Adam Hay-Nicholls drives the McLaren Senna to East Anglia in search of something else very light and expensive.Continue reading
The year was 1982. The British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, rerouted an RAF Hercules over foreign territory and requested the scrambling of jets and choppers and ground troops. The diplomatic cables burned back-and-forth. President Reagan expressed concern. The situation was desperate.
From Calais to Paris to Provence, Adam Hay-Nicholls puts the new Audi R8 through its paces on some hair-raising ribbons of tarmac.
I’m bombing across the chartreuse-coloured hills behind East Devon’s Jurassic Coast. My destination is the dining table of top chef Michael Caines and, as I like to match my vehicles with whatever’s in store for the knife and fork, I have chosen the Range Rover Velar for the journey: A luxurious status symbol steeped in country cred, but one which is silkily contemporary and reductionist from every angle.
GQ is in Sölden, Austria, 3048 metres above sea level and inside the summit of the Gaislachkogl Mountain. The slate grey entrance door is concealed against the side of the cliff face, and as it swings ajar it triggers the searing horns, piano and strings of Writing’s On The Wall, the opening theme to James Bond’s 24th mission.
My wild Indonesian beach horse had a split personality. We headed to the tip of the three-mile-long Nihiwatu beach, me giving the animal polite but firm kicks to the ribs, yet it refused to so much as trot or go near the water. Then, and I knew this was going to happen, once we turned around and it saw where it lived it went, in two-wheeled terms, from being a push bike to a Ducati 1299 Superleggera. It went faster than anything I’ve seen at Ascot. It rode through the surge of the Indian Ocean, which was fun for the first mile. But as I pulled on the reins, and the nag refused to heel, the cartilage in my back went on strike and it felt like nails were being hammered into my spine. So, there I am, flat-out aboard one tonne of pot roast, and I see a couple on a romantic sunset stroll. Rather than scream HELP I decided to grit my teeth and try to look cavalier as I galloped past, leaning backwards ever further, knowing that at the end of the beach was a huge infinity pool and no way round it. Finally, as the frontier of sunbathers appeared, it slammed on its anchors, pulled a 90-degree left into its stable and, shaking and sweating, I prized myself off its saddle and gingerly slipped off.
Velaa Private Island, in the Maldives, is a resort for billionaires by billionaires. Where else, in addition to the standard private pool and butler, does the hotel provide a personal submarine? Welcome to the real James Bond island.
As I thunder north up the M6, I am fulfilling a mission 30 years in the making. I’m at the wheel of a Jag and the destination is Uncle Monty’s cottage. I am re-enacting Withnail & I. Continue reading
Cliveden House: An estate synonymous with the swinging Sixties; of power, sex, class, beauty, and the corruption of the British establishment itself. An Aston Martin seemed the perfect car with which to visit.