'Now, more than ever, we should draw on our collective love of cars and driving'

I can't wait to be sitting in a bloody great traffic jam, surrounded by humanity

Dickie Meaden opinion

We took so much for granted, didn’t we? The freedom to drive when and where we liked, just for the hell of it. The contentment of doing so on our own or the shared fun of a convoy with a group of mates. The satisfying ritual of using a favourite pub or restaurant as a waypoint, or a hastily grabbed road tester’s banquet along with a tank of superunleaded. Now all this, and pretty much everything else deemed non-essential, is suspended.

So how do we get our fix from now on? Well, it seems it’s not so much necessity as adversity that’s proving to be the mother of invention. First and foremost, you can rest assured we will be working hard to create fresh evo content to consume. We’ve come up with some themes and ideas that are deliverable during lockdown and which we’re sure you’ll enjoy, so stick with us and watch this space. If you’re not a subscriber and are struggling to get out and buy a copy of the magazine, then please stay safe and take out a subscription so evo comes to you. Alternatively, you might like to consider the electronic version of the magazine for a ready supply of four-wheel escapism.

> British drivers being caught at ‘excessive speeds’ during Covid-19 lockdown

Social media can be a bit of a cesspit, but if you stick to the straight and narrow there are some tremendously creative and entertaining people out there. If you’ve got Netflix, then I can thoroughly recommend the documentaries Uppity: The Willy T Ribbs Story, A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story and Shelby American. Or if you want to lose yourself in a podcast for a few hours then head to collectingcars.com/podcasts, where you’ll find a trove of chats with legends such as Martin Brundle and farmer/influencer Harry Metcalfe.

Compared to the distressing scourge of coronavirus, not being able to get out and enjoy our cars is a trivial inconvenience. But in a strange and somewhat unexpected way it takes the upending of our individual routines to confirm the severity of what we’re in the midst of. I used to dream of deserted roads. Now I can’t wait to be sitting in a bloody great traffic jam, surrounded by humanity.

We shot issue 273's 600LT and DBS cover stars a week or so before the first lockdown. We’d headed for the Pennines and Yorkshire Dales, and roads I know well but hadn’t visited for many, many years. Since Performance Car, in fact. It was a fabulous couple of days. Two remarkable cars, driven with considerable enthusiasm on some of the best roads in the UK. And in the company of colleagues I very much enjoy working with. It was a reminder of the things I cherish about my job, and what it is that makes the car-loving community such a great thing to be a part of.

It breaks my heart to think of what Italy and Spain – countries I’ve visited countless times over the last 25 years or so – are going through. None of us knows how long it’ll be before we can return, but return we most definitely will. To show our support to those beleaguered nations, to clear our heads and to enjoy our cars. And you know what? The pasta will never have tasted better, that cold cerveza never more refreshing, the warmth of the sun and the rhythm of the roads a perfect celebration of life and the things we love to do.

Right now, with the future uncertain and all our mornings characterised by that gnawing, nauseous sensation from deep within, it’s those vivid memories and hopeful plans – made with good friends and fun cars in happier times – that will help in no small way to sustain us through the weeks and months to come. So, stay safe and look after the people around you, but don’t be afraid to use cars as a means of escape. Or indeed connection. Not literally, please – you know the drill by now – but have some fun with it.

Today, and with the help of YouTube, I will be fuelling my current go-to fantasy of stealing an 812 Superfast and mentally re-enacting C’était un rendez-vous through the deserted streets of Paris. Maybe I’ll see you on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, just before dawn…  

This article was first published in issue 273.

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