Help me compile the real definitive list of the best ever cars

21 replies [Last post]
Simon Charlesworth
Simon Charlesworth's picture
Joined: 2011-05-25

Dearie me, another irresistible C&SC distraction...

Best Driver

Type 26 Lotus Elan: should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Lotus 2-Eleven: faster and with a better ride than an Exige
S, you can easily pretend you’re Vic Elford on the Targa.

AC Ace-Bristol (with retro-fitted Tojeiro R&P steering
conversion): for its involvement and that gem of an engine.

TVR Griffith (pre-cat with manual steering): it’s all about
the chassis turn-in, steering feel and the noise.

Alfa Romeo Alfasud 1.5TI: still the best front-drive car
around. Damn you rust!


Most Beautiful

Jaguar E-type 3.8 FHC: pure beauty

Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Veloce: with that step-front
treatment it shouldn’t work but it does.

Citroën SM: the future still hasn’t arrived.

(early) Aston Martin DB4: the prettiest post-War Aston minus
the Bond luggage.

Ferrari 250GTO: beauty injected with motor sport


Most Important

Ford Model T: legacy, legacy, legacy.

Austin 7: The impact it had on Britain and her post-War
motor sport industry.

Morris Mini Minor: 9X could have been better, but this
remains the small car to beat.

MkI Ford Cortina: What no Citroën DS? NSU Ro80? Sadly the
future will be formed by cheap, conservative engineering.

Rover P6B: the world’s first junior exec gets the engine it
deserves. Europe’s roads are now heaving with pretenders to its throne.


Best All-rounder

MG MGB GT: one of the most versatile GTs around, OE or

Bristol 406: the ultimate Bristol ‘six’ type. Welcome relief
from today’s 20inch exhibitionists.

Ford Focus RS500: the mightiest of hot hatches. Incredibly
fast, incredibly enjoyable but er, somewhat juicy and a touch outré.

Citroën Xantia Activa: Q-car meets Parisian mini-cab, a
leftfield performance cult.

BMC 1800: bigger than a London studio flat and built like a
tank. If only it had been fitted with Turner’s 2.5-litre V8.


Dream Car

Ferrari 250GTO: if you have to ask...

AC Ace-Bristol: beautiful, light and joyous with a screaming

Mazda 787B: the best sounding GpC racer, I’d pay someone to
drive it around a circuit so that I could just listen to it.

McLaren F1: still, for me, the ultimate supercar.

MG MGD: a tantalising mid-engined concept which, if made,
would have meant the world would not have been polluted with the TR7.

Simon Charlesworth

Chris Martin
Joined: 2011-08-20


I am surprised this thread has gone quiet so soon. It is an invitation to all to get writing about their pet wheels, top five in five categories and licence to waffle on for better or worse.

If you haven't got around to it yet, or just forgot, let's have 'em, or it's going to be such a thin book from James I doubt even Shire will publish it.

Chris M.


James Elliott
James Elliott's picture
Joined: 2011-03-11

I haven't done mine yet!

In trying to compile my list, I realise how unfair it was to ask other people.

Chris Martin
Joined: 2011-08-20

James Elliott wrote:

I haven't done mine yet!

In trying to compile my list, I realise how unfair it was to ask other people.

Of course, and by now mine has probably changed too. It's the sort of brainbuster that one can never be fully satisfied with; like top twenty movies, or music lists. I worked on mine for a while, rested, thought about it again, made a couple of changes, waited, and so on, and then posted it, but it will never be definitive. And just for the sake of more controversy, of course we expect quite a few votes for the Ferrari GTO, but am I the only one who would (money no object of course) choose a 250LM in preference?

Good luck,

Chris M.


tomstimemachine's picture
Joined: 2012-06-19

drivers’ car


  1. Porsche 917K - for everything that this car was,
    is and will ever be remembered for, and the brave souls that originally piloted
    those monstrous, glorious, epic machines on their original Firestone tyres. The
    best drivers’ car bar none because only the best drivers’ need apply.
  2. Ferrari Dino 246GT - for me, handling beats sheer grip
    when it comes to a drivers’ car - fun at low speeds rather than limpet-like
    grip up to limits beyond 150mph - all before throwing you, with no warning,
    into on-coming traffic or the nearest tree. Welcome to the best drivers’ road
    car - the Dino 246GT.
  3. Ford GT40 - Specifically the Gulf-sponsored
    John Wyer cars - to my mind the best road/race car concept - it's such a shame
    many modern supercars such as the Zonda follow a route similar to later le Mans
    prototypes such as the Group C racers in the Porsche 956 mould.
  4. McLaren F1 - The combination of the
    late-Eighties McLaren management, Ron Dennis, Gordon Murray and Peter Stevens
    produced a car that no corporation committee car ever hope to match.
  5. Fiat X1/9 - as a child I would read the great
    supercar road tests, well-written tales of a respected journalist collecting a
    low slung supercar from an Italian manufacturer on a misty Italian morning and
    driving it back to the UK via the finest European roads - I could never afford
    one of these amazing machines in my early twenties, but I could afford a Fiat
    X1/9 - the magic is the same, and so is the response from onlookers, it's
    amazingly compact and it's just as tricky on a wet road - but wow is it


beautiful car


  1. Lamborghini Miura S - to my eyes, every viewing angle,
    every exterior and interior detail are as close to perfection as any car has
    yet achieved.
  2. Lamborghini Urraco P300 Silhouette - I just can't take my eyes away
    from one - especially in yellow. I originally saw the yellow car in a magazine
    in 1978 - the colour pages went on to cover my school textbook and I took it
    everywhere with me. Some people may call this car striking rather than
    beautiful but to me this car is pure glamour.
  3. Ferrari 365GT4 Berlinetta Boxer - every time I see one in the flesh
    my knees go weak - you think I’m joking - I actually dropped to my knees once -
    and I was at a Porsche Owner‘s Club meeting at Brands Hatch - it didn’t make me
    very popular.
  4. Citroen SM - catch one in the wrong colour, and
    from the wrong angle and it can look awful. on any other occasion it shines
    likes a glamorous 1970's lifestyle magazine advert for expensive watches, or a
    dreamy out-of focus ad for Cinzano Bianco, or Manakin Cigars.
  5. Aston Martin DB6 - I know it is slightly over-bodied
    and the tail is a bit clumsy, but I prefer the rear three-quarter styling, and
    the overall look and road presence of a DB6 over the earlier DB4/ DB5
    cars.  Solid colours don’t suit it though
    - I’d prefer it to be a metallic colour, sort of greyish - OK, Silver - yes yes
    yes, whatever !


important car


  1. Fiat 500 - in an ideal world where snobbish
    "one-upmanship" and pointless branding doesn't exist, and you are
    trying to provide an intelligent and inexpensive mobility solution for town and
    country - this is the near perfect solution and we had it 55 years ago -
    compared to a 500, the Smart looks ill-conceived and poorly executed
  2. Fiat 124 - Take a look again at this car, I
    know, you can't get past the Lada bit can you - well try - take a look at an
    original 1966 car with gleaming paint and fresh chrome - it's actually a very
    pretty and stylish car. Ok ? you finished laughing yet ? Fast forward to think
    of the many derivations of the 124 - a truly versatile platform that has
    spawned many models in many countries. To be honest, I wanted to put the Fiat
    128 here due to the interesting offshoots such as the 128 3P and X1/9 - problem
    is I can't stand the look of the standard 128.
  3. Porsche 911 - the 911, to me, is a bit like the
    small village of Laindon in Essex. Stuck close to Basildon and Pitsea, it has
    everything; wonderfully charming country pubs with great food, stunning wooded
    areas to walk off all that lovely Sunday Roast, beautiful looking houses and
    some great driving roads. But I would never want to live there, or even be
    associated with the place, why ? it's not the place itself, it's the people
    that live there and frequent it that put me off. The 911, more than any other car,
    attracts the truly ignorant.
  4. BMW M5 - Far more than the Golf GTi, the BMW M5
    defined a genre that has remained faithful to the original template.
  5. Austin A40 - launched before the Mini, the
    packaging is right, so is the hatchback - it's not as chuckable as a mini, but
    as a family car it makes much more sense. Shame on the “it‘s got to be the Mini”


all-rounder (including practicality!)


  1. Range Rover - my best-friend's mother had a 1972
    Range Rover when I was growing up way back in 1978 - it would take us all to
    school, cruise happily at 70mph on the motorway, and drag a sideways-on,
    bogged-down horsebox out of a water-logged patch of mud whilst a crowd of
    school kids looked on cheering and willing on the fabulous V8 hero, the sight
    and sound of the Range Rover dropping several inches on full revs as it
    hunkered down and squirreled around finding the grip, and the ease at which it
    performed this impossible looking task - it had a 10 minutes rest whilst the
    owner thanked my mate’s mum and then the Rangie took us all on a shopping trip
    into town - all in superb comfort, and you could have a Balmoral Green one too
    if you wished, just like Princess Di.
  2. Ford Cortina - the first car in 60 years of
    motoring to hit the magic bullseye - they even got the marketing of a model
    range spot on - eventually.
  3. Jaguar XJ6 Series 2 - Luxury, performance, class,
    elegance, style, comfort, speed, cache, breeding.
  4. Porsche 928 - The first practical supercar, with
    reasonable economy from a very efficient engine, deformable bumpers and ultra
    modern styling - all at a time when Ford had just stopped making the MKIII
  5. Fiat X1/9 - huge amount of space in such a
    tiny package, amazing amount of luggage area makes you wonder why anything
    bigger can get away with less - most importantly all the thrills of a supercar
    are here, and all with proper Italian Bertone styling - all for a relatively
    modest asking price. Yes, the original MR2 showed up the X1/9’s shortcomings
    but in every other way the X1/9 was a better concept.


dream car (money no object)


  1. Lamborghini Countach LP400 “periscopo”
    - It's easy to
    dismiss all Countach models as the obvious choice - for once I don’t mind
    joining the herd.
  2. Lamborghini Urraco P300 Silhouette - this car is the one car that stuns
    me every time I look at it, or even think about it - it's not perfect but it's
    like falling in love with a girl you know you can never be with - sublime.
  3. Lamborghini Countach LP400 S - I am taking "dream car"
    literally here, as a child of the Seventies this was that car I climbed into
    bed at night to drive epic road journeys before falling asleep.
  4. Ferrari 365GT4 Berlinetta Boxer - Ferrari totally balls'd up the
    mid-engined layout and were guilty of either lazy engineering or incompetence
    in my book - but then they clothed it with the most beautiful body you could
    hope to see on a car.
  5. Panther
    - The original
    1977 Motor show car - not the subsequent third-party lash-up.
Old Number One
Joined: 2012-08-17

Best Drivers Car
1. Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta

2. Lotus Elan

3. Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint 1600 GTA

4. Austin Healey 3000 MkII Works

5. Mini Cooper S Works (original)

Most beautiful car

1. Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Touring

2. Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Villa d'Este

3. Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic

4. Delahaye Type 135 MS Coupe Figoni & Falaschi

5. Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR

Most important car
1. Volkswagen Beetle

2. Austin 7

3. Willys Jeep

4. Mini

5. Mercedes S-Class

Best all-rounder
1. Porsche 911

2. MGB

3. Citroen DS

4. Alfa Romeo Giulia

5. Volvo P1800

Dream car
1. Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe (to actually discover it!)

2. Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Villa d'Este

3. Aston Martin DB5

4. Porsche 356A Carrera GS

5. Tatra Type 77

MrBenovich's picture
Joined: 2011-04-12

My two penneth...

Best drivers’ car -


-          Lancia Delta Integrale Evolution

-          Mazda MX5 

-          Lotus Elan

-          BMW M3 E30

-          AC Cobra


Most beautiful car –


-          Lamborghini Miura

-          Jaguar C-Type

-          Maserati AG GCS53

-          Aston Martin DB4 GT

-          Bugatti Type 35


Most important car  -


-          MGB – taking classic motoring to the masses

-          VW Beetle – nuf said

-          Willys Jeep – ubiquitous and served well during many conficts (forerunner to Land Rover too)

-          Austin Mini – nuf said, part2

-          Ferrari F40 – one of the earliest supercars to crack 200mph


Best all-rounder (including practicality!)


-          Land Rover (Any)

-          Jaguar MkII

-          BMW M5 Estate

-          Audi RS2

-          MGB GT


Your dream car (money no object)


Only 5??? That’s tough… OK:


-          GT40

-          AC Cobra

-          Ferrari 250 SWB

-          Miura

-          Willys Jeep


jagnut12's picture
Joined: 2011-05-10

Best Drivers car

1 Porsche GT2

2 Alfa Romeo GTA

3 lancia Stratos

4 Lotus Elan Sprint

5 Lancia Fulvia HF

Most beautiful

Delahaye 135 Chapron body

Bugatti Atlantic

Lamborghini Miura

Ferrari 250 SWB

Most Important

Original Rolls Royce Silver Ghost

Original Morris Minor MM

Volkswagen Beetle

Jaguar XK120

Honda Insight

Best Alrounder

BMW 5-series

Jaguar E-type


Volkswagen Golft GTi

Jaguar XJ6 series 1.

Your Dream

Ferrari 250 SWB

Lamborghini Miura SV RHD

Jaguar XKSS

Corvette Stingray 1953 model

Porsche 356 A


Russell Campbell
Russell Campbell's picture
Joined: 2011-12-21

Best driver's car

For the sheer learning-how-to-drive-properly factor surely the Lotus 7/Caterham has go to be top of the list here. A quick scan of Youtube will come up with countless videos where exotic metal shoots past the plucky Brit only for the fancy supercars to get eaten up in the corners and for a fraction of the price surely worth it just for that.

I also like the Nissan GTR, though, probably more than any other car it opens up its full potential to drivers of different skills sets and it is quite ludicrously quick.

The Porsche 911 has got to be in there. I'd go for a 964 Carrera 2, just to give myself a sporting chance of not throwing it yuppie-style into a bush.

Here's my next argument a driver's car can't just be enjoyable in the good times, but comfortable and cosseting in the bad times. Arguably nothing does that like that like the Honda NSX.

My final choice is the Ferrari 355.  Yes, there are faster Ferraris that grip better, but as mini bite of all that's good about Maranello the 355 has got it all.

The most beautiful

When ad-man Jamie came returned from a visit to the glamorous Villa d’Este Concours (see here) with pictures of the ‘Round Door’ Rolls I decided on the spot it was one of my favourite-looking cars.

Second place would go to the Maserati 250f, but I don’t feel I have to say why!

Next up is the Ferrari 456, what can I say, I like its 90’s curves…
Number three for me is a concept car designed by Pininfarina – the Alfa Romeo the 2uettottanta

Last but not least it’s the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa.

Most important

My general explanation for these is that without all of these we might not be driving cars today. So…

I’ll admit I had to Google it at first, but I can’t really argue with the Benz Patent-Motorwagen being the most important car in the world, because without it there may not be cars at all.

That would mean the Ford Model T has to be next inline, because without cars may well have been the preserve of the wealthy.

Third place, then, has to be the Austin 7 for answering the problem of how to drive what is a complex machine.

Fourth I think must go to the VW Beetle as it seems to me to be the first easily attainable/practical car that modern cars today still match.

…the Toyota Corolla. Yes the Mini was a triumph of styling, packaging and handling, but what has that done for us now. There are front wheel-drive cars that drive well, but we’re always surprised to find they exist. Most spawn of the Mini is dull and uninteresting. The Toyota is, too, of course, but it also brought a legacy that is of genuine use/interest to me. Reliability.

Best all rounder (including practicality)

The Range-Rover surely has this crown? Its one of the most versatile cars available, which is as happy up to its wheels in mud as it is chauffeuring execs to the airport.

Next up will the Escort Cosworth brought the visual drama of a Lamborghini to the normal man.

Now’s the time for the Mini. Its packaging means you can fit the family inside, it looked good, is easy to park, frugal, front-wheel-drive safe and, more important than anything else – it’s fun. If only all front-wheel drives were like it.

The twin-supercharged Aston Martin V8 vantage its about as practical as a supercar can get, but is also properly luxurious and properly quick.
I have to mention the GTR again I’m afraid. But what else costs the same as a mid-range executive saloon can beat almost any super car round a track and fit a family with luggage. The 4x4 just adds to its durability. It is an uncompromised supercar, but for everyday.

Dream Car
It’s another strange one I’m afraid, given that everyone one raves about the Ferrari F40, my dream Ferrari of that ilk is the F50 – I love the way it sounds more than any other, and enough to ignore they way it looks.

The next dream car is the McLaren F1. An awesomely relentless and amazing sounding engine, great looks, un-bettered attention to details and that it is British makes it an easy choice.

The next choice would be the Ford GT40. I love the way it looks and I like that it was built to beat Ferrari and managed it. They sound rather distinctive, too!

I think the dream car choice has got to include a 911 and as it’s a money not object decision, it may as well include the best 911 every made – the 911RS. It’s raw and dangerous, but still practical (ish). Oh, and it sounds immense.

Which leaves the last on the list and this dream car’s also a racecar – Gordon Murray’s ground-effect Brabham BT-46B. I like that it has to be banned, that it was scarily fast and the thought of turning up to a track day with it.

Chris Martin
Joined: 2011-08-20

So any closer to learning the definitive 'best' list? The points suggested should make it mathematically possible to compile some sort of list.

Did you get any replies other than what is here, or does this thread need another kick-start?

Chris M.