“Jenkins! Get in here!”
“What is this, Jenkins?”
What’s what, sir?
“What’s with this shot for the ‘81 510 press kit?”
Is it out of focus? You don’t like the models? I knew I should have got the blond but Rothschild said that would have been cliche…
“No, Jenkins, it’s boring. The old 510 was a great sports sedan. We practically created that market after we stole the idea from BMW. And here you’ve dressed the car in pie-dish hubcaps and white-wall tires!”
Have you driven the new 510, sir?
“That’s beside the point. You’ve put it in the suburbs with people wearing tweed.”
Well, sir, our research has shown that buyers aren’t interested in sports sedans any more; they want good fuel economy and a feeling of reliability.
“I don’t see economy and reliability in this shot, Jenkins, I see the crushing grind of the everyday. It looks like she’s telling him that she’ll be making meatloaf for dinner.”
Meatloaf tracked very high in the focus groups, sir.
“Meatloaf and tweed and the suburbs. This is the beginning of the end, Jenkins. The beginning of the end.”
5.56pm Arrive home from work. Stupid meetings. Out of milk. Check the weather for tomorrow. Sunny, but not too hot. Perfect.
7.09am Toast for breakfast. Black tea.
7.17am Skim the weekend paper.
7.18am Pour over the classifieds. Fantasise about purchasing an Alfa Romeo GTV “reluctant sale”. Dismiss Alfa in favour of Lancia Beta Coupe, “one owner last 15 years”. Lancia reverie lasts until Peugeot 504ti, “extensive receipts” which is ousted by Renault Alpine A310, “no leaks; new interior”. Oh, wait: Volvo 242GT, “new paint; interesting history”.
8.05am Finished with classifieds.
8.07am Bonnet up. Oil: good. Water: good. Tyre pressures: all good except left rear which looses 2psi a week. Tyre tread: adequate.
8.10am Sit in car. Ignore slight tear on driver’s seat bolster. Turn key. First crank. Lovely. Keep the revs up or it’ll stall. First gear, lift clutch nudge the car out of the garage onto the driveway so the exhaust fumes don’t enter the house too much.
8.13am Temperature gauge has lifted from the stop pin. Get out of the car and take a photo. “Just going out to get some milk.”
8.15am Nice day for it.
8.28am Traffic lights. Early RX-7 owner wants a run. Let him go, the Z’s still a bit cold.
Yours truly with a my Dad’s beige, automatic, Datsun 200b. I think this is probably about 1981.
My mum had a pale blue 200b with the 4-speed manual at the same time. I’m not sure what was so appealing about the 200b. I have some recollection of both of my dad saying that he bought them in the end-of-model run-out, before the square Bluebird came in.
And me there? I’m either tired, or annoyed at how beige is a pale imitation of brown.