QUANTUM mechanics and Sir Issac Newton are not subjects that occupy a lot of my time but without one of the geniuses of science there would be no Ford Galaxy, no Renault Espace and probably no you and me.
In 1957 at Princeton University, Hugh Everett III proposed a radical new way of dealing with some of the more perplexing aspects of atomic theory.
The scientific establishment listened intently. Then laughed.
Understandably Everett, having done quite a few hard sums, threw his slide rule out of the pram. He went to advise the Pentagon where he pointed out that pre-emptively bombing Russia would leave the Earth spinning through spacetime looking very much like the remains of a Texas barbecue.
Clearly, without Hugh Everett there would have been no hippies, no summer of love, no flower power and the dead really would have been grateful.
Most importantly though, no VW camper van.
Bringing things, via Haight Ashbury, free love and Janice Joplin, to the SEAT Alhambra.
Also fathered by VW the current Alhambra has been around almost as long as Country Joe McDonald. So where’s the story?
Well, look at it like this. When a new MPV is launched today, it is likely to boast a small multiplex cinema, refrigerator and wardrobes.
All this ignores the possibility that out there is someone who simply wants a car with seven SEATs without having to bring down a French investment bank to pay for it.
And there’s the point. Which ever way you look at it the Alhambra is cheap.
The even better news is that of all its siblings the Alhambra comes best equipped. By a light year.
In fact, I might be better telling you that the only extras that are at all desirable are sat nav and leather upholstery. Everything else, from heated SEATs to multiple air bags comes within the £21,412 price tag
Even the rear glass is dark tinted so your passengers can pretend to be P Diddy. Or even K Doddy.
Pick of the three-model range is the two-litre diesel Stylance added two years ago, which comes with a six-speed gearbox and leisurely 0-60mph time of 12.2 seconds.
Out on the streets the Alhambra is as sensible, and unfashionable, as a Pak-a mac.
All adding up to a package that suits someone ruled by head rather than by heart. Exceptional fecundity apart, I would suggest this as ideal corporate shuttle. At 42mpg even Nigel from accounts is likely to approve.
So, the Alhambra may pre-date the big bang and is lacking the mezzanine level space and mini-bars of later models but it costs little and comes with a constellation of equipment.
Oh, and just to put Issac Newton’s contribution to quantum theory into perspective, he was apparently wrong. But then he was working with the most basic of tools. A tree.