Building the Perfect PetrolBlog Car

What would be the ideal PetrolBlog car? It’s a question we regularly get asked here at PBHQ, but in truth it’s something that’s rather difficult to define, not least because it would change on a weekly basis.

But what if we put makes and models aside for a moment and concentrated on the features associated with the perfect PetrolBlog car? Forget nonsense about top speed, meaningless 0-60 times and CO2 emissions and instead think about the bells and whistles.

On a recent tour of the Haynes Motor Museum with Darren of Audi 80 fame, it became apparent that building the perfect PetrolBlog car wouldn’t be so hard after all, as this list of 12 features demonstrates.

Mesdames et Messieurs, we present the PPC – the Perfect PetrolBlog Car. Or at least some of its features.

Yellow fog or headlights

Citroen GS yellow fog light

The first on the list, because cars simply look better with yellow fog or headlights. OK, so preferably they need to be French, although other European firms can often get away with it, too.

As a rule, cars from the 1970s and 1980s definitely work, although some cars from the 1990s can rock the yellow look, too. Anything modern is a no-no. So don’t go adding yellow film to the headlights on your brand new Audi A4.

A black vinyl roof

MK3 Ford Cortina black vinyl roof

Whatever happened to the black vinyl roof?

If nothing else, it makes the car easier to wax, as getting to the roof is always a pain. And nothing shouts ‘successful man’ quite like a black vinyl roof.

Steel wheels

Dacia Logan MCV steel wheel

In the UK, we’ve become obsessed with alloy wheels, which means dealers and manufacturers love us. Would sir like to ‘upgrade’ to these 17-inch rims? How about some 18s or 19s? Better still, what about these 20-inch delights, guaranteed not to ruin the car’s ride.

We’ll have no such nonsense on the Perfect PetrolBlog Car (PPC), a nice set of steelies will do us fine, thank you. And we’re sure our friends over at Black Steelies will agree with us.

A single wiper

Lamborghini Countach single wiper

We’ve touched on this before, with our random list of 10 cars with single wipers.

Look, if it’s good enough for the Lamborghini Countach, it’s good enough for the PPC. Mercedes-Benz and Citroën would surely side with us.

Webasto sunroof

Triumph Dolomite black vinyl roof and Webasto sunroof

Not to be confused with an asbestos sunroof, which is guaranteed to cause all sorts of mischief if you fit one to a car.

We love a good full-length Webasto sunroof, especially when it’s combined with a vinyl roof. See above – as if the Triumph Dolomite Sprint wasn’t cool enough already. Perhaps we should add a Webasto sunroof to the Honda Accord

Venetian blind in rear window

Trabant Venetian blind

Seriously, Audi, have you been sleeping? You’ve missed a trick by not adding this to your list of hideously expensive options.

A Venetian blind for the rear window – what could be better for that extra touch of privacy and protection from sunlight? Not to mention a guard against the menace of the LED daytime running lights. Yes, we’re looking at you, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Well we would be, if our retinas weren’t suffering from irreparable damage.

Dealer sticker

Performance Cars of Brentford sticker

At what point do car dealer window stickers become cool? On new cars they just look naff, but with the passing of time and some much-needed patina, they suddenly become acceptable.

This has to be our favourite dealer sticker of all time. We take our trilbies off to the good people of Performance Cars Ltd, Brentford. Getting the showroom’s name into the shape of a 1970s sports car is the work of genius.

Reserve petrol tank

Reserve petrol tank switch

Who remembers sitting in the back of their parent’s car, listening to Mum and Dad questioning whether there was enough fuel left in the tank to get home from Sainsbury’s?

There was always the reassurance of the reserve tank. What a quite brilliant idea, we have to wonder why it went out of fashion.

Illuminated STOP sign

STOP rear light

When red brake lights aren’t enough…

Leave the tailgating photocopier salesman in no doubt that you’re stopping with illuminated S.T.O.P lights. Also available in S.P.E.E.D.I.N.G, O.N.T.H.E.P.H.O.N.E and T.E.X.T.I.N.G formats, making them perfect for the modern motorist.

Number plate behind glass or perspex

Citroen SM front number plate

Protect your number plates by encasing them in a cabinet. Genius.

Oh how we love the Citroën SM.

Wing-mounted mirrors

Mazda RX7 wing mirrors

We’d forgotten how cool proper wing-mounted mirrors could look until we saw the Japanese-spec Nissan Prairie.

Mirrors are just better when they’re mounted to the front wings. Unless there happens to be a caravan behind the car.

Pop-up headlights

Fiat X1:9 pop-up lights

The Mazda RX-7 could claim the right to both these final items, but in the interests of showing you a piece of Fiat X1/9, we’re giving you this. We’d be in dream world if a car had yellow pop-up lights and yellow fog lights. Just imagine that.

Sadly, the pop-up headlight made its last appearance a decade ago, when the Lotus Esprit and C5 Corvette went out of production. A year earlier, the 456 was the last Ferrari to be graced with the mechanical wonders.

So that’s your lot – the dirty dozen – the 12 features that make up the Perfect PetrolBlog Car. Goodness knows what this thing would look like, but it wouldn’t matter, because you’d feel a million dollars in your car of many features.

If anyone is handy with PotatoShop, perhaps they could create the PPC. On second thoughts, we don’t want to give people nightmares…

Citroen images © Citroen, Fiat X1/9 © Fiat, Ford Cortina © Ford, RX-7 © Mazda, all others © PetrolBlog 

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Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.


  1. August 13, 2014

    I disagree with one point. Rather than having less wipers, we should have more. We should have three front wipers, like an E-Type, and two rear wipers:

    And maybe some headlight wipers too. I never trust the jet thingies.

    • August 13, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      I like your thinking.

      Three wipers would be the only real alternative to the mono-wipe. I’m thinking single wiper at front and two at the rear, Camry-style.

      Headlight wipers – very, very good call.

  2. August 14, 2014
    Peter Counsell

    Cassette player. Long wave radio.

    • August 14, 2014
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Good thinking.

      Although a retro-styled DAB digital radio would be preferable…

      Hang on, I have an old 8-track. Wonder if that could be converted for use in the Honda…

      • August 14, 2014
        Peter Counsell

        Seats that recline with a lever rather than a micro-adjuster.

  3. August 14, 2014

    A Corner (two for preference).

    Swooping lines are all very well but you just can’t beat a point where three distinct lines meet.

  4. August 14, 2014

    Custom paint colours as standard. Why can I spend £100 painting a room in any colour I choose yet the £800 paint option on a car only comes in a range of colours to offend nobody?

    Except silver of course, the PPC-1 should not be available in silver paint.

    I’d probably opt for a nice pale yellow myself.

  5. August 17, 2014

    I know that´s something that we can´t choose, but what about number plates? ´70s silver-on-black french plates (like the GS ones)are really cool, as are ´70s-´80s german or swedish. But I think white-on-black italians, with the ridiculous small front ones, and the rear with “Roma” written in orange, are perfect. They can improve infinitely a dull car.

    • August 20, 2014
      Peter Counsell

      I completely agree.

  6. October 16, 2014
    David Milloy

    Great piece, but I’d have Rostyle wheels and Sundym glass on my list, and you’ve forgotten about the interior specification.

    A true Petrolblog car must have either ribbed velour seats, preferably in 1970s beige, or tartan bucket seats, as seen on the TR7, Lotus Esprit S1, mark 1 VW Golf GTI and certain 1970s Porsche.

    Of course, that’s only part of the story; chunky rocker switches (and a switch for every function – none of your multi-purpose, touch-sensitive malarkey here, thank you very kindly) as well as an instrument binnacle that looks as if it’s been culled from a 1970s sci-fi series are also de rigeur.

    The series one Matra-Simca Bagheera comes pretty close to the ideal:

    Certain models of the Bagheera even had tartan seats.

    That said, the switchgear from the series 1 Lotus Esprit has to be the standard to which all other switchgear must aspire.

    As for the engine, I’ll start the bidding with an air-cooled Citroen unit (probably the 1222cc plant) from the GS…………….

  7. March 6, 2015

    I want a little lever between the front seats that allows the car to be raised or lowered.

    • March 24, 2015
      Gavin Big-Surname

      Ha! That can be arranged.

      Will speak to the designer when he’s back from his extended lunch..


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