky minx, Purplediva. I suspect that you quite enjoy reading a good rant, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading Dougie’s blog!
    Rather than indulge you, I’ll just provide a little joke; might come in handy, Dougie.

    Why do they slap new-born babies?

    To knock the dicks off the silly ones.
    Heh, heh, heh…..

  11. G’day Dougie, I started pondering what makes a bike butch. Well, here it is:
    Aluminium and steel are clearly more masculine than plastic. Plastic is the material of kitchen appliances, aprons and scrubbing brushes.

    It must have a big engine in plain sight. Can’t cover it with sheets of plastic or it will look too much like the Wife’s sewing machine. Lots of modern bikes do. If you don’t believe me, look in the linen cupboard. There, gathering dust in the deepest recesses will be the proof.

    The engine mustn’t be covered by sheets of plastic either. You need to be able to see the push-rod covers of the bevel gear housing, oil lines, whopping big carburettors. You need to feel that you can take a spanner to it.

    I agree with you that chrome should be confined to a few places. Like handlebars, instrument clusters and exhausts. Otherwise it starts to look too much like a kitchen sink, with all the negative associations which kitchen sinks bring to mind.

    Most colours are okay, so long as there are no more than two on the machine, otherwise it’ll look like an ironing-board cover. That would be really bad.

    Electronic wizardry just doesn’t cut it. I don’t know how it is in the RAF, but in the RAAF the term for electronics tradesmen is ‘Queer Trader’.

    When you give the throttle a twist, it mustn’t make a noise like ‘whoose-whoose’. No, it ought ot bark; like the bloody neighbours Rottweiller when you stagger in late from the Pub.

    It’s allowed to leak a bit. It gives you a pretext to slink off to the shed when your in-laws visit.

    It must have a decent turn of speed. you ought to be able to see-off the Orthodontist’s Porsche without appearing to try too hard.

    Of course, that is just my opinion and it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for bikes that don’t fit that description.
    Pseudo-racers will still be able to buy their plastic coated pose-mobiles; they’ll still be able to ‘hang-off’ whenever their machines lean more than two degrees off vertical.
    Big cruisers will still be seen teetering around roundabouts.

    And there will always be small scooters and mopeds for the girls.


    1. Ooops. Line 1 of para 3 was meant to ‘The engine must’nt be an amorphous lump either.

      Bugger. I was particularly pleased with ‘amorphous’.

  12. Exactly! The approach of a real motorbike should set off house alarms! That’s kind of why I like streetfighters.. stripped down beasts in their basic state of dress!

    And in the RAF, electricians are known as Fairies which says it all really.

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