Chris Harris EVO Magazine – Chris never fails to amaze me with the different angles and perspectives that you can approach car journalism with. I mean, I thought I had read good car journalism, take Jethro Bovingdon, Richard Meaden also of EVO fame. They really get you into the driving seat, they make you feel that you are driving the car and their words are simply commentating you what you are actually feeling. Its spooky, especially if you are coming from the world of car journalism know as Top Gear magazine or Car Magazine.
BMW Drop Down Toolkit
So, you think you know what really good automotive journalism is and then you read an random article by Chris Harris and all of a sudden the whole car journalism landscape seems completely flat and featureless in comparison, all of suddenly you can taste and touch and most importantly of all, your inspired to think about driving and the car industry long after you have put down the magazine. Chris must be a true car nut, I believe the guy literally lives and breathes driving through his every pore, he finds, even the release of a new Dacia a truly mental challenge, something to ponder, to consider what this means for the budget car segment as a whole and also what it means in the grander scheme of things, for example will the price point and the type of carpet used effect future Mercedes AMG cars or the latest Ferrari. Okay, the chances of Dacia effecting the BMW design team is less than remote, but you get the feeling that Chris will take the time to consider such a thing before writing it off. Reading a Chris Harris’s article, Crossed Up in EVO Magazine issue 154 made me feel better about being a car nut myself, whereas before I might have thought it a bit sad to be able to identify the distinct differences in the body kit that marked a Primera p1 GT away from a P11 Primera SRI. After reading this specific article I feel like a complete amateur and also slightly ignorant.
BMW Drop Down Toolkit
There is a whole world to be explored in the World of cars and I haven’t even begun to scrape the surface of, in fact I feel so far behind the game I wonder if I will live long enough to get to Chris’s level.
I can tell you are wondering what the hell am I talking about, even if your a car nut your wondering what I am going on about but let me give you an example. Chris’s article this month covers the fact that it bothers him that BMW no longer have a drop down tool kit in the boot of their cars, that they have started to precede their models with a F instead of an E. To those looking for instant gratification you may have missed the point, especially of the drop down tool kit but I dare you to think about it more and to try and understand where I think Chris is coming from when he writes about this.
He himself says that he was slightly embarrassed to write it down, that the lack of the tool kit bothers him but I think he is not giving himself enough credit or that of his reader. I’ll get to the point, when BMW originally started putting drop down tool kits on their boot lids they did so because they were completely in tune with driving, they were focussed on making the whole driving experience as pleasurable and as surprising as possible and to show how committed, how dedicated BMW engineers were in the pursuit of this philosophy they put a drop down tool kit on the boot lid, so even if you had a flat tyre on the side of the autobahn outside Osnabruck in the pouring rain at 9pm at night on a wet November evening BMW engineers where there standing by the road with you giving you a hand, making the experience of changing a wheel superior to that of anyone driving a car that was not a BMW.
When you were there jacking up the car to change the wheel, even though the rain was dripping down the back of your neck, you could drift off and daydream how BMW engineers were the best out there, that they didn’t just think of one aspect like a nice driving position, they approached car design holistically, even to the point of making sure that you don’t have to unpack every single sodding piece of luggage you have got in the boot just to get to the tools. It’s at times like these when you know you have picked the right side, the right team, the car company who takes driving just a seriously as you do. And now BMW have abandoned this holistic approach and no longer have the drop down tool box in the boot, it shows a worrying trend where the marketing boffs are taking over from the driving fanatic, engineering boffins and it sucks because you know there are no other car manufacturers there to take BMWs place.
So I go back to Chris’s article about the drop down tool box, he may think it a small and insignificant thing, but it should be taken seriously by all car enthusiasts, BMW could be turning into Audi and no-one wants to see that. All this from the simple omission of a drop down tool box.
The conclusions that Chris comes to should be appreciated and harnessed, for they show that driving does not only have to be about a well judged blip on a downshift, great steering feel, pedals placed just so for heel and toeing, they also show that being a car nut is about people, personalities, philosophies, beliefs, history and the future.