Chatting with CP

Can we still find pleasure in driving?

Things have changed since the publication in 1909 of the Futurist manifesto declaring that the splendor of the world had been enriched by a new beauty, the beauty of speed! What would Filippo Tommaso Marinetti,...

Hello Christian.

Hello Charlie.

With all the restrictions that are currently imposed on motoring, can we still enjoy driving a car?

 So, before answering you, I happened to stumble a few days ago upon a text that I find absolutely extraordinary, which goes back to the beginning of the last century. It was written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, one of the founders of a movement called Futurism. Futurism was born in Italy and, surprisingly, the manifesto of this artistic movement was published in France, in Paris, in Le Figaro, in two stages: the first on 20 February 1909, and the second on 11 March 1916. I am going to read you a few sentences from the first version, you'll see that everything is clear: " We declare that the splendour of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of... "

... of speed.

 "The beauty of speed. A racing automobile with its bonnet adorned with great tubes like serpents with explosive breath ... a roaring motor car which seems to run on machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace. The Victory of Samothrace is a sculpture from Greek Antiquity...

... which is exhibited in the Louvre.

 Which is exhibited in the Louvre, indeed, in Paris, and which is considered to be one of the most beautiful masterpieces in the history of art. The car, the speed, is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace. Extraordinary! In 1916, Marinetti continued and repeated: "The splendour of the world has been enriched by a new beauty: the beauty of speed”, and he added: "Those who sin against speed must be persecuted, frustrated, tortured in every way".

This is not quite the case today.

This is not quite the case today and, before answering your question, I will read two or three more passages that I find quite extraordinary: "The internal combustion engines and the tyres of a car are divine. Gasoline is divine. The joy of shifting from third to fourth gear, the joy of pressing the accelerator." We are far, far away from all the restrictions that are imposed on us today.

I'm not sure it would work to answer that to a policeman today.

In any case, if you are stopped on a small road after being checked at 150km/h, I am not sure that this is a...

... valid argument.

Not sure. If we come back to today, it is true that the passion for cars still exists. Where to find pleasure? Probably not on the back roads. In any case, not on the motorways, perhaps on small country roads, without forgetting to pay attention to the speed limits. We can imagine that the pleasure, that the speed, could be expressed on circuits, that circuits could be created and developed, a bit like golf clubs are, with a garage where you can leave your car like you leave your cart with your golf clubs during the week. And then at the weekend, we'll come, we'll do a few laps, like we play a golf course. There will be a clubhouse and we’ll enjoy our cars. We can also imagine that certain regions will be more welcoming to cars. Regions that are far from the capitals and metropolises, regions in the countryside, that have a good road network...

... nice roads to drive on.

Pleasant roads, perhaps some still lined with plane trees that the French Direction de l'Equipement wanted to cut down in the 1960s and 1970s against the wishes of President Pompidou who was a fervent defender of plane trees along the roads. One can imagine that certain regions will be welcoming, that speed will be practiced on circuits, but far from the spirit of this Futurist movement of the beginning of the last century.

Absolutely. Thank you very much Christian.

Thank you Charlie.


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Is driving a classic car environmentally friendly?

For the second part of our "Chatting with CP" column, Charlie asks Christian Philippsen this slightly iconoclastic question: After all, wouldn't driving a classic car be environmentally friendly? Do continue to let us know what topics you are interested in or concerned about, and we will add them to our programme. Your comments are of course always welcome!

Hello Christian.

Hello Charlie.

After all, wouldn't driving a classic car like this be environmentally friendly?

It's a bit of an iconoclastic question for, in today's society, we tend to condemn used cars. This one is a collectible classic car, but we're talking about cars that may be 10, 15, 20 years old, for example. By coincidence, I recently came across an article which said that the representative of the British parliament or government - I don't know, but it doesn't matter - and who is in charge of communication on sustainable mobility, had firmly stated that she drives a diesel Volkswagen and that she will continue to use her car. She had a number of arguments. Autonomy is one of them. But there was another one, which was to say that the development and construction of new cars creates pollution.

Yes, whilst the pollution to build her car has already been created.

That's right, the pollution for her car has already been created.

So why not write it off?

Yes, as long as the car works. Moreover, modern cars, and electric cars in particular, are much heavier than the old ones. The batteries weigh a lot.

Yes, and so does all the technology inside.

Weight pollutes! There are particle emissions that are a function of the weight of the cars, so there are actually various arguments. To know from an objective point of view if she is right or not... I imagine that the "for" and "against" clans will each come up with their own arguments, but this is not necessarily silly. I would like to take the opportunity to develop a more general discussion because electricity has become a dogma today. And, in my opinion, governments are stepping out of their field of competence when they impose electricity. The role of governments should be to set limits on toxic gas emissions or polluting emissions, but not to impose a technology. The development and choice of technologies is, in my opinion, up to industrialists, entrepreneurs and investors who will make their own choices. Some will succeed. There are some who will not succeed or who will be less successful, but it is their responsibility. Imposing a technology when all technologies still have the potential to develop...

You can look into several ideas and not impose just one.

Of course, the combustion engine is not at the end of its development. Fuel production is not at the end of its development. Neither is electricity, of course, but the potential for development in all areas is real and exists. So why impose a technology? Why take away their responsibility from individuals? This trend towards making people less responsible is a trend that worries me.

And it is becoming more and more widespread.

And it is becoming more and more widespread. It's not just in this field. So, for me, the role of governments is to encourage rather than to repress and prohibit. And it is also an educational role, which it does not fulfil very well. From the moment the individual is educated, he or she must be given responsibility.

That's right.

That is my little comment on this iconoclastic thought of allowing these cars that were produced 10, 15, 20 years ago to live on, and all the more so collectible and classic cars.

Thank you very much Christian.

Thank you Charlie.


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03/09/2021 10:44

Commentaire reçu de la part d'un abonné :
Nice video you did for leBolide, totally agree on what you said on electric cars – well done!


01/09/2021 12:19

Belle est intéressante analyse !!


28/08/2021 12:44

Commentaire reçu de la part d'un abonné :
Pour le nombre d’heures par ans que ces voitures roulent, ce n’est rien et cela fait travailler 25 000 personnes en France !
Pour la petite histoire de consommation, en 1963, des personnes de chez Renault ont fait la route de Paris à Madrid en Renault 4, à 75km/h de moyenne sur les routes de l’époque en consommant 4,9 L /100.
Et juste une batterie de 3 Kg pour démarrer …

Matching numbers

Discover our new column "Chatting with CP". Today we are taking up the subject of "Matching numbers". You have probably already heard about them, but how important are they really? We ask Christian Philippsen. Please share with us in the Comments the topics that are of interest to you and we will discuss them in the next episodes.

Hello Christian


Hello Charlie


We hear more and more about matching numbers for cars.


Yes, matching numbers


Can you tell me what it means?


The famous "matching numbers"!


A car is said to have matching numbers when the numbers of the engine, transmission, chassis, of all the mechanical elements, correspond to the numbers listed in the manufacturer's archives. So, a car is said to be matching numbers when it is fully compliant with its original specifications, including numbers, when it left the factory.


Is this also the case for the colours?


Yes, so they started with matching numbers, and now they add "matching colours", which means that the car is now in the colour(s) in which it left the factory as well.


Does this really matter?


Well, in my opinion, it's very overrated. It's a commercial argument, I don't know who invented it, but for a few years now, we've been seeing it in the classified ads, in the descriptions of auctions - "Matching numbers, matching colours". I remember that in the sixties, you know I was working for the Ferrari importer in Belgium, we always had one or two spare engines in the shop, ready to be fitted in a car if ever one came in that had a major mechanical problem. This was a service to the customer because it was obviously much quicker to remove an engine and fit another one than to take out one's own, repair it and fit it again, so it was a service. It's part of the history of the car. So, as long as the original specifications are respected, for me there is no big problem. If you put a Chevrolet engine in a Ferrari, it's another matter! It's been done in the United States, especially at one time, but an engine that's up to the original specifications, with a number 4 stamped instead of a number 3, to me, that is not a big deal.


Yes, it doesn't really matter.


I would say that there are two caveats though. The first is cars that take part in concours. In concours, between two comparable cars, the one that has its original components will certainly be favoured over the one whose engine has been replaced. There will probably be a penalty if the engine is not matching numbers.


Will this have an impact on the score?


Yes, it's a way of breaking a tie. So, if you want to participate in a concours, this is one of the elements you should take into consideration. But for pleasure, for everyday use, for rides, for taking part in rallies, it doesn't matter. The second is that some cars have very specific configurations that correspond to a point in their life. I am thinking of competition cars. A car that has won the Mille Miglia, for example, or a car that has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it is true that, when restoring them, they should be returned to their configuration of that moment. A car that won the Mille Miglia which was silver-grey with red numbers, must not become red with black numbers.


You have to keep it consistent.


Exactly! I would say that, there, it matters. But, again, for the rest, it seems to me to be a commercial argument. I don't know who invented it.


Thank you very much Christian.


Thanks Charlie.


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01/09/2021 12:20

Sujet intéressant. Merci !

MC Classic Car

11/08/2021 14:32

Argument très interessant. Je convienne avec vous pour ce qui concerne le concept "matching numbers".
A' bientôt