Wheels

31st March 2000 at 01:00
What does your car say about you? 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.

"This is the best car I've looked at for this column so far. It's an absolute beauty. Who is this guy? I want to buy his car! This shows real taste. It is right at the end of the Carrera series, which is considered the best Porsche ever built. Anything that came afterwards was seen as dumbing the car down a bit.

"This would be recognised by the cognoscenti as the ultimate driving experience - the ultimate supercar. Even the noise the exhaust makes tells you instantly what car it is.

"The only problem with the Porsche is that it is overlaid with the kind of image that it got in the late Thatcherite years, when Porsches were talismans of excess and statements of capitalist achievement. But that image has faded a bit now, along with the yuppies, who have crawled back under their stone.

"Whoever drives this - and I'm assuming it's a bloke - understands cars and appreciates Porsches and the thrill of driving them. He is making a strong statement about taste, refinement and his love of cars.

"But all these messages are toned down by the fact that it is a coupe, not a cabriolet, and that it is dark blue, which is a serious, quite ambitious and mature kind of colour. So the owner is not a frivolous person who is driving a Porsche for the hell of it.

"The driver probably has a great deal of confidence and is willing to tak risks, which are not qualities usually found in a teacher. The car may belong to a teacher, but the person is saying that it is not how he wants to be judged. How a teacher could afford to run this thing I don't know - maybe he's got a rich wife.

"The temptation would be to say this is someone in science or engineering, something like that. But people in science or engineering don't have that much taste and refinement in my experience. I would say it is more likely to belong to a history or English teacher.

The car belongs to Nicholas Jeynes, a history teacher at King's Hawford school, Worcester.

"That's spot on. I'm a car enthusiast above anything else, which is why I have a Porsche. It does hark back to the yuppie image of the Eighties and I've had a bit of ribbing in the staffroom because of that. I've actually just had to part with it because it was a left-hand drive and that was a bit aggravating in the end.

"The bit about risk-taking is partly true. I run an outdoor pursuits club, and while I wouldn't like to say we take risks, we do get involved in activities with an element of risk. My hobby in the holidays is motor racing.

"The bit about being serious is a bit of an oddity. I'm known for being strict, but I'm also known as the staffroom joker. I'm up for anything. Next week I'm going to have my hair dyed purple for charity and I'm getting gunged. I'd love to say I've got a rich wife but she's a school teacher as well."

Wonder what your means of transport says about you?E-mail your details to: harvey.mcgavin@tes.co.uk


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