E-type Jaguar

7th January 2000 at 00:00
What does your car say about who you are? Does the snub-nosed Mini say something different to the long-snout of an E-type? In a new series, Dr Peter Marsh, co-director of the social issues research centre in Oxford and author of Driving Passions - The Psychology of the Car, analyses the modes of transport found in school car parks

"Cars are not purely functional pieces of transportation. Cars are expressions of lifestyle, personality, hopes, aspirations.

"If you look at cars as things we wear rather than things we just drive, they begin to make sense. That's why people agonise over their choice of car as they would over buying a suit or a dress.

"The E-type Jag is an icon of the car world. It represents something about British engineering, style and craftsmanship. To own and drive one of these is to be involved in nostalgia about a time when men were men and cars were cars.

"E-types attract a lot of amateur psychology with people talking about the bonnet being a penile extension. They do have rather obvious phallic connotations, but they are hermaphrodite cars - they have very feminine curves.

"Some E-type drivers just like the image, but more commonly they are enthusists involved in their restoration, in which case it is not just a car to be driven but a product of one's own hard work.

"I assume it is driven by a man. I don't know many women who drive E-types. Men who go for classic cars tend to be the corduroy jacket with elbow patches type - their style is represented in their car more than in their clothes.

"The owner is on a reasonable salary, possibly with a science background - especially if they have been involved in restoring it - and probably in their early 50s."

The car belongs to John Wotherspoon, head of Willesden high school, north London "I'm impressed. I didn't restore the car but I am currently restoring a Triumph Stag. But I don't possess a corduroy jacket - I'm wearing a cashmere suit. The E-type is a quality product, and I like to surround myself with quality products. I'm 45, and when I started teaching I promised myself when I became a head I would buy an E-type. The E-type is an icon of the 1960s. Driving it is a pleasure."

Have you got a curious car or a striking bike? Wonder what your chosen mode of transport says about you? E-mail your details - or a fellow staff member's - to harvey.mcgavin@tes.co.uk

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