Tuesday, 26 March 2013

It's (not quite) the end of the road for Life On Cars

THE END is nigh. Well, at least it would have been, because tomorrow marks what could have been the last time Life On Cars appears in The Champion.

After three-and-a-bit years of motoring mishaps I'm off to pastures new next week - a job writing for Classic Car Weekly - so it's probably a better time than any to reflect on the automotive adventures I've had so far. Adventures where I've been priveliged to have you, the petrolheads across Sefton and West Lancashire, in the passenger seat with me.

The sort of adventures which included nailing the Vauxhall VXR8's throttle on the high speed bowl at Millbrook or winding my way over a Welsh mountain pass in an MX-5, or that marvellous morning when I had some of the best roads in the Derbyshire Dales at my disposal and a Lotus Evora S to tackle them in. Then there was the intoxicatingly noisy fighter plane thrills of thundering through Southport in a Morgan Threewheeler, using a Peugeot cabriolet to get from Settle to Carlisle eleven minutes quicker than the Settle to Carlisle train can, and discovering just what 542bhp, courtesy of a Jaguar XKR-S, feels like.

But better still are the real world thrills I've shared. Stuff like the utter joy that is the steering, feel and handling on an original Mini. Then there was the revelation that a borrowed Ford Transit is far more fun through the corners than it's got any right to be, and the smiles that I've had by travelling back in time every time I start up my own classic car of choice - my 1972 MGB GT, which on two occasions I've had the privelige of parading around the Ormskirk MotorFest. Which brings me onto the car shows I've covered - and there were, when I counted, no less than 25 of them in 2012 alone - where I've met countless fellow enthusiasts and gawped longingly at legions of old Astons, Jags and Ferraris.

And that's before I get onto the one new car that's left more of an impression on me than any other.
While there'll always be space for an original Mini in my extended Euromillions winner garage there is one new car out of the dozens I've tested that, for me at least, blended real world frills, proper petrolhead thrills and sensible pricing better than any other. A final special mention, then, for a hot hatch I've raved about on several occasions - the wonderful little Suzuki Swift Sport.

Life On Cars will, for now at least despite the changes, continue both in The Champion and online right here. I'd still love to hear about your motoring stories and events. I'm looking forward to sharing even more adventures, even if they're from a bit further afield!

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