If I had my choice of any car what would I buy?
I’m often driven demented pondering that very question. The better question is “what’s the best car for a certain price?”, because everybody has one. You see, gay boys have different requirements. There are rarely children to consider so lifestyle becomes important above all else.
For the active amongst us, an SUV might suit. For those who simply want to go fast, or are having a middle-aged crisis, perhaps a sporty job would more appropriate. For me, a car should be handsome, priced right, and have plenty of gadgets, but above all it must be fun to drive. If it has a roof that can be sensibly stowed away, so much the better because you would have to be dead not to fancy a sexy convertible.
Hybrids and electric cars are expensive and there is the added spectre of battery replacement. It’s bad enough for the new buyer but it kills the second hand market. There are the gorgeous classic cars to consider. The 1968 Mercedes 280sl with the Pagoda roof is stunning, or perhaps an Hispano Suiza might tickle the taste buds. There is a cost to a classic car beyond simple spare parts though. Finding someone to work on them is a nightmare and god forbid you should bump into a trolley while at the shops. Try getting a bonnet for a 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom for example, then you’ll appreciate the devotion such automobiles engender in their owners. They cause rampant lust to erupt in illogical ejaculations and gasps as passers by admire with adoring yet envious glances. Some are moved to such elegant phrases as “Nice car mate”. I myself have been in many such a situation in my very own classic car. She was a 1970 Mercedes Benz 280 SEL in gleaming white duco. You can see from the old photo that she was in great shape, until you peeked under her pretty frock. A rummage in her gusset revealed all manner of misdemeanours like rust, faulty air conditioning. Her radio was from the 15th century had fuel consumption the likes of which would warm the heart of many an Emir. Cruising boulevards is one thing but trying to squeeze something the size of the QMII into a parking space no bigger than queen Victoria’s left shoe is quite another. All of this requires actual ability. There are no gadgets to guide you, no ABS or cornering control to counteract lapses in concentration. They are pretty to look at but owning them is quite a different kettle of fish.
So the focus falls to something made recently, very recently. I like a few comforts, a few little things to help the journey pass pleasantly. I’ve driven so many different vehicles, big and small, and one thing is clear, my list of requirements is based on what makes me feel. Let me explain: I want to feel comfortable, I want to feel safe, I want to feel excited. I don’t want to feel vulnerable, unsafe, or ripped off. One doesn’t like to admit it, but one gets one’s ideas more fixed in one’s mind the older one gets. The more cars, the more experiences, and, with that comes a menu from which the undesirable is ruthlessly banished.
V8’s are fun but I find myself feeling more and more guilty about the dragqueen-like drinking habits of such motors. The trend is to smaller and smaller engines which are given extra wellie courtesy of discretely placed turbos and/or super chargers. Small doesn’t mean cheap and certainly doesn’t mean nasty. Money won’t buy happiness either. The more you spend, the more some local malcontent will feel the need to take a sharp object to the duco. There must be value for those of us who don’t count Gates, Murdoch and Reinhardt as close chums. Gay boys don’t have the added burden of children, but even the single amid our ranks require sufficient space for the occasional special friend. We can get away with only two seats but four gives us extra places to stow important purchases, but roofs should be considered an optional extra.
Perhaps it’s helpful to run through a few brands in our favourite word association game. We name a brand and give you a few brief words we associate with them. Let’s start:-
Audi- for those who want something more expensive but have no taste
BMW- driven by pimps
Mercedes- driven by their clients
Mini- driven by the wives of their clients
Rolls Royce- so hideous, they hope the price will shock buyers into a blind apoplexy
Maybach- who was going to pay a million bucks for a merc anyway? They deserved to go broke.
Citroen- They go up and down and things tend to fall off.
Peugeot- electrics designed by the spawn of satin
Jaguar- for posh knobs who enjoy the scent of old spice and furniture polish, and spanks from nanny
Alfa Romeo- need big boots for the parts which come away during use
Anything Russian- enough said
Ford- pulling manufacturing out of Australia, what’s wrong with us?
Holden- Only the Commodore is worth driving
Toyota- the epitome of mediocrity (except for the 86)
Subaru- except for the BRZ, a fleet with faces only a mother could love
Anything American- Sometimes nice outside, never nice inside and drive like blancmanges
So there you have it. I’m heading for a surprising destination that many of you will no doubt question. Good, it means you’ve been paying attention.
The moment you’ve been perched on the edge of your bath for is fast approaching, so recharge your Tanquers and Tonic, grab a towel, and be upstanding. The winner of the Gaycarboys “what I’d take home myself” award is…
Drum roll please maestro…
The VW Golf Cabriolet.
Sure I’d take the coveted R version were it to be sold in OZ, but it isn’t. I’d make sure I had all the extras though in the top model. Sensors, reverse camera, and wind deflector are a must but other than that it’s pretty good as it is. It’s not pretentious, but it is cute unlike its slightly awkward bigger sister (the EOS) and it’s quick and the roof can be operated while on the move. It’s fairly cheap which leaves plenty of cash to winter in Venice, stopping in Paris on the way home via London. It makes no excuses but of course one would have to keep one’s fingers crossed with those slightly moody DSG’s doing gear selecting for you. There is nothing like the experience of being part of the countryside you’re driving in. Even city traffic has a freshnew perspective with only the hottest, coldest or wettest days needing to be shut out. Every time I’m asked to drive a convertible it’s the same story. Once ensconced my fingers tremble at the thought of lowering that top. The hairs on my arms stand to attention as I take those first tentative metres for fear of something blowing away. But all that drifts into another reality as the kilometres build on each other and the confidence builds. Only plummeting down a hill at top speed on a Ducati comes close but even then it’s not the same.
I’ve driven thousands of kilometres roof down and there simply is nothing else like it, even when it’s a bit chilly. One forgives little foibles in many drop tops but only the Golf is the whole package of price, drive, space and looks.
What would you drive?