Nick Trott's final drive: my ultimate route and car

Published: 01 January 2009

In 1959 Stanley Kramer directed a film called ‘On The Beach’ – an adaptation of the book by Nevil Shute. Set in 1964, the film depicts a doomsday scenario whereby an atomic war has rendered the northern hemisphere uninhabitable.

Australia is the last country to succumb to the fallout, so with six months before the planet is poisoned the survivors on an American nuclear submarine head down under to play out their final days on earth.

One of the survivors, a scientist played by Fred Astaire, holds just one ambition before he faces the inevitable radioactive death – to race his Ferrari at the planet’s last ever Grand Prix.

And this got me thinking…

What, and where, would you drive if you knew your number was up?

Would you go for something small, exploitable and fast – a Clio Cup around Oulton Park perhaps? Or something wild and epic – an Enzo along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina?

The drive would have to impale all that we love about the car: the engineering brilliance, the interactivity, the sound, the performance. It would have to excite, thrill and stir the soul.

This would be it, after all; the final drive.

For me, it’d have to be a Lotus Elise across Route Napoleon then east into the Alps. The problem is, I love the sound of the internal combustion engine and as brilliant as the Lotus is, the four-cylinder motor – supercharged or not – sounds flat.

The ultimate engine noise? Surely a V12. With that in mind I’d take the V12 supercar Lotus doesn’t build – the Pagani Zonda. I’ve been lucky to drive the Zonda, and in these days of technozeitgeist Ferraris and bludgeoning Bugattis, it remains the truest supercar out there.

Yep, give me a standard Pagani Zonda C12 S 7.3 coupe, Route Napoleon and a sunny day. Horacio’s ubercar might even outrun the fallout…