Friday, 16 December 2011

COLUMN - December 2011

This is my column from the December edition of The Local Herald. The topic of choice this month was the cars I would choose as my top 5 of all time. Also discussed was some of the cars I left out and why. Enjoy...

 I'm not indecisive; I'm just not sure!


It is one of the most difficult questions ever asked; “what cars would be in your top five garage?” Ahh. Ooh. Erm. Well… It’s difficult to answer, and leaves people either stumped, or pondering for hours to try and reach a definite answer. Just when people get close, they will remember something else and then have to contemplate which of their existing choices should be sacrificed.

I have given this a lot of thought, and after whittling it down to a final 10 or so, set about picking my top 5. I would like to think I go about this logically; having a few different vehicle types thus covering all the bases of any car I would wish to drive. However the fact is that some very important sacrifices have to be made in order to reach the top 5, and there would become times where I would wish they were still in it.

One of the cars which falls just outside of my top 5 is actually one of my all-time favourites; the McLaren F1. Sold in the early 90s, this car proved what was technically possible from the motor vehicle. It spent over a decade as the world’s fastest road car, and this is incredible considering the normally aspirated 6.1-litre engine which propelled the car to 241 mph. This coupled with sensational looks (it still looks good today) and the sheer extravagance puts it high in the hall of fame. But I wouldn’t be able to use it due to rarity and collectability.

From a similar era, the Ferrari F50 is without doubt one of the most beautiful cars ever built to date, and it lies outside the top 5. This is again down to usability. Finding a road without speed bumps where this car could be driven is becoming an increasingly challenging feat, and so this car would end up sat in the garage as an art form and cannot justify a valuable space.

I could choose any Cosworth from over the years and fill my garage with them. Most notably the Ford Sierra RS500 and the Escort RS could quite easily be in there. They are not. Nor is the all-new Subaru Impreza Cosworth which takes a brilliant car and makes it sensational. It is modest enough as a hatchback. But the large bonnet vent and tail pipes give a clue as to what this car is capable of. The big bucket seats with ‘Cosworth’ stitched into the leather is just one of the many tiny details which make this car so good. And Cosworth are a British company, so we can be proud of its engineering roots.

Without doubt the hardest cars to leave out were the Audi R8 and the Nissan GT-R. In white these are two very handsome cars. The Nissan GT-R is a computer nerd. Gadgets and gizmos provide a faultless drive on roads and tracks alike. Prices start at £71,950 making this a bargain for what is a near-200mph car. Having driven an Audi R8 I can honestly say it was faultless. The steering, brakes, throttle response, clutch and drivability were all perfect. The Audi is the car I would most likely miss out of my top 5.

So here they are; my final choices. Look them up and see how they compare to your top 5. Other notable exclusions include the Lotus Carlton, Aston Martin DBS, Ferrari F40 and Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.

1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 ‘Eleanor’
Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst S
Jaguar XK R-S
Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Coupe
Lamborghini Aventador

On a final note, may I wish you all the very best for Christmas and New Year.

Dan

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