If you're passionate about cars, chances are you have the kind of personality that means you will also have other passions other than engine layouts and oil leaks. For me, my other favourite pastime apart from cars is watching films, and my favourite trilogy by some way is The Lord Of The Rings.
To mix my two favourite things together, my mind started to wander into a weird world where the characters of Middle Earth would suddenly discover internal combustion, turning the streets of Hobbiton into every petrolhead's kid-sized playground. And after some careful consideration and research into the most notable characters from the books of J.R.R. Tolkien, I assigned a mechanical steed to help them on their mission to destroy the One Ring.
All you Tolkien fans out there can agree or disagree with my choices in the comments below!
Gandalf - Volvo XC70
Gandalf the Grey is possibly the most travelled being in Middle Earth, earning him the name 'the Grey Pilgrim'. Serving his duty as a watcher of the activities within Tolkien's world, he needs to cover some serious mileage, from the Grey Havens to the Iron Hills.
He needs space (to keep his cloaks, staff and provisions) as well as workhorse-like reliability to keep trudging through the marshes and mountain passes of his world. And considering his age (he's 2019 years old), the immediate candidate for his vehicle is the Volvo XC70 - a jacked-up, all-conquering estate that will chunter its way easily through the forests of Fangorn.
The pick of the bunch would be the 300bhp 3.0-litre straight-six, but I reckon our man G-dalf would opt for the longer range of the 2.4-litre diesel, which should get him from Bree to Helm's Deep on one tank. He can't be seen turning up to White Council meetings in anything too flashy either, so the capable estate should suit his quaint, rugged style.
Aragorn - Porsche 959 Dakar
Otherwise known as 'Strider', the heir to the throne of Gondor spends most of his time (before the War of the Ring kicks off) in the wilds as a Ranger of the North. With his main mission to protect the Shire from marauding enemies, a niche but suitable option for the son of Arathorn would be the Dakar-smiting Porsche 959.
With supercar performance and enough ground clearance and suspension to chase even the fastest of Wargs across the plains of Rohan, the 959 would be the perfect tool for any intrepid Ranger. Four-wheel drive and a 390bhp twin turbocharged flat-six will combine to outpace any winged Nazgul on its way to the Dead Marshes, as well as having a co-driver seat for the odd datenight with Arwen.
He may need to trade it in for a nine-seater once he joins the Fellowship at Rivendell, but before then he can keep performing burnouts away from the Prancing Pony car park.
Samwise Gamgee - Dodge Ram SRT-10
The true hero of Tolkien's epic story, Sam has to think about his agricultural business, especially with regards to tending to the garden at Bag End. He needs the grunt to make it up the hill to Bilbo's hobbit hole as well as a large bed to throw his equipment and any unwanted trees and foliage into.
The solution? Of course, it's the bargain bucket V10 that is the Dodge Ram SRT-10. Featuring the same powertrain as that found in the Dodge Viper, the big old hunk of Middle Earth muscle will fulfil the needs of everyone's favourite hobbit. You need to be brave to take on the pig iron engineering found under the bonnet but as Sam once said, "there's some good engineering in my Dodge Ram Mr Frodo, and it's worth fighting for".
Frodo - Ariel Nomad
The ring-bearer needs to be fleet of foot, agile and able to hide at a split second from a flock of screaming Ringwraiths. Without going down the route of an ultra rare Group B rally car, the Ariel Nomad is a standout all-terrain weapon.
With a 0-60mph time of 3.4 seconds thanks to a 670kg kerbweight and 2.4-litres of VTEC goodness, the Nomad will be able to dart into the nearest thicket to escape an oncoming band of Uruk-Hai. The simple roll cage construction will make hopping in and out an easy process for when Sting starts to glow blue, although it doesn't form the best protection from any stray black arrows.
He may need some stupidly adjustable pedals, a booster seat and an extended gearstick but the treasures he has inherited from Bilbo should mean he can afford some hobbit-orientated modifications.
The Ringwraiths - Dodge Charger
Once great kings, the nine Wraiths are the most menacing and haunting characters in Tolkien's books. They exclusively wear black and always make one hell of a noise whenever they turn up on the scene.
They need something that will strike fear into everyone that sets eyes upon them, along with an exhaust note that will have mere mortals covering their ears and rolling on the ground due to the sheer volume.
There's nothing much bigger and badder than a 6.2-litre supercharged HEMI V8, so the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat should fit in the Mordor stables nicely. Specced all in black, any foe would be left cowering under the demonic front grille and screaming howl of the Charger's blower.
How much horsepower does a Ringwraith need, I hear you ask? 707hp sounds about right.
Saruman - Bentley Flying Spur
Basing himself in the Tower of Orthanc, Saruman is a man who is beyond powerful and wise, and the guy definitely knows it. He doesn't suffer fools and spends most of his time plotting and overseeing the comers and goers in Middle Earth from his well kept botanical gardens. This means that - if he needs to travel - it must be swift but with comfort and absolute luxury also being paramount.
Although a Rolls-Royce may seem the obvious choice, I reckon Saruman is a Bentley man, yearning for a tad of motorsport pedigree in his car's DNA. There's no point in even mentioning the Audi-derived V8 as an option - the head of the White Council has specced the 6.0-litre W12, using 616bhp to propel himself via chauffeur to secret meetings in the Dark Tower.
With all of these car choices will come compromises - the Ringwraiths will have to fill up countless times on their cross country trips and Sam will probably encounter some width restrictions when feathering his Dodge down Hobbiton High Street. And there will come a time when Frodo has had enough of the exposed natured of the Ariel, wishing that the car had never come to him. But Gandalf will be there in his Volvo's heated seats to say "so do all who live to see times but that is not for them to decide. All you have to do is decide what to do with the tyres that are given to you".
From a W12 luxury barge to a Group B-derived Porsche, the heroes and villains of Middle Earth would have some serious horsepower at their disposal.
Have we chosen these cars correctly? Or would you attribute different rides to these heavyweights of Middle Earth? Comment with your thoughts below!