The gentleman patiently walking me through the controls of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage stopped mid-sentence and eyed me, as if he’d picked up on something in my body language. “Have you driven a supercar before?” My mind raced; I hadn’t. Seen supercars? Sure, I’d even had the pleasure of sitting in a few. But for perfectly good reasons: cost, liability, rarity, inexperience, my comprehensive lack of wealth or social status. No one had entrusted me with the keys before. “I’ve driven a number of clutchless manuals,” was about as far as I could get without lying to the guy who was about to grant me custody of an expensive vehicle for one day.
Since I was very young, I have loved cars. I drive a SAAB 9-3 Convertible in the summer and a four wheel drive BMW 530XI Touring in the slick of Switzerland winters. I love these two cars, the make my commuting fun.
But this is the Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
I love the short, brutal look, the noise it makes and especially the sportier, more engaged drive. There’s nothing quite like an Aston Martin. Other supercars may have the flash and growl to turn heads wherever they go, but Astons have a elegance that command the respect of those around them. James Bond drove an Aston — from the Sean Connery days to his more recent Daniel Craig incarnation — because nothing says classy cool like a V8 Vantage.
The motorways in Switzerland are ideal for supercar test drives and there are interesting itineraries that can be chalked out to discover the unexplored and some of the most beautiful sights in Europe.
A one day touring from Zurich in a supercar can take you to the Jura Mountains, medieval lakeside villages , cities steeped in centuries of history with breathtaking views and the next couple of hours I got a glimpse of some of the less explored territories in one of the swiftest and silent vehicle that goes from 0 to 100 Kms in mere 4 seconds.
I reach Bellizona and stop off for lunch. A man getting into his car next to me looks at the Aston Martin. “I’m sorry, but I have to say that it is a very nice car,” he says. I blush. “It’s not mine, I’ve hired it,” I explain. “It’s lovely.” “It’s scary,” I say. He looks at me funny and gets into his car.
I learn the most satisfying part of driving a beautiful car is returning to it. I realize, it’s not money that buys you happiness. Money buys you shiny cars, which in turn can give you a sort of happiness. By the time I arrive back in Zurich later in the afternoon I’ve come to terms with just how fun it is to drive a car that everybody envies. It’s true that about half the time, I felt like everyone was looking at me as if daddy gave me a seat on the board, but during the other half, I felt like a don. And for that feeling, which I know I’ll only ever be able to test drive and not buy, it was totally worth it.