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The F word

It’s got to be tough being Gordon Ramsey. World famous chef. World famous TV celebrity. And as we know, not afraid of speaking his mind. But behind all that front, you have to ask yourself, is he happy?

Er, well, the answer we suspect is yes.

It doesn’t take a mastermind to figure out that a guy who owns two (yes two) Ferrari La Ferraris, plus a few other masterpieces from Maranello, might just crack a smile every time he walks into his garage. Unlike us more ordinary folk whose main thought is, “Will it start?” (assuming of course you’ve got a garage to begin with).

But we’re not jealous. Rather we’re pleased to see he’s obviously a petrolhead at heart and spending his money wisely.

Now if you had a few million burning a hole in your pocket in 2016, there were quite a few ways to lighten your wallet, apart from the previously mentioned Ferrari La Ferrari. In fact Ferrari really did seem to be doing their best to relieve you of your hard earned and the one that really caught our eye was the last to be released. The 275 rw Competizione. It was like they’d picked all the best bits of the 1960s back catalogue of sports racers, put them in a time machine blender and hey presto. Instant classic.



But for those of us whose pockets are of more modest proportions, 2016 wasn’t a bad year either.

First off, the Ford RS Focus broke cover and really shook the hot hatch tree. 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. Four wheel drive. And a price tag of less than £30,000. It really has picked up the baton of famous fast Fords but good as it is, the race isn’t over because in 2017 its big brother the RS500 could hit the streets and with a rumoured output of some 390bhp+ slow it won’t be. However the production run is likely to be limited to 150 so you need to shop early to avoid disappointment (hopefully Gordon won’t be in the queue in front of you as he’ll be too busy polishing his Ferraris).

There are no official pics of the RS500, but the guys at Autocar have imagineered their version (shown below) which we reckon/hope is a pretty good guess. We likey!


Now while the RS might be a little below Mr Ramsey’s radar, another Ford to hit the streets in 2017 could definitely find its way into his shopping trolley, the Ford GT.

With an estimated cost of around the £300k mark, it will be the most expensive Ford ever and as such we doubt will ever make it onto the company car fleet. Shame.


For anyone with a passion for things automotive, the name Alfa Romeo will always ring a bell. In the fairly recent past the company though has not exactly lived up to its proud heritage, but the arrival of the 8C and then its little brother the 4C flagged that times ‘were a changin’ at Alfa.

In 2016 they gave us the new Giulia, their answer to the all conquering BMW 3 series. And very nice it is too. Its fire breathing cousin, the Quadrifoglio really took the fight to the German corner delivering a serious challenge to the M3. In 2017 Alfa will once again come out of their corner fighting with their new SUV, the Stelvio, then in 2018 an as yet unnamed challenger to the 5 series.

Time will tell if they succeed but it certainly won’t be from a lack of trying and, let’s face it, BMWs and Audis are now more common than the Mondeoman motors they supplanted, so it will be nice to have an alternative.

Other sporty debutantes making a bow in 2017 will be Renault’s revival of the iconic Alpine rally car of the 1960/70s.  Previewed at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Alpine Sports Car may be on the road in 2017, but at a possible list price of circa £50,000, we have feeling they might have a bit of a tough time tempting drivers away from Porsche and Lotus.


Honda too will join the performance fray with the launch of their new Type R Civic. Much the same as the previous version this will be no shrinking violet and will have Ford’s hot hatch crown firmly in its sights.

With both BMW and VW announcing new versions of their 3 series and Golf ranges there should be some hot action coming from those players too, so hopefully no shortage of choice there either.

Last but not least are the boys from Hethel. 2016 saw Lotus explore their founder’s adage of “add lightness” across their model range. But one wonders how much more life there can be in the Elise, Exige and Evora ranges? Desirable as they are, fresh they ain’t. Hopefully 2017 will mark at least the announcement of a new model. Maybe time for a proper revival of the Elan? The concept revealed in 2010 still looks good today…


Published on 31st December 2016