Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to All Our Content


During a conversation with a Scottish friend on Sunday night, we were discussing his most recent purchase. He replaced his previous-gen Audi A6 Allroad with a great new car, sure to please the family – Audi’s A6 Allroad. We actually began the conversation by discussing and then moved on to his recent automotive change.

The weather was horrible here recently but strangely, we, the Good Car Couple spent our time out-of-home. We didn’t come across the news regarding an old World Rally Championship star, nor did the North American media bring much attention to a recent tragedy. But when my Scottish friend was closing our conversation, he mentioned that, “We lost one of our national heroes yesterday.” I nodded; the only images coming to mind were that of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace, in reality Angus MacFadyen and Mel Gibson. But then he cleared things up, “Colin McRae died in a helicopter crash. To make matters worse, he had his 5-year old boy with him.”

Apparently Colin was piloting and there were yet two more passengers. Son Johnny and his friend, Ben, and another family friend, Graeme Duncan, also perished. Mcrae was 39, his son 5, Ben Porcelli was 6 and Duncan was 37 years old. Condolences can be found here.

Mr. Banks, my Scottish friend, was the same age as Colin and grew up in the same area. Both became successful men on very different career paths, McRae obviously so. The loss of a rally star stings the Scots like the loss of a Ferrari F1 star would hurt Italy. The tenor of our conversation was obviously changed. Add to this the loss of former WRC champ and Englishman Richard Burns, who together with Colin McRae formed the upper echelon of the world’s rally drivers at one time. Burns died at the age of 34 just two years ago as a result of a brain tumor. His death also received limited attention, both in North America and in Europe, because of the simultaneous death of soccer great George Best of Northern Ireland. Best was just 59 years old.

Irony strikes at every possible moment. McRae was both infamous and famous for driving on the edge, frequently resulting in wild crashes. But it wasn’t a crash at X-Games this past summer that would cause his death; no, not in the rough and tumble Safari Rally Kenya or the vicious Acropolis Rally of Greece. It was in a helictopter.

I am known now as The Good Car Guy. But there are times, however brief or long, when I don’t care about Audi Allroads or any other good cars. A little respect for the family then. Life, at best, is very brief.