The List

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The List: Cars

 

 

Abarth 695

Question: what is rear engined, rear wheel drive, and enjoyed significant race success in the 1970s? You might be forgiven if your immediate reaction was to answer ‘Porsche 911’, as this seems to be the default choice when the words ‘rear-engined’ are uttered; Porsche has ploughed this particular furrow for many years, during which time, all of its competitors have, metaphorically speaking, abandoned the field in favour of something far easier to manage... click here for more

Alfa Romeo Spider

The Silver Screen may be able to make an icon of a car, but it cannot make the proverbial silk purse from a sow’s ear, despite numerous attempts over the years to do just that. The Bond franchise provides an apt example of this; no 007 connections, hidden heat seeking missile launchers or high speed car chases ever added any lustre to the lumpen BMW Z3. The man himself will forever be associated with Aston Martin, and specifically, the silver DB5, leading, one suspects, to the erroneous assumption by many that the British Secret Intelligence Service has a limitless budget set aside for the purchasing of luxury goods... click here for more

 

Alpine A110

f your only experience of the World Rally Championship has been the televised coverage during the past decade, you would be forgiven for thinking that it has always been about ugly four wheel drive Japanese saloons taking improbable angles around forest tracks with serious looking Scandinavians at the wheels. But it was not always this way. Before the Imprezas and Evos, before the Group B Quattros and Lancias, before even the rear wheel drive Escorts there was the Alpine A110... click here for more

 

Audi Quattro

Although Audi was not the first manufacturer to produce a four wheel drive road car, the public perception of the brand is inextricably linked with the notion of all four wheels being driven. This is primarily due to the legacy of one car: the Audi Quattro Coupe, or Ur Quattro, as it is rather pretentiously described by car enthusiasts eager to differentiate it from the company’s more prosaic Quattro – badged machines... click here for more

 

BMW M3

It is left hand drive only, has a dogleg gearbox that makes stop start driving seem like a particularly arcane form of torture, and possesses the sort of boxy styling that would not look out of place on a Lada, but the BMW M3, in its original E30 guise is a true modern icon and has earned a place on The List through a combination of sublime handling... click here for more

Citroen SM

Despite having the unpromising combination of French build quality and a temperamental Italian mini-supercar V6, the SM has earned its place on The List by being a kind of automotive equivalent of Concorde; the epitome of the Seventies’ love affair with style dictated by speed... click here for more

 

 

Delorean DMC-12

It is hard to think of a car as doomed from its very beginning as the DMC-12. Taking away even founder, John Delorean’s arrest for alleged drug offences shortly before the company’s bankruptcy, or the stories of ill-fitting gullwing doors trapping occupants in the cockpit, the DMC-12, built in, of all places, Northern Ireland, always seemed to be destined for a short and inglorious life... click here for more

 

 

 

Facel Vega Facel II

The unusual combination of French styling, large American engines and price tags high enough to guarantee the kind of exclusive clientele that included Stirling Moss and Pablo Picasso, enabled Facel Vega to carve out a unique niche in the car market in the 1950s and 1960s... click here for more

 

 

Fiat Dino Spider

Homologation. It sounds like a rather boring, bureaucratic word. Something beloved of paper-shuffling European Union officials in Brussels, perhaps. To a car enthusiast, though, it has completely different associations; it hints at limited edition versions of cars designed principally for use in motorsport, like the BMW M3, or the Ford RS200. And so to the Fiat Dino, a car that owes its existence to homologation regulations... click here for more

 

Land Rover Defender

Shaped like a brick and about as accelerative as one too, the Land Rover seems an unlikely candidate for The List. Additional descriptive adjectives, such as underpowered and heavy hardly seem to clinch the argument in its favour either. 4x4s are unnecessarily large and complex beasts driven only by people who display a selfish lack of regard for other road users, right? Well, in some cases, maybe. The Porsche Cayenne springs instantly to mind, as do any of the luxury 4x4s from Germany. But the Defender is different...click here for more

Lotus Elise

Most car manufacturers follow a fairly conservative approach when developing new models; they have focus groups and marketing departments to tell them what the modern motorist really wants, which in most cases seems to be airbags, greater space and the ability to survive 60 MPH head-on collisions (presumably because at some point they see themselves driving into another vehicle at such a speed.) The end result of this is, of course, a dramatic increase in vehicle mass. Cars such as the Volkswagen Golf have almost doubled in their kerb weight over the past twenty years... click here for more
 

Maserati Bora

What prestigious sports car manufacturer and former Formula 1 team has produced everything from the wondrous to the hideous, has flirted with bankruptcy, and has had more owners than your average twenty pound note? And one last thing, in case you were about to answer ‘Lotus’ – it’s not from the UK... click here for more
 

Porsche 911

t is unlikely that even the most ardent Porsche fan would have predicted, in the mid 1960s, that the company would still be producing a car with its engine, ‘in the wrong place’, over 40 years after the first 911 rolled off the production line... click here fore more

 

 

Porsche 928

Starting with a clean sheet of paper, it is unlikely that many automotive designers would sling a large, heavy engine out behind the rear axle, giving a high polar moment of inertia to the vehicle, and the subsequent ‘interesting’ handling. But, then, not many designers can lay claim to having sketched out a blueprint for a sports car that would not only remain fundamentally unchanged for three decades, but that would outlive and outsell the very car that many believed was designed to replace it... click here for more
 

Ultima GTR

Life for the aspiring British supercar builder can be hard. Not only are you generally lumbered with a resolutely unromantic surname, usually prefixed with something even worse, like “Lee” or “Trevor”, after which to name your creation, (hardly suitable to compete with the Enzo Ferraris of the world) but you are also referred to, often derogatorily, as a ‘kit car manufacturer’... click here for more

 

 
 

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