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FEBRUARY 19, 2012

The Sunday Times MOTORING 15

BEHIND THE WHEEL WITH

Me and my car Water technology expert Marco Cremona tells RAMONA DEPARES that he prefers getting around on two wheels, rather than four. What car do you drive? I actually drive a scooter. It is only on very rainy days and/or when I have items to transport that I drive my trusty old Fiat Punto – which also doubles up as a van (with the back seat lowered) which I use to take our two dogs for a run in the countryside. What do you usually look for in a car? Fuel efficiency, reliability, and practicality. Style? Not really, and the less gadgets the better. Were you scared when you first started driving or were you a natural? My first means of transport was a motorbike, which I got when I turned 18. I also got to drive my mother’s car a number of times. Exams always make me very nervous and it was no different when it came to my driving test. Back then, the motorbike driving test involved setting off, switching on the indicator while still within the examiner’s sight and

because I’m usually on the scooter and am very apprehensive of other motorists’ bad driving. What do you keep in your glove box? The car’s manuals, log book, a pen, some small change – essentially things that are related to the car. Nothing terribly exciting or worth stealing. Do you suffer from road rage at all? And what drives you mad behind the wheel? I think road rage is a waste of energy so I sensibly avoid getting all worked up and spoiling my day or mood. However, having said that, if it weren’t for the radio I’d probably get worked up in traffic. It’s a good thing that I do not often experience traffic jams as I’m generally on the scooter and I can choose when to start and leave work and thus avoid peak hours. What’s the best music to drive to? Anything that happens to be playing on the radio. There is an element of spontaneity/surprise in radio that you don’t get from a CD.

“Cleaning the car is a waste of time and water. As long as I can see out of the car windows and the headlamps emit enough light, I’m fine” going round the block on your own. If you came back in one piece you passed the test. My first car was a red and white Citroen 2CV (commonly known as a Dolly) which, apart from the Skoda, was the least expensive car on the market. Loved it! Pity they don’t make them anymore.

Have you ever had a crash? Whose fault was it and how did you deal with it? The only crashes that come to mind are those I had with my motorbike/scooter, for obvious reasons. Do you know how to change a flat wheel? Do you actually do it yourself? Of course I do. How can an engineer not change a flat wheel himself?

What was your worst/best car? I have owned three cars – the Dolly, a Fiat Punto and currently, a Honda Fit (which is the family car). They all suited my style and requirements at the time, so I really cannot trash any of them. The Dolly is a fun car; but I was disappointed that its chassis collapsed after only seven years – which seems to be an inherent defect. Considering that Citroen continued to churn this model out for over four decades one would have expected such a defect to have been ironed out by then!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in a car? This is a family paper, right? So I’ll say that it was when I took the Dolly off-roading on the Selmun clay slopes. It trudged along where four-wheel drives got terribly bogged down and stuck.

What is your dream car? A Jaguar E-Type. But I’m too much of an environmental activist to enjoy long, fuel-guzzling rides if I ever owned one. I think I’ll stick with the scale model.

Who cleans your car and how often? Cleaning the car is a waste of time and water. As long as I can see out of the car windows and the headlamps emit enough light, I’m fine.

Do you consider yourself to be a good driver? I think I drive well when I’m behind a steering wheel, not least

Have you ever messed up badly while driving? Any funny stories to tell? I was once followed by a crazy guy

Who would be your perfect passenger? A silent one.

Marco’s trusty old Fiat Punto doubles up as a van used to take his dogs for a run. Photo: Jason Borg all the way from Mosta to Mġarr because the guy got all worked up when I flashed my lights at him for driving in the middle of the road. I was driving the Dolly then; he was driving an old Triumph. I took advantage of the slope of the arterial road leading to Mġarr to overtake

him, but when I did I could hear him changing gear and accelerating to ram his car into mine. We raced all the way to the Mġarr police station where I stopped and ran in shouting “Qed jiġri warajja, qed jiġri warajja” (he’s chasing me, he’s chasing me).

Of course, he had disappeared by the time the police came out. What do you think of Maltese drivers in general? Now that I am a father of two kids, I am contemplating life insurance. Need I say more?


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