TUESDAY - It’s time for our Ferrari FF to meet its new owner. At least 10 of us have enjoyed its aura, not to mention the 650bhp V12 that puts towering performance under your right foot. Happily, the FF’s long nose and exposed alloy wheels (whose shapely spokes curve seductively outward) have remained unblemished in 5500 miles.
When test cars are worth £200k, there’s always an element of relief in handing them back. What I’ll remember most fondly about this one is its surprisingly practical nature, mixed with the strength of its Maranello-forged character. No one else makes cars like this.
WEDNESDAY - Fascinating chat with Peter Guest, director of the new Bentley Bentayga project, about his four action-packed years in charge.
Guest and Autocar have shared history: in 2002, we set out, with generous help from then-booming TWR, to build a full-size concept car as a way of understanding car design. Guest did the difficult stuff because, then as now, he was one of those rare engineers who can organise things, too.
With designer Neil Simpson, we created a three-seat concept called 3PV (for Three Person Vehicle) and exhibited it in front of 300 UK industry leaders. It went down a storm and we were extravagantly praised. But if it hadn’t been for Simpson and Guest, it wouldn’t have been born.
THURSDAY - Since he died just over a week ago, I’ve been ruminating on the contribution to our car society made by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, founder and keeper of the National Motor Museum for more than 60 years. I never knew him well, although I did ride shotgun a couple of times on the motoring event he loved most, the London to Brighton Run for pre-1905 cars.
Like his father, Montagu wrote books and was a tireless motoring lobbyist, but his key contribution, I believe, was to show what a force for good car museums can be.