So then, after 22 cars … (yes, I know, its actually 21 cars and a motor bike … smart arses!) … one obvious question comes up … which is the best of them?
And, as with most obvious questions, there is an obvious answer. Cars, like most technologies, just keep on improving and so it is to be expected that the newest, in this case the Golf GT Sport, is going to be the best. And it is … probably by some stretch to be honest, but more about that later, because there are a few honourable mentions and one or two brickbats as well.
The first to be highlighted would be the Honda CB175, not because of anything it did but more because it was on this vehicle that I learnt to interact with the traffic around me … basically you have to on a bike. So, even from my first road experiences I knew to keep my eyes up, 3 to 4 cars in front usually seems about right, and to watch other car’s wheels at crossings to see who is actually moving. Probably saved me 100’s of times by now I guess.
The second honourable mention is a bit strange … the Falcon AU. I’ve got no real idea why, but this car, perhaps of all of them, just felt “right” … I could just sit in it and feel instantly like I could drive to Mars and back, well if that was possible I could have! Just everything in the right place for me I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I know they were nothing special, but …
The third is actually a group … any of the 6 cylinder Cortinas … just for their ability to go hard and yet be fun to drive along that old road from Murray Bridge to Adelaide. My fastest trip was in one of these, the green TD XLE at about 4 in the morning with the sunroof open and the music blaring … around 36 minutes from memory. (Don’t get me wrong, they were actually bags of doggy poop on the road, but they were fun.)
Then there was the Lancia Beta Coupe, just about one the prettiest cars on the road in its day and so high on sex appeal it needs to be mentioned.
Its hard not to fit one of the Lasers in here, but I just can’t find room … as much as I liked them there’s just nothing that stands out I guess.
The VW Golf Sport also get’s a mention though, I drove it for 5 years and never got tired of it, and it is still going strong even though its coming up on 8 years old now.
So, the brickbats … for those of you that have hung in this long!
Firstly, the one and only Holden … why I bought this I’ll never know! When I first saw a VB Commodore it was just the most modern, stylish thing going around but by the time I actually bought one the reality was much different. Uncomfortable to sit in, and a tank to drive. Sorry to any Holden lovers!
Second brickbat goes to the Peugeot 504. Now I have at least one very good friend that swears by the these, but for me it was just disappointing. I found it uncomfortable to sit in and noisy on the road, and basically just boring! (Sorry Peter!)
Third brickbat goes to the Lancia Beta Coupe … so fricken Italian, great to look at but awful to live with! Nothing worked right and it would not stay in tune!
So then, back to the Golf GT Sport, hope you’ve hung in! Don’t get me wrong, its not perfect, it can be a bit rough, especially in the rear seat, and is a pain in the arse to drive smoothly, especially from 2nd to 3rd gears where the turbo seems to cut in just as you want to change!
But, it is extremely economical and goes like anything … especially on a cool winters day when the turbo works best. I actually often just stick my foot into it to feel the boost in the small of my back! For a 1.4 litre road car, the power is amazing.
I think it looks good, the seats are just right, the equipment level is high and its just plain fun!
So much fun that at this stage I reckon I’m going to extend the lease on it for another 12 months when it runs out later this year!
My dad would roll in his grave to think that his son would pass up the chance for a new car … sorry dad!