My run of unreliability is becoming a running joke.
There are only four cars left in the fleet, and collectively they do seem to be encouraging me to do more walking. Whilst sending me bankrupt, of course.
Firstly, there’s the Lotus. It and I have been a long way – it’s now old enough to get its own driving licence, leave the nest and vote for Boris, if it sees fit. Last year the head gasket went, which frankly nobody could believe. Not because it went – that’s a given with a K-Series engine – but because it hadn’t gone before. That car lives a *hard* life. It’s done 85,000 miles, and at *least* 10% of those have been round a track being driven my yours truly, Jimbo Chimpington-Hamfist. It’s a resounding testament to Max and Tim at Lakeside Engineering that it still runs, and runs well. Do you remember that Top Gear episode in Argentina? It was the dodgy “Falklands” number plate that stole all the headlines, but do you remember the Esprit that just wouldn’t break down? That’s because Max was out there with it, looking after it. What Max doesn’t know about Lotuses can be written on a pygmy ant’s scrotum, in block capitals and double-underlined. So actually, car number 1 is exonerated on the reliability front. Despite the leaky boot…
Where shall we go next? The NSX? Well, all was going well with that. Maz and Russ from Hond-R have transformed the car into what it should’ve been all along. It’s not finished … they haven’t done the setup for me yet, and until they do, the wet weather handling is … erm … a weeny bit homicidal …
… but it’s getting there. At least it was, until I had a massive brain fart and managed to run over a kerb and smash up the front end.
So that’s off the road until Maz can find me a new one.
And, speaking of Hondas, there’s the Integra. Now, that car is a *weapon*. Maz and Russ look after that one too, and what Maz doesn’t know about Type Rs can be written on the appendix of Mini-Me’s action figure. Whenever I take that car out on track and give it a good spanking, I can’t help but laugh. It’s *comically* good.
Oh, and that one broke down too.
Here it is being so good that I’m laughing inside my helmet at how easy it is to dispatch the Atom through the twisties. And then breaking down.
But despite the unreliability, I’m not ready to trade any of them. The Lotus is completely brilliant, the Integra is completely brilliant, and the NSX is just so damn cool, and has the *potential* to be completely brilliant.
But the real stand-out … the car that just keeps on going and going and going and going despite whatever I throw at it … is the scabby old MX5. That thing is like Keith Richards. I abuse the hell out of it, all the time, and it just keeps coming back for more. And it’s worth less than a grand. And the tyres cost £25 each, if you buy the ditchfinders that I do, so that the low grip matches the low power of the engine. When the cambelt snapped, I just got a new cambelt fitted and carried on as if nothing had happened. It’s the perfect car!
Can you guess who looks after it for me? Take a bow, Max and Tim at Lakeside Engineering again. Can you see a pattern forming here?
So there you have it. Screw your Porsches. Stick with the slow, fun stuff and have yourself a ball for a tenth of the price. I knew it four years ago … why didn’t I take my own advice? Cos I’m stoopid, that’s why. That’s a mid-life crisis for you. That’s kind of the whole point of a mid-life crisis. They make you do dim things like buying Porsches you can’t afford to run, and forgetting what the hell you were writing about and ending with a completely different point to the one you were intending to make. Still. That’s over now. The Porsche’s gone and the fun cars are still here putting a smile on my post-crisis face.
Although … I have to say … the crisis might not *quite* be over yet. I can’t help thinking there’s a Caterham-shaped hole in my life …
Somebody talk me out of it …