Dom Joly: Driving ambitions

Dom Joly's next car?

Dom Joly's next car? - Credit: Archant

My old Land Rover Discovery lies dying, and it’s time to move on...

My car is dying. I think it might be time to move on but I am overly attached to my Land Rover Discovery - a rare success story in my history of car purchases.

I love cars but am by no means a petrol-head. My very first was a convertible. Sadly it was a Citroen Diane which, although rather wonderful, was not the lady magnet I longed for in my early twenties.

In the early Nineties I bought a White Golf GTi convertible from a man behind Fullers Brewery for cash. I drove it out to Prague where I had just got a posting as a diplomat. When I got there, six months after the Velvet Revolution, I discovered that I was the owner of the only convertible in the country. This gave me quite a lot of kudos points. Sadly, I received a letter from England informing me that my car had been on hire purchase and was considered stolen. I now had the only dodgy convertible in Czechoslovakia. It came to a sad end in Poland after I slid on some ice and hit a tree near Krakow. The tree survived. The car didn’t.

My next purchase was quite some time later. Trigger Happy TV had hit UK screens and been a big hit. With my first DVD royalties I wandered into a BMW showroom in Holland Park and bought a 330ci. It was fast- crazy fast and absolutely wonderful to drive. Like all my cars I had it de-badged so it was impossible to know what it was. It was not flashy, drew no attention from passers by but took almost anybody at the lights. It was heaven.

Sadly, our relationship came to an end five years later on my fifth wedding anniversary. I was driving back from London and had just reached Oxford. As I came to a halt at some traffic lights I looked into the rear-view mirror and saw a small car hurtling towards me with no intention of stopping. The crash was pretty bad and I got out of the vehicle a little stunned. Unbelievably, two students got out of their vehicle unharmed. When they spotted me, there was a weird moment when they hoped that somehow this was one of my TV pranks and that everything would end up fine. It wasn’t and it didn’t. I was livid and another car was in the great car park in the sky.

I then went a bit country and bought a succession of Range Rovers that all broke down constantly. I once had a man come out to try to fix yet another problem.

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“Have you taken this off-road?” He asked, looking concerned.

I nodded and admitted that I had taken it down a track behind the farm that was a touch bumpy.

“Ah, that will have done it - they don’t like doing that...” I sold my Range Rover the next day and have never been interested in them since.

Then there was a brief mid-life crisis when I bought a Porsche. I don’t really want to talk about it. I hated suddenly belonging to this weird club of tossers who would give me the thumbs up at traffic lights. After a trip around America I bought a pick-up truck. In America they are wonderful, practical and cool. In the UK, you end up being mistaken for Jodie Marsh.

Then there was the executive-style Jaguar that I loved but made all the kids sea-sick and gave off the air of a tax-dodging City banker which is not a good look in these times.

You get the point. I’m a bit confused in my choice of car.

When I bought the Land Rover Discovery I felt like something clicked. It was way more reliable than the Range Rover. It did everything I needed from school bus, to mobile kennel, to family road trip vehicle.

But now it lies dying and it’s time to move on. The new Discovery is an abomination. It looks like a family people wagon so I won’t be venturing there. Maybe it’s time for me to go electric… maybe a Tesla? No, I might be an idiot but I’m not that kind of idiot. The search continues.

Follow Dom on Twitter! @domjoly