Blog #7 The right car for the job

I should point out here and now that I really don’t care about cars. I drive a beat up Ford Laser, with more scratched and dented panels than there are pristine ones. It’s perpetually a bit grubby, and usually low on fuel. My car’s name is Nigel, and I wouldn’t change him for the world (ok, maybe if someone offered me a very cool retro red mini I might consider it), but I also wouldn’t take him up a ski field access road if you paid me.

For ski field roads you see, my philosophy on cars changes quite significantly. Gone is my ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude and fondness for all things a bit scruffy. No, when the access road comes into sight, I morph into a previously unknown creature whose primary concerns are traction control, tire grip and four-wheel-drive systems.

My thoughts are centred on cars this week because my boyfriend Dylan, who is far fonder of cars than I, has been considering selling his car. Now, this isn’t just any car. Dylan is the very proud owner of a bright orange Land Rover Discovery Trek named Riff Raff. It’s very large, very noticeable, very good on access roads, and very expensive to run.

For this last reason, the car did, for a while, find its way onto Trademe. I had a sneaking suspicion that it wouldn’t stay on there for long, and lo and behold, I was correct. A few weeks ago we drove it through the Lake Lyndon road, a notoriously challenging four-wheel-drive only road between Lake Lyndon and Lake Coleridge in Canterbury. This wasn’t on just any day, there had been 30cm of snow, and the road was technically closed. Naturally, being in a Land Rover, we got through with no worries at all. Also naturally, Dylan took this as a sign from above that he should not in fact sell his car.

I was initially a bit cross about this, having been wistfully dreaming of the holidays we could enjoy using the money that would otherwise be spent running the enormous orange beast. However, last weekend we drove up to Craigieburn in another huge snowfall, this time in our flatmate’s very old Subaru Legacy. I love Subaru’s, I do (as much as someone with no interest in cars can), but on Saturday I wasn’t so happy. I wanted ground clearance. I wanted traction control. I wanted an effective heating system. In short, I wanted a bright orange Land Rover called Riff Raff.