‘Perodua? Never heard of it. Where’s it from?’
Actually, it isn’t; it’s Malaysian, and the full title of the make is… wait for it…
Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sendirian Berhad.
Perodua, for short. Thankfully.
It looks like a little silver box on wheels, but it’s dead nippy in town traffic. It has that sort of nippyness that gives you the confidence to jump through gaps in the oncoming traffic and be a hundred yards down the road before the other guy’s adrenalin has settled enough to let him wave a fist. I did it several times, just to prove that the first time was no fluke. And the brakes... Oh, the brakes! You press the pedal and nothing happens, so you press them a bit more. Suddenly it’s like you’ve thrown an anchor out of the window and it’s snagged a rock face.
‘I didn’t want to stop quite that quickly,’ you complain.
‘Tough,’ says the cocky little git. ‘My granddad was a rickshaw.’
Maybe that’s why it also corners brilliantly at speed.
I got my own back, though. Mr P wasn’t quite so cocky when we got onto the main highway leading east from the city towards the Shire lands. He’s definitely a town car, is Mr P. He’s in his element when he’s accelerating from 20-25mph in half a second flat, but getting him to go from 70-75 in fifth gear on the big road takes rather longer.
‘I don’t really like going fast.’
‘Tough. Anyway, 70mph isn’t exactly fast. Just a bit more. C’mon: a bit more... a bit more...’
And he didn’t like the crosswind one bit. Nor the head wind. Nor the tail wind. Seems that wind from any quarter makes Peroduas nervous. He was dancing fretfully around all over the place, seemingly unsure whether to take off with a cry of ‘Geronimo,’ or head for the nearest bridge support and end it all.
I didn’t allow either, of course. One has to keep a tight rein on little silver boxes. And he got me here, so I said ‘thank you.’ I think we’re friends.