Alexei Sayle: I would love to design a bespoke motor car

Once I get my hands on all that oil money, I'll pay Gruppo Fiat to do a special Maserati 4200 GT

As a noted motoring journalist, I am most often asked the question: "Having driven all the latest models, what car would you choose for yourself?" This is not easy for me to answer, since there always seems to be something a bit wrong with every car I try. Would I buy a big S-Class or 7 Series? To me, if you drive a large four-door Merc or BMW, there's always a chance you're going to be mistaken for a limo driver. The only way around this is to have the car in some gruesome colour such as yellow or purple and then people just think you've got no taste. Four-wheel drives are out for the obvious eco reasons. Frankly, I can't see myself in a hatchback, or as Niles Crane memorably described one he'd been lent in Frazier, "a hunchback".

Two-door coupés are the obvious vehicle of choice for deluded, childless, middle-aged men such as myself, but even here there are problems with which brand to buy. I don't like the various coupé offerings from Mercedes or BMW, and Jaguars and Porsches are too cramped in the back with no boot space. The nearest to perfection for me is the Maserati 4200 GT, because it's a proper four-seater with a decent-sized boot, but the downside of that car is that its engine is ridiculously thirsty, offering less than 15 miles per gallon in normal use - and its got no proper automatic gearbox.

In the end I think the Sultan of Brunei had the right idea. What he and his profligate brother Prince Jefri used to do was to commission Rolls-Royce and Bentley - when they were still one company - to make them special one-off vehicles. He had a Rolls-Royce estate that looked remarkably good, a six-door Silver Spur, and quite a few Bentley Continental four-door estates.

Of course, it was a sign of the tackiness of the Sultan and Prince Jefri that they mostly had custom-built Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, but I think it would be much more interesting to redesign other models. While at the moment I clearly don't have the money to act like the Sultan of Brunei (and neither does he these days), I hope to be very rich soon. I can now reveal that in that recent failed coup in Africa, alleged to involve various old Etonians and Mark Thatcher, the plotters were hoping to install me as the new ruler of Equatorial Guinea. The reason they chose me was because, as the leading anti-Thatcherite comedian of the 1980s, I'd be the last person anyone would ever suspect - brilliant, eh? So, though that attempt failed, we're going to try again and it's only a matter of time. Once I get my hands on all that oil money, the first thing I'll do on a fairly simple level is to pay Gruppo Fiat to do me a special Maserati 4200 GT. I'd tell them to sling the 4.2 engine and gearbox and drop in the Alfa 3.2 V6 out of the 166, with that car's auto box, so its more economical and less jerky to drive - or why not fit one of the excellent Fiat diesels? But if you're wasting money on cars, it's the bodywork you want to be screwing with. I seem to recall seeing sketches for a Rover 75 coupé, so I'll have one of those. And because I think it's got a beautifully shaped body, how about a two-door Alfa 166 coupé?

Or come to think of it, how about a classic car? I love the look of old cars but they're a nightmare to own because of their primitive mechanicals. I do remember, in the early 1990s meeting a young man, who was either a son of Terence Conran or a son of Laura Ashley. I can't remember which. Either way, he was a young fellow who seemed to have too much money. However, he had done quite an interesting thing. He'd taken the body and interior of my favourite car of all time, the Rover P5B Coupé, and bolted it to the slightly shortened chassis of a modern Range Rover, giving the car an up-to-date ride, fuel consumption and braking, while retaining the classic style. Another solution would be just to stop being such a prissy little git and buy a Ford Focus like everybody else.

Suggested Topics
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?