Not all cars make you smile. Some make your heart beat faster, requiring heightened levels of focus and concentration to pilot. Some induce unashamed admiration for their advancement of automotive techno- logy, and some require you to doff your cap at fit-for-purpose pragmatic design.
One car, however, most certainly made me smile this month…By rights, it shouldn’t exist. The design has remained pretty much unaltered from the day it first rolled off the production line in 1948. It’s noisy, it wobbles, it has the aerodynamics of a shipping container and it is patently unsafe by modern standards. Yes, it has one of those newfangled CD- radio things, but it’s a pointless accessory you can’t hear anything when travelling faster than 100 km/h. And the driver’s seat is so close to the door that driving with your elbow out the window is a necessity rather than an attitude.
Nonetheless, when we got the call from reception informing us the 4×4 had arrived and was parked in our test garage, the whole team came down to have a look.
The last time that happened was when the BMW i8 arrived. A highly disputed game of rock/paper/scissors determined who got to drive it first. And driving it is like stepping through the stargate to a time when the world seemed friendlier and slower-paced. People wave at you when you drive past, fellow road users usher you into the space in front of them and it really does become all about the journey. Read about our final drive with the iconic vehicle on page 58.