An escape is usually something connected with getting out of the frying pan and into the fire. In other words; getting a bit better off – but not exactly getting perfect. But isn’t it true that our classic car is a means of escape? At least for a while, and we control the longevity of that while, simply by choosing the route.
Steve Jobs once told a story about some research done on energy efficiency: What creature could travel the farthest using the least energy? Man came out down in the lowest third of the list and the Condor won easily. The condor was the most energy-efficient traveller! But somebody came up with the brilliant idea to include Man-on-a-bicycle; and he won by far over the Condor. Now, Steve Jobs’ point was something about innovation and ingenuity, but just think where the Car has taken us! And classic cars – where not only our bodies but also our minds and mentality is allowed to escape with much better energy-efficiency than a Condor. And Condors live in the Andes; beat that!
The Great Escape is of course the 1960’s motion picture starring Steve McQueen as a very impatient prisoner of war helping his fellow prisoners escape from a German WW2 camp and using a motorcycle for a lot of very exciting racing about – amongst other jumping a barbed wire fence. McQueen was (and still is) the King of Cool, not only for that reason, but really for always pursuing something not quite palpable – but something that seems to be better reached when utilizing a car. Be it a dark green Mustang fastback or a light blue Porsche 917.
Motor vehicles used for great escapes in the movies
My own escape in the above video wasn’t even meant as an escape. I had nothing to escape from; it’s not like the missus had evicted me from the house! But once I started filming, the mood quickly evolved into the villain (or the haunted good guy) driving his automobile on a frenetic escape from something. Just like when I was a boy and was running with my friends through an endless apple yard – escaping a very dangerous Hound of Baskerville. You know that feeling? Maybe I am exaggerating a bit, because it didn’t feel bad at all. Nobody was chasing me and it was just a nice spring afternoon on some of my preferred back roads.
But another guy who was often forced to flee for his life was French ex-Presidente Charles de Gaulle. He is famous for keeping his cool (there it is again!) during multiple armed attacks on his Citroën DS – and often he even ridiculed the terrorists for their lacking abilities. He always got away – and he was never afraid.
A special kind of “escape” is the “getaway”. Like in The Italian Job, where heavily loaded Mini Coopers flash around Torino and jump roof tops, while escaping – or getting away from the Carabinieri in Alfa Romeo Giulias. Or Gone in 60 Seconds; the most horrific of all films, where cars are being stolen from the owners and driven without any kind of love or respect for the vehicles. If you haven’t seen it yet; don’t, it’s terrible. You won’t sleep for days! Or the fabulous start scenes from The Italian Job – the Lamborghini Miura driven on alpine roads. A mafia-affiliated wealthy Italian gentleman escaping on a wonderful drive – suddenly aborted by a violent collision with a caterpillar in a dark tunnel. We don’t see that, do we? Or have I just denied that in my mind? But they toss a Jaguar E-type and an Aston Martin DB5 into the alpine abyss – just to make a point: “You won’t get away with this!
These movies may or my not contain scenes not fit for classic car lovers
Bertie Wooster, the inept, but very english 1930s gentleman and Jeeves, his gentleman’s gentleman, on the other hand: They know how to get away with things. Or rather, Jeeves does. And the period really sets the scene for marvelous british automobiles, when the dynamic duo flees the mansions and houses of Aunt Agatha and the likes. No harm is done to automobiles here. And they much better encompass the feeling we all can have from owning a classic car – and using it. Having the option to go and start it up – or even leaving it just to behold and sit ponderous on a chair in the garage for a minute – and get in contact – get away. In fact escape into our own fantasy for a little while.