Greatest classics? You decide

| 25 Oct 2011

Plenty of us probably think that our own favoured models are the finest classic cars ever, but what's the truth? Perhaps it's something as humble as Alec Issigonis' ubiquitous Mini (above) or, at the other end of the spectrum, a sports car legend such as the Ferrari 250GTO or Jaguar E-type (below).

Now the National Motor Motor Museum at Beaulieu has launched a campaign to discover the most important cars of all time, to coincide with the 125th anniversary of the original motor car, Karl Benz's Patent-Motorwagen (below).

That may not seem like anything new, but the difference is that this time the shortlist – or longlist as it turns out – will be not decided by a panel of 'experts' but by all enthusiasts, and NMM organisers have asked C&SC readers to join in.

The plan is to compile a definitive list of the 125 greatest cars in history, with enthusiasts invited to make their nominations via Twitter – tweet @beaulieu_hants – or to post them on the museum's Facebook page at staff are hoping that its collection of more than 250 vehicles will include the 'winning' classic, alongside its Formula 1 cars, World Land Speed Record machines – and even a working replica of that famous 1886 Benz.

“It’s sure to generate a fierce debate, but in the end we want to have whittled it down to the top 125,” said a National Motor Museum spokesman. “There are some obvious contenders and we’ve got many of those right here in the collection [such as the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, above] but we want the legions of motor fans to have their say.“We’re looking for the cars that have been most influential and made the biggest impact on history. These are not necessarily the prettiest or the fastest, but those that have broken new ground and made the car what it is today."If you're neither signed into Facebook, nor a member of the Twittering classes, you can also post your suggestions to Beaulieu Enterprises Ltd, John Montagu Building, Beaulieu Brockenhurst, Hampshire SO42 7ZN.See the Beaulieu website for more – and don't forget to enter the debate on our forum.