Everyone has the right to dream, and dream big, right? Mine have always closely involved cars, and one of them is owning a big garage with lots of interesting automobiles, from small hatchbacks to exotic supercars.
But since my other project - my band's debut album "When Dogs Howl" - is currently topping the charts in several countries, life has taken a turn for the much, much better. I've moved into a kick ass pad on Vittal Mallya Road, sipping on champagne when I'm thirsty, and getting used to other Notoriously extravagant luxuries. But I want new wheels, plenty of them, because the time is finally right to take things to the next level. The level of my 13-car garage, to be precise.
Let's go spend some money.
1. Mini Cooper S
Day one with my several millions, and I know I'm going to Britain. The first dent in my bank balance is going to be a pretty small one, compared to what's set to take place over the next couple of months or so. It involves braving the drizzle to hunt down an original red Mini Cooper S in pristine condition, and shipping it back home. With my favourite car in the whole world now in my name, my entry for the next Nandi Hill Climb (and city trips for groceries) will be more than taken care of. It's such a brilliant little machine, and all the hatchback I will ever need.
2. Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
Manual Transmission. Rear drive. 430 horses. Possibly the last stick-shift 911 ever. One of the world's longest manufactured and most iconic sports cars will find a way into my dream garage very easily, because a ‘proper' stick-shifting 911 has been parked in my heart for the longest time. This one'll have to come from Stuttgart though, since the 2015 GTS isn't available here. But come delivery day, and it's a call to the new supermodel girlfriend, and a long blast down NH7.
3. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude
It's week two, and both the Mini and the Porsche have been run in properly. So it's SUV time now, but not soft-roading gentle giants like so many of the so-called ‘proper' ones out there. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude will play to my SUV attitude nicely. And it's the long-wheelbase version so there's space for our future three good looking kids, while still being badass. So I'm off to the US now, since I'm wealthy and don't need to wait for it to be launched here. India will take care of the servicing eventually, when Jeep sets up shop here. See, it's all planned out.
4. Audi RS7 Sportback
The Unlimited unfortunately did not come with a warranty for India, and Indian customs made sure the gloss black rims got badly marked with the chains they ran through them to secure the car on the ship. Ah, well, the replacements will take around a week to come, so it's off to Audi Bangalore now, to pick up the highway stormer of my dreams that I booked before the US dash, the sexy RS7. Audi India Head Joe King personally flies down and hands over the keys and pats me on my back, such is my elevated status and high-value customer profile.
5. Nissan Sunny Truck/Datsun 1200
The RS7 came, and it's very nice and fast and all that, but I'm yearning for some oldschool lines again in my bungalow's 15-car parking. So fling some warm things into a suitcase and it's Osaka this time around, because a classmate working there will sort out a meeting with a Sunny Truck owner looking to pawn off this baby. It's an all-cash transaction, with a week in the country after to celebrate, of course. After all, I'm the proud owner of a bakkie now, as the South Africans call it.
6. Gumpert Apollo S
The Porsche 918 Spyder or the Gumpert Apollo S? That was the question. While the 918's obviously super desirable (and it's a Porsche...), I think I'd happily part ways with the more than the half a million greenbacks required for the comparatively ugly Gumpert, because it's the most involving supercar to take up to 300 km/h and beyond. Plain and simple. That's because very few exotics offer a manual transmission with a proper race-inspired sequential shifter. Yup, I'm spending well over 3 crores because I like the gear knob.
7. Lada Niva
Six beauties in two months. Not bad, but I'm far from done.
"Ma, I'm going to Moscow."
"To buy a car."
"You don't need one."
"No, six more."
The Lada Riva. A compact, tough, and extremely capable SUV that is good looking in its own functional way will be next on the list, for the private 100-acre estate in Coorg. A good chance for a selfie outside St. Basil's Cathedral for my 3 million Twitter followers and to replenish the bar back home with some good vodka too...
8. Lancia Stratos
It was hard locating a Stratos without a crash in its history, but I was lucky to find one through lanciastratos.com. So what if I'm uncomfortable, hot, and dropping plenty bricks when I drive it, but I now own a prime example of the planet's most exciting pieces of auto history. After all, only 500 units of the mental Group B rally racer are ‘said' to have been made, so actual numbers may be even less. I think even my extremely competitive neighbour Arjun will be supremely jealous - he thinks he's all that because he owns a Ford Focus WRC.
9. Morgan 3 Wheeler
I was to be in the UK again on Saturday - this time to buy the most beautiful set of three wheels in the world - the Morgan 3 Wheeler. My flight touched down in Birmingham Airport in the morning, and it was straight to the Morgan dealership at Pickersleigh Road in Malvern, Worcestershire, to drop a cheque off for 48 big ones. I checked my reflection out on one of the chromed rocker caps of the externally-mounted V-twin engine, and I was pleased.
10. Lotus Elise 220 Cup
I had promised myself that this UK trip would take only three days, to complete the purchase of the 3 Wheeler and organise the shipping back home. But I was told there was a Lotus dealership only around 100 miles away in Bedfordshire, and my flight's only in late night, so why not go check out the new 217-hp, 950-kilo Elise 220 Cup? Bad idea. I had signed along the dotted line again by six that evening, for the little orange beast you see alongside. No power to wait for such impressive power-to-weight. I know what, I'll tell the Missus that we saved on shipping since it was two this time...
11. BMW 1 Series M
It's been more than a month since the 3 Wheeler and the 220 Cup arrived, and I'm in Germany for a one-week tour with gigs in Berlin, Stuttgart and Munich. The shows went real great, our German fans howled along to most of the tracks knowledgeably and enthusiastically. But the moment I saw one on the autobahn, I knew I needed to have it. The BMW 1 Series M, with little over 6,000 units produced between 2011 and 2012, is as hardcore as ‘em compact cars come. So an additional 340 horses, a six-speed manual transmission and super-mean body kit are now housed in my 11th parking bay.
12. Land Rover Defender Black Pack
There are two parking spaces left, and I'm thinking what I know I shouldn't be thinking - how to fill them? But I'm still rich and famous, and will not settle till the last item on my wish list is in my possession - the Land Rover Defender. I thought at first I'd get an older model, but the Black Pack had my name on it ever since I laid eyes on it. I don't need permission any more too, since the Missus took off because apparently I'm way too childish, and never plan for the future. But I am planning for the future, just in all-wheel-drive mode...
13. Maruti Suzuki Alto?
"What, who, what...?"
"Get up and come to work, you useless bum. Partying again during the week?"
"Of course not."
I squeeze into my tiny bathroom, throw some water on my face, chuck on yesterday's jeans with a crushed t-shirt, and run down to the apartment parking. There they all are, all seven neighbours' vehicles, and my 2003 Alto. She coughs into life after the second crank, and it's back to the OneIndia office at Jayanagar on Thursday morning.
So the moral of the story is drink before you dream.