Daily Podcast: In Praise of Driving Large Cars Really Fast
I know really big cars are deeply unfashionable amongst people who know who Tim Robbins is. And driving fast is about as socially acceptable as smoking a cigar in a maternity ward. But I can't help it: I love driving huge cars really fast. I suppose it goes back to my first experiences in a seriously swift motor: my Dad's 1972 300 SEL 6.3. That car was a handful. Literally. You know how today's sports sedans all have those big fat steering wheels covered with some sort of hi-tech grippy fabric that never, ever gets slimy? Well the 6.3 had a helm as thick as a sparrow's leg made out of the same translucent, amber-like material you find at the end of a meerschaum pipe. With so much power underfoot, you had to grip that slender oval like grim death, ready to yank it one way or the other or both when the torque overwhelmed the tires and the chassis. Which was all the time. At least the way I drove it. In fact, I got my first speeding ticket in the 6.3. I was nailed doing 113 in a 55 on I195. It really wasn't a big deal. Straight road. Perfect day. Fresh pavement. The judge was not kind. But nothing he did put me off the idea of going like Hell in the automotive equivalent of the QE2. Other kids might look at a speedo of a sports car and ask "What'll she do?" Me, I reserve that particular enquiry for luxobarges. (Sports cars are for corners.) Which is why I totally get an AMG-fettled S-Class but can't make head nor tails out of Justin's C350 Sport. As far as I'm concerned, if you can't chill out and enjoy Mahler's Death in Venice at speed, why bother?