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A short film about the Devialet Phantom Reactor 900

  • The times they are a-changin’. My car – a proper automobile – splutters into life when I turn the ignition key and it doesn’t run as smoothly as it once did. I am thinking of buying a new one. Not a standard city runabout, you understand but a performance car. My plan is as follows: I’ll start with a body from Mercedes; then I’ll grab the transmission from Toyota; the engine will come from BMW; Fiat will handle the (leather!) interior. I’ll be the crusiest fella in the neighborhood.

    A bespoke fit engine isn’t necessary. BMW won’t need to know anything about the rest of my self-compiled car. One of their one-size-fits-all engine models will get me up and running and, over time, I’ll source a better-performing engine through a process of trial and error. Eventually, I hope to find ‘the One’.

    Second-hand buying is the way to go here. “Buying new is for suckers!” — that’s what I always tell the guy who runs my local car engine dealership. He thinks I’m hilarious!

    And yes, of course, I realise that it might take me a few years to find the engine that extracts the best handling and performance from the rest of the car. But that’s OK. Demo-ing a new engine every few months is all part of the fun of being a performance car owner. Until then, I’ll be more than content with a sub-optimal engine because I won’t yet know what’s possible. I guess we’re all in the same boat on this issue.

    Besides, my new car will still get me from A to B. And travel is what performance car ownership is all about. It’s all about the roads! Best of all, should the engine develop a fault, I won’t have to take the whole car into the shop to get it repaired – just the engine. The workshop will lend me a ‘courtesy’ engine to plug the gap.

    That Mercedes body? Safety rating and reduced weight aren’t issues for me. I want none of that modern crap. I want a car, not a spaceship. I’d take a Mercedes 300 shell from the 70s or 80s any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Everyone knows that they just don’t make ’em like they used to. I am a spokesperson for everyone because I am everyone.

    Look – I’m the first person to admit that buying a complete car from a single manufacturer is what the kids are into these days but – engineers and experts be damned – I’m a firm believer that best performance always comes from a self-compiled motor vehicle. Why? Because that’s the way we’ve always done it. It’s how my Dad bought a car. And that’s how his Dad bought a car.

    And I just don’t think we need all that computer crap in our cars — it’s not like computers took us the to the moon or anything. GPS? What a fuss. I’m still more than happy to pull over to the side of the road every few miles just to look at a printed street map. It breaks up the journey. That and I like getting hands-on with my route planning. Why reach for a smartphone with Google Maps when a map index and its grid references get the job done just as well? And whilst I’m at it: what’s with all this automatic emergency breaking and ‘park assist’ nonsense? Since when did we ever worry about preventing accidents?

    There really is no need to fix what isn’t broken. Change makes me feel uncomfortable. (Mind you, so does satire). And I take no pleasure in feeling uncomfortable — do you?

    And if you can’t relate at all to this line of thinking, perhaps Devialet’s Phantom Reactor 900 will be your next hi-fi system…

    Camera: Olaf von Voss | Editor: Jana Dagdagan

    Further information: Devialet

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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