‘What’s the best car you’ve ever driven?’ Blimey, if I had a pound ‘n' all that… Put it this way: had I made my numerous inquisitors pay their dues, the heels on my brogues would be considerably thicker by now. 

As a road tester for the world's oldest motoring publication, this question trails me like a bout of noxious ‘thunder from down under’ in a crowded room. In fact, all through a life spent goofing about in fancy metal, first as a mechanic and then as a salesman of Britain’s and Italy’s finest, it’s the first thing folk tend to ask. So what is the answer?

Best new a 499

Considering the problems perplexing mankind right now - everything from the how to domesticate Kim Jong-un to finding out where that flighty-old Higgs Boson is hiding - this one should be easy, right? 

Heck no. Such is the enormous pot of fabulous cars to pick from and the sea of grey that defines what makes something the best, I have stuttered and stumbled like Albert E. Arkwright – you know, the Open All Hours chap – trying to answer it. 

So, fed up with the embarrassment of always replying ‘I d-d-d-dunno’ and the thrill of a challenge, I was determined to come up with a riposte. And you know what?  By c-c-c-crikey I think I have.