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Tess and George Image courtesy of David Waterworth

Cars

From the Sublime to the Ludicrous

Back in 2014 I took a Tesla Model S for a test drive. The salesperson sat beside me, he put it in Ludicrous mode and Autopilot.  I drove out to the motorway and he said: “Floor it!” Then, “Take your hands off the wheel.” As my body pressed back into the driver’s seat, I knew there was no way I could take my hands off the wheel. It was a back-to-the-future, out-of-body experience.

My wife and grandson were in the backseat. “Wow,” they said. “Do it again, grandad,” said Oscar. 

Unfortunately, I did not have the funds to buy a Tesla at that time. Six years later and I was able to make the stretch to a Model 3 SR+.

In the meantime I had purchased a lovely old Wolseley. Built by BMC in 1964, he was the poor man’s Rolls. Elegant wood — glowing burr walnut — and leather trim. And power brakes for safety. Soft, high-riding suspension for comfort. According to the brochure, the Australian 6 cylinder Blue Streak engine gives a “really vivacious performance.” Luxury for a reasonable price.

I used to joke that I could do 0–100 km/h in 4.7 weeks.

From old BMC Wolseley Mark II brochure.

Now I drive a Tesla. Tess is not as soft to drive as George T. Wolseley — I have to slow down for the speed bumps. But she is faster, safer, and has tech to the eyeballs. I have not lost my love of the old marques and still appreciate the engineering of the “old days,” but nothing can compare dragging of a motor bike at the traffic lights.

I don’t miss filling up with petrol, checking the oil, and waiting for the next thing to break — fan belt, radiator hose, tappet cover gasket.

The internal combustion engine has been a great asset to civilization — transport being only one of its many uses. Its time is now passing and we are able to go from traveling in the sublime luxury of six-cylinder car comfort to the ludicrous nature of Tesla.

 
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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He owns 50 shares of Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

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