1903 Cadillac

Out on the road today, I saw a dead head sticker on a cadillac, a little voice inside my head said don’t look back, you can never look back“. The appetite for nostalgia, the ‘hypochondria of the soul’, proves the old adage that ‘we were never as good as we were‘.  The above words serve as an enduring tribute to the artistic finesse of rock legend  Don Henley in his 1985 hit “The Boys of Summer“.   The song, like his others, is rich in imagery and nuance.

You may remember the “The Boys of Summer” as just another song about lost love and a broken  summer romance with a catchy tune.  However to others, it  is a soundtrack for life,  with political overtones referring to the 60’s generation of youth with their vanquished dreams and hope.

Henley says he wanted to write a song about “nothing” and penned it in just ten minutes.  It does have a sad, fatalistic and somewhat nostalgic feel, even though it is delivered in an upbeat tempo.  It is has been described as haunting the audience by replaying itself in the silent background moments of life, as the past fades into distance.

The opening lyrics invoke vivid imagery together with emotions and memories of bygone days….”Nobody on the road, Nobody on the beach”… conjures up  a place once inhabited, but now nothing more than an abandoned ghost town, with the residents having disappeared to move onto the next phase of  their lives.

The “boys of summer” just move on, but the writer pines for the girl of his dreams,  longing to relive the glory days  who witnesses the dreams of passing generations of youth with the passage of each summer.  The hippies of the 60’s became the yuppies of the 80’s, never looking back to that decade.

When pressed, Henley confesses that the inspiration for the reference to the “Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” was his siting of the sticker driving on the San Diego freeway.  He believes this line would elicit images of the old hearses of the 60s, rather than the brand new Cadillac Seville he was viewing with a huge green sticker.

The Cadillac is the quintessential representation of achievement in American life, the term deadhead, originally meaning ‘undecided’, but which became a reference to the fans of the ‘Grateful Dead’ heavy metal band.  As Henley explains there was a growing divide between the original followers of the band and the yuppy middle class Cadillac drivers of the 80s.  The counter cultural 60s deadhead sold out to the status symbol driving 80’s era.

There is a hint in the song that the girl is the owner of the car the subject of the song, a deadhead, who in her state of indecision, powers on,  electing to to live in the future,  never looking back.

Cadillac is a car maker owned by General Motors renowned for making luxury prestige vehicles named after a French explorer who founded Detroit in 1701.  The Cadillac brand has been responsible for making many contributions to the automobile industry, the most famous of which was arguably the development of the standard setting V8 engine.

From it’s inception the company put a premium on excellence in engineering and stylish luxury, ranking amongst the world’s finest luxury vehicle makers.
The Cadillac has gone through some major styling changes over the generations.  The 50s style Cadillac epitomised the tailfin craze and exaggerated chrome bumper bar and grille assembly.

The elegance of the Eldorado launched in 1967 was a prelude to the Cadillacs of the 70s with their excessive dimensions and engine size.  The downsizing of the  Cadillac, De Ville and Fleetwood lines in the mid 70s paved the way for yet further downsizing of 80s model compact cars, so that they looked similar to the  Buick Electra and Oldsmobile 98.

1960s Cadillac

During the 80s,  there was a general trend amongst automobile makers to downsize their cars,  but during this period Cadillac was acutely aware of the threat posed by the imported European and Japanese  models with Honda launching it’s US luxury division in the Acura.   This provided the impetus for a new design approach in the Cimarron and later the Cadillac Allante, a convertible designed by Pininfarina of Italy,  a car which was fabricated in Italy and flown by Boeing to America.  After the demise of the Allante and Cimarron,  the only style reminiscent of the large luxury De Villes and Fleetwoods was the Fleetwood Brougham and after it was discontinued, the Lincoln Town Car.

Lincoln Town Car

The position Cadillac formerly enjoyed in the US luxury market was eventually overtaken by  high end luxury Japanese and German brands.

With a philosophy mirroring that of the “Boys of Summer”,  the company decided to forge ahead with a new design philosophy merging art with science,  rather than looking back with incarnations to carry the new generations of Cadillacs into the future.

Nissan Figaro

February 27, 2007

Classic Nissan Figaro

The Nissan Figaro  rates high on the charm barometer and started life as a Japanese car in 1989 before Britain fell in love with the car.  Debuting at the Tokyo Motor Show it was based on the Nissan Micra.  The car was initially available in only four colours,  representing the four seasons.

The topaz mist colour that was least popular among the general public initially but became the most popular colour.

It’s Japanese designer won an design award for the car, the retro design bearing a resemblance to the 1960s Datsun.

This is a classical Japanese car that continues to inspire classical car enthusiasts.  It’s luxurious amenities include leather seats, CD player, open roof and air conditioning.  Only 20,000 models were made since the car went into production in 1991.

The launch of the limited edition  pink Nissan Micra C+C convertible is part of Nissan’s Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity campaign.  During the tour the car attracted so much attention and demand, Nissan decided to make 100 of them available to eager buyers at 14,495 GBP.

The powder pink version is unapologetically aimed at the female driver, but  the other colours in their Micra range are equally appealing.

The car has an innate appeal, boasting a two piece  folding metal and glass roof and a cute friendly visage. The car has a lot of appeal and an endearing personality.

Lowering the roof is as simple as pressing a button on the centre console and it automatically folds away in 22 seconds flat!!   German convertible specialists Karmann,  can take credit for the design of the drop top.

The Nissan Micra C+C was first seen at the Paris Motor Show in 2002,  and was later to feature at the British Motor Show as a concept car later that year.

Due to it’s overwhelming popularity it was officially launched by Nissan in January 2003.  It is built out of the British Sunderland factory,  and with it’s compact dimensions, and reputation as a stylish urban supermini looks like a winner particularly in UK and European markets.

The history of the Nissan Micra  harks back to Japan in 1983.  Having enjoyed impressive sales in it’s very first year of production,  production shifted to Britain in 1992 for the second gen Nissan Micra.  It’s potential appeal to the European market was apparent, although it’s body shape has changed somewhat.   The body had a more square appearance and when the second gen model went into production in 2002 in Sunderland,  the vision was for a more rounded body with a more spacious interior, to appeal to younger generations.  The new model was offered with a 1 or 1.3 litre engine and a host of new accessories.

It won the European Car of the Year in 2003.