I have recently had the pleasure of visiting Europe for the first time. I traveled to France, England and Ireland in a trip I have dreamed of for years.
To me, cars have always expressed their nationalities the same way that books, movies and art do. Only the French could have designed the Citroen 2CV, and a Morgan says “Great Britain” as clearly as Big Ben’s chimes.
(Remember the term “foreign car”?)
In recent decades, of course, auto manufacturers have gone multinational, and most vehicles have had their idiosyncrasies wrung out in order to maximize their potential markets, which is a shame, in my opinion.
That being said, there are still a lot of cars on the streets in Europe that you do not see here in the U.S., and I enjoyed looking at the Citroen Picassos and Peugeot Bippers, Fiat 500s and Skoda Yetis, and varieties of Ford products that will soon be coming here to the States.
My three traveling companions share my obsession with motor vehicles to varying degrees. One, not all. My wife, understanding of my condition. The last, to a fair degree. However, none was anxious to spend many minutes of our two week journey walking around cars looking for a great angle, trying to compose a photo so that it would include objects that would reflect the place where the picture was made, or accosting complete strangers to interview them about their interesting cars, tiny trucks, vintage motorcycles or cab-enclosed scooters.
So, these cars, trucks and bikes were shot while on the move, “snapshots” in the true sense of that expression, without much compositional thought beyond the automatic, and will have to speak through my commentary, as their owners were not sought out or accosted.
Anyway, from time to time I will be posting some of my photos of interesting vehicles I encountered on my journey, starting in France with this classic old Vespa scooter, which simply purrs “Paris”.
All words and images copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell