It is a universally accepted fact that men keep lists. All men keep lists. Ladies aren’t always aware of this, but we keep lists and rankings of everything. Which one had the best personality, the nicest body, the sexiest curves…and of course, you never forget your first! Car, that is.
Guys will often compare lists with each other, especially if there is “overlap.” We can’t help it, our simple man-brains just cannot make sense of a world that has not been organised and categorised into list form.
So to introduce myself to the world of Carbs and Coffee, I’ve decided to share my list of all the cars I have ever owned. Brace yourself, it’s long!
The first draft of this list that I submitted to Carbs and Coffee left off two cars, which I had to add and resubmit. The editors think I might have a car-related problem, which is rich coming from them. There’s always something interesting in the car park that catches my eye, so the Automotive Anonymous meetings don’t really help.
Here we go:
My first taste of freedom! It wasn’t quick or the greatest car in the world, but I was driving, and it was incredible! By the time I sold it, she had OZ racing wheels, a massive Pioneer stereo, a Remus exhaust and various other “go faster” bits that didn’t make it any faster, obviously.
I was lucky enough to get one of the first 3 ti’s in the country. The looks were polarising and not everyone was a fan of the funny-looking front-end. I saw it as a 3-series coupe for less money than a standard 3-series. Rear wheel drive, sport suspension and excellent dynamics. Several thousand miles of fun later, I eventually traded it in on a…
My first automatic car, and my first diesel. I was hugely impressed at how the diesel managed to be quite refined and it performed pretty well too – but I couldn’t help thinking it would have been better if it had a petrol engine and a manual gearbox. Sigh.
The narrow power-band of the diesel engine meant that the slushbox made sense, but it did make things slightly dull. Eventually my beloved dark blue beauty was killed off by the local petrol station filling it up with contaminated diesel. BMW replaced almost everything on the fuel system, but it was never the same.
No, that isn’t a typo.
Given how well things had gone with the first one, it made sense to get another! I allowed my mom to trade in my blue 320d for a new car, and in return I took her silver 320d, which had none of my fuel issues. But the car never felt like it was ‘mine’ and I didn’t own it for very long.
Ford Bantam 1.6:
At the same time as having the BMW, I also had a little Bantam. I’ve always loved the Bantam. Based on the Fiesta, it is fantastic fun to drive, cheap to run and as practical as any other ½ ton bakkie! This bad boy would cart speakers and sound equipment around for me when I was still working as a sound engineer.
Lexus IS250 Manual:
When I finally decided I’d had enough of my unloved silver 320d, I traded it in for a brand new Lexus IS250, about a month after they had launched in South Africa. I was besotted with the colour combination (cream leather under a dark metallic blue body) and the refined ride. The instrument cluster’s little dance sequence when you start the car was also a major factor in buying this one! Ultimately it was just a little bit boring to drive and the manual gearbox was a mistake, since the ‘box fitted to this car was terrible. The auto is much better and probably suits the car better too.
VW Golf V GTI:
Having grown bored of the Lexus, I was looking for something a bit more fun. The Golf 5 GTI was the first GTI in many years that captured the spirit of the original, and it was a fantastic car! The eager engine made great noises, and the slick-shifting manual gearbox was a joy to use after the clunky mess in my Lexus. This car just ate up highway mileage!
Honda S2000 AP2 “The Black Mamba”:
I have always loved the S2000, and roadsters in general – I had to have one, so the Golf disappeared, and the Mamba came home. Every drive in an S2000 feels like an event! I drove this car as a daily and put some serious mileage on it. I still can’t remember where the nickname came from, but it just stuck, and the Black Mamba is still one of my favourites on the list.
VW Golf V GTI DSG:
The threat (which never materialised) of moving to the UK made me sell my S2000 and for a while my Bantam was my only means of transport. Eventually I decided to get another GTI since I loved the first one so much. My mom happened to be selling hers at the time so I picked it up for a very reasonable price. Unfortunately the DSG gearbox completely spoiled the car for me. I sold it after realising that it had sat in my garage for more than 3 months without being driven.
Volvo S60 2.5T:
At the same time as my DSG Golf, I needed something cheap and cheerful for the commute to the city every day, and by this stage my Bantam was gone. I didn’t want to put such serious mileage on my “expensive” Golf. These S60’s were unreal value for money, giving you a lot of car for very little money. It was an outstanding long distance cruiser and superbly comfortable. A little boring perhaps, but it was never meant to set your hair on fire.
Birkin S3 4A-GE Blacktop 20-valve:
With my Golf gone, it was time for something seriously fun. My Birkin S3 was stupidly fast, super lightweight and probably the most involving car I’ve ever owned. Not exactly the most practical car in the world, but it was loud and crazy and put more smiles per mile on your dial than pretty much anything out there.
Yes, another one.
I don’t often buy cars as “investments” because, quite frankly and for the most part, modern cars are terrible investments! My brother was thinking of trading in his BMW for a Ranger and I saw an opportunity to pick up my third 320d for a low “trade price” and sell it on for a profit. The profit wasn’t huge, but the car was surprisingly good and I ended up keeping it for a while longer than I was planning. Maybe it was the chunky manual gearbox or the fact that this car had the M-sports package on it, but it was better than the other two I had owned, that much I can tell you.
Mercedes-Benz E280 Avantgarde:
Eventually the Volvo had to move out and make space for something even more luxurious and still one of the quietest cars I ever owned. My E-Class was bought from my dad, who was going to trade it in on a 5-Series. It was simply a beautiful and elegant saloon that made roads feel so much shorter than they really were. It was also good to see that Merc were once again building their cars properly. The build quality was second to none.
Ford Bantam 1.3:
I am a creature of habit in some ways.
Once again needing a “cheaper” commute-mobile, I decided to buy another Bantam because my first one had served me so well. The 1300 was actually surprisingly capable, only let down by having very short legs.
Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG:
Having attended a track-day at Killarney in my Birkin, I was hooked on racing! But my Birkin was too nice to abuse on the track so I decided to sell it, and would therefore need a new sportscar – so I traded in my E280 on a very nicely kept SLK, before the Birkin had even sold. The SLK was a small roadster with a nuclear bomb under the hood! The performance was great, but the drive was a little uninspiring and not quite enough fun to be a truly great sports car.
Harper Type-6 V8 (work in progress):
When the Birkin eventually sold, I started building my race car for the road. Perfect for my newly discovered addiction to trackdays, the Harper is a mid-engined, fibreglass-bodied rocket that looks a bit like an LMP1 Racer (not a bad thing). Powered by a 4.0L V8 (which will eventually be turbo charged) and weighing less than a ton, this car promises to be the very definition of exciting! Eventually.
A great little runabout, which I really wasn’t expecting! I was amazed at how far the Korean car maker had come since the early days of those ugly, plastic, barely held together piles of misery they started out producing. It’s never going to be a great driver’s car, but as a reliable and economic means of transport, it was superb!
Honda Accord 2.0 V-Tec Executive:
Truly one of the most underrated cars I’ve owned. Incredibly comfortable, quiet, well-equipped and very nicely put together. It really deserves more respect than it gets. The only thing that lets the car down is the slightly gutless engine. It has enough poke to shift the Accord along nicely, but typical V-Tec, all the power is in the higher rev ranges. For such a relaxed cruiser, it really deserved to have a nice meaty V6 with some more bottom end grunt.
Growing bored of my SLK, I thought it was time I got back into a simpler sports car. Something that was specifically designed to have fun in, not necessarily just to be fast. Toyota answered the call with the GT86, and I loved every second behind the wheel of mine. Yes it could handle more power, but with only 200 horses, you can drive it at 100%, 99% of the time, and that is what makes it so much fun. In fact, its only flaw was that it wasn’t an S2000…
Honda S2000 AP2:
Yes, my list has more sequels than a Disney franchise.
The obvious thing to do was to buy another S2000. I found a very low mileage car that had spent some time in a storage unit, sold my GT86 and grabbed my chance at having another 9000rpm V-Tec screamer in my garage! I honestly can’t describe how brilliant the S2000 is, you just have to drive one to “get it.” In fact it might be time for me to start looking for another one…
Ford Granada 3.0 Gle (1982):
At roughly the same time as buying my second S2000, I was toying with the idea of buying a classic car. I was actually looking for a Cortina, when I found a low mileage, very nicely looked after Granada for sale less than 2km from my house. The old Ford was oozing character – it was comfortable, looked great and became a talking point everywhere I drove it. To date it is still the cheapest car I’ve ever owned, but it was a great pleasure to own and drive.
Isuzu KB320 V6 “The Beast”:
Technically “the Beast,” as we call it, belongs to our company, but since it’s a family-owned company, I guess you could say it belongs to me. It has loads of grunt and is the only vehicle in our fleet capable of towing our fully laden trucks in an emergency. Its only downfall is its unquenchable thirst for unleaded!
Jaguar XJR 4.0 Supercharged V8 “the Unicorn Cat”:
I have always been a Jag fan, and I especially love the XJ’s with their curvaceous homage to the shape of the XK120’s and 150’s front ends. They are still some of the most beautifully designed saloons on the planet. My Jag was a ’99 XJR with extremely low mileage, nicknamed the unicorn cat, because you simply don’t find them in this condition any more. I sold my S2000 and my Granada to buy this car because it bewitched me in such a way that I simply couldn’t walk away from it.
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Chevrolet El Camino (1974) 1UZ-VVti:
Buy a project car they said! It’ll be fun they said! 3 years of frustration has brought me to the point where at least the Chevy is a joy to drive. It makes the right noises; it’s quick enough and comfortable enough to live with for a Sunday drive to your favourite restaurant. It still has some electronic issues that need sorting out before it’s done. The sad part is that this was supposed to be a great project for myself and my dad to work on. Unfortunately frustration got the better of us, and the plan is basically to finish sorting out a few issues and then selling it on.
So what’s next?
As this post is being written, I currently have an empty slot in my garage where the Unicorn Cat used to live, and my Harper Type-6 is still in pieces all over my house (literally – 90% of the body work is in my study!)
The latter will be addressed shortly as I am simply waiting for an open slot at the Harper factory before my car will be taken there to be finished. Very excited!
As for the empty garage slot, nothing is set in stone just yet, but I am looking for another roadster. Obviously it has to be rear wheel drive and manual, and rumour has it that it may come with six cylinders… but you’ll just have to wait and find out later!
Editor’s note: Quintin is only 36 years old – that’s quite an automotive run-rate!