ONCE a year you’ve got to treat yourself… and your readers! At least that was my excuse when planning the Road Test Of The Year TM.
It all started with a call to Aston Martin and a plea to let us have a DBS for a road test. It took a bit of persuading, a few emails to sort out dates and some anxious waiting staring at my inbox waiting for replies. But eventually we got it nailed – October 10 for the weekend.
So we’ve got the Aston booked, our Christmas special coming up with 10 pages to fill and a spare weekend – where to head? There’s only one place – that supercar playground also known as Wales.
Chatting with deputy editor Richard as the weeks rolled on, the road test started to get slightly more elaborate. Why not include our other favourite supercar too – the Audi R8? Some calls to the press office and yet more of the good old waiting game.
In the meantime, the feature expanded even more – lets make it our picks of the year; our favourite drivers’ cars of 2008 even. Nice.
So in goes a call to Mitsubishi for an Evo X – booked. Then an email to our friends at Caterham to beg for an R500. Yes, that mad machine that’ll hit 60mph in 2.8 seconds! They agreed too.
Just waiting on the Audi then. As the days pass, the press office are ever more reluctant to give us the nod. Then Richard hears – it’s a no! Damn. Turns out they’re updating the fleet and can’t deliver for our weekend. Shame.
What could we get instead then? What could replace that iconic supercar for a road test in Wales? A Porsche? Bentley? No… a Twingo.
I know, I know – it’s not exactly the same kind of thing, but it IS the Renaultsport 133bhp version. We thought we might as well have something a bit real world – who knows it may even throw up a few surprises.
So the stage is set. We’re going to head from our south coast HQ in the Evo and Aston to Caterham, Surrey, then on to south Wales. Rich is meeting us there in the Twingo and then the fun begins!
I say we’ve because I’ve decided to take a real life salesman along to help out! Friend of the magazine and occasional scribe for Car Dealer, Duncan Chappell, who works at a Chrysler dealership in Portsmouth will be coming along to give us a trader’s viewpoint.
And we’ve got a punter too. Dan Harris, all round car nut, and real life customer will be giving us the real world view – not one biased by years of road testing or life in the trade.
Should be awesome. We’re even considering camping to make the weekend that little bit more unique, but judging by the reaction to that idea from colleagues, that bit might not happen…