I was having a meal in a Mexican Style restaurant not so long ago, and the restaurant provided crayons and a table mat which was available to use as a very large piece of paper. Anyone who knows me will understand that the urge would be too strong not to, so…….
I made a list of my perfect, and ideal garage the only problem was there was just so many cars I wanted, so here are some of the car’s I’d love to drive, cherish and own if money (and garage space) was no object.
Alfa Romeo 156 V6
Imagine turning up to the office in a bespoke tailored Italian suit. Sub-urban Britain is boring place with swades of mock Tudor four bedroom detached pinned in between each other with gravel and grass, this carries onto the block driveway with good, but boring mid-size company exec cars on the drive (like 3-Series and Audi’s). The 156 is a classic Italian suit for the masses, and for the first time an Alfa Romeo which is also fairly reliable making it a genuine alternative to the boredom of BMW. The V6 is a beauty in its own right, for its sensual sound, for its flexibility on the road and its chrome engine under the bonnet. The 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 are also peppy and also look the business. The pepper-pot wheels and great body shape drawing inspiration from old classic Alfa, the rear doors with hidden door handles in the C pillar to keep the coupé appearance. Although the Alfa has a front wheel drive chassis, it offers an engaging drive with the practicality needed for everyday life. Why is it in my dream garage? When the sun shines and a back road blast calls, I would arrive in style and comfort but still with a sense of passion that this car oozes.
My heart would stop for just that moment when you even thought about trying to climb into the Ariel. It does not have a large engine, or much of anything else for that matter, the windscreen included. However akin to a super-bike on four wheels the senses would be heightened just starting the engine. On the road every bump, undulation and camber is feedback to the driver, the acceleration as good, if not better than some of the quickest cars available. A pure adrenaline hit no question it would be in most dream garages.
Aston Martin DB4
A British gentleman could not turn down the charms of an Aston Martin, but a DB4′s balanced stance, classic wire wheels and hand-built qualities. Not a quick car by today’s standards, not at all sporty but one of the oringal grand tourer’s, in a dream world a tour across southern Europe and the Alps would be perfect in this classic Aston, so long of course if it is British Racing Green.
One of the criteria for my dream garage is great engineering, and the Audi Quattro really did set the history of engineering four-wheel drive, high powered future sports cars. Setting the rally circuits on fire when it first hit them in the early 80′s, nothing could keep up with it. This vehicle is the definition of form follows function, a great 5 cylinder turbo charged engine anchored to the road by a four-wheel drive transmission designed purely to get the most power to the road without loss of control or friction. No doubt the body was just to house the oily bits, but in fact the styling is 100% 80′s and no the less exciting for it, I’d be very disappointed if this was not in my dream garage.
Bentley S1/Rolls Royce Silver Cloud
Quality and grandeur only touch the surface with this another British heavyweight. In a garage the Bentley or Rolls would need space and respect, just as it does on the road. Although it is a large car the much of the hand-built coachwork available is stunning, a deep paint colour rumoured to be many layers thick, with strong and flowing lines. Again this car is in the dream garage for its engineering, quality build and quiet opulence where it was said you could hear the clock ticking at 100mph, yet this car and chassis was tested to destruction.
German perfectionists built this car, which is music to my ears. Balanced 50/50 weight distribution, silky smooth straight six driving the rear wheels just as cars should. Understated design built well for many thousands of miles, who can argue that this multi-award winning car should be in the garage. I have already mentioned that BMW’s are boring, but really that’s because we see so many on the road; only because of their well deserved success. A car for every day hard work, for racking up comfortable miles with little effort, a modern classic.
Anyone that knows me well will know that me and modern French cars do not get on well. But I have a soft spot for the DS, you see life on the road should in my opinion be cossetted, smooth and comfortable. The DS was a leap forward in suspension, practical design, but is also a truly beautiful shape. Not many modern cars can provide the near perfect ride, but the Citreon did this 1955.
The 2CV is never going to set the world on fire, but it is definitely a form follows function design. The design brief? To carry farmers and their eggs over a field without breaking the eggs! Well, it is honest, basic and meets the needs of a car, to get you from A to B. A true design classic, not exactly beautiful but certainly very practical. Great car for a quiet picnic on a sunny day.
Ferrari 250 GT
As a car fan, of course I love Italian cars, but Ferrari for me is a cliché. If I had money and space in the garage for one Ferrari, it would without question be a 250GT. A modern Ferrari would be great, but are too easy to live with day to day, and do not (for me anyway) hold a special something in the same way that the old ones do. The small capacity V12 sounds great, I could not imagine much better way of touring Italy and the Med.
Even before the recent uptake in love for the little 500 in the new Fiat model, I have been a great fan. Truly lovable in so many ways, the small Italian is packaged so well, and was always built for everyday folk to get around economically. The charming looks, basic mechanics were always a great success, sparking the design for the Cinquento and modern 500, both fun and practical cars. A classic car which can be used on a daily basis, it is never going to be quick though, but that is its charm!
1998 Ford Focus
I have a soft spot for Fords, you might call it my achilles heal. My first car was a mark three Escort, in Jade green which was given to me by a friend! I have owned a few fords, and had the pleasure of driving many more, you see they are generally such peaches to drive, fluid, fun and dynamic. However I know that they are not the most reliable approach to motoring, so have always avoided them since my last Fiesta, which I loved to bits, but it was not built all that well. Mark my words the Ford Focus will be a future design classic, it was a completely fresh design which looks great still today, practical and economical for the masses and absolutely fabulous to drive. It is a truely great family car, designed just for that, some of the design features are brilliant. The bonnet opening with a key under the ford badge, the interior, well laid out great quality plastics, lots of space well laid out controls, fully independent suspension, lovely weighted steering and smooth gear box; all adds up to be a great pleasure to live with on a daily basis. Yet when the mood takes you drop a gear, tackle your favorite road and it still puts a smile on your face! Great car, it is just such a shame the its newer replacements look so awful, even if they are still dynamically great to drive.
Ford Model T
Without it there would not be the motor industry we know today, it brought motoring to the masses, and manufacture/production techniques advancements with spades. I’d love to drive one, to own one would be even better; if I had one I would drive it as much as I could. Question is which coachwork?
This car was designed for me I’m sure, quick, smooth comfortable with style. It is truly beautiful, the basic design has stayed the same since the 1968, which is says a lot about it, only the new shape which arrived in 2009 saw the end to the classic design. Although I think the new shape is great (and if I had the chance I would have a new one too!) I would have to have the old shape car. The most modern of which has an aluminum body, so although it is very large, the car is very light on its feet. Having visited the Jaguar factory I can see the quality and care which goes into the build of this British masterpiece, the problem then is choosing the engine, as the 2.7TD is fabulous yet economical, but to be a true Jag, the V8 Supercharged would be in order, the trip I’d love to do in this car is to Scotland, or a trip to Spain. The car could cope no sweat.
Land Rover Defender
In the same way I look at the Ariel Atom and think ‘I want to drive that’ I do exactly the same with the Defender. Give me the Land Rover and a muddy field or wooded trail and I’d be happy at any time of year. It is a sturdy tool for towing, and daily grind of moving large items, a trusted friend who will help out in winter. The ability of the Defender is immense, and puts modern replica’s to shame. I’m not sure the muddy Landy would be kept in the polished white heated tiles though. I think it might just stop out in the elements where it belongs! I’d avoid long motorway trips in it if I could help it though, as I do suffer from headaches!
I drove an Elise on a track for my 18th Birthday, and I still remember it now. The small but revvy K-Series engine, the firm, responsive non assisted brakes. A true play toy, with the feedback of the road coming through the steering, brakes and gearbox, this is the way all cars should feel. This would be used on a regular basis to let off some steam.
Maserati Gran Turismo
Beautiful, Italian Grand Tourer. ’Right we’re going away for the weekend’ car, hop on a ferry and mainland Europe would offer this car some room to stretch its legs, any weather, and season I’d be happy to pack the bags with a few things and set off down the road in this great looking car. It is a quiet and comfortable cruiser, but also a back road blaster forcing a smile on to anyone’s face. What more can I say?
The MX-5 does exactly what a 60′s British sports car should do, but better. It does it without fuss, without the hassle. An ad hoc trip to the pub for a carvery on sunny sunday followed by a blast down my favorite road, who could complain (unless it’s winter). Heated seats would be on the spec list though!