Are you a gangster? It seems unlikely. They don’t subscribe to weekly car magazines, or if they do, they don’t enter into much correspondence with us.
Perhaps that is understandable, what with all that gangstering. I suppose their days are preoccupied with issues like shooters and pigs – they go through bone like butter, you know – rather than writing to Autocar. Which is a shame, because I could use a gangster’s opinion.
Gangsters need cars, right? If you are one, how do you decide which car to have? Spending frivolously on something inappropriate would be a distinctly ungangsterish thing to do.
The other day I watched a film called Atomic Blonde, in which a dodgy spy – dodgy enough to be a gangster of sorts – puts a semi- conscious body into the boot of a Porsche 911, alongside two flight cases. That’s clearly not going to work, is it? Two flight cases would be a challenge enough, without the addition of a burly Stasi officer.
So if you’re a gangster and you’re getting your tips from Hollywood, think again. Perhaps even think Haymarket Media Group. I’m not saying our sister mag What Car? is the ideal gangster’s buying guide, but boot capacity gets a prominent position in its specification lists.
But I digress from the point in hand, which is a report that the Mayor of Dover, Neil Rix, is unhappy with Dover’s civic car. It’s a Toyota Prius civic car rather than a Honda Civic civic car, disappointingly, but that’s not why Neil doesn’t like it.
He doesn’t like it because it’s too small for the Town Sergeant who drives him around, although Rix sometimes drives it himself, and it’s too small for him, too. Other Town Officers (who knew towns had so many titled positions?) will also use the car if it isn’t busy.
It can’t be that busy – between them they only cover about 5000 miles a year, at an annual cost of £3500. But sometimes they do long journeys and these are, apparently, intolerable. That’s the Dover spirit.
At “above average height”, the Sergeant’s head touches the roof, so there’s “a risk of physical harm” (the ’elf and safety act has been cited).
He must be very above average. Our 6ft 4in road test editor doesn’t find it a problem, but hey ho, Rix wants a new car costing £5000 a year and the council has signed it off. If it’s a ‘prestige’ model, other Town Officers wouldn’t even be allowed to drive it. “Inappropriate”, don’cha know.
But Councillor Peter Wallace thinks it’s a waste of money and that Rix just wants “a big gangster car” to tool around in. And, knowing the Prius as I do, I have some sympathy with Wallace’s viewpoint.
The Mayor’s proposed choice of replacement vehicles, though, doesn’t seem very gangster at all: a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, a Skoda Superb and a Volvo S90.
Gangsters, is this your shortlist? The Volvo is moderately acceptable, but a Skoda Superb? Have you no dignity? What happened to a BMW 5 Series or a smokin’ old Jag? Something with style. Something with class. Something in which you’d proudly slam the bootlid down on a bound and gagged grass. And an Outlander PHEV? I ask you. It’s time to admit Britain truly is broken.