Like a lot of little boys growing up I was fairly obsessed by cars but my interest has waned considerably now that I am a little man. Not totally, but it has certainly dwindled as my priorities have shifted.
Walking to school each morning, I would pass two parked cars which completely captured my heart. Firstly, a red Porsche 924. The entry level Porsche, not even the Volkswagen engine could throw me off.
And then a little further on, a slate grey Porsche 928. A car that looks like a bullet and is almost as fast, what’s not to like?
In my world, the 928 was the car to own and it was set to be my future ride. At the time, I understood that such cars were expensive but so what? If people can afford them, then why not me? I couldn’t conceive of any circumstances whereby I would not have such a car.
Like, three kids in quick succession. And then the supreme folly of adding a fourth.
Also, my brief career peek and sufficient income for a natty little two-seater coincided with my fatherhood and at a time when only terribly sensible cars were an option. Nowhere in my childhood did I envisage a second-hand maroon Ford Mondeo Estate. In my youth, there was a period when burgundy jumpers were a prized possession but I don’t think that this ever extended to cars. From the Mondeo, I traded across (down) to a turquoise Fiat Multipla – with three seats in the front!
It looked like a frog and pedestrians and motorists would actually laugh at me. For a man in the business of getting laughs, you might think this would be welcome development? It wasn’t. Then followed another Fiat Multipla, new shape, (less frog like) but still with three seats in the front – which gave way to a second hand Honda FRV, still with three seats in the front because once done three in the front…
But now I am through with kids (practically I mean, not literally) and so the whole range of cars is open to me again. Within a certain budget of course and also factoring in my pandemic economic hiatus but now cars no longer do it for me.
Not really, anyway. Although I still admire them. The sleek sports car remains a thing of beauty: it’s lines, engineering and aerodynamics but quickly my mind flits to practicalities. Things that would not have occurred to me as a child. Such as, with cameras carpeting our green and pleasant land, is a car that is capable of the speed of sound really such a sound idea? Just two seats on a jet engine, really?
And so low to the ground…
At my age, I want a car that presents no challenges. Challenges like getting in and out of the bloody thing. Middle aged men might think sports car qualify them, but surely any cache is dampened by needing help to get out of the thing.
And so it is this week when one of my sons took delivery of such a car. And good for him. I am excited for him and I get it. Why not? I think that he’s sensible enough to contain any urges to try and take to the skies in the thing. It is one of those cars that as a child had me completely transfixed. And yet I have not gone for a spin as yet; just getting in to the thing looks like a work out.
I write this on Monday morning in London when the rain is pouring down and my day is freed up having cancelled a golf game with a mate. I text this son of mine to explain that I am now home in case he wants/needs anything from me ahead of his flight to the US later today.
And still writing this very blog, my doorbell rings. Another delivery no doubt. I wait for the sound of any movement elsewhere in the house. That someone else is on their way to the front door. Nothing. The bell rings again and I sigh. But it is raining, so fair enough and now I rush for the door. It’s my son who has come to say goodbye and print some documents that he needs. Dressed in jeans and tee-shirt, he is soaked to the bone because he’s eschewed his super-car for a scooter.
Safer I suppose? Or not as my regular followers can attest.
Like father like son then, as the saying goes. But only to a point in our case. My point being, that as different as our respective lives are, we are cut from the same cloth and I think this bodes well and why Father’s Day last week, playing golf with him was a special day for us both even though neither of us was able to muster our A game.