Monday, 19 September 2011

Review: Clarkson on Cars

Clarkson on Cars by Jeremy Clarkson (1996)

A collection of Clarkson's columns from the mid-1980s to mid-'90s, Clarkson on Cars airs Mr Clarkson's views on Volkswagen Beetles (Nazi cars), vegetarians (expect everyone to conform to their whims), Beards (just weird), the Jaguar XJS (Glorious) and the usefulness of car performance stats (0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds is less informative than calling it "terrifying").  Along the way he talks about his abortive attempt to use a bicycle in London, why he feels so sorry for Japanese car makers when their presentations go wrong, and the utter pointlessness of 'roo bars in a car without kangaroos.

Essay collections can often be hard going and this one is no exception.  More of a book to be dipped into rather than read cover to cover in one go, Clarkson on Cars  is filled with Clarkson's outspoken, humourous style, but it also exhibits his encyclopaedic knowledge of cars, which is impressive.  Unfortunately, it also means that reading the book often calls for having an ipad at hand to look up whatever obscure marque he's talking about.

And it has a kangaroo on the cover.

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