Look at that! Look. At. THAT!! I bounce excitedly from cheek to cheek in my seat jabbing a finger at the screen. The Blonde wanders across from the kitchen where she’s preparing dinner to the dining room where the computer lives at Blonde Towers to indulge this weeks obsession. Squeezing my shoulder affectionately she gracefully feigns interest as I excitedly reel off the stats. “Royal Ebony Metallic with contrasting magnolia leather with black piping, six and three quarter litre turbocharged engine, full service history, and only 75,000 miles”. I flick through the photographs of the immaculate looking Bentley Turbo R, “that is so much car for eighteen grand” I enthuse as I lust after the thick Connolly leather and imposing walnut dashboard. The Blonde leans down and kisses me gently on the cheek “you don’t have a spare eighteen grand” she murmurs in my ear “and it won’t fit on your drive”. She has a point, to be fair, but I’m already gone, driving that Bentley across the Europe of my mind, The Blonde by my side, matching luggage in the boot, heading for an expensive hotel in Portofino where the doorman will nod appreciatively at my motor before reverently taking the key as The Blonde and I alight relaxed and fresh from several hundred miles of high speed transcontinental travel, Grand Touring the old fashioned way. I slip a fifty into his hand (I’m very generous with imaginary cash), “park the old girl somewhere safe” I tell him.
The Blonde is getting used to the flitting butterfly of my automotive obsessions. Only a month ago she was reading a text sent direct from the last Ford Capri ever made, parked inside the Henry Ford College last time I was there. As I sat in the car it instantly transported me to the bright yellow Capri 2.0S of my teenage years and that text confirmed that I had to have another. The Capri followed swiftly on the heels of a burning desire for an MX5, the ultimate in hassle free top down summer pleasure, eventually discarded for being too digital, I want something with more soul.
There was the Saab Aero Convertible that never was, and more recently a Volvo C70 Convertible that came closer to reality than you’ll ever know. A month of agonising over a near perfect low mileage one owner example that potentially came my way via a contact in the motor trade. GT spec it had everything I wanted, Pro logic hi fi, full leather, air conditioning, heated seats, cruise control, and on and on. Head fought heart and heart battled head, it was a cheap car, a good car, a well historied car. A car that could have provided wonderful summer cruising, top down, stereo on, chewing up the miles and transporting The Blonde and I to fresh adventures and nice hotels across the country. Eventually I had to concede that the timing was wrong, it was too soon, too risky. Buying it wasn’t the issue, potential expensive problems were, with a commission based income I’m just not reliably earning the kind of cash to shrug off any costly issues that crop up. Yet.
Of course now I’m middle aged a rich vein of dream cars of my youth swing dangerously into focus. The very first properly fast car I ever went in was courtesy of my parents next door neighbour, a BMW dealer at the time. Mid grey 635CSi, all shark nosed, delicately pillared and perfectly proportioned. They don’t make ‘em like they used to. The honey smooth savagely insistent urge of the 3.5 litre straight six engine and the incredible feeling of being firmly squashed back into the soft leather upholstery as the speedometer needle raced around the dial was one of the first experiences that really turned me on to cars in my formative years. Now that impossible dream of my youth teases me from the Pistonheads Classifieds with a full service history and BBS alloys, all for under ten grand.
A Porsche 928S, the ultimate Croker childhood fantasy, winks at me at £10K also. Spaceship styling, German build quality, 5.0 V8 performance and That Badge, how can anyone with petrol running through their veins possibly resist? But for all the reasons that apply to the Volvo, times ten, the Porsche stays securely on the pages of Pistonheads. A gorgeous Mercedes 500SL holds similar stock.
Yet I’ll never stop dreaming, and one day it will have to become a reality. Life’s too short and far too interesting to be sensible all the time. One day I’ll crack and The Blonde and I will move off the highways of my mind and onto real ones, heading south in search of open roads, warm sunshine, and fine hotels. As a very close friend and mentor has been known to opine, you’ve got to waste a little money sometimes. With a Ferrari F355, Porsche 911 Carrera 4, and Jaguar E Type (amongst others) tucked quietly away, he really ought to know.
In the meantime the trusty Fiesta rattles me happily (and financially painlessly) back and forth, The Blonde continues to indulge this weeks latest pash, and the current edition of Classic Car provides inspiration on my coffee table.
I’ll keep my powder dry for now, but the radar continues to turn…