As a Sheffield resident, it’s quite hard to escape the excitement and celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Arctic Monkeys’ debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. Pairing this with the news that the Sacha Baron-Cohen film Borat is also celebrating the same birthday this year, I found myself reflecting on all the different cars I dreamed about 10 years ago. This, therefore, is a look back on all that was new, exciting, important and significant in the world of motoring back in 2006. It wouldn’t surprise me if at some point while reading this you stop and think, “blimey, that’s a decade ago!” I can tell you, I certainly did!
The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano is a car that EVO magazine gave the honour of Car of the Year 2006 – so it must be good! Narrowly beating the likes of the final Lamborghini Murciélago to the top spot, the car had a lot to prove, replacing a model that journalists and owners alike thought was not Ferrari’s finest work. Packing a detuned version of the V12 engine used in the Enzo hyper-car, owners had over 600bhp underneath their right foot. Many special versions were produced over the 6 years that the car was in production, including the rare and respected GTO which revived the road-racing name for Ferrari. 599’s were offered with a manual gearbox – one of the last models to have the option. However, these are exceedingly rare and collectable with 95% of owners spending an extra £5,500 on a paddle shift semi-automatic instead – no wonder Ferrari ceased production of manual gearboxes!
I am pretty sure that you know someone who has or has had one of these three cars. You may even have one yourself. This collaboration project named B-Zero brought together two giants of the automotive world – Toyota and PSA Peugeot Citroen. The aim was to design a city car in a time where ‘small’ cars such as the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio were growing in size to fit the needs of a slightly different customer.
These comparatively minute cars, the Citroen C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo, were a hit with a huge range of customers who all had different needs. Blessed with one of the lowest insurance groups of any car through their structural simplicity, the cars were popular with new drivers, allowing them their first taste of automotive freedom. Their low running costs and simplicity also made them popular with older drivers and, as intended, for short distance driving such as to go shopping and commute the few miles to work every day. Truthfully, these actually launched in the latter half of 2005 but it wasn’t until 2006 when they became a common sight on the road.
Image: RL GNZLZ
2006 signified the end of the road for a Blackpool institution – TVR. This often troubled manufacturer was best known for their high end, lightweight sports cars with powerful engines. TVR’s were certainly ‘marmite’ cars, their brutal nature and outrageous styling paired with their savage driving experience made them too much for some. I have to admit that for quite a while, even though they are out of production in their old form, I have wanted a TVR at some point. More specifically a TVR Sagaris – possibly the greatest car that they made.
One of the last models produced, right up until 2006, the car made use of the exquisite 4 litre straight-six engine produced in house. TVR started the slippery slope to closure after the sale of the business to Russian businessman Nikolay Smolensky in 2004 by the late, great Peter Wheeler. After a fall in demand and wavering brand loyalty TVR production was moved abroad and, in late 2006, production stopped all together. However, 10 years later, a new incarnation of TVR is under development with deposits being taken for a new car in partnership with Colin Chapman and Cosworth.
Although they made 5 in the last bit of 2005, the first full year for the legendary Bugatti Veyron was 2006. This 1,001bhp powerhouse took the record for fastest production car at 267.7mph. Packing an 8.0-litre, quad-turbocharged, W16 the car commanded a price close to the million-pound mark. Top Gear gave it the honour of Car of the Decade – what more is there to say!
What was your favourite car from 2006? Let us know in the comments below!