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30 Aug 2017

This week we’re celebrating the slightly unusual, off the wall vehicles – the ones that don’t get too much publication but really should as they’re interesting, a little bit strange and certainly stand out from the crowd. Tim Pollard, Digital Editorial Director of Bauer Automotive who head up titles like Car Magazine and Parkers has written about the four choice of cars this week, here are his thoughts:

Polaris Slingshot SL

The Polaris Slingshot SL is a crazy-looking trike – we often see our colleagues over at Motorcycle News (MCN) testing wild bikes like this. I once did my CBT basic training on two wheels, but have never graduated to a proper bike licence. Not sure even the Slingshot can tempt me across.

VW California Ocean

Here’s another maximum lifestyle vehicle. You can’t move for these in Cornwall and Devon – the T5 camper mixes beach-cool with maximum utility. I just love the fact you can rock up at the coast, on a climbing trip or in a campsite, fiddle a few buttons and – presto – there’s your berth for the night.

So much easier than camping, it’s just a shame Californias are so expensive. Mind you, they hold their value remarkably well. It’s actually quite a safe investment in the long term...

Dodge Charger Hellcat

Classic American muscle. I mean, a saloon car with 707hp? Mad, furious, fast…. Everything a proper US muscle car should be.

Life would be boring if American cars converged too much with Europe’s finest. Here’s proof the differences remain as stark as ever.

Skoda Octavia vRS 245 DSG

Skoda retains a unique position in the market. I love the core proposition: more space than any rival; plentiful clever touches to make everyday life better; and attractive value, giving you more for your budget.

Add in the vRS moniker and you’ve then got a surprisingly rapid Q-car. No wonder they sell so many of them.

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And here’s a bit more about the man himself:

It may have been a Ferrari 288 GTO on Tim’s bedroom wall as he grew up, but ask him for his dream car now and the digital editorial director of both CAR magazine and Parkers is more circumspect.

“In this day and age, cars can be simply too quick for the road,” he says. “If you got into the very slowest McLaren nowadays you would think ‘how on earth am I going to keep my licence?’. So if I had to choose just one car it would probably be a small-capacity 981 Porsche Cayman. Something fun, affordable, but would keep me on the right side of the law!”

Pressed further, Tim revealed there was no such thing as a perfect car.

“It just doesn’t exist,” he says provocatively. “At Parkers our reviews have gone to a decimal star and there’s still no car to get a maximum of 5.0.

“Some have got close over the years and maybe a Golf GTi, MkV, VI or VII was up there, or a Tesla Model S which, every time I got into it gave me frisson of excitement as if I was looking at the future, but our job is to be critical in a positive sense. Our audience is incredibly discerning and we have to argue the case on every level.”

Although it was a glossy issue of Performance Car magazine that first hooked Tim into the world of motoring, he’s as inspired with the average and everyday as he is with the powerful and the insane.

“I’m just genuinely interested in every single aspect of motoring,” he explains. “The whole industry is fascinating, from Dieselgate through to electrification. Indeed, the pace of change is extraordinary - far greater than at any rate in the last 100 years, so it’s a tremendous time to be writing about it.”

Our time is short for that very reason, as Tim was about to rush off to see the launch of BMW’s new Z4. But I couldn’t let him go without asking about his more humble motoring days.

“I learned to drive in a Nissan Sunny which is pretty much on the bottom rung when it comes to instructor cars,” he laughs.

“I passed my test second time after being slightly ambitious with my first attempt, having had just a handful of lessons. My first car was an unripe tomato red Renault 5 but I loved it and appreciated it as much as anything I’ve had since, purely because my interest in cars is so broad.”

The brands he runs are equally broad and, as a result, are bucking the trend.

“We have a very discerning audience and they will pull us up on anything if it’s inaccurate which, thankfully, doesn’t happen very often. They like the quality, the photography, the design, the writing, and we are writing for them, which inevitably keeps our standards sky high.

“There’s a lot of competition out there in the digital world, with plenty of content given away for free, but our latest circulation figures have shown double-digit growth which is leading the industry and proves we’re doing something right.”

 

Don’t forget to buy your tickets for our Unusual Suspects right here

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