What is the best car in the world?
About this time last year (15 September 2015) I wrote about it – or at least, the best car I’d ever driven – because ‘which car is the best?’ is a question people in this game get asked a lot. Not unreasonably.
The thing is, people don’t usually want to know what the best car ever created actually is, and will start backing away from you gently if you get too involved in the details, because examination of ‘best’ is a geekfest of the highest order.
How would you define, for example, what constitutes the best book ever written? The best meal ever cooked? The best house, beach, sportsperson, restaurant or politician? Books have been written about the subjects, yet questioners want an answer about cars distilled into a make and model. A notable one. Most of the time, people don’t want to know the details, the reckoning; they just want a headline hit. They’re searching for their Churchill, their Palace of Versailles, their Ulysses.
They don’t want to know that the Ford Fiesta Zetec S, the 1.6-litre one, is only the absence of a sixth gear away from completeness, having an untouchable blend of ride, handling and steering at anything like its money, or that the original Lexus LS400 was held by engineers as a refinement benchmark for a decade after its 1989 launch. I guess they’d tolerate you waxing about the first Honda NSX, or perhaps even an Ariel Nomad, but the truth is that they want a big hitter. A Noma. An Ali.