It was not me! I did not crash the Pagani Zonda. Yes, I know it crashed very near to where I live. Yes, I have been known to write road tests for magazines. A Pagani Zonda, like the one crashed in Aberdeenshire
But, no, I am not a race or rally champion. (I did once set a new class record on a hill climb and had minor success on a couple of club rallies, but that hardly counts as being a “champion driver”!)
There are probably more exotic motor cars in this area than anywhere else in the UK, thanks to Aberdeen being an oil centre second only to Houston. When the Jaguar XK220 came out, within days one was parked casually outside the local pub. More recently, shopping at Sainsbury’s, we parked in the bay next to a Ferrari F50. Just this week, at the first glimpse of sunshine, a brace of Lambo convertibles wafted past.
It is, however, quite amazing how this story has grown arms and legs. I now find it coming up on the internet with newspapers and blogs in the USA reporting the story.
I suppose the fact that it is Aviva’s biggest ever payout for a crash repair at a reported £300,000 has fired people’s imaginations.
Poor Sir Jackie Stewart got sucked into the story today, with The Press and Journal
newspaper running a story naming the former world champion as the “professional driver” who was behind the wheel when the Zonda spun into an Aberdeenshire telephone pole. His office, however, pointed out that he wasn’t even in the country last September when the accident happened!
Who was at the wheel? Well, I am not going to speculate. I had my share of notoriety some years ago, when I, too, crashed a road test car.
At that time I was presenting a motoring programme on the radio and my producer at the time spotted one of the Cadbury’s Creme Egg promotional vehicles parked at a hotel just doors from the radio station. He secured a drive for the programme.
At the appointed time I turned up for the ‘whacky’ road test.A Cadbury’s Creme Egg promotional vehicle © Suitov
At this point I will present the excuses and mitigating factors. The egg was created from a Suzuki (if I remember rightly) Rascal chassis. But, in order to get the round front, some of the controls and pedals had to be moved around.
I completed my high-speed test driving round the building at a dizzy 30 mph and was in the process of trying to park when my foot got jammed against the steering column. I was not able to extricate it in time when we rolled gently forwards into the back of what was instantly renamed as a Ford Eggscort.
The story was splashed across The Sun – slightly embellished to make it sound as though we were actually broadcasting on the air at the fateful moment.