I always said to myself that one day I would buy my dream car: A Nissan Z-car. I never thought I would be 23 years old. When I was younger I saw the Nissan 350Z in Need for Speed Underground 2 (For my generation racing games are a big influence on car desires) and I loved how it looked. Then later Nissan released the 370Z and liked it even more, and from then on it was my dream car.
A Nissan is an odd choice for a dream car; of course I wouldn’t say no to a Ferrari 458, Lamborghini Huracán or an Audi R8. But a Datsun? You can say ‘I drive a Porsche’ and people understand you drive a nice car, but ‘I drive a Nissan’ needs to be suffixed with ‘370Z. It’s a two-seater coupé with over 300 horsepower’. Even then you may get some blank looks.
For me that’s the most important thing about the car. It’s all about the car and the driver; how it looks when you walk up to it, how it feels when you sit in it, what it’s like to drive, and what makes it special. It’s not about the fact that it’s a Porsche, or a Ferrari, or even a BMW. It is an honest car following a simple but effective formula. A powerful naturally aspirated (no turbo or supercharger) engine at the front, power to the rear wheels, and a smiling person in between. That’s why I always wanted one.
People say it’s important to pursue your dreams; you only live once. But at the same time you’re encouraged to make rational decisions; be sensible with money. But in order to pursue an expensive dream rationally, you need to be extremely comfortable financially for those two ideals to hold true. And that’s very unlikely! I’m not saying you should buy what you can’t afford, but with something as fundamentally ‘unnecessary’ as a sports car there’s always going to be something more rational you can spend your money on. If you want a nice car, and you’re not made of money, you have to let that rationality go. With encouragement from my wife (who is the best at making me question why I’m holding back on doing something), I managed to do just that.
I was reluctant to go to a private seller, instead focusing my search on dealerships and accepting that I would probably have to travel across the country to find the right car. I also wanted a bright colour; if you’re going to have something fancy, it should stand out!
But when a Black Edition — a combination of exterior and interior trim produced for the 30th anniversary of the Z car, limited to only 370 (!) examples — appeared for sale just 2 miles away, I had to once again let some rationality go and at least have a look. With a knowledgeable friend in tow, and an AA vehicle inspection to put my mind at rest (the inspector seemed bemused given the nature of the car and how new it was), it was mine in less than 2 weeks.
The Black Edition (‘Anniversary Edition’ in the States, and on the rear badge) is not the bright colour I wanted, but it won me over with its uniqueness. The red leather interior is exclusive to the Black Edition, and the quartz paint is only on half of the Black Editions (the rest are completely black), of which only half are in this country. So this combination is one of about 100 in the UK, and that makes up for it not being bright blue.
I could go on forever about this car (some may argue I already have), but what about general ownership?
The dominating feeling, which does not necessarily apply to everyone, is a feeling of not driving it enough. I don’t commute by car, it’s not practical, and our drive is only 1 car-width wide so taking it out usually requires shuffling cars. Any excuse to take it for a drive and I have to try and take it. Even after adding several thousand miles to the clock (mostly through long journeys) I’m still learning all the driving nuances. If anything this just confirms that buying it sooner rather than later was the right thing to do.
Next is the general anxiety. Anxiety about something breaking (irrational; they are known for reliability), parking (you start to notice other nice cars parked in the corners of car parks too), scuffing the alloys (I’ve avoided it so far!), when you’re next going to drive it (see above), speed bumps, stone chips, bird poo, looking after the leather, dust in the wind, tyre pressure, tyre wear…the list goes on. I’m not saying all these things are exclusive to sports cars (though Antonia’s Vauxhall Corsa is not fazed by speed bumps!). Anyone proud of their car is going to experience similar anxiety. Much like overcoming the cost of purchase and upkeep, you have to overcome these feelings otherwise you will never use it for what it was intended for.
Fundamentally, this comes down to desires vs. rationality again. You can come up with hundreds of negatives: ‘I wont drive it often’, ‘I’ll be worried about it all the time’, ‘It’s going to cost a fortune in petrol’, ‘What if something expensive breaks?’, ‘I’m contributing to oil running out’ and really only one positive: ‘I will love it, it’s my dream’. You can use hundreds of words to construct a list of negatives, but it’s quite hard to describe why it feels so fulfilling to climb in to the driver’s seat, depress the clutch, press the ‘Engine Start/Stop’ button, and feel the whole car rock side to side as the engine roars to life as you watch the needles fly around the dials before coming back to rest.
I think that feeling has taught me something. It’s taught me that you can’t always justify decisions, but that doesn’t mean you’ll regret them. Pursue your dreams even if it seems crazy; enjoy it.
1: Regarding pride and anxiety: I particularly don’t believe that expensive cars (mine isn’t, relatively speaking!) deserve better treatment by others. If you are proud of your car and it means a lot to you, you have every right to be hesitant about putting it in a risky situation, and I have every respect for you. I do not think that a Ferrari deserves more careful treatment in Tesco car park than someone’s much-loved Golf TDI, or well-worn Mercedes. And if you have a Ferrari I don’t think you’re entitled to expect that any more than anyone else! But I do think people should be more careful opening their car doors. Respect other people’s property, whatever it is worth.
2: Depending on your personality, another positive may be ‘I can’t give anyone a lift’!