In what car would you make one final drive? Thank Frankel it’s Friday

03rd April 2020
andrew_frankel_headshot.jpg Andrew Frankel

It’s strange the way this situation makes you think. When the lockdown was announced I thought it probably wouldn’t be that bad and might not last that long. That the government was putting before us the worst case scenario so no one is shocked if that’s what comes to pass and everyone is pleasantly surprised if it is not.


I don’t think that any more. The roads the deserted, the streets are empty. The only place of congregation is now the supermarket where frightened people pin themselves against the refrigeration units as you pass in an aisle that’s less than two metres wide. Outside my house and in my shed sit the cars I used to drive, all silent, quietly draining their batteries as the dust gathers.

It feels like the end of days. But, of course, it’s not. There will be plenty reading this who remember our cities turned to rubble and global catastrophe that lasted not a few months, but many years. And there is much to be learned from them: my in laws, both nearer 90 than 80, are unbelievably sanguine about the whole thing. Yes, they are completely isolated but they have each other, a garden to tend and limitless ways of communicating with their children, grandchildren and chums. They don’t feel hard done by, they feel blessed and think only of those less fortunate than themselves which, the way they tell it, is pretty much everyone. It’s inspiring stuff.

Even so, this morning I found myself awake in the small hours, haunted by the prospect of what might be, even if, in all probability, it never will. And in my 3:00am living nightmare, there was no more driving to be done. It was all over. We’d realised the error of our ways, and we’d all been set to work the land to support the agrarian economy of our future. You can see the way my mind works at such an uncivilised hour.

But, we were at least allowed a final farewell, a cigarette on the scaffold of our former existence. One car, one road, just once. And that would be that. What would you drive and where would you drive it?

It’s too easy to say a McLaren M1A at Goodwood (but have you seen Karun Chandhok’s lap in one? An object lesson in carrying speed and bending an absolute beast of a car to your will, you may never see a better lap of the circuit), but most of us would be too scared to attempt to wring its neck and the remainder too buried in the bank on the outside of Madgwick.

For me there are three candidates. One is personal: my father had a bitsa 4.5-litre Bentley that made him and his three sons happier than any other object on earth, and while he drove it across America, around South Africa and did several Mille Miglias in it, I was never happier than when rumbling through the wide open spaces of Brittany. I raced it once at the Le Mans Classic and it was pretty terrible to be honest, but the drive there and back was magical.

But really it’s a coin flip between a Porsche 911 GT3 RS – a second generation version of the 997 from around 2010, before it gained electric steering and an elongated wheelbase, and a Ferrari F40. The Porsche would be far more accessible, far less scary and a lot more comfortable on the way to and from the Scottish Highlands where I’d choose to have my final drive. It would also likely be far more capable when we got there and, I’d bet plenty, quicker from point to point too.


Which would make it a perfect choice for a drive in that part of the world. But for the drive? The last one of all? I’ll take the Ferrari thanks, and rip, scream and tear my way from coast to coast on what would then be entirely deserted roads. Because I’d know that even if they took away all the cars, they’d never be able to get that memory, and it would sustain me for the rest of my days.

Mountain image by Luke Stackpoole.

  • Porsche

  • 911

  • GT3 RS

  • Ferrari

  • F40

  • Bentley

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