In a very particular way British sports cars reflect British society, with its class structure and contradictions. There are the aristocrats such as the Bentley 4-1/2 litre supercharged model or the Aston Martin Vanquish. At the other end of the wheel-based social scale are the purveyors of sporty mobility like the MG TC or the Austin Healey Sprite. Somewhere in between, January boss Sir William Lyons made it his mission to make his fine creations accessible, even to people who could not afford them.So far about two and a half million British sports cars have been produced, from the best-selling MGB with its huge total of 513,272 roadsters and coupes to the exotic Jaguar XK SS, which only 16 fortunate people were able to own.
There is a persistent rumour that Rainer Schlegelmilch's birth was initiated on the back seat of a Mercedes Benz 170V. Whether or not this is the source of his ongoing affinity to anything that has four wheels, his fascination with cars is vividly expressed in his photographs. How do you get from German and English philology to automotive journalism? Chalk it up to car racing: the appearance of the Silver Arrows (Silberpfeile) in Spa, Zandvoort and at the Nurburgring, says the Germanist and Anglicist Hartmut Lehbrink. Numerous books on automobiles and racing penned by Lehbrink testify to the long-term impact of these early experiences.