Right, it’s a standard road trip question, this, coming about two-thirds of the way through day one of the five-day trawl across Europe I’m currently on.
You can have three cars. Any three cars, but only three cars, forever. They always work. They cost you nothing. What are they? It’s a sort-of Desert Island Garage.
I’ve written about this and given my answer before. It changes often, but always includes a Ferrari 250 SWB Competizione, usually a Mercedes G55 AMG (or a Holden Special Vehicles W427), and sometimes a Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0. The latter becomes, depending on the day, an Ariel Nomad, a Porsche 909 Bergspyder, a Porsche 917K or a 1967 Honda RA300 F1 car, or something else absurdly wonderful.
What I haven’t done before, mind, is make this into a survey. I say ‘survey’ as if it’s something scientific, but I asked some people on the internet, and just over 100 answered.
They said all sorts, mostly of impeccable taste and at all ends of the market. But there were trends and, as you’d expect, there were some repeat appearances worth mentioning here. They were: 20 Porsche 911s; 19 Range Rovers, 12 McLaren F1s, 10 Audi RS6s, six Ferrari 458s, five BMW M5s, four Ferrari GTC4/FFs, four McLaren P1s, three Rolls-Royce Wraiths and three Volkswagen Campers. (Plus three Ferrari 250 SWBs, gratifyingly.)
So the ‘idealised’ dream three-car line-up would be a Range Rover, a Porsche 911 (2.7 RS or more modern GT3 being the most common derivatives) and a Mclaren F1. Which wouldn’t be a bad garage to be getting on with, would it?
There were fewer classics than expected and only one pre-war suggestion. Pity, I thought.
Conclusions? Not many, although the need for something practical or useful exists just as much in made-up life as it does in real life, which is why so many Range Rovers, Audi RS6s, BMW M5s and Ferrari FFs appeared on the list. Wealthy people have friends and families too. Who knew? People want, or need, four seats and a boot.
Big car vs small car
My passenger on this road trip has been spending a lot of time in a Ford Ka+ recently. Trouble with it, he says, is how other people treat you on the road. He’s getting bullied by bigger boys in Mercedes-Benzes and Audis.
I know how he feels. I’d been spending a lot of time in great big cars and then recently spent a few days in a great small one: the Suzuki Ignis.
I’ve a lot of time for the Ignis. With its very mild hybrid set-up and live rear axle, it’s quirky beyond the comprehension of most car makers. But it is insignificant beyond the comprehension of most executive car drivers. If I’m in our Aston Vanquish, I’m given all the space I need on the motorway when overtaking slower vehicles; in the Ignis, nine times out of 10 I can see the whites of the eyes of the overtaking driver, who thinks it’s fine to try to intimidate me out of the way. Whatever we like to think about society, class prejudice isn’t dead.