Steve McQueen was the coolest man that has ever lived. The fact is obvious, and is referenced constantly by the motoring press.
But, until recently, I couldn’t really get my head around what was so cool about the man.
This morning, here in Los Angeles, I stumbled upon one of the reasons. I saw a pretty cool dune buggy parked outside a mad mexican restaurant with a twenty foot fibreglass Mariachi on top (run of the mill here, worthy of a picture in my oh-so-english eyes).
Back in my office whilst doing some research on the things I came across this great clip from Bruce Brown’s 1971 film On Any Sunday.
In case you’ve never heard of the film, it’s a beautifully evocative documentary on American desert racing by Bruce Brown (who funnily enough given the California context made his name shooting seminal surf movies like The Endless Summer).
Watching the clip, the thing that stands out (apart from how good looking the man is), is that he refers to his dune buggy as his ‘ emotional outlet’.
It’s obvious to anyone passionate about these things is displaying something more than a penchant for mechanical jiggery pokery. They are displaying the sort of lust for life that always was and always will be ‘cool’.
Turns out that the coolest man in the universe was cool not just because he played cool people in cool films and looked the business.
He was cool because he wasn’t afraid to stand up and say that his passion for racing, engineering and all things mechanical reached somewhere deep in his soul.
If only more of our racing heroes could be so candid.
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