Saturday, 16 May 2015

Why it isn't hard to get a go in your favourite car

FORGET swimming with dolphins or selfies in front of the Taj Mahal. Surely the ultimate red letter day has to be driving your favourite car.

That’s why I switched my excitement level to giddy schoolboy setting when I was finally told I’d be getting a go in my ultimate ‘bedroom wall’ car. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to drive Ferraris and Lotuses to Rolls-Royces and Jaguars, but with the notable exception of the E-type none of those were Blu-tacked proudly above my desk when I was eight years old.

That particular honour, in fact, went to something built just over the water in Blackpool using some Rover V8s and a never-ending supply of glassfibre. That’s why I’ve spent the last 20 years just itching to get a go in a TVR Griffith.

I love this car because it had that wonderfully British underdog quality. It was a sinuously styled two-seater which in the early Nineties had the ability to embarrass the Ferrari 348 and the Porsche 911, despite costing about half the price. It had a tuned version of my favourite engine – if you can’t imagine what a bored out Rover V8 sounds like, just imagine a thunderstorm with the volume doubled. It was the car that put a tiny Lancashire manufacturer on the map.

Naturally, being given the keys to one was like being told your complimentary first class British Airways tickets to New York have landed through the letterbox or that Michelle Keegan’s waiting in the bar for you. The moment the V8’s rumble turned into an almighty bellow and lunged towards the horizon is a motoring highlight I’ll never forget.

The good news is that in this day and age your automotive fantasies can quite easily become realities. As long as it isn’t anything ultra rare or hand-crafted from unobtainium – if it’s a Ferrari 250 GTO or a Porsche 959, for instance – there are companies more than happy to lend you your object of motoring desire.

Getting a go in a Gallardo or a 458 Italia is as easy as popping into WH Smith and buying one of those supercar trackday experience packages. If, like me, it’s the older treasures you’re into, there are plenty of firms out there who’ll happily lend you a classic – I am, for instance, looking into one at the moment who’ll lend my dad a Triumph TR6.

Whatever you do, if you do have a car that was on your bedroom wall when you were a kid, don’t leave it gathering your dust on that bucket list you haven’t started yet. Go out, do it, and enjoy it.

Sadly, if it was Farrah Fawcett or Diana Rigg on your bedroom wall, I can’t help you – that’s a very different column for a very different publication!


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