How to write about automobiles

Here’s the Observer‘s Martin Love on the Mercedes G-wagon:

Looking across the street to where I’ve parked a whopping Mercedes G-Class, I watch a short scene unfold, which sends me plunging down memory lane. A little boy is walking to school with his mum. His younger sister is thrashing around in her pushchair like a netted salmon. Suddenly, they all stop. The boy has spotted the emerald green G-Wagon lurking across the road. His mum patiently wheels the buggy across to it and then, slowly, they inch around the car – the boy’s mouth gapes with incredulity. His toy car has been reborn as a colossal giant. At one point he delicately lays his hand on its immense flank – as if he’s touching a sleeping tyrannosaurus. He’s mesmerised by the car’s size and promise of power. It’s exactly what I would have done… Scratch that, it’s exactly what I did do a few days earlier, when I collected the car. If machines get you, they always will. And there are few with more emotional traction than the G-Wagon.

This barnstormer takes quasi-industrial styling and military machismo to nose-bleeding levels…

Funnily enough, as a recovering petrolhead who now drives a sensible hybrid, I know just what he means. Returning from Provence last Summer, we were parked at the Eurotunnel terminal waiting for our shuttle to be called. When we got back to the car after getting a coffee, there was a span-new G-Wagon parked next to us. And, despite myself, I had exactly the same reaction. It’s an astonishing vehicle. Completely OTT. But not repulsive in the way that the Humvee is.

Love finishes his essay nicely…

I popped across the street and asked the small boy if he’d like to climb in and “start her up”. He gleefully accepted… feet dangling, finger hesitating over the ignition, then the omnipotent roar of the engine. Start saving now, little guy.

Only £143,305 to go.