Every car fan has played this game. Close your eyes and image that you are walking towards a building with five closed garage doors. It can be any building, old or new, but the important thing is that it is yours and, as such, the contents of said garage are also yours. Five doors, five cars. So, with price or availabilty not in the equation, which cars would you have hidden behind each door?
In this new series, each member of the CAR team will take you on a tour of their ultimate fantasy garage. Each to their own, as they say, but the beauty of this thing we call the car game is that no two garages are likely to be the same and everyone loves a particular car for a different reason.
Last week we featured editor, Hannes Oosthuizen and now it’s the turn of deputy ed, Mike Fourie…
JUST five? You gotta be kidding. Well, I have been asked to compile a list of five of my ultimate dream cars and I have decided to base my selections on the purposes for which I would use each of the vehicles. I am not really allowed to make honourable mentions, but in the cases where I can’t procure the cars that I really want, I’d like to suggest a few alternatives. It’s my darn fantasy, isn’t it?
Weekend toy – Alfa Romeo Montreal
The Seventies was the Golden Age for sports cars in my opinion, with supercars dominating boys’ bedroom walls in the excessive Eighties. The Alfa Romeo Montreal, styled by Marcello Ghandini from Bertone (the man who was responsible for styling the ravishing Lamborghini Muira), made its debut as a concept car in the late Sixties. When it was finally put into production three years later, the Montreal came equipped with a 2,6-litre V8 with mechanical fuel injection that produced 147 kW (it could rev all the way up to 9 000 r/min). Five-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive, wooden steering wheel and timeless supercar looks. If I can’t find one in right-hand drive and in good nick, I’d only settle for a rare BMW 850 CSi as featured in the May 2012 issue of CAR and on CARmag.co.za.
Passenger car – BMW M5 3.8
The E28-generation BMW M5 created the super saloon segment in the mid Eighties and several manufacturers have since joined the fray and built very impressive competitors to Munich’s iconic M car in the past thirty years. My collector’s sensibility would suggest that I pick the original M5, because it was light on its feet and frightfully fast for its time, but its looks have aged badly and now looks tragically boxy. Unfortunately, its immediate successor, the 232 kW E34-generation M5 (the last M5 car to be produced in South Africa, its successors were all imported) sold in very limited numbers and was, in fact, slightly slower than the visceral original. However, although it was never made available here, there was a 250 kW 3,8-litre version produced from 1993 to 1995, which I’d really like to own, even if it is only for the privilege of savouring that stirring straight six sound.
Supercar – Porsche 959
Practically everyone yodels about the Ferrari F40 being the ultimate supercar of the Eighties, but I want a supercar that has a measure of everyday usability and for that purpose I choose a twin turbocharged all-wheel drive machine that was decades ahead of its time. Only 337 were produced, each and every one was left-hand drive, but I can’t think of a more compelling machine than the Porsche 959. It’s 331 kW 2,8-litre flat six motor has a water-cooled cylinder head combined with an air-cooled block, 24-valves, sequential turbochargers. The Porsche-Steuer Kupplung (PSK) all-wheel-drive system can dynamically distribute torque between the rear and front wheels as required with as much as 80% of twist going to the rear wheels at full bore. If SARS won’t let me register a 959 here for road use (which it probably won’t), I would settle for a Jaguar XJ220, just because fellow South African Keith Helfet designed the Jag that was once the fastest production car in the world.
Off-roader – Lamborghini LM002
There was a time before Arnold Schwarzenegger could roll around in a domesticated Humvee and when the Hummer H2 was just a pipedream. In those days, when a sheik wanted the ultimate off-road machine he’d contact his local Lamborghini dealer. The unsightly and extremely tasteless LM002 was known as the Rambo Lambo and it was available with either a 5,2-litre V12 (a Countach motor, I believe) or 7,2-litre marine V12, which is more commonly found in Class 1 offshore powerboats. The LM002 had full leather trim, tinted power windows, air conditioning, and even a premium sound system. Lamborghini commissioned Pirelli to create the Pirelli Scorpion tires with custom, run-flat tread designs just for the LM002. Only 328 were produced and I want one because if you’re going to be ostentatious, don’t hold back at any cost. An AMG-spec Mercedes-Benz G-Class could do the trick too, but only if I absolutely can’t have the LM002. My petrol card has just evaporated; I wonder why.
Runabout – Aston Martin Cygnet
There’s a school of thought that Aston Martin cynically introduced the Cygnet city car just because it would help lower the average carbon dioxide emissions figure of the manufacturer’s model line-up. The Cygnet is an Aston Martin in name only anyway, as it is essentially a customised version of the Toyota iQ city car trimmed in the finest of leather, adorned with side strakes and available in any colour of your choice. I won’t bore you with details about the car’s technical and interior specification because they’re all available on astonmartin.com and I frankly don’t care what they are. What I would like, more than anything else, is to have the luxury of saying to my partner: “Honey, I am just popping out to the shops in the Aston”, and then being able to park the Aston into virtually any parking bay, no matter how small it is. Yes, it’s a piece of overpriced badge-engineered bling, but the Cygnet’s is so uncool that it’s cool. It’d settle for a Fiat Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari too, as I do risk losing all credibility as a motoring aficionado for picking the Cygnet.