RICHARD MEADEN

This year evo cel­e­brates its 20th birth­day. To mark the oc­ca­sion, in this se­ries we’re ask­ing key mem­bers of the team to re­call their most mem­o­rable evo mo­ments

Evo - - 20 YEARS OF EVO -

Tell us your ear­li­est evo me­mory My ear­li­est me­mory pre­dates evo. I was sit­ting on a bench on the Great Orme in Llan­dudno, chat­ting with Harry Met­calfe dur­ing the fi­nal Per­for­mance Car group test. By this time H had be­come part of the ex­tended PC fam­ily, so I made sure he was with us for the last test. Of course, there may have been an ul­te­rior mo­tive…

What was the first car you drove for evo? I hon­estly can’t re­call, but the first evore­lated drive was probably in Harry’s rather tired Golf GTI. I re­call us­ing it to ‘lib­er­ate’ our old mag­a­zine ar­chive from the PC of­fices be­fore the clean­ers slung it in a skip. That ven­er­a­ble Golf also got us to and from the print­ers – hand­ily based in Corn­wall – for the first few is­sues. It was a true founding mem­ber of the team.

What was your first car launch for evo? Maserati 3200 GT – the cover car of is­sue 001. It was some­thing of a coup for a startup mag­a­zine to get an in­vite. I know it put a few of the es­tab­lished ti­tles’ noses out of joint! We owe Fer­rari/maserati’s then PR manager, Tim Wat­son, an enor­mous debt of grat­i­tude for putting his faith in us. What’s the most mem­o­rable evo test you have been part of? For spec­ta­cle, 288 GTO v F40 v F50 v Enzo (is­sue 064). For fun, the ‘Five Decades of Hot Hatches’ test (is­sue 195). For nev­erto-be-re­peated com­mit­ment be­tween photo lo­ca­tions, the ‘Ex­treme Sports’ group test be­tween S2 Ex­ige, No­ble M400, 996 GT3 RS and 360 Chal­lenge Stradale (is­sue 068). Balls ’oot!

And your most mem­o­rable evo drive? It’s hard to se­lect one. Mo­tor rac­ing ad­ven­tures are right up there: my first time rac­ing in the N24; com­pet­ing at Pikes Peak; do­ing 229mph in a Skoda Oc­tavia VRS at Bon­neville Speed Week. All un­for­get­table. How­ever, for me the heart of evo has al­ways been ex­tra­or­di­nary drives in fab­u­lous road cars. Of these, re­trac­ing the Targa Flo­rio course in a Mk1 996 GT3 for is­sue 028 is the one I would love to do again.

Tell us about the most dis­ap­point­ing car you’ve driven while at evo Any Alfa Romeo in­tro­duced be­fore the launch of the Giu­lia Quadri­foglio. Your worst evo mo­ment is…? The low­est but also fun­ni­est-in-hind­sight mo­ment was one of Harry M’s le­gendary Be­low: Lo­tus Elise Sport 135 is Meaden’s pick for his favourite car launched within evo’s life­time mo­ti­va­tional speeches. We had just com­pleted the third is­sue – our first ecoty. Spir­its were high. Then H told us we were skint, is­sue 2 hadn’t sold well and we’d be lucky to get to is­sue 4. He then wished us a Merry Christ­mas. We can laugh about it now…

My ab­so­lute worst evo mo­ments seem to in­volve un­der­growth. And John Barker. There was the time I crashed his Evo VI RS Sprint long-ter­mer into a hedge. Then I put his wed­ding car – a white Jaguar S-type V6 – into an­other hedge. On the night be­fore his wed­ding. Awk­ward.

Your favourite evo story by a col­league? Peter To­ma­lin’s story about Dino Fer­rari ( evo 106) was truly fan­tas­tic. Thought­ful, orig­i­nal and beau­ti­fully writ­ten. How­ever, I think my favourite was the late Rus­sell Bulgin’s short piece on ‘ evoness’ (see is­sue 015 or 046). Hav­ing some­thing with such per­sonal sig­nif­i­cance ex­plained bet­ter than you could ex­plain it your­self – and by my ab­so­lute favourite mo­tor­ing writer – was very spe­cial.

What’s the one car you wish you had driven dur­ing the last 20 years? I hon­estly can’t think of one. I’ve been a bit spoilt over the years. And fi­nally, what’s your favourite car launched in the last 20 years? Any num­ber of 911s (in­clud­ing a Singer) com­mend them­selves, as does the Fer­rari 458 Spe­ciale. How­ever, I think an S1 Elise Sport 135 is my pick.

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