If money were no object, we all have a dream car, a boat and very probably a plane in mind. Simon de Burton shares his.

When it comes to things that go, I’ve always been a habitual accumulator, albeit never a very discerning one. As a result, the barns and stables of our very small Devon smallholding are filled with cars, motorcycles and boats that were acquired either because they were going cheap or because no one else wanted them (or both), but which generally aren’t very good.

‘My extremely sensible choices rather surprised me.’

The result of having such things is that much time is wasted trying to make them work, much tension is caused when they don’t and much paperwork is generated in trying to meet the irksome requirements of the law. All of this occasionally sets me wondering what it would be like to have the wherewithal to simplify things, owning just one really good example of what’s needed to get from A to B.

Pilatus PC-12

During the course of such whimsical musings, I inevitably get carried away and begin to ponder vehicles in the ‘money no object’ sphere, usually alighting on a dream car, a dream boat and, of course, a dream aircraft that would represent my personal-transport Nirvana.

On most occasions, this list is comprised of the absurdly exotic. However, during a recent moment of unrivalled fantasy, I sat down and made proper decisions as if I really was going to head out and buy these things – and my extremely sensible choices, as you shall see, rather surprised me.

The boat – Grand Banks Eastbay 44

Yes, you’ve read it right. My ideal boat isn’t a brash gin palace of Abramovich-upstaging proportions, but the 44ft Eastbay from Malaysian firm Grand Banks, a traditional and unpretentious-looking ‘trawler’-style motor cruiser that offers a hard-to-find combination of low-key looks and up-to-the minute equipment.

Grand Banks Eastbay 44

Various configurations can be specified, with perhaps the best being the six-berth arrangement that puts a master suite in the bow and a couple of twin cabins on either side of the hull, beyond a walk-through galley/saloon, the side windows of which can be electrically lowered to create a fresh and breezy open-boat feeling.

Grand Banks Eastbay 44

With comfortable seating at the stern and a spacious sunbathing deck, the EB44 makes an ideal venue for entertaining. Thanks to its twin 435-horsepower Volvo engines and a range of 500-plus nautical miles, it’s also capable of taking off on some serious adventures.

It’s exceptionally easy to manoeuvre, thanks to its integrated propulsion system, which uses twin counter-rotating, forward-facing propellors mounted on steerable pods, directed from a simple joystick control.

When you want to have some speedboat-style fun, the EB44 will accelerate rapidly – and beautifully smoothly – to a top speed of 31 knots.

$1.35 million (about £1 million), excluding VAT, Grand Banks Yachts Europe

The plane – Pilatus PC-12

Say private plane and most people inevitably think of a jet, however, one of the most successful of all private aircraft actually has a propeller on the front. It’s the PC-12 and it’s manufactured in Switzerland. Originally conceived for military and commercial cargo use, it has the capability to take off and land from short runways and even grass airstrips, making it ideal for country dwellers.

Pilatus PC-12

Although beautiful-looking, with a four-blade propeller and vast exhaust pipes, the PC-12 contrives to be pleasantly low-key as well as entirely modern inside, with the latest avionics and comfortable seating for up to eight people in a cabin that can be laid out in numerous different ways. The plane’s transport origins mean there’s a vast hold area, too.

Pilatus PC-12

Among notable owners is the designer Philippe Starck, who had his fitted out with a bed and a desk, enabling him to use it as a mobile office. M. Starck once called the PC-12 ‘the Range Rover of the air’ and even designed one with a special interior and paint job for Biggin Hill-based charter firm JetFly.

From $5 million (about £3.768 million), Oriens Aviation.

The car – Mercedes-Benz G-Class

We hear endlessly about the now-defunct Land Rover Defender being cool and I’m as much a fan as anyone (with two ancient examples to my name), but my first choice of four-wheel drive would be a Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen (or off-road vehicle). This has the distinction of being the longest-running model in the entire history of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, having been launched in 1975.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Originally mooted two years earlier, the G-Wagen was the result of a collaboration with Austria’s Steyr-Daimler-Puch company, a specialist in producing lightweight, go-anywhere machines, such as the Haflingers and Pinzgauers used by European armies.

The result was a car that combined a bit of Range Rover-style luxury with a narrow, box-shaped body with short overhangs, allowing remarkable off-road agility and superb all-round visibility.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

There was a degree of concern among fans last year when it was announced that a revised G-Wagen would be launched, but its looks have hardly changed and the company claims even better off-road performance, greater luxury and a generally enhanced specification.

Initially, only the G63 petrol-engined versions are available in the UK, with a 350d diesel model arriving next year. If you don’t mind paying for the petrol, the mighty G63 is the version to go for. From £143,305.


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