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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Feminists have a point

Lucy recently lost out to White Man Van on a greasy road in Brittany. It made me think. Women often come off worst where cars are involved.

FLAT TYRE No problem, there’s a spare. But first the used wheel, bolted on with a pneumatic torque wrench. Even so, a breakdown truck driver told me, women drivers will often have a go. Men call the AA and listen to Radio 1.

BOOT LIDS Many now have a dangling handle and not a moment too soon. Previously women got warm and angry jumping up for the rear number plate.

OIL FILLER ORIFICE “Oh that’s where it is, right at the back of the engine. I’m lucky I never liked this ball gown.”

DRIVER ERGONOMICS Everything’s adjustable. The steering column’s telescopic, seat and the squab are hinged, seat can be slid backwards and forwards and it can be raised and lowered. But only within average male variations. That’s why women’s cleavages bear the mark of the manufacturer’s logo found in the centre of the steering wheel.

PEDAL ACCESSIBILITY Fine for ladies – lady giraffes, that is.

CAR PARK TICKET SLOTS “Hang on to my butt while I reach out another metre.”

REVERSING VISIBILITY Simply lower the head-rest. Oh, it’s as low as it will go. Sorry.

RADIO CONTROLS “I can do without Bartok’s violin concerto or without steering for two or three seconds. Which will it be?”

TYRE HOSE Manicured this morning; will need another this afternoon.

VISOR VANITY MIRROR “Why does driving a Ford age me so?”

SPEEDO JUDGEMENTS 30 mph – woeful old grannie. 70 mph – flashy young tart.


  1. My favorite car (a rental in the States) came with height controlled seats, an adjustable steering wheel and a remote that closed the trunk/boot for me. The lighting was nearly vanity mirror quality, the car candy red. It pulled into parking spaces like a charm, and had abundant drink holders. I still look at its pictures from our holiday ;-).

    What is the speed limit on UK highways?

  2. The only problem with my car is that
    chauffeur is not included. Don't feel like paying extra.

  3. A bit off the point, but why are female grand prix drivers scarce?

  4. Julia: The make, Julia, the make. Trunk/boot point: it's not opening that's the problem but closing; without the handle puller my Skoda's boot lid would be beyond VR's reach.

    Speed limits: 70 mph on motorways, 60 on country roads (unless otherwise specified), 30 mph built-up areas (in general.

    Ellena: Hey, we're blowing the feminist trumpet here. Unless you have in mind some rag-taggle male who's chained to the driving seat.

    Sir Hugh: Because GP drivers are scarce. In effect sponsors pay for the drivers and it usually depends on who they think are sellable.

    And in the end perhaps it's because women are more sensible, more pragmatic. Maria de Villota, comes from a Spanish racing family, had competed in Spanish F3 and in the Dayona 24 and was test driving a Morussia F1 car at Duxford last year when she crashed into a support vehicle, did great damage to her skull and lost an eye. Her reaction in a recent BBC interview was: "Before, I only saw F1, I saw myself in a car competing. I did not see what was important in life, the clarity to say: 'I am alive,'". The approved male response would have been: "When can I get another drive?" On a scale defining humanity hers is surely the preferred reaction. The other is sheer madness.

  5. I haven't driven a car for 12 years or more. I learn today that basic models of new cars are being supplied in this country without a spare tyre. Hard to believe. Is it true?

  6. Mercedes GLK, and the remote control closed the boot too. Clearly, it was a car designed for women.

    (BTW, despite its credentials, it wasn't extravagantly pricy - and wound up being the best deal on the lot for midsize cars! If only I could have shipped it back to Prague.)

  7. From a Mustang Hatchback to a Buick Sedan ... I seem to have missed the middle somehow.

  8. Joe: A wheel and tyre to match the four supplied with the new car cost £150. My most recent car was sold this way and I had to bear the cost myself. On the whole I preferred it rather than that the car be supplied with one of those horrible 50 mph get-you-home tyres which I might not have been tempted to replace. I had a puncture in NZ and was forced to use the get-you-home tyre; very unsettling, very dangerous. But you're right, it is a cynical attitude on the part of the manufacturer. True, tyres puncture less these days but when they do and there's no spare you could easily waste a whole day rectifying things.

    Julia: I think that's the one that looks like a van. And I'm not sure it's made by Mercedes, just badged by them. But what the heck - it hit the spot. (Rather an unfortunate metaphor).

    RW (zS): Ah come on. I see a gull-wing Merc in your life when you win the lottery.