Cool Cars On The High Street

Do Cars Matter In Our Cities?

Cool cars are about the uniqueness and good design you find part of your high street shopping trip.

Next to customers and shops and fashion - not like a shopping centre carpark - cool cars become part of the mainstreet experience.

Red Mustang at Lorna Jane, a business I put into 56 Market Street, Fremantle, Australia in 2010.

More Mustang?

Pink Mustang

Some may wonder, "Why celebrate cars?" They park in the bike lane, shout at you, try to run you over, speed up to try and be helpful but actually crash a wave of mud in your face. They take up all the land with their stupid black asphalt. They breed people who love nothing more than square food and wrappers and little babies with fruit boxes and Monster Munch snack-packs that are left behind to despoil beaches for anybody with fewer stomachs and an ability to bend over - indeed to see downward - to collect. They're tank-shaped air-conditioned lounge rooms for alpha females who obstruct pavements at schools - preventing safe carriageway for children on bikes and foot, wheelchair or crutch. They dominate city planning and stupid, federal budgets and last but not least they're completely inaccessible to anyone under the age of consent, meaning billions of people are withheld from divergent accessibility and mobility within their city.

But sometimes something is beautiful through good design, scarcity or care - three elements of a valuable community and economy which, sometimes, is only taught to us by cars.

Pink Ford Mustang at Milkd, 32 Angove Street North Perth Australia

Milkd North Perth on Urbanspoon

Hanoi, Here We Went

But first, this is where we left it:

A Beautiful City's company mascot, Super Chubbs, was getting some kip in Singapore Changi Airport:

And then we went to Phnom Penh.

We know the ride from the Phnom Penh airport to my hotel was going to be ugly but we still pinched what photos we could.

It's Superb!

I love this.

A jolly mintox Octopus Sign.

Beautifully conceived and prepared: The preparation of the building in white is just as important as the fine, grey octopus.

Every councillor must understand how signage affects their disctrict, for good and for bad.

And this is a good one.

And, oh - look: a Ford Falcon something-or-other done in burnt tobacco racing green.

Hooked Healthy Seafood, 172 Chapel Street, Windsor, Australia

And here's Chapel Street, Windsor. A bit. From Duke's Coffee Roasters, 169 Chapel Street.

Followed by a shop-a-dog down the road at Surace Fresh, 233 Chapel Street, Prahran

It's Now December

It's now December, and we beaver around ponds of pedestrian data for November and publish it.

This month is different.

Since July we've been doing this, and each time it's a private excitement which I'm no longer going to hide! So I am writing mini-articles as I go (it might take three days to collate and publish all our reports) which publish my insights (into whatever) as we go.

I recent had a look at the statistics for this site and realised we have quite a chunky number of readers. Instantly that strangled me. I want to maintain relevance and quality whilst being un-boring.

So you have to tell me how I go. OK?

Tracer Mk3 at St George Bank, 21 Adelaide Street, Fremantle, Australia

Fremantle - Be A Good Loser

Oh, well.  It didn't work out.

Never mind.

Prior to the Grand Final Fremantle had uniformly ridden a wave of gentle excitement, expressing itself in purple shopfronts and lots else.  There was no need to wait for 'fair weather' for this to happen.  You've always had a football team - a purple one - and each September there's footy finals, enthralling the nation no matter who plays.

Be a good loser.  Show your purple shopfronts not only because you want to be at the winners side but because you support Fremantle, football, and have a story to tell of support (for the players right now) - rain, hail or shine.

Having a football team, even a losing one, is an asset.  You - unlike other places - can celebrate September and the AFL calender and get the best reaction in your region.

Retailers and shopfronts lead the conversation in the minds of the pedestrian so show of your assets en masse often and not just when a pot of gold is thrown at your feet.  The visitor needs that distinct and local story to generate loyalty to your precinct.

Above: After the game.  Wilson Carpark, old 'Gas and Coke' site, corner of Queen and Cantonment Streets, Fremantle, Australia.

Below: St John Ambulance, corner of Market and High Streets, Fremantle.  I have never, ever, seen an ambulance change it's livery.

Cool Cars on The High Street #23

This cool ... um ... car ... was sent in by Colin Nichol - all-round shopping centre and business-district-management connoisseur and kingfish.

I can't describe it ...

Oh, well, it's yellow and it's ... a motorbike.

Can you give me any help here?

And I'll park in a loading zone if I want to: Colin Nichol's cool car-thing at Bousefields Menswear, 97 High Street Fremantle, Australia - looking for an ID.

If You're Wondering Why I'm Posting Pictures Of Cars, I've Been Wondering How To Explain It To You

This blog is a 'vibrancy' fetishist's digital lozenger, there to suck when city management leaves you in despair - and this can often be about car oriented development ruining streets for children, wrecking walkability and then, gradually, the community and the economy.

Jeremy Clarkson himself has said that if cars were invented today that they could never pass the health and safety standard - they kill, crash, emit gas and do other bad things. 

And with this he did declare something suprising, which I will paraphrase here and claim as my own.

Cars are doomed.

Society is clamping down on car use like they did with smoking.  Cars are becoming expensive to run, ostracised from the roads and will generally, one day, become passe.

But not cool cars.

And here's why.

Once upon a time major cities were clogged with horses.  Their poo-poo alone was a menace.  Many piles of it drowned innocent babies.

When the horses died on the street - which they did a lot - they were left to putrefy so lean people could pull them apart and drag them away for future use.

And there's more.

The iron hoofed horses and their iron rimmed wheels made such a din that conversation in the street was scarcely possible.

If you've ever been to a farm and smelled one horse you may have thought it was quite cool.

But you were wrong.  Take 50,000 of them and put them in your city without grass but with roads which don't absorb all their loping wee-wees and their poo and you will exclaim.

So what does this prove?

Well, it proves that the invention of the motor car was the environmental and public health Superman of it's day.

So, what happened to to all the horses?

They became an expensive hobby and were brushed and groomed and sometimes taken out of their garages for a ride.

And when the new environmental Superman rescues our cities cars will become expensive hobbies too, for the well-off to enjoy occasionally.

Chrsyler Lancer at 18 High Street Fremantle, Australia

Nissan Figaro on High Street

We spoke to the owner.  Her husband's a plumber.  They emigrated from England four years ago.  She found the car in England.  She paid AUS$20,000 for it.  She had it restored.

Nissan Figaro at NAB, High Street Fremante, Australia.  See more Nissan Figaro's here.



Greg James' Moke on High Street

- at Somes Newsagency - where I used to pick up two huge shoulder satchels of the Daily News after school and sell them to all the businesses and punters on High Street and South Terrace.

It cost 30c per paper for you and I got 3.5c per paper plus tips.

More Leyland Mini Mokes here