Dad cars: what’s the best car your dad’s ever had?

We dredge up our favourite dad cars from the dim and distant past

As children, many of us have dream cars but with the entire automotive world to select from, the attention of junior petrolheads tends to fall on fantastical rarities with Top Trumps performance figures and mountainous price tags. Why wouldn’t it? We might not be able to drive until we’re 17 but we can all dream from the word go.

It’s often in the impressionable years as we approach the age where having our own cars becomes a genuine possibility that financial reality starts to dawn, and our fantasy vehicles take on a more realistic bent. And, of course, the major influence on this transition are the family cars we ride in every day – the dad cars. 

Looking past the Ferraris and Lamborghinis on the bedroom wall and out of the window at whatever the old man has got languishing kerbside in front of the house is a right of passage for young car fans. Many of us will remember the cars our dads had with misty-eyed nostalgia born of long family holidays sweltering in the back seat, supervised opportunities to shift the gears and beep the horn on the driveway or comical reliability issues. Whether they were good or bad, dad cars often leave a lasting impression.

But which of your dad’s cars left its mark on you?

You can find our dad car picks below…

Citroen BX 16vSteve Walker – Website editor

My dad had company cars in the golden age of the repmobile through the 80s and early 90s. He was very much of the view that, although his firm would just about allow him to squeak into an entry level BMW 3 Series or Audi 80, he wasn’t going to do that. Instead he focused his attentions on the top echelon of mainstream family saloons on the fleet manager’s list – much to my young delight.

• Best company cars on sale

Memorable installations on the driveway included a Renault 21 Turbo and a Ford Mondeo ST24 but my highlight was the black (with red stripe) Citroen BX 16v. With aluminium engine from Peugeot’s 405 Mi16 in the front producing 160bhp and a 0-60mph sprint of 7.4s, it was an impressive beast by most mesures but for me, the drama was all in the hydropneumatic rear suspension that would rise up when the ignition was switched on. It felt like the future.

Saab 9-5 AeroMartin Saarinen – Consumer Editor

When the Saarinen family moved to Denmark several years ago, the family VW Passat was swapped for a brand new 2005 Saab 9-5 Aero Estate. The dark grey wagon with 256bhp was my first impression of a proper family car and quickly left its mark, to the point that it’s a model I’m now looking to own one day.

The most memorable trip in the car was a wintry midnight dash across Sweden with just the old man and me. An empty road at night was the perfect excuse to stretch the Aero’s legs and press the infamous ‘Night Panel’ button adopted from Saab’s fighter planes. The whole cockpit went dark apart from the green speedo while the northern lights danced above us.

Jaguar XJR, Nissan GT-R, Porsche 911 and a drag racer, these are just some of the cars our dads have owned. Click onto page two for more…


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