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Top 10 Favorite Cars Of All Time

on Wed, 12/09/2012 - 17:00

After a great deal of deliberation...

1979 Corvette Stingray 350
10) 1979 Corvette Stingray 350

Counting down from 10 and kicking off with an unlikely American classic, the Corvette Stingray. Now I tend to rule out American cars as a general rule of thumb but there is something about the front wheel arches and overall stance of the Stingray, not unlike that of the Elise, that I find overwhelmingly desirable. I won't lie, I discovered the Vette not at a classic car show but rather in the digital bowels of Gran Turismo 4 on the PlayStation 2. Rightly or wrongly the Stingray earns a place in my top 10 favourite cars of all time.

Ferrari Daytona
9) Ferrari 365 GTB (Daytona)

I've never thought that much of older cars but as I write this list there are more classics than I would have expected. When I saw Richard Hammond drive a Ferrari 365 GTB (more commonly know as the Ferrari Daytona) painted a deep Tour De Force Blue between Portofino and St. Tropez my imagination skipped a beat (see Top Gear Series 12 Episode 5). Forever more will it portray a certain carefree wistful romance. I'd have one just for the occasional coastal drive.

Porsche 911 Carrera GTS
8) Porsche 997 Carrera GTS

I've driven a 996 GT3 and its ability as a drivers car cannot be disputed, pick up any automotive magazine and there will probably be a reference or comparison in there somewhere. I do however struggle with its egg yolk shaped lights and while that might not stop me from ever buying one it does lose it a place in this list. A classic white 993 would make a great addition but it is the 997 GTS that makes the cut. It wasn't very Porsche like for the GTS to use the wider 4-wheel-drive rear arches while maintaining the 2-wheel-drive system, this mélange of modern technology and retro design treatments make it, in my opinion, the perfect Porsche 911.

Pagani Zonda F
7) Pagani Zonda

The Zonda could quite easily be the result of leaving an Elise on an alien planet for 100 years with nothing but carbon fibre and car steroids, it's like nothing I've seen before and is the only car on this list that could be called a Hypercar. The first time I heard one start up was when a kind owner at the Canary Wharf Moto Expo opened up the rear engine-bay for me to take a look, and then duly let it rip; I've still not stopped tingling. Personally I'd take the standard version, if there is such a thing.

Porsche Cayman
6) Porsche Cayman

Controversially I'm going to slot the Porsche Cayman in above the 911. Already noted as one of the greatest cars I've ever driven - see the first part of my blog post Lamborghini Murcielago Experience. The mid engined balance and steering feel just blow me away. It fills a similar gap to that of the Elise and I hope it isn't for that reason that I never get to own one. I'll admit to being a snob when it comes to the Boxter but a Cayman owner has my deepest respect for picking the best of breed. Not the prettiest but worthy of a place in my list none the less.

5) Ferrari 348 GTB
Ferrari 348 GTB

The 348 almost made the number 4 spot. The design is a bit marmite but to me screams Ferrari in a fantastically 80's kind of way. Unfortunately the 348 is well documented as being one of the worst Ferraris ever built and while many forum arguments rage on I can't help but think that is in part, missing the point. Personally I love the 348 and it absolutely has to be in my top 5. I even toyed with selling the Lotus to buy one - that's just how much I like it. Somewhat predictably it would have to be Red with painted sills, cream leather and of the GTB fixed roof variety.

Ferrari 246 (Dino)
4) Ferrari 246 (Dino)

Another Ferrari and for me it is the classic sports car. If budget had permitted it would have been our wedding car and my wife and I even went along to view one (a shame but the Elise dutifully stepped up). It's iconic that's for sure and its silhouette can be seen used in many a marketing and advertising campaign even now. The name “Dino” honours founder Enzo Ferrari's late son Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, who was credited with the design of the V6 engine. I'd take mine in Rosso Corsa please and spend most of my time with the polish out.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage
3) Aston Martin V12 Vantage

The V12 Vantage looks like a regular Vantage snorting from its nostrils and flexing its muscles. The current Aston line up is generally considered among the most achingly beautiful cars ever built and yet with the V12V they also manage to work in some aggression, a Venus fly trap comes to mind. Now when I drove the V12V's big brother, the heavier DB9, I found it somewhat disappointing from behind the wheel - see blog post Aston Martin & Porsche Experience. Although arguably just as beautiful I do prefer the lighter and tighter package the Vantage has to offer and like to think the driving dynamic would be more akin to what I’m after. Masculine is the aim so I'd plum for Onyx Black or Meteorite Silver, only allowing Bond Soundtracks to emanate from the Bose speakers.

Ferrari F430
2) Ferrari F430

I've driven a Ferrari 360 Modena and to say I loved it would be a massive understatement. The way it handles like a big Exige with pin point accuracy while also managing such brutal acceleration... sorry, I lost myself for a moment - you can read more in my blog post Silverstone Ferrari 360 Experience. I haven't yet driven Ferrari's next generation mid-engined V8 but I slightly prefer the sharper styling of the F430 over the 360. The oversized rear diffuser and exposed brake lights are a particular draw. I probably wouldn't go for the traditional red but rather opt for a more subtle Tour De Force Blue or Metallic Grigio Silverstone Grey. This would be the car I bought the day I won the lottery; using it as a daily drive while amassing the rest of my collection... might have to be quite a big win though!

Lotus Elise S2
1) Lotus Elise S2

It couldn't have been anything else really could it? This list was never about number 1, it was 2-10 that made it interesting. I'm lumping the S2 Exige into here as well by the way, it's my list and my rules.

So that's it. Any list like this will always be subjective. The 12 year old me would be aghast that the Jaguar XJ220 is missing but times have moved on and as the definition of sports and supercars has shifted I've fallen out of love. Ferrari have won 4 of the 10 spots and it could have kept going, the 360 has been counted in with the F430 and it's a challenge not adding in the 599, Enzo and 355. The list is conspicuous in its lack of something beginning in L and ending in scissor doors. While I crave a Lamborghini from time to time there isn't one that quite pushes all the right buttons for me. Perhaps if the Gallardo had scissors doors things would have been different. An Audi R8 appeals in a real world ownership kind of way but enough to make this particular list, I’m not sure.