Countach. Rampage. Autozam. Citroen DS. GT4. Beetle. Ferrari. Lotus. Defender. Falcon. Lagonda. Delorean. Century. Spirit R. It’s been a wild, weird year, spanning everything from a tiny gullwinged kei car with 65 hp to a brand new be-decalled McLaren to the original Mercury Marquis from the original Hawaii 5-0.
Dodge Rampage? Or drive four hundred miles across Ohio just to look at an old brown Toyota wagon?Now, were this any ordinary best-of clip show, I’d just round up some of my best Final Drives from the past year and call it a day. That’d work just fine: do you know anybody else dumb enough to write an entire feature up on a collector-grade
Well, that’s me: Mr. Bad Idea. Thing is, there are a bunch of silly things I’ve done this year that have not surfaced on Autos.ca previously, for one reason or another. Here they are then, my five best drives of the year that you maybe haven’t heard about yet. We’ll start at the end, with a touch of frost.
Porsche Boxster Spyder
It’s fitting, I believe, to start with a car that is itself slightly wonky. When Porsche announced that they were going to stick the base 911’s 3.8L flat-six into first the Cayman and then the Boxster, every dyed-in-the-wool Zuffenhausen enthusiast leapt to their feet in applause. Then they announced the cars would be manual only and the pack really started foaming at the mouth.
I’ve driven both, and despite the giant Subaru STI-like wing on the back of the GT4, neatly obscuring vision like a poorly-placed park bench, at least that car’s a dedicated track special. The Boxster Spyder, on the other hand, is a very fast version of probably the most exhilarating Porsche, but one fitted with the dumbest convertible roof this side of a British Leyland product.
It’s powered – but only partially. You have to get out of the car to put it down. And, should you want to load something in the rear trunk, you have to open the roof. Total weight savings? Half an Olsen twin. Meanwhile, Mazda’s little MX-5 boasts one-handed simplicity that weighs even less and can be folded at a traffic light.
Did someone say British? First Drive: 2015 McLaren 650S
But why does the Spyder still make the list? Because of everything else. I cracked open that top with cold-numbed fingers a few weeks back, scraped the ice off the windshield and headed West towards Port Renfrew, up the coast of Vancouver Island. At this time of year, the tourists are all huddled away over their hot cocoa, but the sun was out and after ten kilometres, my pulse was thrapping in my ears like a metronome gone mad.
Over the sun-soaked ridges the Spyder danced, then dove into frost-coated hollows in a frenzied skittering, sliding and twitching and scuttling sideways. No radio. No cell signal. No room for anything but the howling fury of that big-hearted six on ice-rimed roads amongst a lichen-bearded forest. Chapped lips bled from the grinning, the coppery taste somehow appropriate for this pure-white apex predator. It was an exhausting drive, but somehow purifying to the soul.