Sometimes you, as an editor and enthusiast, are right on target. Take this past weekend. Photographer Spijker and I are making a report with two DAF 66 derivatives: a 1300 Marathon Coupé and a Volvo 66 GL Combi. On Sunday, I'll be driving a friend's new acquisition, the 318 BMW 2013i Touring, and on Monday, I'll be making my debut in a Ford Mach-E.
In the run-up to the report, I am having coffee with Frans. You know, right now he is quietly building a 2000 Nordmotor for his son's Giulia 1300 Super. Frans taught me new technical classic Alfa tricks. I follow that process for a report, and it gets really interesting. After this I drive to Leeuwarden, where Bart arrives with his Rover P5B Coupé and where two very proud 66 owners immerse us in their enthusiasm. Beautiful stories, a special genesis of the sympathy for products from the South of the Netherlands and the exchange of knowledge about the DAF models cannot possibly not enthuse enthusiasts. And you will notice that elation yourself while driving the 66 versions from Dutch soil. That remains something special.
Along the way you notice that patriotism has gained a lot of ground in an era of globalization. Everyone is happy with this. We were able to do this before. We used to think of this. That idea. Countless messages of sympathy are yours, and people want to know everything about the cars. Take a big step back in time yourself, because a classic in everything recalls the well-organized streetscape of yesteryear. And of course you no longer see a classic DAF on every street corner. Even the people who used to look bitterly at it love it. Because a DAF always told its own story. And a symbol is from a distant past. And that takes it to the modern today, in which the past oh so is popular. Whether you consciously experienced that past or not.
The Rover P5B Coupé by photographer Bart also breathes a lot of history. The Brit is a beautiful right-hand drive ode to an era when the world could still build the most beautiful cars in the world. This is one of them, the Rover V8 is a permanent resident of my top 10. This is civilization at the highest historical level. In addition, the Rover was the protagonist in a report for AMK in 2019. The “66” owners Cor and Ane are in for a great surprise when Bart asks them to take it for a spin. This rare car makes for a rare experience. Cor and Ane can credit him, and the fun just explodes. The realization that you have gained a driving impression in a rare classic of stature ensures that you have something beautiful to say and can share an experience that no one can take away from you. He's on the list. I can talk about it. So beautiful.
And then the next day. Two BMWs with two active drivers cut through the Frisian landscape. I am one of the drivers. And I feel like a cat in a strange warehouse. My Alfa heart beats emphatically within this category of cars. Also now. But I'm also an editor, so sentiments like this shouldn't be a hindrance. You take the black one my comrade Folkert says before the ride and so I drive a bit with the 318 i from 2013, a very late E91. No turbo, 143 purely atmospheric horsepower and a chassis that constantly whips you up. At the same time, the engine gives the idea that you have to keep the gas on, a peak torque of 190 Nm at 4.250 rpm requires that. The construction and the power development, however, are beautifully dosed with the excellent six-speed manual transmission. The thought that the first copies are now youngtimers strengthens my sympathy. This is still a pretty straightforward enthusiast's car with the modern options of today, but with the feeling of driving a real car. He is purer than any successor.
With that thought in mind, I wake up the next day, and I don't know yet that someone is going to fulfill a promise made to me. “We would still drive a bit with the Mach-E, right?” Yes, we would. And that happens. Welcome to the world of which I find the reporting and lobbying selective, the world of battery electric cars is not mine. But I'm too much of a steering wheel enthusiast to pass up this offer. Because of course I am curious about One Pedal Drive, 350 DIN-PK and the speed development that shoots up in one straight line. From zero to one hundred in five seconds. The Mach-E delivers on its promise.
I can tell you: this drives sensationally, the speed development is unbelievable with the Ford, which feels heavy, but drives less unwieldy than its curb weight of 2100 kilos suggests. Pressing the pedal also means that you accelerate proportionally and at lightning speed. And yet I miss that tangible torque build-up, the challenge of getting the most out of the engine capacity, adjusting the gear changes to the torque and speed, getting to know the gear ratios. Or play with it by depressing or lifting the pedal a little deeper, as in a DAF. Those are things that partly determine the character of a car for me.
But I enjoy being in the Ford, this car is impressive. Yet he excludes the feeling that you are in control. He takes a lot from you. He does that great. But this is an electric car. He communicates excellently, shows what he is doing. But I want to feel an engine. No clinical drivetrain to take over from you, I want to work with it. I want to notice that a car has been developed with love for design and mechanical engineering. I want to discover the character behind the historical character. That's why I love driving. And of cars, especially if they are classic or young timer. As great as the driving experience in the Mustang Mach-E is. Because there is no doubt that they will never take them from me again.