Ponk. Extensive investigation of the Oxford English Dictionary reveals no agreed spelling for the noise of a small stone impacting a human eyebrow at 60mph, so I’m staking a claim on ‘ponk’: a dull, boney thud accompanied by a bewildered look and, a few seconds later, a rapid flush of pain in the face region.
Kicked up by a Bentley’s rear tyre, the small lump of Scottish countryside that has just ponked my brow can’t dampen this too-perfect scene: clear dawn in the deserted Galloway Forest, fingers of mist hanging between pine trees, a trio of supercar convertibles scudding past the dark loch, drowning every ponk beneath 32 pistons and 1,620bhp of glorious, petrol noise. Overlaying the wide woofling whump of the Bentley GTC’s 6.0-litre W12 is the Aston Virage Volante’s mellifluous, multi-layered V12, cut through by the metallic thudding of the Mercedes SLS Roadster, the crunching throb of a helicopter being fed blades-first into an industrial woodchipper.
Words: Sam Philip
Photography: Joe Windsor-Williams
This article was first published in the January 2012 issue of Top Gear magazine