Ollie Marriage, Motoring Editor, Top Gear Magazine
So, highlights of 2013. Driving the Nufenen Pass the day after it opened in an SLS Black, sheer snow walls 20 feet high on either side. Fulfilling a lifetime’s ambition and driving Moby Dick, the 845bhp 1978 Le Mans Porsche. A few weeks back, I drove the Porsche 918 Spyder and became very excited about the future, too. I’ve not long got back from the edge of the Sahara and you’ll soon be reading about that. And in a personal highlight that has diddly-squat to do with cars, I somehow blagged my way on to the Tour de France podium at the end of stage 16 and shook hands with all the riders in front of a crowd several thousand strong. That was bizarre.
But my best memory is a sheer-joy-of-driving type highlight. We were in Northern Scotland doing the Jaguar F-Type cover story. Because it was on tight turnaround Sam Philip and I stayed up at our lochside hotel to file our stories after everyone else had started to head home. It was bliss, best place in the world to write. We met for lunch. “Can I have the keys for the V6?” I asked him. “I thought you had them”, came the reply. Oh. I made a phone call. Paul Horrell had them. Paul, who had left three hours earlier. There was much swearing, apologizing and offering to drive back. Instead, I told him to find a trustworthy hotel and leave the keys at reception.
Then, at 5pm, when I’d filed my story I drove another F-Type (we had three…), the V6 S, the best one, from near-as-dammit the Isle of Skye, to the Ballachulish Hotel on Loch Linnhe some 80 miles away. I still reckon the A87 around Lochs Loyne and Garry is Britain’s best driving road and right there and then, with the F-Type so intoxicatingly new and exciting, beyond-stunning scenery and an exquisite road of rhythmic perfection, I found a higher plane of driving nirvana. So much so that on the way back I turned off and drove down the Old Military Road until the tarmac ran out at the Glenelg Ferry. I stopped and took this picture, then drove some more. And then some more. The 10th of April, that was a good day.