PH 2018 - Most memorable drives

Nic - Best of British triple
It goes without saying that this little jaunt was custom-built to be memorable. Had we taken a Bentley Continental GT, McLaren 570S Spider and Ariel Nomad to the end of the car park and back it would've been a good day. But to drive all three to south Devon, and be treated to spectacular weather when we got there, was about as good as motoring in the UK ever gets. As you might expect, each car contributed something mighty to proceedings: the GT was hushed and sumptuous and ballistic; the 570S faster still and spellbinding and brilliant; and the Nomad, the cherry on top, almost beyond words. Taken together, with a national park as the backdrop and a local pub to sleep in, and there's nowhere else in the world I'd rather have been.

Matt B - Atom 4 in the rain
Some days you look back on and wonder how on earth they went ahead, and the Atom vs. Seven twin test is one of the most vividly recalled. It felt iffy driving down to Crewkerne on dual carriageways in our VW Caddy, the rain heavy, ceaseless and, er, sideways. The prospect of an Atom on minor roads was, frankly, terrifying. But the Ariel boys were keen, we'd organised an exclusive test with the Seven and even Naughty Nic Cackett gave his blessing to proceed. As it happened, the atrocious conditions revealed all that was fantastic about the Atom 4, albeit with a total drenching and bone-chilling cold: it's as approachable and trustworthy as you could ever hope for the layout, expertly honed and tremendous fun. Snaking through Cheddar Gorge for the camera, supercharged Caterham behind, was incredible. Never has such a mismatch of car and conditions worked out so well - I can't wait to drive it in the dry.

Dafydd - Skoda 1100 OHC at Bicester Heritage
This year has seen some incredible drives in some remarkable places; that piloting a Skoda through the pouring rain in Oxfordshire trumps them all is as much a surprise to me as it may be to you. But this was no ordinary Skoda. The one-of-two 1957 1100 OHC Spider is a remarkable thing: weighing a perfectly distributed 550kg and powered by a 93hp in-line four engine, revving all the way to 8,500rpm(!), it is a viscerally raw experience, particularly in such appalling conditions. The 5-speed crash gearbox, drum brakes and lack of seatbelts all took some getting used to, but grasping the string-wrapped wheel, squinting against the rain and dipping my right foot, I don't think I've ever had a bigger smile on my face as the engine howled its way up through the revs. The fastest, longest, prettiest or most engaging drive? Perhaps not. But most memorable? Absolutely.

Sam - Alfa Romeo GTAm at Goodwood FOS
My schedule at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed was so jam-packed that I hadn't expected to be able to drive anything up the hill. So when a few minutes of free time arose at exactly the moment Alfa Romeo's stunning GTAm became free for a journo to have a go, I felt like it was my first day in the job again. Strapped into its paired-back cabin (complete with original ashtray!), a mechanic shouted through the door for me to "give ita lota revsa" - or something along those lines - before I turned the key and it fired up with a deafening roar. It'll choke up at anything less than 3,000rpm so I had to be aggressive, which was no problem because the hellish growl of the little 1,750cc four-cylinder was unbelievable, while the very obvious adjustability of the tiny chassis was slightly terrifying. But I was behind the wheel of a glorious vintage racer at one of the world's most spectacular car events. That one-minute made all the unpaid overtime worth it.

Matt P - Route 66 in a Honda NSX
Monument Valley is on Route 66 in the same way that the Peak District is on the M25, but for this feature we want photographs of it anyway. At dawn. It's spring and dawn is early, so I've got us down for a 3:30am start. Then, as I'm bunking down after an 18 hour drive day, I check the map one last time and realise we're a time zone westward. We need a 2:30am start. It's cold. It's dark. I don't know the roads but I do know we might hit a large animal on them. And although it's the greatest job in the world and America and an Acura NSX and I love them all, I'd take being in bed instead. But three hours later the sun is pouring across the best landscape I've ever seen and outstanding photos are being taken, and two hours after that, I'm driving again, through it, in daylight, in a terrific car, and I'm awake, with good company, and there's no traffic, and everything, just everything, is right with the world.

Mike - Alpine to the Alps
I'm always a bit sceptical when it comes to 'Best Thing Ever' reviews of a shiny new product. My reaction to the overwhelmingly positive coverage that the new Alpine A110 got when it was introduced was to wonder if anything could possibly live up to the radioactive hype. I had to wait a few months to have a turn myself, with a drive to the far side of France and a run over a couple of the taller passes. Do you see what I did there? The long Autoroute schlep felt short on comfort. You don't buy an A110 for toys and the fixed-back seats of the launch edition car were starting to bite after a few hours. But the Alpine road itself - the Col de la Bonette - turned it appropriately epic, the A110 proving itself to be pretty much the perfect sports car: grippy, adjustable and more than fast enough to make a tight-fitting mountain pass seem truly thrilling. Heading up for the second time I put Matt Monro's On Days Like These on repeat and turned it into the opening of The Italian Job.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (9) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Esceptico 24 Dec 2018

    My best drive of the year was after picking up my 997 in January from Porsche Cardiff as spent the next day and a half with friends in North Wales. Unfortunately that was about the only decent drive I’ve managed all year!

  • flowman 24 Dec 2018

    Thanks to you guys for churning out these articles day after day all year round, even on Christmas Eve. It’s part of my daily routine to check in with PH and read your latest contributions. The “Most Memorable Drives” article shows you have your share of fun for all the hard work you put in and I think you earn it. Happy Christmas, enjoy the break and look forward to what 2019 has to bring.

    Edited by flowman on Monday 24th December 08:56

  • sideways man 24 Dec 2018

    You also get paid, in addition to driving these great cars?

    Actually, I’m jealous of the job you guys do.
    Thanks for all the great articles, really hope the standard stays as high in view of the change of owners.

    Merrry Christmas to all at PH, here’s to another great year ahead.

  • pSyCoSiS 24 Dec 2018

    Another excellent and enjoyable read. Great work as always.

    Season's Greetings to all.

  • downsman 24 Dec 2018

    They all sound like great drives, but as a reader, the wet Cheddar run in the Atom and Caterham stood out as a particularly memorable article.

    Keep up the good work in 2019 smile

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