Cast your minds back, if you will, to those long, interminable days of lockdown. With many of us limited to remote working and essential journeys only, escapism was difficult to come by.
Baking, maybe? Or doing a virtual marathon? Well, it turned out that I’m no good in the kitchen and running is hard work and hurts a lot. It was better, then, to spend time daydreaming about cars. So it’s no surprise that many lockdown hours were spent playing on configurators and scouting used listings online.
Which brings us to a long-running debate: your dream three-car garage. Why three cars? Nobody is quite sure, although consensus has settled on it being the magic number of machines needed to cover all your motoring needs. And so, for our Readers’ Champion award this year, we decided to put your lockdown musing to good use and assemble the ultimate three-car garage.
We put a few rules in place, in order to guide you: a budget of £100,000, split among the three categories of car that we think all three-car garages should include: a daily driver (for around £30,000), something just for fun (for around £50,000) and a £20,000 wildcard.
Let’s begin with the just for fun category, not only because it has the biggest guide price but also because it’s the fulcrum of our trilogy: work out your dream fun car and then pick the other two to fit your needs. Not to mention, this category has the most emphatic winner of the three in the form of the Alpine A110.
That this compact coupé was your pick is no surprise. It embodies everything that a sub- £50,000 car bought purely for fun should be: it’s lightweight, dynamically scintillating and fabulously good looking.
The only thing that weighs down the 1103kg A110 is the catalogue of platitudes that we’ve already thrown at it, including an ultra-rare five-star road test verdict.
There’s little we can meaningfully add here, except to say that the A110 lives up to every word of that praise on any road you could choose to thread it down. It’s wonderfully direct and agile yet also surprisingly soft and pliant, and its 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo engine is rewardingly responsive and very characterful.
All this puts the A110 into a sweet spot: comparable to the likes of the Ariel Atom and Caterham Seven in its handling and character but with refinement and grandeur – yet not a price – closer to Porsche territory.