One of the verses in a song which stuck to my mind in my teenage years was “lose your dreams and you will lose your mind” by the Rolling Stones (Ruby Tuesday). And although I’ve often risked losing my mind as I grew up, I’ve never lost my dreams. Dreaming about cars is what I do from the moment I open my eyes in the morning, till I put myself to sleep at night browsing classifieds. I sometimes make it a challenge to find all the cars of a particular model for sale in the world at one given time. It is always an exercise in futility. But the beauty of dreaming is that there doesn’t need to be a result. The process is not rational. There are infinite means but vary rarely, if ever, an end. Dreams are so personal. And today, my brief was to write an article about my dream car, without financial constraints. I have been given a license to spend an imaginary unlimited budget, a license to ‘go crazy’.
Crazy I do well. Yet when faced with the task of writing about my dream car I found myself having to think. Everyone has their own concept of dream cars. My mother’s idea of a dream car is a car that has a reversing camera. Ever since she was given a ride in in a car with a reverse camera which had those coloured parallel lines over laid on the video image to tell you how close you are to the object behind you it has become her ultimate obsession. In my case, is it the car I’ve dreamed of owning ever since I can remember? Is it one of the poster cars that I hung on my wall together with the Beatles and the Doors during my teenage years? Is it one of the model cars I had when I grew up? Or is it the ultimate car, which I have created in my mind putting in the various single qualities from cars that I have already owned and others that I have driven, dreamt or read about?
Over the past ten years the criteria of what my ideal car should have has matured, changed and evolved. What I am sure of is that my ultimate car would be a light-weight sports car. In so far as categories are concerned I have never been an off-road person and I am more inclined towards a fast b-road and track car. So that’s one aspect sorted out. I am also not fond of trailers and my dream car needs to be a car that can be driven to and from a track and that can be easily used in every day driving. It needs to have air-con, a stereo and enough space for luggage to escape for a weekend. Reliability is paramount, and the car needs to be fast. Seriously fast. Mind bogglingly fast. But more importantly it needs to be an amazing handler. I have never been into top speeds, but the car needs to grip around corners and bends as though it were on rails. Ultimately the car needs to be light. Colin Chapman (Lotus founder) famously claimed that when building a sports car you need to “simplify and then add lightness”. Chapman pointed out that adding power makes you faster on the straights but subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere. The body would need to be beautiful and aerodynamic at the same time, and the interior spartan but classy. In my mind it would have toggle switches from the early sixties cars and a hand stitched leather or alcantara dash. And the work of art would be the engine. It needs to sound glorious. It must sound like AC/DC at low revs and build up an angry Beethoven symphony as it revs past it’s 10,000 rpm red line. It would have a minimum of eight cylinders and possibly twelve. The car needs to have brakes which were engineered for racing and it needs to change gears with clinical precision and F1 speed. This is my ultimate car.
As I re-read what I have just written I have probably just described the Ferrari La Ferrari, the Lamborghini Veneno or the McLaren P1. They are clinical, perfect, outrageous, insane, beautiful and tick all the boxes. A masterpiece in futuristic engineering. They are so extreme that the motoring press found the need to create a new term to describe them: hypercars. I know all there is to know about them. All the numbers, the data, the performance attributes and the facts that any car lover would be interested in knowing. Yet for some mysterious reason I have never drooled over either of the above cars. And drooling and dreams go hand in hand. You cannot dream without drooling. You cannot dream without feeling warm inside.
As I wrote this article I realized that what makes me drool, what makes me warm inside is far from perfect and is even further from my idea of the ultimate car. My dream car has an engine in the ‘wrong place’ and has been described by the motoring press as being notorious for handling like a hammer when pushed to the limit. The air-con, when specced, blows hot air. The car goes fast in a straight line but will kill you if you try to go fast around bends unless you know exactly what you’re doing. It was built for top speeds. My dream car does not require the 1.3 million dollar budget that the above-described hyper cars demand. My dream car is that poster car which hung in my room during my teenage years with John Lennon to one side and Jim Morrison to the other. The Porsche 911 (930) Turbo from the eighties is my dream car. Possibly red, with a big badass whale tail. But I cannot get myself to buy it. Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind. Ain’t life unkind?