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A Reflection on Progress by Malcolm Dale.

My trip yesterday had me reflecting on how far cars have moved on over time, and here I'm purely reflecting on my time since I owned my first car, a 1965 Ford Cortina Mk1! At the tender age of 17 and as my very first car, I thought it was the bollocks, albeit I desperately really wanted the GT model with the wider steel wheel and the extra dials on the dash... Still, needs must and the standard model was all I could afford.


As a car, it's undeniable it was basic, a key to open the door and start it (if you were lucky), Plastic vinyl seats, wind up windows, a knob to pump to get the washers to work, a very basic heater and so on.... In reflection on the way home I compared it to my mode of transport for this journey a 2023 Range Rover Sport, top of the range with all the bells and whistles and more than you could ever need.


At this point you're probably thinking that virtually all cars respective of model range have all the bells and whistles now, and you'd be right, but my point is, we now have generations who think this is all normal, I on the other hand still marvel at much of this and think it's incredible.


I started my journey yesterday morning and with keyless entry the car door opens with puddle lights for a feel good factor and the seat in comfort access so I don't even have to assert any effort to get in! At the push of a button it fires into life (not something the Cortina did on a regular basis) and advises it's minus 5c and I then have the option of selecting the temperature I'd like to within 0.5c and if you want, and you have a car full of passengers everyone can choose their own individual temp preference and seat heat. Should it have been a blazing hot day in summer, you could have chosen to have your seat chilled! The heated windscreen even saves me the trouble of having to select that option, it does it automatically based on the outside temp! Light on automatically of course (more later) and then to select the satnav options, which whilst I still love an old fashion road atlas, make them pretty pointless. I get the choice of routes, preferences etc, how long my journey's going to take, distance... So, I set off and the car just gets on with it, completely effortlessly, extra quiet, extra smooth and unbelievably comfortable. I could go on about the seamless gearbox, the engine torque (ridiculous)... it's just so crazy how far its all come on. To keep me amused on the journey the satnav system alerts me to 'safety cameras' set against legal limit and my speed, roadworks, just goes on. It's also shown on the head-up display, so I don't even have to move my head! I can also listen to a zillion and one radio options or use Apple Car Play to stream endless music options through a system that probably has better sound quality than that in my house. 


Should I become a little bored with all of this, I can if feeling a little jaded choose from 4 different seat massages, what the £@*! is going on, and if I fancy a chilled drink I can just get one out of the fridge under the armrest, this is meant to be a car! As I'm travelling into Europe, I have the option to adjust the lighting, mph/Kilometers at the swipe of a screen, the sat nav tells me when I've passed through an invisible border and what the new speed limits are for the new country! It's simply never ending, and the lights as mentioned before work on the basis of some form of witchcraft changing the beam all the time to give the utmost brilliance without dazzling anyone! 


I arrived at my location in Belgium following the satnav which delivers me to right outside the door, not somewhere up the road or near, right outside the bloody door! So I arrive having driven just over 250 miles through sub zero temperatures, a blizzard, soaking wet roads, lying snow, feeling like I've just jumped out of my armchair, crazy. And then just over an hour later I repeat the journey back and get home fresh as a daisy. 


And here's the thing that stunned me the most. In a world where we are being relentlessly pushed to go electric with range anxiety, charging point availability/charging time etc, I arrived home having covered over 500 miles, completely effortlessly, with the remaining fuel range left showing just under 200 miles with an average mpg of 39mpg Try doing that in a Mk1 Cortina!

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