As long as I can remember I've always loved big multi-cylinder internal combustion engines.
As a kid I cut my teeth on the massive aeroengines in World War two piston aircraft, and OK, I'll admit it, the 100+ litre diesel prime movers used on the railway system.
Either way I grew up to appreciate the quality of engineering that went into these big engines, as well as to love the impressive soundtracks that went with the Rolls Royce Merlin, Pratt and Witney Double Wasp or "the thirty-six cylinder symphony" of my twin Napier Deltic namesake at full chat.
When I got my licence in 1991, because of this interest in "big engines" I vowed to drive as many of the mainstream cars fitted with six and five cylinder engines as possible.
I started with SD1 Rovers with their V8s, Triumph 2000s and the various 1980s v6 Granadas - both the later hatchback in Granada Scorpio form (much safer to drive) and earlier (fun but very scary in the wet) saloon and estates.
I never got to drive the italian supercars, but I was glad to drive the last of the true Alfa v6's and on the German side, the last of the air-cooled 911s.
The snarl of a BMW stright six, the warble of a Volvo or Audi 5-pot and the fizzing zing of an ST24 Mondeo was the soundtrack of the 1990s for me.
I even got to like the six and five pot performance diesels coming on stream, which sometimes managed to sound almost - but never quite convincingly- as good as as their petrol equivalents.
The highlight of all this was when Jaguar let me loose in a supercharged S Type R for half an hour. I absolutely flayed all 400 ponys off that thing, and the noise it made was something else.
The banshee wail from the Eaton supercharger and outraged bellow from its V8 took several hours to get out my ears afterwards.
How did the old poet put it?
"The music in my heart I bore, long after I heard it no more"
Where is all this heading? Take a look at what 5 and six cylinder cars under £40K you can buy now.
Volvo 5 pot diesels
Six cylinder BMW, AUDI and Merc - but only the top end of the range
Jag 6 pots and the odd Lexus and that must be about it.
The Focus RS has had its 5 pot discontinued, there are no longer A3/Vw Golf V6s,
the Alfa 147 v6 is long gone.
We do we have instead?
The four pot diesel....
Yes I know it has its place, but the knackered Transit van soundtrack -
and performance to match if you have a lower powered lump under the hood- has
drained the fun, soul, passion and enjoyment out of the motoring experience for me.
Four pot diesels have never made, do not make and never will make
a pleasant sound (OK the automotive Subaru Boxer, and the English Electric 4RSKT
used in some trains are the two exceptions)
It gets worse as the next load of EU Emissions Targets around 2015 could possibly sound
the death knell for even four pot engines!
There will always be a small market for supercars -where the EU penalty charges
can be absorbed in the high screen prices, but even here we are seeing
turbocharged v6 and V8 engines replacing V12s.
What are everyone's views on this?
And what I am to replace my six-cylinder BMW 325D with in 2015?
So far Mr Silly's clown car looks the most sensible option...