VW’s Big Brother
Someone should make a lot of money out of the 1975 MGs. The first bright spark to produce a bolt-on panel to replace that excrescence on the front will be made for life both moneywise and as a member of every car lovers’ club in sight. We all know that as far as cars are concerned the Americans deserve everything they get, but really British Leyland could have done something for those of us who tend to think that a car is not an accident looking for a place to happen.
Having said that I must admit to being a little in the other camp by saying that I have just bought a Volvo 144, this year’s model with the big what’s-it on the front. The purists may also say that they have gone beyond the pale by having a flashing Fasten Seat Belts light. May I say in my defence that I had decided a long time ago to buy one and felt I could live with the bumpers . . . but it takes time. They are excellent stepping stones for little girls who want to climb up and say, “Look Daddy, I’m on the new car!” They only do that kind of thing once though and fortunately there wasn’t any grit to make a lasting impression. That flashing light is not a bad idea actually. It has persuaded my wife to use her belt (She’s belted up at last. What Joy!!!) though maybe the fact that they are inertia reel belts has something to do with it. If you don’t like safety belts you can always unplug the wires but if you are one of the forgetful kind it will help. Big Brother ? Maybe, but it could save my passenger’s life or at least her face if the other fool finds me. As for that quick trip to the shop; if you plug the passenger’s belt into your socket on the floor it switches the light off, so that solves that problem. I don’t expect to see a road test of the 144 or even the 244 in MOTOR SPORT. All the reviewers tend to be a little kind about the performance, though with these new speed limits it is quite adequate even with four adults and two small kids with the boot full. And that boot echoes when it’s empty, lots of space inside, comfortable and you don’t need to buy lots of accessories to make it presentable, though a couple more gauges would help but there isn’t really any place for them without mucking up the inside. Maybe it could be said they have mucked it up by not putting them in the first place. Volvo; how
about an odd-shaped combination meter to go where your odd-shaped rev.-counter should be if it’s not there, if you know what I mean ? Presumably, though, if you want an oddshaped oil pressure gauge you will also want an odd-shaped rev.-counter which confuses the issue somewhat. The standard of finish is very good, right up to VW standard in fact. You could even say that in a way this is the VW’s big brother. My God and I hate them. Now I am confused…. Sesimbra, Portugal M. J. BARBER