Pilfering on Performance Car of the Year

Published: 24 September 2008

Mark Bramley’s got my umbrella. Other than that, most of my possessions appear to be intact. No mean feat for a four-day Performance Car of the Year caper. Usually you can expect to lose everything from your iPod to your shoes, your bags, your cameras etc – an inevitable consequence of changing cars on average 29 times a day for a week (although in fairness you usually find yourself in possession of several new bags, cameras, iPods, etc by way of compensation when you get home).

Before this year’s PCOTY I did not own an iPod. Now I have two, plus a hat, some damp shoes, half a packet of imperial mints and a video camera with tripod.

The redistribution of wealth is a side-effect of events such as these, which from a logistics viewpoint make the Olympics opening ceremony look like a game of Scrabble. It’s amazingly hard to keep it all together.

As the official (and let’s face it, self-appointed) keeper of the keys, it’s my job to keep the cars in close proximity to the increasingly over-designed devices that start them up.

I even have a little cloth bag (left over from a recent pair of Chelsea boots) to keep them in. This allows me to behave like a cross between an over officious schoolmaster and a sort of automotive Easter bunny – handing out favours to excitable motoring journalists on the condition that they behave themselves.

But, simple though it is, it NEVER WORKS – partly because people are programmed to take the keys with them when they leave a car, and partly because on the first occasion somebody actually remembered to leave the keys in the Jaguar, it locked itself with the key inside. After which nobody trusted anything, not even me.

Anyway, like Fight Club, there are some basic rules of PCOTY, as follows:

1 – At any given time, any car will always be at least 1.4 miles away from where it is needed

2 – It will have no fuel

3 – The keys are in Chris Chilton’s pocket, and he’s in Snowdonia, driving something else

4 – The sandwiches are also in Snowdonia, but you are in Anglesey

5 – There is one walkie-talkie per car on average, but unfortunately eight of these are in the RS6, five are in the Porsche, one is lying in two inches of water in the KTM footwell and one is mysteriously lost (and will never be found)

6 – Has anybody seen the Ariel Atom’s allen key?

7 – Next year it will be better

And speaking of next year, we’re thinking of inviting one of you along to PCOTY 2009 in order to enjoy the fun and confirm that the above is broadly true. Bring a nice umbrella – Mark Bramley’s got mine.

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Performance car of the year 2008




By Greg Fountain

CAR's former managing editor, editor, caption chiseller, noticer of ironies