Everyone* remembers Richard Hammond yelling “I am a driving god!” when being more than usually exuberant in a Bowler Wildcat. He was hooning around somewhere. It might have been a quarry. Whenever the Beeb does anything with stretches plausibility, there’s a quarry involved. Okay, it’s usually a Dr Who set and there really isn’t the budget for proper SFX but my point stands. Richard Hammond as a deity of any kind is as likely as an alien invasion somewhere where they used to blast big bits of rock out of the ground. It’s just about possible, but unlikely.
Having said all that, I’m now going to say “I am a driving god!” Hammond made his spurious claim on the back of conducting a very silly off-roader stupidly quickly. My own claim is because the front tyres on my Skoda Octavia have finally been changed at 38,600-odd miles after just over a year of driving. I am therefore the driving god of tedium. I’m not proud; I’ll take that. Thank you. Kwik-Fit did the business for me yesterday at the third time of asking having turned me away at 19,000 and 32,000 miles respectively because the tyres weren’t quite worn enough. I have a feeling that had I been paying for them instead of the lovely people at Lex, I wouldn’t have made it out of the service centre on the second occasion at least without forking out some cash, but there you go. I am so light on my feet that I can do roughly three times the average annual mileage on one set of front tyres before I need to replace them. Jenson Button could take lessons from me.
Oh, and the rears still have 6mm of tread and haven’t been changed yet either. This miracle rubber comes from Continental and isn’t some horrid, hard compound. The car grips nicely and is as responsive to steering inputs as you’d expect a sensible Czech car for sensible people to be. The road noise is acceptable. The tyres were so good that I wanted another set just like them to go back on the front but I have Bridgestones now. I hate the tyre tests Autocar and evo do each year so I’m not going to go on about them much more.
If I were a proper car bore, I’d have noted the exact spec of the tyre so I could tell you. I’m not. We driving gods don’t bother with the details. That’s for the little people. We’re just here to give you the big picture in broad brush strokes and in this case I have to admit to greatness. Skoda and Continental no doubt played small parts, but the credit is mostly mine. Obviously. Also, it’s pissing it down now and I’m not going to go out in the rain just to take down the details of the tyres. Life is too short to spend any of it caring about tyres when you could be bragging about how long you got a set to last.
Vindis in Cambridge gave the Octavia its second service today and did remarkably little to it. No work needed on the brakes, just a change of filters and fluids. The longest and hardest job they had was probably washing it. I’d left it filthy. I’d forgotten what a nice colour it is too. They needed to do a ‘product enhancement’ thing to it but couldn’t because their magic product enhancing machine was broken and they couldn’t fix it in time. I’ve booked it back in for them to take care of that in a couple of weeks. If I don’t have it done, it’s possible that my horn will fail suddenly. I’m not Italian, so I don’t really care about my horn but I’ll have it done anyway since the nice lady asked me so nicely. She’s nice, that lady.
So, the Octavia rolls quietly and unassumingly on. I still love it to bits and would happily have another when I have to change it in a couple of years. It’s the Tonto to my Lone Ranger but without the accidental racism. It’s the Robin to my Batman without even a moment of comedy homo-eroticism. It’s the… You get the idea. My only worry is that the Octavia might no longer be in production when the time comes for a new one and the next one won’t be as good. VW maybe wouldn’t like it if it continues to be a Golf for even more sensible people. Or for particularly parsimonious driving gods.
*Everyone who’s really sad, that is.