My Fantasy Class Garage – Chucky de Hammer (Chucky)

Next up is regular contributor Chucky.

Becoming increasingly verbose of late, his list of 5 is to follow. There’s definitely a theme for some MacDroitwich favourites emerging within these lists…

Choosing five starts giving you options and ideas and reasons, and of course you end up changing your mind ten minutes later. So here is my list of the cars of class I would most desire in my garage, until tomorrow anyway when I will want at least one change.

Rover Metro 1.1 S:

First up is an obvious choice for the daily hack. A mini is a crude, crashing lashup stuffed full of half-baked ideas that only got signed off by Issigonis as he came up with them. I did flirt with an 1100 but I don’t think Machine Mart hold enough stock of welding wire to keep one roadworthy. Far better to go for the Metro 1.1S. The K Series in its smallest size and least number of valves is a gem, it had the best version of Moulton’s hydragas suspension and inside was nicely fitted out. Too many so-called city cars suffer from choppy ride, dismal handling, harsh engines and cheap, low-rent interiors. The Metro, even today, feels nimble, smooth, quiet and comfy.

Jaguar XJ-C:

There are of course times when you need the perfect car to whisk away Shiralee Coleman to the breathtaking sights of exotic faraway places. For example, Porthmadog. Such a task can only be accomplished by a grand touring car, and a touring car is only truly grand when it has twelve pistons, which thankfully removes the need to consider a Triumph Stag. Instead, I would have a black Jaguar XJ-C. Sir William’s, lithe, pillarless swansong is achingly gorgeous and the whispering punch from the big twelve-pot is one of the most addictive engines to drive that I know of. It would be the perfect car to whisk away a lady of such stature to see a narrow gauge railway followed by a visit to a hostel which charges by the hour for a swift how’s your father.

MG Maestro 2.0i:

What would be ideal for those moments when you need to get somewhere very quick and preferably without being too noticed? Another easy choice really; the MG Maestro 2.0, a car that nicked VW’s rear beam suspension and then, with a far superior chassis and suspension setup, rubbed their faces right in it. The Maestro goes, handles and stops so much better than Wolfsburg’s effort only the most myopic would drive one and still settle for the VW. It’s so good you should buy one before they become too expensive, otherwise you will be left with no choice but to buy its third rate competitor instead. And you will then hate yourself every single day.

Leyland P76 Force 7:

Choosing a sports car starts with turfing out what I don’t like. The Austin Healey 3000 is for old men coming to terms with impotence and from Triumph only the TR8 convertible remotely appeals, but then you have to deal with the dickheads who automatically assume that it’s a converted TR7.The MGA Twin Cam would in theory be lovely, a nimble sporty thing with an eager motor and Dunlop steelies for added porn, but they do tend to blow up. Instead I would go for a P76 Force 7 V. Here is a coupe that shouted Australian style (did I just put those two words next to each other?) while also being perfectly practical – they are an easy 5-seater and the rear hatch is absolutely huge – and with the Rover V8 in 4.4 litre guise under the bonnet it will barrel along just dandy. There is no nicer car of class to cruise along the seafront of Weston-Super-Mare in the tropical July heat, a gentle breeze tumbling round your Wayfarers on your way to get some chips, the windscreen wipers struggling under the weight of ladies knickers being flung at your motor while you cruise.

Range Rover Vogue SE 3.9 EFi:

I forgot to add the Range Rover to the list so it fits nicely here at the end, an original shape in four-door format. I will never forget driving over 300 miles in a 3.9 Vogue SE one wintry, blizzard-riddled day to Cumbria and back and how it treated the treacherous blacktop with calm, aloof contempt. It was almost mocking other motorists as they slipped and slid and struggled to make headway. The Range Rover was an inspired piece of work by Spen King and it’s an automatic choice in the five-car garage. But in my eyes it’s also the first choice for the one-car garage. Really, it’s the only car you ever need.

So, after that brief summary from Chucky, we await with baited-baited breath for our next instalment.

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