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Director and car blogger Stik wants his ‘Widow Maker’ back

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 June, 2016, 2:49pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 June, 2016, 3:12pm

Kenneth Wong, the business development director of a local trading group, has had the good fortune to own and drive a number of powerful cars

“I have a BMW 1 Series M Coupe, and I was drawn to it because I have always loved BMWs. I got it two years ago from a friend who had owned and loved it for years.

I also have a modern BMW, but the 1M is a limited-edition car with a widened track, flared wings and a 19-inch wheel and tyre combination. It gets its power from a three-litre twin turbo; E92 M3 suspension and M3 brakes; slick-shifting six-speed close-ratio transmission rear-wheel drive. Not only does it look mean, it can shame a lot of sports cars on the road.

It is as happy as a cute puppy, always wagging its tail, which is a way of saying oversteer.

My first car was a four-door (1992) E36 325i five-speed manual with absolutely no options to keep it lightweight. I drove the car daily and raced at weekends in the North American Solo Racing series.

I used to like normally aspirated cars when I was younger. I really fell in love with the Honda VTEC in the 1990s and can’t get enough of VTEC “kicking in” at high revs.

A few years after that, I got myself a (2001) Subaru WRX and the force of forced induction has been with me ever since. I’ve since I tended to buy force-induction cars such as the (1988) Audi B5 Twin Turbo S4, and later a monstrous (2001) Porsche 996 GT2, which had a twin turbo 485-horsepower engine, rear-wheel drive with no traction control, so no wonder it was called “The Widow Maker”.

Classic cars came into my life about eight years ago when I bought a Porsche 993 C2. Why? Because I had to experience what the hype was about air-cooled engines.

I like German and Japanese cars, but of course I don’t mind an Italian. BMW and Porsche are my favourites. The BMW 1M is smallish, agile and powerful, and very well-suited to the winding mountain roads of Hong Kong’s south side. My favourite route is down Repulse Bay Road and all the way to Big Wave Bay.

Having said that, the BMW 1M’s wheelbase is really short, and therefore a bit twitchy at high speed and in the rain. I have considered lowering the suspension to increase stability, but I like to keep the car stock, right down to the tyres.

I often look at other cars. My nickname, “Stik”, was given to me by readers of my car review blog “Driven by STIK” on Facebook when I had my GT2. Much respect was given because I could tame the “Widow Maker” GT2. For that, many fellow enthusiasts and friends lent me their cars for test drives and reviews over the years. Naturally, I still miss my old 996 GT2. I want it back.

There are lots of hot issues in the Hong Kong car world. I am proud to have started something very special for the car community in Hong Kong – RL Neo Classics, Hong Kong’s first major classic car auction event, being held on June 10 and 11 at The Repulse Bay. It is the hottest talk of the town.

I would also love to see a race track built in Hong Kong. All car enthusiasts want to have a place to safely test their cars’ limits, but they have nowhere to do so but on public roads. A lot of accidents could be avoided if there were a local race track facility.

Do I think Hong Kong should allow left-hand-drive cars? I personally like left-hand-drive cars more because I grew up in North America and my right-hand shifts are faster. However, I don’t think a left-hand-drive car is suitable for right-hand-drive roads, as you couldn’t safely pass the car in front of you.

I have nothing against electric cars, either. In fact, I have referred more than 10 friends to buy the Tesla Model S. Electric cars are simply a different type of car and, to me, different is always good. I would also like to see the import tax of classic cars waived in Hong Kong — like wine — as many countries around the world have preferential tax rules for classics over certain years. Classic cars are truly art pieces and preserving a piece of history is important.

If I could redesign a car for Hong Kong, I would give it a manual gearbox, with an effortless clutch pedal for navigation in traffic. This car would ideally sit five people with boot space. Its handling must be good but the suspension cannot be too stiff. Most importantly, this Hong Kong car must have an abundance of power and torque. Finally, the design has to look good and be some kind of special or limited edition.”

As told to William Wadsworth