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PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 February, 2009, 12:00am
 

Head over wheels

Happy Valentine's Day. We asked readers how cars had played a role in their love lives.

Automotive publicist Nikki Law likes the classic Big Cat. 'A boyfriend attempted to teach me to drive in his beautiful bright-red E-Type,' she says. 'I almost put it into a wall, but I fell completely in love with the car, if not the boy.'

We understand. But we won't let loved-ones drive our 1991 MX-5. That's because we won't forget lending the keys of our beloved 1977 MG Midget to a lover, only to learn at great cost what she could do to a British Leyland gearbox and clutch in the lightest traffic.

Motorcycle Show organiser Ian Foster recalls 'a great time' as a newly licensed 18-year-old in his father's 1982 Austin Princess 2200HL. 'The big front seats lowered to horizontal,' he says. 'That car was a legend among the 1st XI girls' hockey team at grammar school. My dad decided to upgrade his car to a Peugeot 505 ... my problem was the seats would only go down to 45 degrees. I went to the Peugeot dealer - a very religious Presbyterian gentleman - to complain, and was told that this was a 'safety precaution', to which I responded, 'If I want a safety precaution I can go to the chemist!'. This did not go down well with the dealer. I now have three Austin Princesses [top] in my collection.'

We hope their interiors are in concours condition.

Mike Hon prefers the 1960 Porsche Roadster. 'It's the coolest car ever,' the tennis coach says. Hon says he's not going for a romantic drive tonight ('too cheesy'), but that Big Wave Bay is worth a visit. 'From the initial two-lane traffic all the way to the parking lot in Big Wave Bay is a very good drive,' he says.

Car lovers' specials

Peugeot Hong Kong is offering car lovers a special price on the 207 Premium five-door (HK$179,900) and 308 SW (HK$239,900), says the dealer's spokesman, Calvin Lam.

The marque has also got into the Valentine's spirit on its new website, Drivesexy.com. Launched to coincide with the European launch of the 107, 207 and 308 Verve Special Editions, the site lists Valentines' tips for 'a cheeky and irreverent world where driving is fun again'.

After all, the marque asks: 'Why drive stupid [badly]? Why drive ugly [rudely]? When you can DriveSexy.'

This is driving as a form of courtship - courteous, considerate even flirtatious, Peugeot says, possibly with the hint of that uhh-huuh-huuh accordion music that's playing non-stop in Central MTR these days.

'It's about putting the romance back into driving and having a more positive and relaxed attitude,' the marque says, adding that DriveSexy is about 'being chivalrous and magnanimous, not difficult and obstructive'.

Quite so, and particularly in jerk-and-go Hong Kong. Here are Peugeot's DriveSexy Academy tips: Smile to the driver next to you at the traffic lights. Wave to a policeman or traffic warden. In the queue, let that car from the left in. Take a B-road to work rather than the motorway. Dry your hair with the roof down in a CC (below). Drive smoothly to save fuel. Don't drink and drive. Throw away the map and switch off the geeky Sat Nav. Drive in the middle of the night.

We're all for drives after dark, as there are fewer cars and you can impress passengers with new headlight tech that can help you see better around corners. If you're into Hong Kong sunsets, you might head to your favourite spot for a cuddle in your car at 6.15pm to catch the sun's drop at 6.20pm today. Tomorrow's sunrise is at 6.55am.

And here's a 'romance run' to capture the lights of Hong Kong between 5pm and 10pm: drive your sweetheart from the Tsing Ma Bridge to Kowloon Bay and then through the neon of Wan Chai via the Eastern Harbour Tunnel.

We suggest you park the car in town overnight if you're dining out and then take a taxi home.

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