Given unlimited space and cash to create my ultimate car collection, my storage units wouldn't be filled with multi-million pound ephemera. Classic Cars magazine asks readers each month to submit their own dream garage, and it's interesting to realise that most of them feel the same as me.
Given a limit of five or six cars but limitless cash, the typical classic enthusiast's dream garage seems to look a little like this. First up is the genuine dream car, the car you've always lusted after. This is the car whose purchase represents nirvana. This is just as likely to be a Bullet Mustang or Jensen Interceptor as a Lamborghini Muira or AC Cobra. Next up is a car from childhood, like a Lotus Cortina, Peugeot 205 or Austin A35. Mint, concours, best of type of course but hardly bank-breaking stuff. Then there'll be a second choice of dream car, perhaps a De Lorean or Ferrari 328. Fourth choice begins to get practical, generally a car that fulfills a driving niche that the others don't. So it might be a convertible like an Alfa Romeo Spider. The final choice is often another niche-filler, perhaps a car for grand touring or to take the family out.
What is heartening about all of these choices is that, bar perhaps the first one, they're all just about attainable if still tantalisingly out of reach on a practical, day to day, to hell with the mortage sort of way. They're not the kind of garages that rich City types had (until a few short weeks ago). Which I find very refreshing.
When I read Classic Cars or Classic & Sports Car magazines I tend to skip over the glossy studio-photographed features about rare one-of-a-kind Bugattis, interesting as I know they are. Instead I flick to the road test of 80s saloons or the history of the Austin Maxi. These are cars I can not only relate to, but that I actually want to own (I was joking about the Maxi). I've got the beautifully photographed coffee table books of exotic classic cars and I love the way they look, but when it comes to spending hard cash I want something I can relate to. And I don't think I'm alone.
Hiring out classic cars gives me some insight into people's choices of classic and vintage sports cars. Invariably they're spending money on a dream drive. Reassuringly and not surprisingly, everyone's dream drive is different. Some like the grand touring motoring ease of our Jensen Interceptor cars, others prefer the raw thrills of a Jaguar E Type roadster. Our Rolls Royce Silver Spirit, the only one for hire in Europe, appeals to anyone who's every wanted to get behind that famous radiator. These are disparate cars that reflect disparate tastes but one thing units them - they are all exclusively but tantalisingly achievable real-world purchases.
Like everyone I've got a dream garage and it looks something like this:
Dream car 1: Lamborghini Muira
Dream car 2: Jensen Interceptor
Childhood car: Alfa Romeo Alfasud
Practical car: Alfa Romeo Spider
Niche filler: Jaguar XJ6
This list doesn't rule out the endless stream of cars I'd love to own like a Fiat 130, Fiat X1/9, Aston Martin V8, Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari 328, Porsche 928 and Rolls Royce Silver Shadow (in black). It's a list I add to every time I flick through Classic Cars or Classic & Sports Car but that, ultimately, is what makes us enthusiasts I guess.