I spent a lot of time in California – Los Angeles especially – during my most impressionable years. And, in LA, you’re as handicapped as a mosquito without wings if you don’t have a car. Sure, you need one to get around, but it’s much more than merely a means of getting from A-to-B in the City of Angels. Sometimes, it seems as though the only thing that binds the massive urban sprawl that constitutes LA County is a shared interest in the automobile. So, for someone whose first word was ‘car,’ it was the perfect place to acquire a driver’s license for the first time – especially since coveted German classics were available for a relative pittance.
So it was a bit of a culture shock to return home in 2004, when India was ostensibly ‘shining,’ to find that the car culture here hadn’t really gotten off the ground – with the exception of a select few folks who had the means to indulge their passion. Things have moved relatively slowly over the past decade-and-some, but it seems like the foundations of a proper car culture have finally taken root.
The establishment of the Buddh International Circuit certainly helped, since it gave people in the North the chance to channel their inner Michael Schumacher (#KeepFightingMichael) in a controlled environment. But that’s only possible since we now have machines that can cut it on a racetrack. And I’m not talking only about the kinds of sports cars that you have to donate your left kidney to afford. No, I’m talking about the nine machines that we’ve featured on the cover of this issue. These are nine everyday cars that have been fettled and tweaked to rekindle the spark that lies deep within these ordinary, sensible family sedans and hatchbacks. And the key here is that you can keep both your kidneys in the process.
I have to say that I had an absolute blast putting this feature together. A special shout out to Vir Raina for making it happen, and a big thank you to the nine very sporting ‘genuine’ enthusiasts who brought along their coveted rides to be thrashed by me at the BIC. More than it just being a blast, it was an eye opening experience since it proved that you can actually have an enormous amount of ‘responsible’ fun behind the wheel of an automobile without having to donate any of your vital organs. So, if you have even an ounce of petrol in your veins, I urge you to read through our cover story this month. Oh, and check out the video too on our YouTube channel…