For some time now Britain’s most hated drivers have been those who have chosen to sit behind the padded wheel that features the four rings of supreme confidence. Yes, Audi. Before that it was the infamous Bimmer roundel. Not too sure who it was before then, possibly hot hatch drivers.
It is of course all nonsense. This is a short cut, knee-jerk reaction for amateur argumentalists. It is undoubtedly based on that most unattractive of human emotions, envy. Because I can’t afford an Q7, I really don’t see why you should enjoy your impossibly huge and irredeemably ugly 4x4.
Now I really don’t care about what cars and drivers you really hate, that’s far too easy. I want to know the vehicles and pilots who are all rather wonderful. Human nature is a funny old thing and the law of averages means that not every driver of a particular marque is nice, but experience in these matters leads me to conclude otherwise.
Let's take Minis. Professionally I’ve met hundreds of owners and written profiles of their cars. That involves spending half a day with them at least. Meeting at their house and chatting all day. Since doing that in the early ‘90s I’ve never met one who was awkward, miserable or not glad to be alive. I can’t believe, probably naively, that a nasty person would bother owning one.
It is the same with Land Rovers. Older ones anyway. You always get a cheery wave from them in the Series models, plus early 90s and 110s. Now I know there is probably a hardcore contingent in the Boondocks who may well be able to go the whole Deliverance on you, otherwise they are salt of the earth Fred Dibnah types. And that’s only the women who steer them.
I suppose classics do attract the harmless eccentrics in our society and it is much harder with newer vehicles that fall into much more of a typical owner cliché, ‘cat food lovers run Civics’ for instance. I mean, are all basic spec Dacias owned by salt of the earth meanies, or just Autocar journalists? I definitely think that all Morgan Three Wheeler and Caterham owners must be fantastic company.
So who drives the cars we love?