Bassam contemplates the lack of variety in performance cars
I recently had one of my most memorable motoring experiences ever, and it was in a car that has just 82bhp and was missing a wheel. In today’s world of electronically reigned-in, aerodynamically over-endowed, crazy horsepower supercars the quirky Morgan 3 Wheeler is like a breath of fresh air.
The motor industry’s never-ending development race has resulted in cars that are much faster and better handling, while simultaneously making them more efficient and comfortable. While it’s beyond dispute that cars today are better than ever, the relentless march towards perfection has also resulted in sameness in what’s out there. It’s kind of comparable to the way Formula 1 teams spend hundreds of millions of dollars to end up just a few tenths-of-a-second- a- lap apart. F1 cars are all marvels of engineering, but they are also pretty darn similar.
The Morgan 3 Wheeler on the other hand is resolutely different. Apart from the obvious fact that it has got an odd number of wheels, it’s also unlike any other car out there in both character and driving experience. The thing positively radiates charm, and even the most flamboyant supercar doesn’t attract as much attention as the Morgan. The only smile larger than that of the camera-wielding public is that of the driver: you can have a great time without breaking the speed limit, which is increasingly rare as cars get faster and our region’s speed limits get simultaneously stricter. Pop on your aviator goggles, squeeze into the sleeping bag snug cockpit and you instantly feel like a character from Wacky Races.
Then, on the other end of the performance spectrum falls what could be referred to as ‘the scary car’. These are the type of cars that separate the men from the boys, such as the Porsche 991 GT2 and the Mercedes SLS AMG Black. While these are two of the most engaging driver’s cars at any price, they are also cars that will kill you in an instant if you don’t respect them. In today’s sanitized motoring landscape that is something of a rarity, and I would go as far as to say they represent the last of a dying breed.
So whether you’re more drawn to the lovable Morgan or weapons-grade lunacy that is AMG, we should celebrate these distinctive cars while we still can, because I get the feeling it’s only a matter of time before these types of cars go the way of the Dodo bird.