PH CARPOOL: FERRARI MONDIAL
Four-seater Ferrari proves a family favourite for this week's featured PHer
Ferrari Mondial T Coupe
Westfields (six different chassis types with over 10 different engines and five gearbox configurations!), some other kit cars, BMW Mini Cooper S, E36 M3 Evo
"I have been in to Westfield Sevens for as long as I can remember and have over the years tried most engine and chassis combinations. Finally I started to really modify them with full cages, straight-cut gears and no trim or comforts in an effort to get more and more hp/weight ratio out of them. However the realisation that walking into a pub in summer wearing an anorak, sporting 'helmet hair' and carrying a helmet, steering wheel and above all a bum bag full of phones and wallet was not a good look and a growing family that wanted to come out with daddy put an end to the Westfield habit.
"I briefly tried an E36 M3 Evo convertible, which was fantastic up front but not so good if you're eight or six years old in the back. So I wanted a coupe that was stylish, fast and that tricky blend of classic looks and modern to drive, but a keeper, something I could be proud to own.
"Ok I wanted a Testarossa but alas was a bit shy in the cash department but that Ferrari itch had taken hold and Mondials fitted the bill exactly ... so long at it was not a red one. Call me odd, but this is more GT sports than out and out sports car and red is best left for them in my book."
"OK I am sure everyone thinks their car is the best but the Mondial T is actually a pretty good steer. I remember reading this many times while day dreaming/researching and thinking 'pinch of salt', but in truth it really is good. OK it is no rocket ship, but it covers ground at a pace not in keeping with the image at all. I also wish I had known just how good a Larini-equipped Ferrari dry-sumped V8 can sound. I wish I had done this years ago."
Things I Love:
"The fact that it can be both family fun car and then, later, when on my own, a proper sports car is perhaps its best feature. That said, the scream of the Larini exhausts through tunnels and building canyons is very, very addictive. I love the sense of occasion it brings as well when driving it, especially as so far all other road users have only ever been respectful or filming it. A trip out now means that the family have to be well groomed and dressed just in case. Perhaps above all though I love the fact that it fits the intended bill perfectly, my kids and wife all like it, it has proved fast, comfy and practical so it gets used and enjoyed and it has given me some great memories already."
Things I hate.
"Hate is a strong word as I am still in the honeymoon period but of late I am quite hateful of Clarkson/May's festive video where a Mondial does not fair quite so well."
"Well, while it has never let me down it did manage a £1,700 bill following a boys' driving weekend in Wales. It also likes a drink (19-25mpg) and expensive oil but name a fun hobby that does not cost money..."
"The car gets used for family weekend trips away, so Exmoor, North Norfolk coast and local Tesco's once. But trips of note would have to be our annual boys' weekend driving in Wales and the 2012 Classic Le Mans. Wales was very wet, even for Wales, but it soaked it all up (literally) and allowed us to explore the Elan Vally, Evo Triangle and Black Mountain road to name but the common roads. Classic Le Mans though will always remain a highlight for me, specifically the Rouen tunnels and the eight laps of the full circuit four-up. That's why I love my car.
"Well, I recently purchased a Mk1 MX-5 as a B-road blatter, using man maths to reason with the wife that it was cheaper to buy an MX-5 than keep up with the running costs a weekend in Wales could inflict. But the Mondial is a keeper as there is no feeling like it, be it just opening the garage door and seeing it or from cracking the windows through tunnels."
An amusingly anarchic, four-up lap of the Le Mans Classic packed with other exotica...