Wayne Batty’s Simple Test for Car-craziness
It is often suggested that you cannot be counted a true car aficionado unless you have owned an Alfa Romeo. Blame Clarkson for that, even if he could not tell an intake manifold from an exhaust header – “Is this the turbo?”
In reality, it is only the most passionate of Alfisti who endure ownership much beyond the honeymoon stage, but that is another story. Confession: As gloriously pressed as most (older) Alfas are, a nonexistent appetite for ferrous oxide and mushy dinosaur remains means I have never actually owned one.
So, having fallen short of this narrowrange litmus gauge yet still assuredly convinced of my petrolheadedness, allow me to propose a more all-encompassing (likely irrelevant) set of questions to assess the real car-nutter status of a person. For a chance to join my mythical band of fuelish friends, just answer YES or NO to each of the following:
1. As rubbish as its reputation for providing driving thrills might be, would you jump at the chance to drive a Delorean? Hint: answer NO here, and you may as well just turn the page. 2. Do you involuntarily utter phrases
such as “phwoar” when you see a Rothmans-liveried Porsche? A 1982 Le Mans-winning 956 is delicious enough but the 961 is an even rarer delight. Please do not tell me you had to Google that? Next!
3. Do you chuff like a happy tiger when a late-1980s Saab 900 Turbo Aero passes you on the freeway, mesmerised by its tri-spoke alloys, odd-ball proportions and period tail spoiler?
4. Do you have as much appreciation for the doors of an Autozam (Mazda) AZ-1 as you do for those of a BMW Z1? Mechanically temperamental for sure but, for BMW cabin-access theatre the production Z1s drop-down doors are only bested by the gull wing efforts of the 1972 Turbo and 1999 Z9 concept cars. The little mid-engined turbocharged Mazda does not fool around either, going full ‘gull’, with tiny wind-down windows within the windows, presumably for paying the Tokyo Bay Aqua-line bridge toll or collecting hibachi at the drive-thru. Can you say JDM?
5. Talking about Japanese Kei cars, would you pick Beat over Cappuccino? Of course you would. 6. Are you as fascinated by the Perspex engine cover of a Ferrari F40 as you are by the asymmetry of a Nissan Cube? 7. Are you properly torn between the Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione’s Compomotives and the early Porsche 911s Fuchs when deciding which is the greatest alloy wheel design ever?
8. If someone asks if you have heard of GNX does your mind conjure the sinister edginess of a murderous black Buick muscle car? Or, do you immediately think of the digital currency of Genaro Network? They are both hard to put a future value on, but we would back the 276 horsepower Grand National experimental every time.
Okay, so, in the time-honoured tradition of magazines women find of interest, taking this quick survey will not change your life. However, if you have reached this point only to ask ‘what the hell is he on about?” maybe it is time you bought an old Alfa. But to those who answered YES to five or more, welcome to The Plenum Chamber.