31 May 2017

The Real Super Cars

A few weeks ago, I travelled down to Horsham to take part in the Ferrari Owners’ Club celebrations as part of the Piazza Italia weekend. I say ‘take part’, but this was work: I was there to take some video alongside a drone pilot we had booked for the day, and report from the show.

The event was great- the FOC members always have a ball, and this year’s meeting was no different. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and with great weather the turnout was superb; nearly one hundred prancing horses found themselves parked neatly on the lawn outside the South Lodge Hotel.

Amongst the 458s and F12s were some lovely classics: a Daytona, a brace of F40s and an absolutely stunning white Mondial cabriolet, but this story isn’t about the gleaming Ferraris and their crowd-pulling procession into Horsham town centre. This story is about another type of super car.

My ride for the day couldn’t have been more conspicuous if I had tried: a 2005 Toyota Previa, in gold, with roof box and twin dents in the rear hatch where I once reversed it into a (very well camouflaged) tree. Nevertheless, I attached a GoPro to the roof and managed to get some great footage of the cars as they drove off from the hotel. It carted all our camera kit around, then later that day took me and my two eldest children all the way to Scotland, where I met my wife and the rest of my family. It drove all seven of us around for the week, then brought us home again safely, this time with two bikes stuck on the back – a round trip of just over 1,300 miles.

In all this time, the car didn’t miss a beat. It was our transport, our café, our entertainment centre and our load lugger. The Golden Bullet (as it is known) has become a fully-fledged member of the family, and it is well known in our town as it stands out like a sore thumb. We love that car, but deep in my heart I know - especially with another scrappage scheme looming – that its days are numbered. Indeed, in five or ten years’ time, there will be hardly any 2005 Toyota Previas left, if any.

We call Ferraris ‘supercars’, but are they really? For me the super cars are the ones that take us to work, or to school every day. The ones that transport us on holiday, take our rubbish to the tip or bring DIY supplies back on a weekend. They are the ones that we’ll use so much they become almost part of us; the frayed fabric of the seat or worn plastic of the steering wheel moulding around us like a comfortable old pair of jeans. We know the feel, the sound, even the smell of these cars so well that they will be indelibly stamped into our memories. And yet these are the cars we cast aside when they grow old.

You will probably be aware that Hagerty runs The Festival of the Unexceptional every year that celebrates these run-of-the-mill cars, or at least the tiny number that have survived to become classics. We’ve had some criticism in the past from owners aghast that we’d consider their car Unexceptional, but we believe it should be worn as a badge of pride. For these are the true supercars, and they bring with them a huge amount of love.

So, on Saturday 22nd July 2017, why not take your own trip to Stowe House near Silverstone, where Hagerty are running this year’s Festival? There you’ll see Marinas, Cortinas, Cavaliers, Sierras, and maybe the odd Velox, and you’ll hear the same phrase repeated a hundred times as people look around the cars: “Oh, I remember this!” You don’t hear that at a Ferrari show.

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Hugh Featherstone Blyth Belgium June 2, 2017 at 15:43
    spot on! my unexceptional entry would be the Renault 16 i "borrowed" from my parents throughout my late teens, early twenties. it simply oozed unexceptional cool from every (bertone) pore of its cream body. fast, practical, smooth ride, loads of space with a bench back seat for when things got serious and a bench front seat (column gear change) for when they ought not to be getting too serious yet ... ;)

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