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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 06-Mar-06


Monday 06-Jan-06 

Roadster heaven

Glorious, stirring sight!' murmured Toad, never offering to move. `The poetry of motion! The REAL way to travel! The ONLY way to travel! Here today--in next week tomorrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped--always somebody else's horizon! O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!'
     -- Kenneth Graham, The Wind in the Willows

One of the joys in life is bowling along through the countryside in an open-topped car, with the wind in your hair and a stupid grin on your face.

A few years ago, I was in a meeting with a colleague and discussing cars. I said that a car I really liked was the BMW Z3. As luck would have it, he just happened to be trading his in and offered it to me at trade-in price. I told him to hold the car as I hurried home with stars in my eyes and a big bunch of flowers in my hand.

I asked my wife if she'd like to drive with the wind in her hair. She was intrigued. I asked our two children if they'd like a Z3 on the driveway. They grinned broadly as the thought of the credibility it would give them. Then I left the three of them to talk amongst themselves. They considered that perhaps I was in a mid-life crisis and thought that it was better that I get a fancy car rather than another model of woman. Not that I would and not that my wife thought I would, but it was a smart persuasive move.

And so we went to see the car. It was Topaz blue with walnut and chrome trim, which my wife liked. I was impressed with the wide wheels and the M3 badges. We sat in it with roof down and fired up the engine. And that was it, really. We'd prepped the money and so we just drove it away.

And we've never regretted it -- neither of us. Like a love-child, it has drawn us together and we need little excuse to go out for a drive together. The only argument is who drives. Next Summer, we plan to do a European road trip.

It's been good for the kids too: to be driven down the main street of town in a sexy car does their credibility no harm at all. Even having it parked on the driveway, where they and their friends tend to gather and chat, lends great style to the proceedings.

It's good for credibility at work, showing that I'm not just a middle-aged fuddy-duddy. The younger men salivate and the women try not to look interested. And the more mature folks smile and nod, knowing what's really going on. My wife, too, finds it beneficial. As a teacher, she gets unadorned admiration from the kids ('Nice wheels, Miss!!') whilst the impoverished other teachers wistfully ask what on earth her husband does for a living.

And to cap it all, it actually doesn't cost that much to run. As a classic car (already) it will depreciate very slowly (and maybe one day even go back up again). Honestly. We don't do that much mileage, so services are very infrequent). And insurance companies know that us mature folks, on the whole, drive very carefully.

A curious fact is that the UK has one of the highest levels of roadster per head of population (and this in a 'green and pleasant land' that is green by dint of significant rainfall. Perhaps we're just a nation of dreamers.

Your comments

Ah, you are just materialistic...

Any opinions on the Lexus 300 series?

And do you think oil will be USD$100 a barrel by this year's end?

-- Colin

Dave replies:
Lexus is a best-quality car. My other car is a Toyota, but only one car is a toy. And I think oil is unlikely to go down, sadly.

One of my friends lashed out recently and bought a Porche 911. It was kewl, adolescent fun doing a big spin out in it! :P Its the 'correct' application for such a car, not to be a status symbol!

Plus he added an equally kewl number plate: 'Whazzup'.

-- Colin

Dave replies:
Kewl indeed. A real driver's car. My beamer's reg is 'S7NNU', which Welsh readers will recognize as meaning 'wonderful!' (and for English pun is pronounced 'sunny').

OK now that you've done the soft top thing.

you REALLY have to throw your leg over a motor cycle!!

congratulations for doing the "I can be what ever I want" thing john (mx5, BMW bike)

-- john

Dave replies:
You do have a nice combination there, John. I did have a bike once, many years ago. Only a small Honda. It was fun but felt a bit exposed. I know big bikes are another class -- some as fast as F1 (0-60 in 2 seconds...). My risk preference draws the line at roadster with roll bars. But admiration for those who go the whole hog (or beamer or whatever).

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