ALL CARS – from the Dacia Sandero to McLaren’s new 570GT – should be limited to a top whack of 90mph. Not my opinion, nor that of some Whitehall bureaucrat, but the man who got me into cars in the first place.
You’d like my dad. He’s not, contrary to popular rumour in the motoring world, the John Simister whose prose you’ll find running through the pages of Evo, Autocar and Practical Classics. But he is a petrolhead who loves an old Land Rover and would happily scour an autojumble looking for bits to keep it going.
Yet he put it to me only the other day that it’s pointless any of today’s cars being able to do more than 70mph. Perhaps, after a lot of persuading, he conceded they might have to crack 90mph in some one-in-a-million emergency situation, but no more than that. Not one measly mile an hour. Cars capable of that should be verboten.
Which is, of course, nonsense, and all you need to prove it is a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII FQ-300. It’s exactly the sort of car that appeals solely to speed freaks; the name might make it sound like your office’s next air conditioning system but it knocks out 300bhp and can hit 60mph in under five seconds. It also looks like a boring Japanese saloon and has an interior with more grey than a wet Monday morning in Manchester, so you’re definitely buying it for performance rather than its ability to impress pedestrians.
A mate of mine’s got one, and frequently reminds me it can hit 157mph. Impressive, but suggesting he’ll actually do that on the Formby bypass is a bit like suggesting I’ll go chopping down trees in the Formby pine woods if I buy a top-of-the-range chainsaw.
You can break the law with just about anything if you think creatively enough – but that doesn’t mean we should ban pillows, golf clubs or copies of Coldplay’s more recent albums. The Bugatti Chiron is only as illegal as the squishy bit of mush driving it, and to suggest otherwise is to take a dangerous step into the world of banning things because we might do something with them.
Sorry Dad, but my vote’s with the FQ-300 and appreciating cars for what they’re capable of, not what they’re limited to. Providing they’re driven at no more than 69.9mph, of course…