Jeremy Clarkson recently drove a Ferrari 488 GTB, and subsequently reviewed how driving it in Britain makes people intolerant, bitter, and outlandish. So, it makes them a bit like Jeremy Clarkson?
Jeremy Clarkson is a saint and a sinner. Give the man an open mic and the results will likely be horrifying. It’s difficult to count just how many times he’s managed to piss someone/everyone off. We tried. But damn, when he sits down and focuses on cars, the man is a damn poet.
In Clarkson’s review of the Ferrari 488 for The Sunday Times, he gets a little off topic to take some time and reflect on the depressed nature of the British populace when they encounter an exotic like a Ferrari, and their inability to cope with their own, lesser position in life—taking out their depression and frustration by inconveniencing Mr. Clarkson in his 488.
Some highlights from Clarkson’s column in The Sunday Times:
In Britain, Mr Normal sees a Ferrari as a reminder that his life hasn’t worked out quite as well as he had hoped. And he sees its driver as a living embodiment of the good-looking kid at school who got the girls, and the sixth-former who nicked his packed lunch on a field trip.
He believes that if he can inconvenience a Ferrari driver, just for a moment, it’s one in the eye for the rich and the privileged. It’s “score one” for the little man.
And, of course, in typical Clarkson fashion, he goes on to remind everyone that the cyclists are essentially communists, using their bicycles to “wage a class war.”
[Cyclists] see all car drivers as an unholy cross between Margaret Thatcher and Hitler, so they spit and they yell and they put footage of you on their bicycling websites when they get home.
If, however, you are in a Ferrari, they go berserk because now you are an ambassador for the devil himself. You used child labour to make your money. You were responsible for Bhopal. You may even be a Tory. So it is their duty as a comrade to bang on your roof and scream obscenities.
He claims he even got chased off by a BMW M3, the patrolling “alpha male” of “one of those towns outside London that’s exactly the same as all the others.” He then argues that someone in a Ferrari doesn’t experience this angst and bitterness in other countries.
It means that for every minute of enjoyment you get from your Ferrari, you have to endure 10 minutes of abuse and hate.
Looking beyond what is the pure definition of a “first world problem” for Mr. Clarkson in his 488, he does eventually get on to a very excellent write-up about the car, calling it the perfect Ferrari.
There’s a second mini-rant about owners who don’t drive their exotics, instead locking them up in “dehumidified cellars, which means they aren’t on the road where they belong.” He’s calling out the British “Mr. Normal” for being bitter against someone in a nice car because he, as we all should, hopes to encourage owners to actually drive their cars, saying he’d hug a Ferrari owner when he saw one in the street and “offer to have their babies.”
It’s a seriously enjoyable read which you should be able to access here. Clarkson’s ranting is, in a rare case, on point, and his words on the 488 prove that the man is indeed one of the best automotive journalists, and most enjoyable enthusiasts... when he isn’t being racist, transphobic, or punching people in the face over lunch.