The Theater, the Pace and the Reason
To some, cars are just a way of getting from A to B. They consider them as tools enabling them to be transported from one place to another quicker and in more comfort than if they were walking or taking the public transports. However, even they will have an opinion on the reason they chose to drive their particular vehicle. They will tell you that they bought their SUV because they needed more space to lug around their hobby kit, that they bought their little city-car because parking is hell on the cramped city streets or that their sedan enables them to perform their long motorway trips in the best comfort possible. We are surrounded by family and friends who don’t get the love of cars but when asked why I do, I often reply to these non-petrol heads that as much as they have brain driven reasons for choosing their car, I have heart driven, gut stirring ones.
This brings me on to the main reason of this article, my three-car garage. Every other day I see posts asking questions similar to: “Three cars, only one country” or “Three cars, all European”. I really do enjoy reading the replies to these posts and, as we all do, sometimes get excited about the thought of some of these three car garages and sometimes wonder where the person got his or her logic from. I have the privilege to have owned and/or driven many cars in my life and have the chance to own three very different cars. Each one has a little personal nickname; The Theater, the Pace and the Reason.
I’ll start with the latter; the Reason. I must first mention that it is my daily driver, a car best known for its practicality. I drive more or less 60K km/year and have to say it must be one of the best all-rounders out there. It’s a Skoda Kodiaq with the 2-liter, 4-cylinder diesel. It’s got four wheel-drive and it is the 5-seater version. The main justification for calling it my reason car is that it can, more or less do everything a car should. You can pack a month’s vacation worth of luggage in its 650-liter boot and still have place for the children in the back. It can tow 2.3 tons without breaking a sweat with its 190 strong horses and 400 Nm of torque. The automatic DSG box isn’t what I would call jaw-droppingly fast but put it into Sport mode and it’ll make the right pedal and steering heavier giving a little more of a sporty feel and go up the gears quite swiftly. The car, even though it needs to drag around its 1.7 tons, never feels slow. It’ll keep going all day and drink around 7l/100km. Even though it is no Land Rover Discovery, I have been able to take it a little off-road and it’ll cope easily with most of what you’ll throw at it. I’m not saying it is the best car on the planet, but you’d be hard pushed to find a much better do-it-all package out there.
It does however have, in my eyes, one major fault: it lacks any excitement. There is nothing in driving this car that makes me want to take it out, just for the fun of driving.
I suspect you now get the point on why I can call this my Reason car.
My second car could be named the Pace. It’s a 1998 Porsche Carrera 2. It has the 3.4-liter, naturally aspirated flat-6 that pumps out 296 bhp. It is a sort of all-rounder too. You have a large boot at the front (or frunk as some call it), is it comfy enough on long road trips and you can squeeze two children in the back seats, as long as there not too tall.
It always amazes me how we are in a world where we are chasing 400-500 bhp cars on the road on a regular basis whereas not even 10 years ago 300 bhp cars were considered as fast. When I drive this 996, I always wonder why you would need more for daily use on the road. I have driven more powerful cars (991.2 GT3RS, 458 Italia just to name a few) but as much as they are fun to drive, I always felt that I was using 70% of their capabilities on the road. They are truly fantastic cars that leave you always wondering how to exploit them. This is where the 996 comes into its own. When I drive it, I have the feeling I’m able to drive it at nine or ten-tenth on the road. It has enough GO to get you to your limits before you get to the its but still giving you the adrenaline rush that we petrol heads love. It delivers without leaving you with a sour taste of frustration. It can cover ground at a serious pace whether on the motorway or on country lanes. As with most of these 20-year-old cars, you always seem to be going slower than you feel. Such is the feedback that the car gives you. I’m certain most of you know just as much about the 996 C2 as I do, and you’ll agree with the reasons I find this car so attractive, even with the fried-egg headlights (which you can’t see when you’re driving anyway). With a mileage of about 9 l/100km, it’s not too hard on the wallet either.
Let’s now talk about the last car in my garage; the one I could nickname the Theater. It is a 1973 Alfa Romeo GT Junior 1600 with a 2-liter engine, Weber 45 carbs and a stainless-steel exhaust. Anybody who has already heard a 105 series will understand right away why I could call it a theater. Looks put aside, the sound, the smell, the handling and the feedback you get from it are a rush on all the senses. Every time you start driving, it feels like you’re sat on a rollercoaster listening to a hard-rock concert. At 90 km/h you feel like you’re flying at 250. With no electronic aids at all, you are the one driving the wheels, when the road is greasy you control the sliding of the rear and you need to be on alert every millisecond of the drive. I find it so intoxicating. You find yourself taking the long way each time, just to savor a little longer the experience.
Of course, as with all classic cars, it needs a lot of attention and regular maintenance. This also adds to the thrill of owning and driving an old car. Even though I often cross fingers when I do longer road trips, it just gives you back so much more than newer cars ever could.
I have to admit that this was one of two poster cars of my younger years, the other being the F40 (in red obviously). I can’t recall why or when, but I just fell in love with the Junior.
After having made a case for each of my cars, I hope that you have understood why I own them and why I own three completely different cars.
The new-timer is the logical car that can do it all chosen by your brain, the old-timer is the one chosen by your guts that embraces you in its world and the young-timer is somewhere in between.
So, coming back to the start of my story, what’s your dream three car garage? One new car, one young-timer and one old-timer.