There was never any doubt to Alex’s love of cars. He’s just past 2 3/4 years old now and already has marques and models that he prefers. He’s just as happy to sit down and watch Spongebob as he is Top Gear (Fifth Gear is bearable, but he thinks Tiff is a “Stupid man”).
Give him a Mini or a Porsche and he seems pretty happy – even if it is just a picture in a magazine. Trucks and buses keep him occupied for a while, but racing cars are the number one attraction for him. He makes all the noises and learning all the names!
I used to like cars when I was a kid…ah, who am I kidding, I still love cars! (Jag XJ13 – droooool!!!), but between the 70’s and today there wasn’t anything that major happening. Yes – improvements on engines, performance, aerodynamics, safety – all wonderful and exciting…. but they were improvements or variations on the theme that had been there for decades. When Alex is my age though, I imagine things will be a lot different.
Even now there are hybrid cars on our streets – and some that even Jeremy Clarkson would have to admit are really getting there. Not the slow green machines we all thought they would be, but blistering performance hybrids and alternate fuels – things we would never have put money on in the 70’s. Back then economy was all to do with plastic bodies and smaller engines that just farted along.
Now more than ever we need Top Gear to race around and keep the general publics interest in road going performance cars on the boil. If the interest is there, then the manufacturers will see fit to invest in new greener sports cars – but the moment Top Gear vanishes, then what is there to keep us informed of these cars? Lets face it – love them or hate them, these performance cars today will make our cars safer (and greener) tomorrow.
I know that I’d rather have a sports tourer on the road than a family car – purely because it is designed for better driving performance all round. Sports cars have better brakes, better handling and more power – all things that I like to have for the safety of me and the family. There are countless times people wish they could have a bit more power to get out of a dangerous situation – but I can’t recall one time when I thought “I could do with a few horse power less here…” – after all, the “loud” pedal doesn’t have to go all the way down – but it is reassuring to know there is still power left for when you need it. Sports cars are just safer in my opinion (if used correctly) – You just have to look at the 150mph Ferrari road crash that left the passenger/driver compartment intact and resulted in no injuries. In fact the police couldn’t find the driver or passenger because they’d walked back home…..
For a while I thought Alex would miss the sound of the V8,10,12’s or straight 6’s (I loved my old Supra 3l Turbo!) due to the economic and ecologic forces at play, but I have faith that ways around these issues will be found. Even if the death bell tolls for huge gas guzzlers, looking at the new and future car projects makes me think that something will fill the void. It might not rumble through your body and shake your fillings, but it will still leave a perma-grin on your face.
I can grab a test drive in a Ford Focus – I can read up about the pro’s and con’s on the Internet – but I have to get my performance car fix in third person.
So Mr Clarkson, Mr May and Mr Hammond, please keep racing those power houses around the track and letting us drive with you – I may never own a supercar, so the excitement and feeling you put into your tests is as close as a lot of us will get.
Back in the real world though we get our track-side entertainment from a Hotwheels set in the house. Alex races cars around it on and off all day… mind you, some of them get a fair lick of speed going and “Off” is a near danger experience as small metal cars hurtle off of the track at bruise invoking speeds – which just makes Alex enjoy it even more. Even at such a young age he knows that the crashes are one of the key things that make motor racing exciting to watch!