Selfridges, for the uninitiated, is a century-old, upper-crusty British department store (founded by an American expat; go figure). Its home base is a many-columned palace on Oxford Street in London, famous for its window displays and a foie-gras-related spat with topless animal-rights activists.
A FORMULA 1 RACER IS IN THE MIDDLE OF A RACE, dozens of laps to go. Everyone’s zooming over 300kph. But it’s time for repairs and tyre changes — time for a pit stop. The racer pulls in. Close to two dozen workers swarm on the vehicle. The car rises on jacks, all four tyres are changed, the driver's helmet visor is cleaned, the jacks drop and the car bolts away.
If humans had continued to evolve to the point where we could withstand car crashes, we might look something like Graham, according to the Transport Accident Commissionin the Australian state of Victoria.
British automotive marques are extension of the nation’s class system and style. Whether conjuring the leather armchairs and wood panelling of a gentleman’s club or the naked mechanicals of a locomotive, they echo the singular, manic ambitions of the engineers who realised their dreams – however remote or eccentric these may have been. Rare is the British car built with the mass market in mind, and that tendency has had lasting effects; vehicles produced in high volumes in today’s UK all carry the names of foreign automakers.