First of all apologies for my lack of updating on this site since my last post about Photographing the 2010 LEN European Aquatics Championships. I have been extremely busy with my Photography ever since, shooting Premiership Rugby, International Rugby, and Champions League Football (which I will blog about soon!). For now some unusual content for a photographers website…. “My 10 Car Dream Garage” featuring photos which I didn’t take!!………..
This isn’t related to Sport or Photography, but my other passion, Motoring. I was inspired by a feature on the excellent Drive Cult website where readers were invited to post the ten cars that would occupy spaces in their ‘Dream Car Garage’. I did just that but there wasn’t room to explain my selections so I thought I would do so here….. It’s one of those questions that every Petrolhead dreads and relishes at the same time, with so many great cars to choose from.
It was a very difficult exercise that I have thought long and hard about!! I’ve gone for a good mix of old and new. Theres some stuff knocking on the door that’s not quite made it, but heres my top 10 (for now!). The photography in here is unusually not mine.
10) Porsche GT1 Straßenversion (1996) – I do love Porsches, and what they have done with the modern 911′s is amazing. The 997 GT2 RS and GT3 RS are both cars that I’d love to own and use daily, and are knocking on the door of my dream garage, but if i was to choose one porsche, it would be an utterly mad 700bhp beast that i’d probably be too scared to ever drive. In 1996 when the 993 GT2 was Porsche’s most potent car (and so scary it was nicknamed the ‘widowmaker’) they decided they were going to race in the GT1 class of LeMans, except to do this they needed to build 25 of their racing cars for road use. The result was the Porsche GT1 Straßenversion. I picked it because its just mental, and looks ridiculous to boot! Despite rivals from BMW, McLaren and Mercedes being faster, the race car did win Le Mans in 1998, but by this stage it had much less in common with the road going Porsche GT1 Straßenversion due to rule changes.
9) Subaru Impreza 22B (1998) – Got to have some fast japanese techno car in the list, and for me it has to be a Subaru, not a Nissan Skyline or Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. The 22B was built in the days when I was a kid becoming a petrolhead by watching the WRC with my dad. I grew up a big Colin McRae fan and so, like many Brits, I had a massive love for Subaru’s Rally cars. They were a Japanese brand but there were so many Brits out in the forests of Rally GB in Subaru gear. Subaru have gone downhill in terms of brand perception since they built an awful hatchback Impreza and quit the WRC (idiots) at the end of 2008, but I still love to see proper Impreza’s about (when they are not chavved up with an 8″ diameter tailpipe!). The ultimate model was the 22B, built to commemorate 3 back-to-back manufacturer titles in the WRC and Subaru’s 40th Anniversary. It also coincided with Colin McRae’s last year driving for the team. The car was basically a WRC car for the road… it had nerdy technical details like a sintered twin plate ceramic race clutch, shot peened gears for extra strength and reliability under heavy loads, Bilstein coil-over Suspension (hence the ‘B’ in ’22B’), specil WRC based wide-bodywork and widened track, adjustable rear wing, adjustable centre differential and even a switch to spray water onto the intercooler for extra charge cooling during ‘spirited’ driving!! Sounds fantastic to me.
8) Mk1 Mini Cooper S (1959-1967) – The old and original Mini has to be in my dream garage. I owned one (though not a Mk1) as a first car and loved every minute of it. It just worked for me as a mode of transport, even amongst the vastly bigger and more complicated small cars of today. The packaging was genius thanks to designer Sir Alec Issigonis, and the foundation of every modem front wheel drive, front engined (longitudinally mounted of course) car today. The design was also amazingly timeless. The first one rolled off the production line in 1959, and the last Rover variant was canned in 2000. 41 years of service…. yes the cars evolved a little through their life, but the basic bodyshell design and certainly the layout remained unchanged in all those years. And of course lets not forget the cars racing pedigree… rally winner and giant killer in the touring car competitions of its day!
7) Aston Martin V8 Vantage Le Mans (1999) – I’m proud to be British, so it’s practically a requirement to love Aston’s, and boy do I! The modern V12 Vantage very nearly made my list, but I used to seriously lust after the V8 Vantage Le Mans…. The regular V8 Vantage was crazily powerful (550bhp) but this monster had over 600bhp and 600 lb·ft of torque from a twin Supercharged V8, which in 1999 was absolutely absurd for a production car. It was launched just before new European emissions regs came into force, and was a last hurrah/two fingers up before the fabulous Marek engine and the Virage chassis were retired. There were only 40 built and each cost not far off a quarter of a million pounds! It certainly wasn’t a pretty var but it had immense presence. It was a wonderfully british performance car, trimmed to the highest standard, and capable of delivering startling performance but in an effortless, and very comfortable way. It’s a statement of excess… on a good day it’ll return 12mpg and if your travelling at speed 4mpg. It was a BEAST in every sense.
6) Ferrari 458 Italia (2010) – (I’ll replace this with the lighter and more hardcore 458 Scuderia when they make one!) Most of my list is very expensive so here’s something ‘cheaper’ (only £170,000 before options)! The first Ferrari in a number of years that I actually think of as a pretty….. no stunning car. Yes they’ve done other recent stuff that looks ‘special’, but probably only because they’re Ferrari’s and not on aesthetic value alone. At the moment I think this 458 is the best looking car being made today. It is curvy in the right places but with very aggressive, sharp design touches as well, and it just sits so damn well on the road. All the journo’s say it’s sensational to drive, and as with all Ferrari V8′s it sounds incredible. Can’t ask for more!
5) Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale (1967–1971) – The road going version of the Tipo 33 Racing Car, built way before my time but it’s a car that leaves me weak at the knees at motoring shows. Absolutely stunning to look at, and with a 2 litre race bred dry-sumped V8 that screamed to 10,00rpm, you cant go wrong!
4) Pagani Zonda R (2009) – The modern day Mclaren F1 LM perhaps? As far as i’m concerned you can shove your Enzo’s, Carrera GT’s, Koenigsegg’s, Murciélago’s et al (yes even Veyron’s); The Pagani Zonda is the ultimate modern day hypercar to my mind, and the R is the pinnacle of the breed. Have you seen the pictures of it with body panel’s removed… it’s as much a sculpture in carbon and machined billet alloy as it is exquisite engineering, worth every bit of the 1.3million quid (+ local takes) it’ll cost you to take ownership. Then there’s the engine…. a 750bhp naturally-aspirated 6 litre AMG V12. This is the sort of engine that is fast becoming obsolete in the modern world, obsessed with emissions and economy. Pagani are switching to a more efficient turbo charged lump for the Zonda’s replacement. The performance and sense of occastion this car is capable of was put into perspective for me by the look on Tiff Needell’s face when he drove one in Anglesey for Fifth Gear earlier this year. He’s a man that has lead at Le Mans and driven everything, but the sheer drama of the Zonda R blew even him away. It’s legend status is cemented by it’s 6min:47.50s lap of the famous Nürburgring (Nordschleife) circuit in Germany, faster than any production car or non-series car has ever achieved before.
3) Red Bull RB6 (2010) – The pinnacle of Adrian Newey’s amazing design career in F1 to date, and probably the most aerodynamically efficient racing car ever made. Maybe the Ferrari F2004 is the fastest F1 car ever, but that was raced at the height of the tyre war (so on rubber tailored to the car and with super exotic compounds), and it was a car with the best engine on the grid. The RB6 was utterly dominant in 2010 with with a Renault engine that was perceived by most to be weak compared to the Ferrari and Mercedes units. The only other F1 car that I would consider would be Newey’s other masterpiece the Willliams FW16. I hold the man in high regard, and longed for a Red Bull to win the championship this year so that Newey, not the drivers, would get just reward for his unrivalled technical brilliance. He’s refreshingly old skool in his approach to racing car design. He takes the helm, and on his own sets out the fundamentals of the car’s design. It is then up to those working with and under him to do the detailed research and design work to make his concept’s and package requirements reality. He doesn’t necessarily design cars with individual technical concepts developed to their utter limit (as McLaren did in 2010)…. He looks at the bigger picture and has a wonderful understanding of how each component and part of the package affects the others. This can be seen in the RB6 double diffuser…. no where near as complex and developed as those of McLaren and Ferrari, but it doesn’t matter…. it just works so well in harmony with the rest of the car.
2) Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta (1959-1961) – Another car from well before my time but even a young’un like me can’t help but be drawn to the cars coming out of Maranello in the 1950′s and 60′s. As much as I appreciate the 250 GTO that is widely regarded as the Greatest Ferrari of all time, I personally prefer the 250 SWB on a purely aesthetic level. The SWB had success in GT racing and probably marked the end of an era in which a GT car was driven to the track, luggage unloaded, and then raced to world championship’s the following day! I also think it’s the epitome of what a GT car from that time should look like… Short and stocky with an aggressive nose up stance. It’s not as classically beautiful as the 250 GTO but stunning to observe all the same. It was fitted with the glorious sounding Ferrari Colombo Tipo 125 V12 engine with a capacity of 2,953 cc and power output of about 275bhp. The same engine was used across the various 250 series cars in various states of tune, and was o successful because of its incredible weight saving over engines from it’s competitors.
1) Mclaren F1 LM (1995) – I’d want an F1 LM because the racer look is the sort of thing that floats my boat! Let’s face it, this is the car you can guarantee is in every petrolheads dream garage. I was a little kid when it shocked the motoring world but this was the car I had on my bedroom wall. Blew everything before it out of the water, with fabulous engineering, superb attention to detail (gold leaf on the engine cover!!), and the coolest driving position imaginable! Not to mention that ridiculous race derived BMW V12 engine with 680bhp in LM spec. Top of my list any day of the week.
PHEW… Quite a list! If I ever want to own them all I’ve a feeling a normal Lottery win won’t do…. I’ll be needing a Euromillions Rollover for that little lot.Please feel free to comment and leave your own Top 10 below.