Whether it’s a company car, a hire car or a personal car; if it’s part of a fleet or your pride and joy purchase, the car you drive has that “something”. True, you’ll look at all the statistics and take it for a test drive. When you’ve narrowed your choice down between two or three you’ll compare and differentiate until your choice is made. You may have chosen your car for fuel economy, for size, for suitability to the day to day driving that you do, but no doubt that the car you’ll choose will have “it”. That something that resonates with you emotionally or irrationally, the one piece of the car that makes you look forward to the drive, whether it’s a hellish commute or just driving for the sake of driving.
I used to drive a Subaru Legacy Blitzen B4. I cannot tell you the engine size, the mileage, the fuel economy, the kind of tyres it had or the boot capacity. Ask me about the noise the engine made, however, and I will talk for hours. That was my “hook”. The rolling thunder, bubbling sound that turbocharged engine made was beautiful. Even now if I hear that noise I stop and think about that gorgeous car.
For Steve Whitmarsh, our Managing Director, it’s the engine that’s important
Having spent part of my career in V8 engine development at Land Rover, and dealing with businesses that purchased the engines from Land Rover at the time such as TVR, Morgan and Ginetta there is nothing that can quite match that sound. I’ve owned an array of vehicles, but the best for engine sound were the V8 Range Rover and the V8 Volvo XC90.
Times change of course, and the gas guzzling days of petrol V8’s have been replaced with more economical vehicles recently. We are witnessing the end of an era and high capacity internal combustion engines are now confined to the most exclusive end of the automotive market. What I really liked about the old Land Rover V8 (apart from the sound) was the widespread accessibility of the engine – you could get a Land Rover 90 with a V8 engine which was great fun off road! For all the right reasons, technology is moving on, and I have recently owned a hybrid, and I often drive our company Electric Smart car (which I like more than I normally admit – a bit of a guilty pleasure really!).
Jamie Normansell, the Sales Director for RunYourCars.com, has this to say;
For me, it’s not letting go of my youth! I think the Hot Hatch was the very best thing to come out of the 80’s. Nothing I like more than something which is practical enough to carry the dog, but can still put a smile on my face in the twisty ‘B’ roads. I always judge a car by its ability to make me want to go the long way home around the twisty bits! Don’t get me wrong I love the sound of a burbling V8, but with the price of fuel always on an upwards curve, I’ll settle for a more frugal choice. It’s not about the noise, it’s the ability to make me smile! Driving can be such a chore nowadays, so anything which can brighten up my time behind the wheel is always going to be a winner.
Car of choice, I guess a Golf GTi or Scirocco, does that make me sensible or am I just not admitting I’m getting old?
That’s the beauty of cars – what one person loves leaves another cold and we can spend ages debating the merits of one car over another. Cars and driving will always have that emotional pull; the perfect cornering, the smooth acceleration, the beauty of a well designed vehicle that will always exist in tandem with the facts and figures of purchasing a new car. What’s the “something special” about your car (past or present) that puts the joy back into driving for you?