Wheels

10th March 2000 at 00:00
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.

"The Capri was meant to be a rather tame imitation of the American 'muscle' cars, in particular the Ford Mustang, which was an absolutely beautiful car. They came out of the craze for custom cars and hot rods in the States - it was the motor industry's attempt to make something that people were building for themselves in order to cash in on the market.

"This was the European version, and Ford has exported them back to the States where there are lots of Capri clubs.

"The Capri ranged from a fairly tame 1.6 to a really horny 2.8 injection. It was the original boy racer car. The problem was that it was a bit like the Cortina - a two-door coupe.

"It has a strange heritage. On the one hand it was a fairly straightforward car, while on the other it was something made to be driven fast - a lot of Capris had things like bolt-on spoilers and other bits to make them look more racy. It had an enigmatic quality and it lives on as a classic.

"It's difficult to guess the driver. People I know who have driven these vary from someone who was really into sporty gadgets to someone who used to run a therapeutic community for maladjusted kids in the Cotswolds.

"However, it's definitely a bloke's car and they're possibly older than you think - not actually in the boy racer category. I don't tink it's a young, trendy teacher. Maybe he's someone who wants to create some kind of aura. The car's a macho, slightly virile symbol buttoned down. The owner is a toned-down version of a medallion man.

"I would say it belongs to someone not too far up the teaching pecking order, who has selected a car that doesn't cost too much but at the same time wants to make some kind of statement."

The car belongs to Eamonn Harvey, supply teacher at Woodway Park school and community college, Coventry.

"I agree. It's bit cliched, but you expect that with a Capri, I suppose.

"I got it when I was in my twenties and now I'm in my early forties. When I bought it, it changed my image completely and I enjoyed the spin-offs like a new popularity with the ladies.

"People think I'm crazy to keep it, but it still goes. It's my friend and faithful servant. It has never let me down like a whole host of ladies have. I remember splitting up with someone who said to me: 'All you've really got is your car.' "He's right about not being too far up the pecking order. I'm only a supply teacher, so I don't really need a new car because I haven't got any status!

"I'm also a semi-pro musician. Someone once said to me 'You've got the car to fit with the guitar'. I named my car Ragged and Glorious after a Neil Young album - he wrote some great driving music. 'Long Time to Run', that's one of his and my car's the same.

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


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