Blog : Love at first sight

Went over to Birmingham yesterday to take a look at the cars from the Patrick Collection that will be going up for sale in December. The purpose of my being there was to see the cars being prepared for sale, as the guy from the Bonhams auction house photographed and generally made them look nice for for the catalogue of sale. As mentioned last week, it should be a great sale, as there is a nice and diverse range of cars – and one can only hope that the Patrick Foundation raises oodles of cash to continue its good work.

Getting to see (and drive) such exotica close up was a real privilege, and I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I was allowed to be there. Certainly, it all makes for good publicity, but even so… there were a couple of times in the proceedings (when behind the wheel of the Ferrari-powered Lancia Thema 8.32, especially) when I had to stop myself from pinching my thigh in order to confirm that it was really happening.

Anyway, there was some seriously nice exotica there, but also a few well-preserved ‘normal” cars – something that makes the Patrick Collection so appealing to me. A totally unadultered Mk I Volkswagen Golf GTi was one such star, but for me, the real beauty of the show was a mixture of the humble and exotic: a Frazer-Tickford Metro.

From the moment I clapped eyes on it, I was smitten. Not sure I can put my finger on the exact reason, but for one, the paint job (silver, graduating to graphite grey at the bottom) stood out. But then there were those pepperpot alloy wheels, wearing pukka 1970s-spec Pirelli P7 tyres (and yes, tyre tread patterns can be sexy, OK?). The bodykit – daring but just shy of over the top – also worked extremely well. All in all, this was one 1982 Metro that looked a million dollars.

…the real beauty of the show was a mixture of the humble and exotic:
a Frazer-Tickford Metro

Inside, it was pretty special, too. The leather Recaro seats really gripped, and the in car entertainment (which looked like a full-on Japanese component hi-fi including graphic equalizers from the early 1980s) was so overblown, so uncool, that it can only be described as a marvel.

But what was it like to drive. Ahh – now they say you should never meet your heroes, and I guess it’s true in this case. Yes, it went reasonably well – like a stock MG Metro in fact, but somehow after all of the visual drama, I expected just a little more. In fact, driving it was somewhat akin to being slapped in the face half way through a pleasant dream – for one, I banged my head getting in, and two, its gearbox whined like a five year old kid deprived of sweets.

A true BL car, then…

Pain and pleasure, not necessarily in equal amounts.

And because of that, I still want it. Want it badly.

Keith Adams

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