The vinceunlimited Cars Page

You have arrived at the vinceunlimited where I can show I have a better than average experience of driving a wide number of cars. As an enthusiast bordering on petrol-head status I have taken every opportunity I can to try out many cars. And the ones that I've owned have often drawn amusing stories. Just don't tell my insurance company! This page will eventually be fully populated with all the writing and accompanying photos of the cars that I have owned or road tested. It will start as soon as the keys to the garage are found so please be patient and check back in due course.

Please note that just for now, while I complete the remastering of my site some links will take you nowhere but the listed vehicles are the first that I intend to write about and should grow in future to encompass all that I have tried but getting all that exciting information onto my site is just too much to bear at this stage.

If however you have a favourite vehicle that you would like my opinion on then email me to ask. If it's a particularly exotic model [I don't mean a Fiesta Splash] I might have to borrow yours just to check my facts! And if you are the editor of a motoring magazine wanting an exciting new journalistic talent then I may, just may, think about helping you out. Please.


Related Links

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.194 13 Sep 2018
The idea for a Road Tests page on the vinceunlimited website was first published in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003



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Road Tests

Please note that most of the following links are not yet functioning and will be updated in due course...

Ariel Atom - Bentley Arnage - BMW 518i SE - Citroen BX16RS - Ford Cortina Mk V - Ford Mondeo - Hillman Avenger GLS - Jaguar XJ8 4.0 - Renault 4 - Smart ForTwo/ForFour - Vauxhall Astra Estate

Miscellaneous

Alphacar [Poem] - Birth of a Car - Top Ten Vehicles



The vinceunlimited Bentley Arnage Story

The Best Car In The World?

Although not an owner of one of these magnificent beasts I am fortunate enough to have driven one, in comparison with its bigger and older brother the Continental Series, no less.

A row of four Bentley Arnages in various colours
Pick a car. Any car. As long as it's a brand new shiny behemoth

I had always been a fan of the Continental; its raw powerful looks and sheer road presence always allured me.

I was always so impressed by the way that whenever you see one on the road, it seems to be going past at great speed yet appearing totally unruffled, a task mimicked well by the 'smaller' Arnage.

So, when a Cardiff dealer offered me the chance to take part in a test drive day in the grounds of a luxurious hotel, lining up the whole Bentley range next to a chartered helicopter and sumptuous servings of quality food, I couldn't resist.

It would be ungentlemanly to refuse, wouldn't it?

The author stood in the open doorway of a dark blue Bentley Continental
Driving a quarter million pound car. The author with a Bentley Continental

So I got my chance in a Continental.

The keys, a full tank and a stunning twenty-mile route to savour. And I did.

The car was very special, as you might expect for a quarter of a million pounds.

Forget the opulent interior - it was the engine that impressed.

Bentley (and Rolls-Royce) didn't formerly tell anyone about the engine size, merely pointing out that it was 'adequate'. They should have added 'for towing a 5 bedroom house.'

The torque was storming.

Try to imagine someone pushing the back of your chair right now. Into the next room. Through the wall. Then into the next room, without hesitation, even quicker. All more speedily than you could read this.

Yes, forget horsepower. From now on, I buy my cars based on torque, whatever a Newton Metre might be.

The author's wife stood ready to get in a dark mauve Bentley Arnage
My wife, Lynda, tries out the Arnage. Later I explained she could actually get in

There was one caveat to the Continental though - the Arnage.

At nearly half the price the Arnage wipes the floor with the Continental.

When I tested it, it came in two flavours. I'm talking engines again, by the way.

The traditional V8 lump and the newer BMW-sourced straight 8.

Bentley helpfully made it easier by labelling them Red and Green, quite literally.

Go for the Red one. I'm a new fan of all things BMW but this car needs the V8. I just wish it wasn't named after the cheapest tea in Tesco.

The Arnage shares all the grunt of the bigger car and sets it all to a modern theme.

From the outside, the car does resemble a weather-worn brick but inside, you realise this can compete with the best-finished modern cars.

Some comment that it can't match a Mercedes-Benz's build quality and to an extent, they would be right.

When the floor carpet is pulled back around the accelerator, you do not expect to see the trimming work of a six year old. But when the carpet is reinstalled the thick pile helps to remind you that you are in a special place.

The drive is modern, easy and relaxing, even when applying that torque.

The interior ambience is impressive although the modern devices we all need in cars today are not as well accommodated as they might be.

Designed before the satellite navigation era, you will have to suffer the indignation of a pop-up screen spoiling the sweep of the dash, but I suspect you will be more likely looking at the array of dials and switches, many designed and styled to feel good, solid and traditional.

The only gripe is that because customers can select from a huge range of colours and trims (The 'brochure' was a hand-finished solid wood briefcase), getting a used one to suit you perfectly may be a problem. Burgundy leather seats trimmed with cream piping and mixed with a black dash don't quite do it for me.

A dark blue Bentley Arnage
My new favourite car. A beautiful, dark blue Bentley Arnage

The drive is solid and reassuring and belies the car's two ton size.

Forget you are in a limousine and treat it the way Bentley intended. It is a sports model after all. If you want to float everywhere, get one with a small silver statue at the front.

The Arnage will flick through corners and holds the road like the tarmac's melted. You don't even get to hear the rubber ripping. Very strange. Very addictive.

But the best bit is sitting deep in those accommodating hide armchairs and looking down at people next to you, even those in four by fours.

In both ways!

Gripes? Well there are always some.

On the pre-2005 model I drove, I don't think the headlamps suit the nose, the fuel consumption is for those who never care about it, and it costs £150k.

At least it's better than that Continental I always wanted. Thanks Bentley, you have saved me £100k. Now save me another £30k by making the new baby Bentley even better.

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.075 23 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 2.00 in May 2005
Also published by Channel 4 Car Road Tests around 2005 (but now no longer available)
The first image shows part of the Bentley line up presented by a generous Cardiff Bentley Dealership in the grounds of Miskin Manor in 2000 and was added in Version m5.075 23 Feb 2018.
The second image shows the author parked up during a road test of the fabulously expensive Bentley Continental in 2000 and was added in Version m5.075 23 Feb 2018.
The third image shows the Author's wife, Lynda, with the Bentley Arnage in 2000 and was added in Version m5.075 23 Feb 2018.
The fourth and final image shows a Bentley Arnage, parked in a service station car park, photographed in Jan 2012 and was added in Version m5.075 23 Feb 2018.



Alphacar

By Vince

A to Zoom


A photoshopped rear view of a red Ferrari 360 prominently displaying the registration number plate V1 NCE

I was talking to a friend of mine
about cars that people drive.
We all have preconceived ideas
about their thoughts and lives.
And when I thought back on my life
and cars I used to own,
I fitted all the types there were.
And I was not alone.

I started with an Austin.
A10 I think it was.
I loved that little car you know,
with its paint a thick black gloss.
But when I was in the country
and doing thirty-five,
All I got was horns and lights and people
shouting "You can't drive!"

So I got myself a new car.
I felt just like a king,
Even if the handling was
like a prayer upon a wing.
But my Beetle days still haunt me.
In spirit anyway,
I still want love not war you know ...
and at any time of day.

Those days with my old Beetle
made me think environment,
My mind was getting greener
about the energy we spent.
So I went down to the High Street
and got my fivers out,
And bought the latest fashion
one couldn't do without.

I purchased one of those things
Sinclair called a C5.
I even bought the pole and flag
so I'd be seen and kept alive.
I thought I was a hero and
pollution was no longer,
But everyone who saw me in the street
thought me a plonker.

I had to go upmarket
so I became a Gent.
My Daimler was a class act,
everywhere it went.
With tables in the rear
and leather lined throughout.
The shiny paint was gleaming,
I never had a doubt.

Until someone with a switchblade,
ran it down the side.
I couldn't keep the car no more,
so sold it then I cried.
I had to get a basic car,
something not so new,
An ubiquitous vehicle,
an old Escort would do.

Although it was a simple thing
I liked that little car,
And when the MOT ran out
I didn’t look too far.
The company helped my choosing,
I wasn’t at a loss,
They brought out a modern version.
I brought a new Focus.

I had the modern family car
but with styling like a shark,
But I couldn’t find the damn thing
when in a big car park.
So I changed it for another.
A car that looked much harder.
The Sweeney gave me the idea,
I brought a black Granada.

I raced it here and raced it there
all around the town,
But when the local bank was done
they nearly sent me down.
I had to trade it in for something
not so big and black.
So brought a Hillman next.
An Imp, with its engine at the back.

I tottered round the roads nearby
but never went too mad.
The handling was, lets put it this way,
pretty flipping bad.
One day I took a corner,
I was only doing twenty-eight,
The skinny tyres gave me no grip,
the car just went on straight.

Over pavement, through the hedge,
half way up a leap.
I thought, this was fun I’ll go again
but this time in a Jeep.
My off-roader was a total hoot.
I went round with muddy feet,
And everyone got out the way
when I drove down the street.

But the Jeep was far too thirsty
and I’m a sometimes frugal man,
I still needed all the cargo space
so I brought a Kangoo van.
Economy and load lugging -
they were second to none.
But nought to sixty in eighteen secs
meant I didn’t pull anyone.

And a man has needs above
the needs of his economy,
So I splashed my cash and traded up
for a new Lamborghini.
Ray–bans specs, laying rubber lines
and acting just like Rambo,
I terrorised the neighbourhood
driving in my Lambo.

It had to go when I got caught
going more than fifty-five.
Not much you think, but then again,
it was in my front drive.
And when I tried to fit it past
all the cars in my small street,
It wouldn’t fit as it was about
as wide as seven feet.

I changed the car for something that
I could drive most anywhere,
A shopping trip, an opera,
a classless car without a care.
My little Mini would park up
outside a flash boutique,
Or fit in with chavs at markets
collecting their cheap meat.

So I lavished love and bits on it
at every opportunity,
So much that it resembled
last year’s Christmas tree.
And when the thing was laden down
with all the bits from near and far,
I decided to trade it in
for a proper custom car.

I looked around the free-ads
and asked around the meets,
But most were overpriced
and under funded junk-yard heaps.
Finding one seemed just like hunting
out a four-leaf clover,
So I bought the latest ‘in-thing’
a custom Vauxhall Nova.

The bonnet bulge and paintwork
made it stand out alright,
And the turbo-charged conversion
set the big fat tyres alight.
Even the huge spoiler,
which did nothing for my front wheel drive,
Seemed to shout I’m here - I’m now -
I’m definitely alive.

But then I got my hair cut
in the shape of cheddar cheese,
And wore my jeans hung down so low
the crotch was near my knees.
And when I got the beanie hat,
worn facing back to front,
It fell across my eyes
and resulted in a shunt.

The Nova was a write off
(all I salvaged was the dice),
So I had to start again from scratch
and look for something nice.
The fancy car mags were the first place
that I kept my eye on,
So, how is it I ended up
with a mangy Ford Orion?

I guess they call it growing up
and finally settling down.
The car was Mr. Sensible -
for motorway or town.
I only had it two months,
but it really seemed an age,
I guess that's what happens
when you drive something beige.

And in those two months living
with the dreadful booted Ford,
Invisibly travelling round the place,
getting me quite bored.
I had to get a car that shouted out
until it’s hoarse.
Yes, you’re there before me.
A turbo-charged black Porsche.

I was the Mr. P-Man.
Seeing cars off at every light.
I’d give the single finger
but I never stayed to fight.
They just couldn’t catch me
when I laid my horses down.
The kids would grow up thinking
I'm King without a crown.

I attained a God like status,
pulling all the skirt,
I saw so much good loving
that things started to hurt.
But when I faced up to a car
and saluted in my way,
I didn’t realise his little Caterham
could blow me away.

And when he got my number
and threatened life and limb,
I chose to ditch the Porsche
and get a hiding thing.
Something that had no-one thinking -
he is up for S.E.X.
And Nissan came to my rescue
with its big QX.

Now Q-cars look quite normal
but are faster underneath,
With acceleration giving goose bumps
and speed to clench your teeth.
It was big and strong and manly
but this was not enough,
The stylist had a day off
when this car was signed off.

And with performance comes the cost,
fuel soaked up like a sponge,
But the styling didn’t get the looks
despite being painted orange.
It finally put paid to all fast living
and days out clubbing.
I had more luck when I changed it
for a new Reliant Robin.

A new Reliant Robin buyer -
I must have been a mug,
The salesman saw me coming
and sold me a three-pin plug.
If you missed a hole with the front wheel
the back would surely find.
Speed-humps eventually wrecked the car
and rattled up my mind.

So I changed again and this time
I went out all the way,
I brought a big red car with wings –
a Chevrolet Stingray.
I posed about the town again
driving like a lout,
But as it was American
it didn’t make the roundabout.

A British car would make more sense
than a big Yankee car,
And nothing seemed better
than one named after a girl's bra.
The Triumph was a perfect car
made in steel for Purdy's Steele,
But rust took away the pleasure
along with the nearside cill.

I needed a rainproof vehicle
'cause I parked it near the shore,
Where savage rains and sea-salt
oxidised metal to the core.
I had to get some transport
built for this environment,
And invested in a U-boat
from the German government.

Now, as you can imagine,
this idea was not plain sailing.
At over fifty years old
I spent too much time a'bailing.
And when I visited relatives
or went down to the mall,
Torpedo tubes and periscopes
couldn’t make up the shortfall.

I sold the boat to a contact
in a complex and shady deal,
He would let me know his name,
but Prince H was on the bill.
I had to get a some normal wheels
and settled on a car,
You can’t get more normal
than a (yawn) Vauxhall Vectra.

The lanes of Britain’s motorways
opened up for me.
I say the lanes, actually it was only
the one we all call three.
I finally had a way to do ninety mph
city-to-city hacks,
And as a bonus somewhere
to hang my coat up in the back.

But doing this for nine months solid
without missing out one beat,
I put too many miles on
and had a rapid over-heat.
I needed a new engine
and wanted something cool.
I went for a different way of things
and brought a new Wankle.

The rotary engine was a talking point
in shops and at the Pub,
But when I loudly said its name
I got fired from the country club.
They wouldn’t let me back in
until I apologised and show,
I could get a classic British car
to sit in the member's row.

But I had followed alphabet choice,
so was a good trendsetter,
And classic steeds did not start
with requisite next letter,
But Jaguar they saved the day
and followed up the hype,
With a brand new four-wheel drive,
shiny new X-type.

With all my wheels in motion
I could climb the highest peak,
But spent all day in traffic jams,
cars tucked cheek to cheek.
The daily grind was wasteful
as the fuel gauge dropped so far,
But that was nothing next to depreciation
that fell off the radar.

I had to ditch the cruise control
and my leather seats all had to go,
I swapped it at a dealers
for a few grand and a nearly new Yugo.
And that is why I’m writing this
to recall my memories.
I’ve been from A to Y in cars
and motoring was a wheeze.

But I have yet to finish -
It's the way that I behave,
And I’ve settled on the last one
that shall take me to the grave.
When I’ve saved enough to get me
a fast zed for a few bob.
A classic Kawasaki or
a Zonda Paganini should do the job.

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.073 21 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 2.00 in May 2005
Performed as part of the vinceunlimited Podcast entitled Alphacar on the vinceunlimited WordPress site dated 29 Oct 2014 [vinceunlimited.wordpress.com]. Also available via Apple iTunes.
The image depicts the rear of a Ferrari 360 with a photoshopped registration number plate. It was taken from a cherished number plate site, source now unknown, around 2002. Please advise if you know of the source material and I will duly give credit. It was added, along with the links in Version m5.073 21 Feb 2018



Birth of a Car

A remarkable thing happened two days ago. I saw a TV advert for a car I had not previously seen.

No, not an unforeseen TV advert. They happen frequently. Not frequently enough to make the programme intermissions tolerable but frequently enough to make my opening gambit a little more interesting. No, it was the car I couldn't recall seeing before.

Now this may be relatively common to many of you. After all that is one of the three key objectives of advertisements, to introduce new things and you are forgiven for not being as interested in new cars as I am. Few are.

In case you were wondering what the other two main advertising objectives are, the second is the necessity to ingrain concepts, products and trademarks into our subconscious. After all we all know beans, hamburgers and replacement glazing products exist. But just as importantly you are already subconsciously thinking Cross & Blackwell, Wendy's and that annoying, shouty man who knocks over the window panes. Weren't you?

The third key element in advertising is the attempt to make you purchase that which you had no intention to do so. Chocolate, trips to the Isle of Wight and the unnecessary replacement of perfectly good settees fall into this category.

I too am subjected to many new things in advertising, be they two for ones, money squirrelling or feminine hygiene products only an engineering graduate could master. Although I think I've acquired all knowledge a man ever needs to know about comparing insurance rates. However it is rare that I ever see a TV advert for a car that I had not seen before.

I am a confirmed petrol head. In the past I have confessed more to worshipping at the feet of Clarkson than showing any affinity for God, Buddha, Ganesh or any of the other normal deities. And I use a diverse method of feeding my brain so consume much news, commentary and opinion from a wide range of sources. I really should have it all covered before an expensive TV advert is launched.

After all a car is not cracked out of an egg suddenly. It does not emerge from a birth canal. It isn't dropped from an alien spacecraft. No, it is conceived, presented in an wildly, exaggerated form, discussed and touted long before spanner meets galvanised panel. And at each process the media is fed snippets and prose to both build the tension and test the theory. And my collated media covers all this with animated glory.

Yet yesterday I saw a vehicle I had never set eyes on before. And it wasn't even one of those dreary, soulless, forgetful Korean products either. This was a curvaceous sports coupe. And not even from a tinpot niche maker. This was from one of Japan's mega machine suppliers.

In truth the car was already in my radar scope. It was on the front page of TopGear magazine which was given to me the day before. I had not yet had a chance to read this so it had languished in the magazine rack. I suspect it was also in the car blog I follow but work has prevented much blog reading lately. So it got through my net.

By now you may be wondering what this magical beast was. That is if you're not wondering when this diatribe will eventually end. But I have chosen not to do the final reveal as it isn't really the point. The denouement should not weaken the preceding opinions and in this case the mystery will be more tantalising. Whether your head is made of petrol or not.

Apart from that I saw another one today.

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.194 13 Sep 2018
First published: Blog within WordPress 27 Aug 2012



The vinceunlimited Top Ten Vehicles

21st Century Travelling [In 2005]

You have probably landed on this page from my list of bike or car road tests.

Or maybe you were transported here by a strange new time machine, or even from another manufacturer's computer. Any how you came you are welcome to read why I have chosen the next ten vehicles as my favourite of all time.

It is an eclectic mix of transport that I have either used or lusted after with envy.

Cyclists will note that I have not included a bicycle in the list. After all cycle technology is now futuristic and sexy so I could forgive a lack of motorised power. However I refuse to forgive saddle technology until I can actually ride a bicycle further than ten metres.

Of course, when compiling a list like this the rejected ones are nearly as interesting.

For instance you may wonder how I could have a list like this and not include a Ferrari. Easy really, there's none there.

A few may qualify on the grounds of looking fantastic but underneath is just a lightweight Fiat.

I'm not fooled, nor are many of the owners. Check out the Owner's Documents on any used Ferrari and you will be surprised to see so many names. The hype doesn't live up to the reality.

Great red though but this isn't a favourite list of colours.

Keeping on the subject of cars, in the past I've swooned over the fantastically brutish Aston Martin Vantage and may still get one yet but how could I include a car that if a generous benefactor offered me a swap for any Aston from any time I'd really have no second thoughts about choosing the brand new, phenomally quick and beautiful DB9.

Some of the DB9's details are cheaper than a crate of canaries although I've never been one to turn down a beauty because of a few small imperfections. Mole on Demi Moore? So what.

Another plus would be: "Blonde, James Blonde". What a great introduction.

As you will be able to tell generally I'm not into classic vehicles. I'd rather own a modern Bentley Arnarge than a 4½ litre supercharged model from the 1920s. Unless I can sell it of course.

Plus, impressive that the 4½ litre Bentley behemoth is the most attractive classic car has to be the Jaguar SS100. But still not as good as a couple of dozen modern vehicles.

I love bikes, it's in my genes, whether I currently have a bike or not. It's all to do with the lack of a cycle when I was young and the freedom that my first moped rides brought me.

So I need to include bikes in this ultimate vehicles list and the Ducati 900 Monster was one of the first that I thought of. The reason why this strange naked retro was considered is that it re-vitalised my interest in bikes in the nineteen nineties.

I hadn't had a bike for a while and the squared-off eighties styling never persuaded me to renew my interest. The Monster 900 was a breath of fresh air. It seemed so stylish and raw with an exposed engine and trellis frame it made me want two wheels again.

Thinking back, I can't think why I brought a Yamaha Diversion 900 instead.

Oh yes. Italian electrics, Ducati clutches and a saving of about two grand. And when you are able to make a choice based on such trivial reasons the original option doesn't really deserve to be in a top ten.

And second best is why I cannot include a First Class dining experience aboard a ferry.

As you can tell from other entries I do like being spoilt. So many cannot handle an obsequious waiter or fawning Maitre-d but I'm willing to be waited on hand and foot. It's not a case of being better than those who serve but the fact that it makes a pleasant change. I'll happily have a beer with the waiter afterwards.

A First Class dining experience on board a ferry, such as the cross channel version is a thoroughly pleasant way of passing the time. But two reasons keep it off the top ten. Firstly, the QE2 is infinitely better and secondly the QE2 doesn't end up in France!

My final rejection is an oxymoron. No, not the Ford 2-litre Oxymoron, but a genuine oxymoron from an age where such a beast could exist. A cute war-plane.

Nowadays war planes are stunning, agile weapons of mass destruction but back in the 1920s at the dawn of flight the planes were not overly effective. However, one stands out above the others, including the Red Baron's exciting Fokker Tri-plane.

The Sopwith Camel first came into my life as a child. If you were born a male in the late fifties or early sixties you would be familiar with Airfix kits. Plastic self-build models that filled many a wet weekday after school. They are still available but this tactile hobby, along with most other hands-on experiences, have become side-lined by the ubiquitous electronic games. This is a shame as building a model is a very satisfying skill and I still fondly remember the first one I built - a Sopwith Camel.

This little bi-plane had all the ingredients of a favoured vehicle. The styling was right with the curved leading edge to the wings, dual forward gun synchronised with the propeller and rounded tail plane.

A cute war plane, such an oxymoron.

So, onto the actual vehicles making my top-ten.


1969 Cooper F1 car

Photograpgh of a slightly tatty yellow and white Cooper racing car with steering operated from a leaning driver and a high rear wing
My toy racing car. The wing was raised too high in this version, based on a late season entry. So now looks rubbish

Formula 1 racing has always held a certain appeal. The fast cars, obscene money and glamorous locations keep the sport in my mind even if the last few years Schmedious results have kept it off my TV. So it is natural that I should include a car from this pinnacle of motor sports.

I suppose it is a symptom of age that despite the obvious appeal of modern cars there is an era of racing that seems more glorious and it dates around the time I first got an interest in the sport. I have chosen the Cooper F1 from the 1969 season as it was this car that, to me, epitomises open wheel racing.

The rear tyres look properly wide, the engine is exposed and the newly added wings were just right. I like the front spoiler jutting from the actual nose and the rear spoiler was better looking mounted low on the engine.

I've never driven one, nor am I likely to as the price of classic F1 racers nearly match their modern counterparts but I can dream.


Aerial Atom

A black Ariel Atom stood in front of a red Jaguar XJ8
An Ariel Atom with my Jaguar XJ8 in the background. I might need to take a moment

My next choice is not so far away from the car above and is probably chosen because of the similarities.

But instead of a having to be Ray Parlour's wife to afford a classic F1 motor this blatant facsimile costs a more reasonable £30-40k.

Still a lot of money for a weekend car with no panels but well comparable with its natural opposition.

I love the Atom's Meccano build and raw energy and can personally testify to its ability to deliver the goods that the look promises.

Short on comfort but very long on desire, the Atom deserves its place in this illustrious crowd.


Bentley Arnage

Nearly as quick as the Aston but with seats like a Business Class jet and the torque to match.

I have never experienced power like the Bentley Arnage delivers and in back to back tests with its bigger brother the Continental it wins on every count, including saving £100k.

The Continental may have the classic looks but I'm sure I can find an Arnage to beat it.

The best car in the world.

Full stop.

Note that a full appraisal of my time with a Bentley Arnage will eventually be available in the Cars section of the website.


Concorde

My first aeronautical choice is probably in the list of everyone who has ever seen the Concorde.

Breathtakingly beautiful, stunningly quick and well out of the reach of the hoi-poli. Marvellous.

The only problems are it's cramped interior and that it has disappeared from our skies.

Worth every bit of pollution.

In the top ten? No doubt at all.


Dakota

A Far Eastern Airlines branded metal polished Douglas DC-3 hanging in the Smithsonian Museum
A Douglas DC-3 hanging in the Smithsonian Museum

The second most beautiful plane in the world [see above] hails from the time just before the second world war but its lines are just so perfect.

I love the fat fuselage, strong wing arrangements, classic twin prop design and sturdy tail.

Still operating in many places around the world today the McDonnell Douglas DC-3, known as a Dakota in the UK, is living proof that if it looks right then it probably is right.

I've yet to catch a flight in one of these beauties but guess that the reality doesn't quite live up to the glamour.

Particularly as I'll probably be in South America when I get a go in one.


Eurostar Best Class

I'm not much of a train buff.

For many years I rarely travelled on one thinking they were too expensive and inconvenient.

Also, with 8 miles between my home and the nearest station, thanks to Beecham's cuts in the 60s, I never had cause to use them.

Not that I had no contact, my wife spent most of her career with a railway company and we took advantage of the odd subsidised trip.

Things have changed recently though as I now work mainly in London and the train is the only viable option. I now estimate that I have travelled over one hundred and fifty thousand miles sat on a train.

This experience, in all its sordid glory is why a trip on the Eurostar in the best carriages is such a delight.

I have travelled three times in First Class and on every occasion I have thought it most pleasant. The large seats, at seat service and quiet comfort is reminiscent of travel tales of old.

Just don't think that the modern version of First Class is the same.

For some peculiar reason, probably to do with the French translation, Business Class is the new premier travelling style and 'mere' First Class is a poor relation.

Now, how do I say 'contravenes the Trade's Description Act' in French?


Honda CBX Moto Martin

A brown Moto Martin CBX motorbike
A Moto Martin CBX. In Brown. Brilliant as brilliant can be

The first bike in my top ten list is a hybrid vehicle and I'm not talking dual fuel.

In the late seventies Honda produced the stunning CBX with its fantastic transverse six cylinder engine. Wider than a Cockney car salesman with a penchant for iced buns this behemoth was a dream machine.

Except two problems.

One, was the name. Now Honda is a make to be respected for its engineering excellence and reliability but much like my Miele washing machine I don't exactly look at the product with love.

The other problem with the CBX was the handling - the stock Japanese flexi-frames could never harness the engine outputs at the time.

Moto Martin, a small French custom builder came to the rescue by taking the engine and putting it in a stylish trick frame mounted with swoopy body parts with twin-headlamps.

All par for the course today but 30 years ago this was enough to make me tear out the advert and hang it on my wall.

Praise indeed.


Jaguar XJ

I own one.

Need I say more?

Note that a full appraisal of my Jaguar XJ8 4.0 will eventually be available in the Cars section of the website.


QE2

Who wouldn't be impressed with one of the traditional Queens of the sea?

I have travelled the Atlantic on the QE2 and can confirm it is all that you would expect, then more.

One trip and I'm a confirmed cruise fan. A tall order for the QM2 replacement to beat.

For more details about my experience on this most magnificent of vehicles see my separate story.

And be prepared to be jealous.

Note that a full appraisal of my time onboard the QE2 is available.


Vincent Black Shadow

The author squatting down next to an immaculate Vincent Rapide motorbike
The two Vincents. Technically the one on the right is a Rapide. The Black Shadow had a black enamelled engine. Both were the same speed when parked

Last, but not least, this list would be incomplete without the vehicle I was actually named after.

My father told me this, whilst saying I should have been grateful that he didn't like Francis Barnetts.

Although this bike now looks a little quirky I am actually quite proud to be named after such a phenomenal bike from the nineteen-fifties, with a great reputation amongst those that know such things.

If only I could afford one now.

Think multiple grands. And then some.

Fantastic name though.

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.072 16 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
Images added, along with minor text updates for setting out purposes, in Version 5.060 23 Jan 2018. All photographs taken by the Author, except the one he is in [Obvs].