Obsolesence and renewal are the yin and yang of the modern car market, and their influence seems only to increase as the years pass.
These are the reasons why there is often surprisingly little sense of occasion to match the stage-managed fanfare you find when new metal is introduced to the likes of us.
Few would argue about the towering stature of, say, the Porsche 911, BMW 3-series or Ford Fiesta among their peers. When you witness the covers come off a new version of any of them, you know that you’re seeing something important. But you also know that it happens fairly regularly – every six or seven years, without fail.
By the time you’ve seen two or three new Fiestas or 3-series take their bow, each individual one seems that bit less of an event. Something new, sure, but a landmark? Not necessarily.
It’s 40 years, though, since Jaguar phased out the model that most would consider its last proper sports car and probably it’s biggest sporting legend: the E-type. Thereafter, Jaguar moved on to make larger grand touring cruisers like the XJS and XK8 instead. But then, this year, it rekindled its sporting flame.
That’s what made the launch of the F-type one of the highlights of 2013. Here was not just a special car, but a very rare and special moment as well. An automotive comet on a four-decade-long return cycle, burning its way back across the night sky. A UK car industry powerhouse finally puffing its chest out. The birth of a new British sporting icon, even. Maybe.
The car was test driven by the international press in Spain in April, but it was six weeks later when my first taste materialised, and in ideal circumstances. Early start on an early summer day; weather warm enough for roofless running; roads familiar; traffic light.