My love affair with cars began at a very young age. Like most small boys, my favourite toy was always the car. My most prized possession was a red Lamborghini Miura, that underwent a colour change at some point, to black. I loved the shape and the way the bonnet and boot lid tipped up in the opposite direction, making it look like the whole car had opened up.
I first became aware of this perfect blend of design and engineering when my Dad turned up at a grey, damp seventies motorway service station, an agreed meeting place where my parents exchanged parental responsibility for a week or so. Through the gloom appeared my Dad in a white Lotus Elan 2+2. I thought it was just like my Miura, I was very young.
My Mum had a pretty good car history too. Ford Mustang while living in the States, before returning to the UK and inheriting a Triumph Vitesse. I was young and small enough to wander around it at exactly the same level that the windows sunk into the wood capped doors. To this day I still believe this is the best height to view and photograph a car. I even managed to get my finger stuck in one of the holes in the classic wood rimmed Momo steering wheel, which I still have to this day.
My personal car history started a little less exotically, a Morris 1000, which never actually saw action on the highways and byways of Essex, quickly followed by a mustard yellow Mini Clubman, and then an old English white MGBGT. At this point I started to work in London and let the train take the strain during the week. There was one positive side to giving up the joy of a daily drive in my MG, and fighting for a seat on public transport. My route to the station forced me passed my local garage, which by chance was a Lancia dealership. Come rain or shine those gorgeous cars sat in their heated showroom, bathed in shimmering spotlights and visible twenty-four hours a day to anyone with a passion for elegant European classics. Fulvia’s , Fulvia HF’s , Stratos, Aurella, Intergrale’s and Flavia’s. I must have looked very sad, standing there with my nose pressed up against the glass of the showroom most nights on the way home from photographing London’s beautiful people.
I told myself that one-day, I would own one of these machines, and that would be how I could judge that I had finally “made it”. For three year I made the same journey and told myself that one day, one of these beauties would be mine. Cars came and went ,and as they did, the object of my desire would shift from one to another. The only car that sat in the showroom for the duration of my adoration was a red Flavia coupe. It was too much to bare, I had to liberate this stylish machine from its cosy showroom, somehow.
Long story, short. I did rather well at being a photographer and the industry was very kind to me. So I went back to the cosy showroom and with my fingers firmly crossed and my heart beating out of my chest. My disappointment was immeasurable when I noticed a cheeky little Monte Carlo sitting where my Flavia had been waiting patiently for me. I found the salesman and with a slight crack in my trembling voice I asked where she had gone. To my absolute relief he informed me that it was in the workshop having an annual service and MOT. It is fair to say that at this point I was not very cool at all. There was no haggling, no test drive and no inspection. In fact I didn’t even sit inside and smell the leather. I just put the money on his desk and asked where to sign.
As I sat in that car for the first time and drove it home, the long way round, past as many shop windows as could find, I had arrived, I had made it.
It was worth the wait, not because it had razor sharp handling, neck snapping acceleration or gadgets to rival James Bonds DB5. It just looked so stylish, unique and graceful. It made me feel like a film star every time I took it anywhere.
When we started Monroe London, we used the same rules. The products are elegant, stylish and well engineered. Designed to stand the test of time and become better with age. This model we use in everything,in hope that we might help you become better with age too.