I’d like to say that my earliest memory involves fast cars, powerful engines and lots of noise. It doesn’t. Unfortunately for me, that memory is of being bitten by some kind of giant duck-goose in Golders Hill Park.
So what did I learn? Don’t try and pat birds, apparently they find it patronising and get frustrated. Instead, go ahead and spend all money on driving cars, buying cars, photographing cars, and generally standing around in cold car parks pointing out obscure options and um, weird bits I don’t like.
You may have come across me before. I'm on Instagram as @yournotmyfather, and lesser known- @spottingdogs. I'm super tall, and that makes firstly, the GT40 a no-no, and secondly, me terrible at hide and seek.
So what gives me the right to express an opinion here? It’s the internet, and if I leave it upstairs any longer, I’ll never get anything done. So what do I drive? Let’s start at the beginning
After failing to be in England for a year, I was 19 before I’d learned to drive. But what a way to kick off the list, an ex-aunt owned, 1994 Ford Fiesta 1.1 Classic. 54bhp of blue-striped, tape playing, rowdiness! Three days into my license and it was in the Brecon Beacons. A strong start.
At this point I actually bought a car. Being 6ft7 and after a little man maths, it made a great deal of sense to buy the biggest, least efficient car I could find. Enter stage left, a 1971 Mercedes- Benz 300SEL 3.5. Such a cool car. The 300SEL gained all sorts of useless options over the 280, pneumatic central locking and air suspension as highlights. 200bhp from a 3.5 V8 was plenty of fun. Boiling the brake fluid on one adventure, less so! In the year I owned it, I covered 12,000 miles at somewhere between four and six miles to the gallon. FORTUNATELY, the smiles per gallon were much nearer 8 or 9.
It went in search of economy. This didn’t go too well. From 6mpg, 14mpg sounded great, right?! 2002 Audi S8 up next, complete with Playstation One, flip down TV and plenty of extended alcantara. It lasted a year, a little too clinical for me especially after the 300SEL, It was also absolutely giant. That said 355bhp makes this is still the most powerful car I’ve owned.
After this I was ready for a change, but unsure where to go next. I tried out the Clio 197, but being a giant, it felt closer to driving a child sized pedal car. This was out. 500 Abarth, the same, and I’d decided I didn’t fit in a Mini. That whole V-Tec thing is cool, but never really me. A Mk5 GTI was suggested, and I boldly said (having not read the reviews) If I fit in one, I’ll buy one.
I chipped in the S8 for the cheapest car I could find. Laser Blue, 5dr manual, with the tartan. Turns out it was mega, coaxing the tail out on eco tyres, with the front on grippy rubber was all part of the charm. This car lasted a while. I bought it at 87k and then put 50k further euro-tripping-Lamborghini-grand-giro-chasing, tour auto-following , XJ220 – escaping miles on it. Mount Ventoux, Stelvio, Futa, Raticosa, Wales and Scotland too along the way.
I resisted the temptation to replace it until it was really nearly dead. The emissions check light for fifteen thousand miles became a bit of a bore. Especially considering diagnosis had found nothing. After my ownership it went on to do 75mph in a 30 somewhere near Birmingham, that’s all I know. (and want to know)
July 2015 welcomed TA11WOW, my Valencia Orange 1M, it’s still with me and has done fifteen thousand miles since I bought it, mostly in Wales and Europe with some Laferrari chasing in the mix too. The mileage being small miracle considering my full time non –photography job that’s stopped me driving during the week. Apparently these are meant to sit in a garage.
The most recent addition is my sensible, practical, efficient daily, (that I still only have time to use at weekends). A MINI GP2 (TA11THO). It’s very practical, with no back seats. Sensible too, as with my height, no one would fit behind me anyway. It’s even efficient as I can only drive one car at a time, and whilst it’s parked, uses no fuel- excellent. It transpires I do actually fit too, an added bonus.
That’s the list up to date, it remains to be seen what will happen next. I’ll likely share some photos of other cars on Yournotmyfather, some verbal chaos on Tyred Format and some adventures on here. Let’s see what happens.