Saturday 5 May 2007

Mid Life Crisis continued...

It'll be known as 'Tom's Folly' I know.

I have been scanning the auction results, H&H, Brookes etc. and I still cannot find a car that would satisfy me as much as a well sorted Stag. I want four seats. I would like something lazy and effortless to drive and I would like an elegant car. I used to race but am now at the age where if my driver exceeds 100kph I get nervous (40kph in town). Last time I was in UK I was white knuckled and sweating just driving from Heathrow and onto the M25, only relaxing once I got north of Luton. They're all maniacs in England now and so desperately aggressive. I was a soldier by trade, the family always stuffed their intellectually challenged offspring into the military, in my case aged 15 (the more fortunate or dedicated of my siblings became architects and engineers). I have plied my trade on three continents but I was never so scared as when walking through Leicester (near which I was sent to finish school so that I could join the British Army) and seeing all the thugs that comprise our youth nowadays roaming the streets with complete disregard for their fellow citizens. As a young lad, I was once stopped by a constable and asked for my name. My response, 'Micky Mouse' earned me a good thrashing and engendered a renewed respect for the police. Sadly, in today's litigious society, such a swift and effective response is no longer an option available to long suffering law enforcement officers. My nervousness at the fast pace of life in Europe, however, does not mean that I would not enjoy cruising swiftly on an uncrowded Autobahn or, once the car arrives here, the coast road down to the excellent fishing of the Barro de Kwanza or that most amazing of drives, 30 odd kilometres of switchback curves climbing over 2,000 metres up the Serra de Lebas escarpment on the way to my farm, a route that rivals anything the Alps can offer.

I live in Africa but my family, what's left of them, live in Baden-Baden. It would have to be a pretty special car if, when parking in the Kurhaus carpark, I am to avoid the cold disdain of Teutonic aristocracy. And I do intend to tour Europe in the car before finally shipping it here. As my late father always advised me, an immaculately presented classic will always carry more kudos than any kind of modern offering. At the time I considered that as his excuse for running around in worn cars that reeked of dogs, Balkan Sobranie and garden fertilizer, pretty much like his suits. I understand what he meant now. So if modern cars fail to excite, and I am considered eccentric (at least) for wishing to invest 50K on a Stag, can anyone suggest an alternative?

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