Cars, boats and pirates

by Kitty Drake in December 2020
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Véhicule opens with a picture of a topless woman pouring water over her head — which is not the most original way for an automobiles magazine to begin. There are a couple of other completely gratuitous pictures of boobs, including one close-up by Henrik Purienne printed on suspiciously sticky paper, and one naked woman in a Rolls Royce. The latter illustrates an essay called ‘How a Rolls Royce Fucks With Your Brain’. This essay is actually remarkably good, and demonstrates a level of self-awareness which almost makes up for all the gratuitous tits. Almost.

Take this passage, about the corrosive power of owning a Wraith, Black Edition (£350,000):

“You don’t know if the car is turning you into a real pissboy, or if your inner pissboy is only getting his moment to shine. Thoughts like this become very important when you’re slicing through traffic in a Rolls-Royce. You don’t like when things get in your way, like traffic lights, or slow cars that don’t hit the gas the moment the light changes. You hit the horn. You feel like the horn beams directly into the brain of the driver in front of you. It’s loud. You wish it were louder.”

One fascinating section of this magazine is devoted to first-person accounts of modern-day piracy. Descendents of wreckers, rum runners, pirates and castaways. One anonymous interviewee tells the story of his father, who built a custom smugglig boat called the ‘Cat Dancer’: “The whole crew was straight up dirty. If they didn’t get knocked off back then, they ended up in federal prison.”

Véhicule is blokey, and brash, but it makes for fun reading. The central pages are all laminated; to the touch: they feel a bit like cheap leather car seats; you have to actually pry them apart to look at the pictures. My favourite spread features an electric yellow offshore boat interior. Being trapped inside this violently yellow boat looks like a very expensive kind of hell. I’d like to experience it.

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