Only in a country where the rain can arrive at any time and in a deluge of different forms, a place where you learn to live with the cold by going out in t-shirts while tourists are wrapped up in sweaters and raincoats, could they have invented the real spiders, the kind you go out in no matter what the weather man says, at times without even closing the hood (when there is one). This is an easy one, as we’re talking about Great Britain, the realm of true automotive passion. A passion that places above everything else the pleasure of a real sportscar regardless of its aesthetics. Sporty, open, pure and brutal.
It’s true, Great Britain is also the birthplace of the Jaguar E-Type and XKSS, Aston Martin and other luxury models, but these aren’t really what the legend of the British spiders is made of. That title comes from the rudimentary Triumph TR2 and TR3, from the MG and its many different versions, from Morgans with their wooden frames (which sparked famous headlines such as the one in a specialized newspaper which read “Good news for woodworms, introducing the new Morgan”), from the AC Bristol or Ace (spiders with underpowered engines that Carrol Shelby, in the USA, transformed into the powerful Cobra) to the cute Sunbeam Alpine and many others.
Immortal – this time with a magnificent line – the Austin Healey 100 that arrived in 1953 and later grew into the 100 Six version where Six meant that thanks to overdrive, a three-speed sports car, which is what it was, became a six-speed! A step up in terms of powerplants came in the guise of Daimler SP 250, as pleasant to drive as it was clumsy in the looks department which, in order to be original, betrayed some of the fundamental tenets of aesthetics. We could go on and on but we’ll settle for one final example: how could we forget Lotus, especially the Seven which, following the purest philosophy of Colin Chapman, brought the principles of the extreme in everything – without a single thought for the safety of the driver – from the track to the road?
Thank you, Great Britain, for this magnificent story. Why is it that in an era in which cars have become boring and almost identical to one another, we can’t rekindle that magnificent school of spiders made out of passion?