Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m fortunate enough to get out and about in a number of cool cars and cool places. However, it’s usually for work and that means that, wherever I’m going, the itinery tends to be rushed and I don’t really get time to really appreciate where I am and what I’m doing.
There are exceptions, of course. The banger rallies I’ve been doing since 2004 have provided some marvellous moments – the final day of Staples2Naples 2006 gave me memories that will last with me ’til the day I die – and, in doing so, I’ve met some great people along the way. Dave Smart will be well known to anyone who’s been on an event with him – a larger than life character who drives like a demon, parties like an animal and is just an all round great guy.
Andrew Elphick and I shared a Skoda with him last year on the Czech Wrecks rally and had a great time. We’ve both aged considerably as a result but I reckon it was worth it.
When he told me that he’d been given his S2N team mate, Colin Gilchrist’s Mini and was planning to tour Europe in it between contracts, I was delighted. He was planning to live the dream of an open road, an interesting car, and no timetable.
To say I was envious was an understatement. Of course, it’s not been an easy ride – the car’s behaved, but it’s far from comfortable for him – and that’s what makes his pan-European trip so appealing to me.
I’ve yet to find out how much Dave has spent along the way, but I’d hazard a guess that it’s somewhat less than a dull long-haul beach holiday. And what has he got instead? New friends, tales to tell, and a sense of real achievement.
Of course, not everyone’s in the position to jump in a car and disappear for the best part of a month but that doesn’t stop one being able to chase the unknown. Got a free weekend and nothing to do? Drive to the Western Highlands of Scotland, or Gibraltar, or maybe East Berlin. Heck, just take the long way home on a road you’ve never used before…
The point is that the car is our enabler and we’re living in a glorious era of freedom of movement – and combining the two brings new experiences, shakes out the cobwebs and broadens the mind.
I’m reading Dave’s travel blogs and getting pangs.
Follow Dave on Getjealous: www.getjealous.com/marvelousminiofdoom
or on AROnline: www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/category/daves-marvellous-mini-of-doom/
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.