Sportscar Addiction

sportscar addiction

I can just about change a tyre, but that's it. I don't mind admitting it here, but stranded by the roadside, I'm paralysed by automotive machismo. When Spanner Man sticks his head into the engine bay, points and says 'There's your trouble!' I nod. I have no idea what he's talking about. I'd rather clip a jump lead on my right nipple than admit my ignorance. Still, I'm not in denial. Something's wrong and someone knows what it is. All that's left is the hassle, delay and a hit on my credit card that makes filling a Murcielago with Super-Unleaded seem like a bargain.

I just wish someone could have warned me, you know, before. When it comes to performance cars, an ounce of prevention is worth 1120 kgs of immovable TVR. In fact, I reckon the government should force TVR to put a warning label on their product: 'Warning: This Car Breaks'. Not that it would work. Even a sticker proclaiming 'Driving this Car Can Lead Directly to a Tree' wouldn't put off members of The Cult of Unbridled Horsepower. Once they hear a TVR's burble and roar- a sound that will one day cough, splutter and die- they have less reasoning ability than an Irish Setter on heat.

Of course, I shouldn't pick on TVR; the fact that the Chimaera tailed the last J D Power survey is neither here nor there. Every sports car has its drawbacks. Porsches are so reliable NASA is thinking about sending one to Mars. Yes, but what about the money? Drive your 'everyday supercar' faster than a speeding bullet and you'll spend £2000 a year on tyres, and five times that on depreciation. Unless you're something in The City, that's gotta hurt. If you are something in The City, you'll be spending your day making money, wishing you were in the country, blasting down on a winding Welsh road in your Porsche. Either way, you pay.

Even if you've got the time and money, you've got to face the problem of addiction. Drive your M3 enough and you'll be hooked worse than beagle on Marlboro. You won't be happy driving anything else. Happy? You'll be in Hell. You'll spend the entire trip to Legoland in the MPV trying to justify an M5, RS4 or some other car capable of inflicting three G's on your genetic progeny. Leave the country and it gets worse. You'll be pottering along, driving some disposable rental, thinking, 'If I was in my car, I'd be enjoying myself.'

Some people try to avoid trouble by owning two cars. This 'something for the weekend Sir?' approach is as strategically sound as invading Kuwait and threatening to cut off half of the world's oil supplies. Pistonheads inevitably choose a second car that's old and decrepit, or new and stupid. Thanks to the temporal demands of DIY, childcare, TV and alcohol, the spare car is used less than the EQ buttons on a car stereo. Golden oldies like a Dino or Aston need weekly running between total restorations. That means the frustrated owner spends all his time coaxing his car to life, or watching it being loaded on or off a transporter, rather than driving it, when it breaks down from neglect.

New cars like the Caterham 7 Superlight R or Ariel Atom are a far more sensible proposition- if you're the kind of person who likes to invest in lunar colonies. There's more chance of the moon lining up with Saturn, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus than a convergence of free time, perfect weather, open road and fully functional machine. Not to mention the fact that the weekend driver is jumping out of something resembling an average car into something very much like the kind of machine teenagers with lightning fast reflexes drive on closed circuits, for money. It's fun, fun, fun 'til the paramedics take the pistonhead away.

So, what's the answer? There isn't any. Identify which trouble best suits your nature, go the gym and practice shrugging your shoulders. Either that or forget about sports cars. Buy something so boring you never even think about driving. The funny thing is, when you pass some miserable bastard by the side of the road in his fancy sports car, you still won't be happy. You'll be remembering that glorious moment when Spanner Man set you back on your way, restoring your faith in cars and a merciful God. Face it: you're an incurable addict and pig-headed optimist. There's your trouble.

Join the conversation
  • Ajla Does anyone ever actually pay these ridiculous 2x or more markups? You can't get a car loan for that much over MSRP so you'll need someone with a lot of cash burning their pockets. My guess is that they'll give you a "deal" and mark it down to only $5k over MSRP when buying. Or is there some other angle?
  • TyL Ticket Scalpers...the lot of 'em.
  • FreedMike Needed more ride height, some plastic cladding, and some fake-outdoorsy name like “Cadenza Dirt Cross”. Great success!
  • Zang Guys, its a 370z with a new hat.
  • Art Vandelay The X-90 was the one to get!