Outside, the weather is reasonably cold, which is the perfect excuse to sit indoors and ponder a totally and utterly unessential purchase. Perhaps it is the effects of scanning through http://www.lva-auto.fr/, perhaps it is the fact that Serge Gainsbourg is lugubriously ordering everyone to Laissez moi tranquille on the CD player, but whatever the cause, I feel the impetus to invest in a French classic car.

Naturally, this decision is made in the spirit of complete and utter impracticality, but the visions of cruising through the Loire Valley are just too strong to be ignored. However, the question remains as to which classic. As a devotee of The Day of The Jackal (the 1973 version if you please), a black Citroën DS instantly appeals or perhaps the once-ubiquitous Renault Dauphine might find pride of place at Chateau de Bois Giraud. However, there remains the fact that the former is very very expensive while the latter is small, rust-prone and with quite ‘interesting’ road manners

And so I scanned the photos of Peugeot 404s, Simca Arondes and other splendid vehicles until the ideal vehicle presented itself – the Panhard Dyna Z. After all, if one is considering a collector’s car, then why not go all out for one of the most brilliant and idiosyncratic machines in the history of France? I could picture the wondrous scenes – travelling to Anger, the sun shining, the tiny engine buzzing and, from an aftermarket CD player, there would be the sounds of the late great  Johnny Hallyday crooning Noir C’est Noir.

Plus, I would almost certainly receive the admiring glances of all and sundry; iIt would almost be better than film stardom a la Belmondo or Delon.  Such delightful vistas persisted long after I calculated how the restorations and general running costs of a 1955 Panhard would put me in debt for approximately a decade. But then, on a winter’s afternoon, such dreams at least anticipate the summer months…