I don’t get to a lot of motorshows, really. Unless you go to a show on Press Day and report on the new stuff yourself, by the time you get there the New Stuff has become Old Stuff and you might as well just read about it on The Internet. Visiting the Nissan complex at Goodwood I was reminded of how exciting I used to find motorshows when I was little. And I was really suprised that it was Nissan, of all companies, to remind me. With their Concept 2020 on display, and drawing as much of a crowd as Amber Heard naked would, I was sent back to being a ten-year-old; eagerly flicking through the news pages of Autocar to see what was new at Tokyo, Geneva or New York. Yeah, it’s only a concept but boy, is it stunning. This is the three-dimensional, analogue, real-time manifestation of a car you can only actually drive if you possess a copy of Gran Turismo 6 and something to play it on. It was shaped by a group of young designers at Nissan Design Europe, based in London. It has all the scoops and hollows and exaggerated features that we’ve come to expect from concepts designed to appeal to our darkest automotive fantasies. Often such examples of stylistic one-upmanship can be dismissed with a knowing “it’ll never happen”, but Nissan, it seems, don’t see it that way. At some point there WILL be another GT-R, and at some point we’re going to be shown what it will look like. If this is the stylistic direction that Nissan are heading in for it, then we should all start celebrating immediately. There was another tantalising little pair of lovelies on display, too. The Idx Freeflow and Idx Nismo are two different variants of the same car. From Nissan’s website: “The IDx Freeflow, reflects a casual/lifestyle-focused vision. Its exterior color is a sophisticated combination of white and flax, invoking a casual feeling like that produced by the pairing of the venerable white T-shirt with khaki chinos, and highlighted with silver accessories or a belt. The overall visual effect is completed by the addition of stylish 18-inch chrome wheels wrapped in 195/50-18 tires.” Sounds pretty awful, really. I never was keen on the idea of cars as fashion accessories but I know that I’m completely out of touch with reality and the way the world works in general. I accept that. Thing is, I hate the idea of driving around in a car which is far, far more fashionable than I am. (I’m really, really unfashionable. I’m forced to drive an old Rover by law. I could get arrested if I dared be seen in public in a Fiat 500). “The IDx NISMO®, is an ultra-sporty model of the future that looks as if it came directly from a driving simulator. The IDx NISMO’s® co-creation dialogue took the distilled heritage of Nissan’s basic box-shaped racing vehicles of the past and married it with various intriguing new details. This resulted in a car that appears to be timeless and moored in a place all its own.” So, I guess this is like those grotesquely overweight people you see wearing sweatpants and Nike t-shirts as if trying to create the impression that “I have every intention of doing some exercise”. I’m not talking about those gallant folk who have gotten out of shape but are actually doing something to get on top of things, I mean the ones who you see rocking the sportswear but smoking a cigarette after eating a Big Mac. Underneath all the trendiness, though, I really dig the underlying car. I like the shape, I like the proportions. I like the acknowledgement they make of legendary old machines like the Prince and the original GT-R. I like the idea that Nissan look to be threatening to start building really interesting cars again. ( All images taken whenever there was enough of a gap in the crowds, and not from the best angles. Copryright 2014 Chris Haining and Hooniverse.)
Goodwood 2014: Hey Nissan, when did you get so sexy?
RoadworkUK is the online persona of Gianni Hirsch, a tall, awkward gentleman with a home office full of gently decomposing paper and a garage full of worthless scrap metal. He lives in the village of Moistly, which is a safe distance from London and is surrounded by enough water and scenery to be interesting. In another life, he has designed, sold, worked on and written about cars in exchange for small quantities of money.
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