Edric wonders what car our Olympic champion would drive.
UNLIKE some public figures, I don’t claim credit for Joseph Schooling’s Olympic gold.
My closest claim to his fame is that I once met the person who gladly gave up her first-class SQ seat for Schooling’s mum on their return from Rio.
But, like most other armchair experts in Singapore, having lived, breathed and talked Schooling for weeks on end following his mesmerising gold-medal swim, I figure I may have a pretty good idea of what car he might drive.
He’s lightning-fast, we all know that. Fast enough to relegate the three biggest names in the swimming world to a joint second place, by a massive margin – 0.75 of a second. So to keep him interested, his car will need to similarly pack a pretty hefty turn of speed.
We also know that our local boy wonder isn’t the flashy type. Even on the Olympic podium, having demolished the Games record, there were no chest-beating histrionics. Just a proud but slightly shy grin, and respectful solemnity as the strains of Majulah Singapura played at the Olympics for the first time ever.
It’s also clear that Schooling likes the simple things. When back in town, he stays with his parents at their Marine Parade flat. He likes his chye tow kway extra-black. He still gets back massages from his Filipina childhood nanny. And through his thick American accent (thanks to his living Stateside since he was 14), he still calls people uncle and aunty.
So no Ferrari, Lamborghini or McLaren for him, that would be too shouty.
No supercars at all, in fact. Porsches would also be ruled out, for being too much of a cliché.
For an underdog who stunned the establishment, it is only fitting that his car, too, should be an under-the-radar choice.
Nissan GT-R then? Certainly anti-establishment. And also not as attention-grabbing as the supercars that it can outrun. Except that the GT-R was the Joseph Schooling of the sports car world 10 years ago. Then it was a giantkiller; now, reputation-wise, it is itself one of the giants.
What about one of the bighitting super-saloons, like an Audi RS6, BMW M5 or Mercedes E63?
As performance cars go, they’re fairly discreet, but somehow this genre is now so well established and heavily populated that these cars are no longer the uber-cool, left-field choice they once were.
Also, Schooling is all of 21 years old – does he really want to be lumbering around in a luxury saloon, albeit with nearly 600bhp?
I figure he could do with something a bit handier-sized, yet with enough space for all his sports gear – swimming apart, Schooling is apparently also an ace golfer. Something stylish yet understated, and which, like himself, is stormingly quick, yet not the obvious choice.
I think our hero would very much like an Alpina B3 Touring.