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The trouble is, I buy a car and then I can’t bring myself to get rid of it.
Why? Well, the cars I have collected over the years mostly have something in common: they have been implicated in a memory of an event in my life, or of an individual.
Are there others out there who share similar sentiments?
I spotted my first Maserati at Oulton Park in 1967 – a brand-new, Giugiaro-designed Ghibli in yellow. I was 13 and it left a big impression on me, such that I told my elder brother that one day I would own a Maserati.
Fast-forward nearly 40 years and I did indeed buy a Maserati: a 3200GT.
The occasion was my turning a half-century. The car was nearly new and I still think it’s the perfect colour combination – Blu Sebring with Grigio Chiaro leather.
And, being a manual version, it demands concentration if you would prefer to remain on the Tarmac.
The GT has cost a small fortune in maintenance, but it results in a smile whenever I get behind the wheel.
Values of this model may shoot up one day, but that’s not the point; my Maserati has soul, and therein lies its true value.
I need to mention my wife at this stage. Having tolerated my passion, she finally achieved retribution when she bought a lovely Mercedes-Benz R129 SL.
Again, it’s a car whose value will undoubtedly increase like its predecessors, but no doubt long after we’ve departed this world!
Another member of our ‘club’ is a Porsche Boxster S, which was owned for many years by my elder brother.
He and I used to argue over the merits of Porsche vs Maserati, but sadly he passed away a few years ago and it was obvious to me that I should take it on.
I have to admit that the handling and braking are far superior to my 3200, but when it comes to noise and presence the GT still wins.
The Porsche has been cosseted, but as the years pass it may become physically impossible for me to squeeze into it. Yet this matters not because I shall never sell it – how could I?
Recently, over a pint, a fellow enthusiast suggested we should buy something a bit different: enter the Bentley Turbo R.
It was supposed to be a ‘project’ aimed at keeping two retirees out of mischief while they attempted a rebuild, but this plan has gone badly wrong because it is almost like new! The pleasure now is in admiring the craftsmanship of these Crewe-built cars.
I’m afraid that over the following Christmas I retreated to the garage to keep the Bentley company, suitably reclined on what must be the most comfortable seating ever created, sipping a brandy – a mildly decadent memory that has already put a marker down for permanent residency.
Finally, in another moment of madness, a second Maserati joined the fold: a Gran Turismo Sport, purchased to celebrate my retirement.
It’s still too new so continues to depreciate, but my reward is to enjoy this car’s slightly unhinged dual personality: a benign Dr Jekyl in auto mode, it changes into an antisocial Mr Hyde upon a press of the Sport button.
What have I learnt from owning these cars? One valuable lesson is to live for the day and enjoy the moment.
For some, cars are a means of transport; for others, an investment, kept idle in the fear that extra miles will harm values.
But for me, it’s more complicated: I find it hard to say goodbye to a car that has helped create a memory – to sell it on after a year or two, often to an uncertain future, seems to be a little disloyal. Irrational, I know, but what price a memory?
Then again, I may be suffering from a strange disease: one that has no name and is, I fear, incurable!
- Owned by Nigel Lawford
- From Derbyshire
- First classic 1975 Lancia Fulvia S3
- Dream classic Maserati Ghibli SS
- Best trip The Bealach na Bà (Pass of The Cattle, Scotland) in a Mercedes-Benz SL