Not JUST a pretty car, lady

2012-08-01 00:00

“IT was the pitying smiles from all the women that made me do it, Your Honour, really it was.”

That will be my defence, should Jaguar ask about the crowd-thrilling celebrity figure 8 the XKR convertible and the Toyota 86 each got to make at the past weekend’s sell-out spinning event at Mason’s Mill.

Co-organiser of hosting club Sidewayz, Michael Chetty, told The Witness yesterday that more than 9 000 petrolheads came from as far as Durban to gasp at the freestyle stunts demonstrated by some 80 of SA’s top spinners who competed in the national event.

Sidewayz events at Mason’s Mill are unique in that they are free to anyone who walks in from neighbouring Edendale. “It is part of the club’s effort to encourage motor sport to grow among community,” said Chetty. But back to the XKR and that “celebrity” figure 8.

There I was, parked all nice and civilised behind the grandstand with the R1,8 million car that Jaguar’s fleet manager had entrusted to me for the weekend.

I was doing what the trade calls a “static display”. In practice it means smiling a lot and every now and again taking your rag to wipe off the fatty marks left by the last gawker.

I was telling someone how this third generation V8 would pull 220 km/h as quick as you can flick the paddles and then still pull like a train until you reach the electronic 300 km/h limiter.

The active diff and even more active electronic stability programme means you won’t lose it in every corner either.

Next to me was the other celeb car of the day, the new, nifty-looking Toyota 86, itself a vehicle made to burn rubber.

Deon Oliver, dealer principal at Toyota in Pietermaritzburg. was chatting to a grey-headed gearhead who had already ordered an 86.

A few of the younger spinners were ribbing the buyer that it was a car a man buys when he has a midlife crisis.

“So what! I can’t afford a Porsche, so I ordered an 86, you know?” he joked back.

I noticed, meanwhile, how their girlfriends would shoot a glance at the XKR in its sleek, top-down glory, and then send a certain ... um … measuring glance my way. Followed by that pitying smile.

Which is when I literally lost my polishing rag and delegated a driver to show the crowd that the XKR is much more than a compensator.

The delegated driver was necessary because I had not paid the R1 000 licence to the Motor Sport South Africa to compete in a national event.

With the R79 700 soft top folded down, we went to make smoke. Nothing like the spinners who danced on their car roofs or polished the bonnets of their straining engines, but enough to earn the Jag a lot of street cred among all the spinning fans.

Before you can make smoke, you have to know how to switch off that anti-slip regulation. (It takes a while, and for the protection of both yourself and the Jag’s tyres, you will have to watch Top Gear to learn how it’s done.)

The XKR proved itself to be such a magnificent drifter that it earned the undying devotion of the young spinner, who now wants to grow up quickly so that he can make his fortune, have his midlife crisis and buy one. This despite my pointing out the merits of the stronger BMW M6 convertible, which is also some R400 000 cheaper, and even the E500 Merc, which, while not nearly as sexy, costs half the price for the almost the same torque (and none of those pitying smiles).

For the ladies, of course the XKR is a car that compensates for something — in my case, it more than made up for a delayed start to a happy childhood.

And that is exactly the joy of this convertible: It can and does make up for anything that may be lacking in your life.

Some numbers:

Price: R1 834100

Engine: 4,4 Supercharged AJV8

Power: 405 kW.

Torque: 680 Nm.

Best consumption: 8 km/litre (12/100)

Worst consumption: Let’s not go there.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.