Jethro Bov­ing­don


Motor (Australia) - - HOT SOURCE -

IT WAS ABOUT SIX MONTHS into the re­la­tion­ship when my then girl­friend turned to me af­ter a meal with my fam­ily and said, “How can you spend so much time talk­ing about what car your Dad should buy next? It’s all you ever talk about. Don’t you ever get bored?” I guess I hadn’t re­ally thought about it be­fore. She was right, though. When I was a teenager the main topic of con­ver­sa­tion in the Bov­ing­don house­hold was Dad’s next car. Even if he’d only had his cur­rent one for 24 hours.

Dad was en­light­ened and in­stead of get­ting a brand-new com­pany car, he al­ways took the cash in­stead and bought some­thing a bit older and a lot cooler.

In­stead of a Granada Ghia it’d be a Jaguar XJ, rather than a new 528i it’d be a punt on a seven or eight-year-old M5. We even got him into an R33 Sky­line GT-R V-Spec at one point. Mid­night Pur­ple, of course.

In a twist of ridicu­lous for­tune, hav­ing to buy a car for every­day use is some­thing that I’ve man­aged to avoid for my en­tire work­ing life. As a staff mem­ber or con­trib­u­tor to var­i­ous mag­a­zines I’ve been blessed with long-term test cars, from Clios to Evos to M3s and even a Nis­san GT-R. In Cham­pagne Gold. Even so, I loved it to death.

How­ever, now I do find my­self in need of every­day wheels and – mostly due to my Dad’s buy­ing habits, I’m sure – the lure of cheap lease deals and dodgy PCPs leaves me cold. In­stead, just like Dad, I’m drawn to older, more in­ter­est­ing cars that are just about in my price range and of­fer the tasty com­bi­na­tion of zero de­pre­ci­a­tion and po­ten­tially ru­inous run­ning costs. For a car en­thu­si­ast these are the ying and yang with which we must con­stantly grap­ple.

So now the Bov­ing­don fam­ily con­ver­sa­tions are about what car I should get next. Con­tenders range from mild ($5000) to wild ($27,000 – which is wild for me). My ra­tio­nal brain says hot hatch. I adore re­ally hard­core hatches and a Clio Cup (ei­ther 172 or 200) would fit the bill. Then again, my old long-term Me­gane 250 was won­der­ful and they’re selling for a steal sec­ond hand...

Ev­ery­thing is ‘just a few grand more’. Get up to $18K for a Me­gane and it’s only a short leap to an E46 M3. And they’re on the way up, right? So they’re sen­si­ble. Re­ally sen­si­ble. There will never be a nor­mally as­pi­rated straight-six M3 again.

You know what else there will never be again? A V10-en­gined super sedan. Maybe now’s the time to buy an E60 M5. Yes, I’ve read all the hor­ror sto­ries, but my M5 would never let me down.

Thing is, I’m a sucker for Ja­panese cars, too. I re­ally love their weird foibles and sin­gle-mind­ed­ness. Plus, the Ja­panese are great at acronyms. Super-HICAS, S-AYC, DCCD... these things are ir­re­sistible to me. And they’re tough. I’m pretty sure an IS F will out­live my grand­chil­dren and an Evo’s 4G63 en­gine could prob­a­bly spin at 7000rpm from here un­til the end of time.

As you can see, I need help. I wake up think­ing about E46s and go to bed dream­ing of Mit­subishi Evos hav­ing browsed RS4s at lunch and M5s at tea time. I’m pretty sure I’d be happy with any of them, but I feel at least six weeks more of end­less search­ing and con­ver­sa­tions with my fam­ily are in­evitable. Lucky them.

Some things have changed since my teens. That girl­friend is now my wife and the con­ver­sa­tions needn’t stop when I’m away from my brothers and Dad. Our What­sapp group en­ti­tled ‘Next cars’ is light­ing up ev­ery three min­utes from breakfast un­til bed­time. Still not bored. And she still de­spairs.

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