That the Sports Purpose collective tends to focus its attention on very special Porsches - usually old 911s - should come as no surprise. The clue is in the name, after all. Yet no matter how much we love them, our affections occasionally stray from the righteous path of Luftgekühlt.
So, in a change from our usual offerings, I thought it would be fun to list a few non-Porsche favourites. To add a bit of discipline to the process I’m restricting myself to road cars that I’ve driven. Alright, some might technically be road racers, but you get the gist. I’ve also narrowed my choice down to one car per-decade, from the Fifties through to the Nineties. I suppose you could say it’s my ultimate Five Car (Non Porsche) Garage. See what you think.
Of all eras the Fifties offer particularly rich pickings. Whilst I’m far from steeped in experience of cars from that decade, those I have tried are absolute belters. Cue much agonising over how I could resist picking a C or D Type Jag, especially as I drove the latter at Le Mans Classic. Likewise the notion of spurning an ex-Rob Walker 250 Short-Wheelbase seems like madness.
Truth is whenever I consider my favourite Fifties machine my heart always leads me to the Aston DB4 GT. Given it only just scrapes in means I’m perhaps being a little bit sneaky, but September 1959 is good enough for me.
From the shape and shortened-wheelbase, which is as tight, compact and pugilistic as a clenched fist, to the brassy snort and barrel-chested delivery of its twin-plug straight-6 and big bank of triple Webers hung from the side, it is the quintessential Aston Martin.
Of course if you’re more dialled-in to modern metal then you need to make allowances for how the GT steers and stops, but once you get adjusted it’s a fabulous thing to hustle. Sharper and more urgent than a regular DB4 it has definite road racer swagger, yet still works beautifully on a classic British B road. And, with skinny rubber and plenty of torque it’ll kid you into thinking you’re Roy Salvadori through every open corner. Bliss.
When I think about my favourite cars of the Sixties it’s not exotica to which I’m drawn, but tin tops with more humble origins. Specifically the Mini Cooper S, Lotus Cortina and Alfa GTA. I’ve raced examples of all three and find it incredibly hard to choose between them, for each is entirely different, yet when you’re behind the wheel you’d swear any one of them is the most enjoyable thing you’ve ever driven.