Top Ten List – Cars
I will pre-empt this blog by stating that these are MY top 10 cars. By no standard are these the 10 best cars ever made. They are simply my favorite. Some for iconic reasons, some for the mere brilliance. I am also limited in that I have only read about some of them and never had the opportunity to drive them. The ones I have not driven will be marked **. Here goes.
10. Mazda CX-9 –
Not the prettiest car, nor is it a high performance vehicle, but as far as bang for your buck, this one is best in it’s class. I have had the opportunity to own one. Shortly after trading it in, while I loved it’s replacement, I missed it. It is as nice to drive as a luxury sedan. It is comfortable and handles as much like a car as an SUV can. If I had to pick any top of the line, 6 cylinder SUV for under $40 grand, this is it. I will also say that this is the only Japanese car that made the list. That is simply because, while the Japanese make excellent cars, none but this have really left an impression even though I lived in Japan for 3 years. They just aren’t cars you fall in love with. The CX-9 being the exception in my book.
9. Ford Crown Victoria
I love reliability and being as old fashioned as I am, I do not think there has been a vehicle with such a reputation for running so well for so long. I mean look at the monumental usage this car gets. From government to police, and executives (Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis, as they are the same car) to taxi cabs, this car is tried and proven. It is honestly a symbol of American authority and automotive brilliance. It isn’t always wonderfully equipped and doesn’t handle well at all (unless you know how to do it), but who doesn’t move over whenever you see one coming up behind you in the left lane? It is supremely comfortable and an obvious alternative to families who are stuck buying mid sized SUVs. Think about it.
8. Austin Mini Cooper
While I am a fan of the new Minis, I have to say that it is the history of the little old go-cart that has me ultimately impressed. If you look at the car’s grand touring and rally history, you will see that while it didn’t have much for acceleration, it turned! It won world rally championships as well as many grand touring events, and it could fit in my bathroom. Notwithstanding all of this, it is so much fun to drive.
7. **Alpha Romeo Brera
I have never driven this car. It is simply on here because I think it is quite possibly the prettiest car to come out of the 2000’s. The Italians tout names like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati, but Alpha Romeo has a bit of a romance about it that the other Italian stallions have overlooked. They are not known for their reliability, ride, or performance as much as they are known for their exclusivity. Having said this, the Brera is simply one of the best looking cars ever made, apart from a couple classics like the original E-Type Jag and my number 1 on the list. There is a caveat to this; if you own one, it must be red.
6. **1965 Rover P5 Coupe Mark ii
This one is only on my list because I would love to have one. A British racing green one. It was a cool little sedan (although they called it the Coupe) that was very nicely equipped for it’s time. It also had, from what I have researched, a modestly powerful small block V8 which sounded beautiful.
5. Land Rover
I throw this out there as a brand. Now, they have had a few flops. Particularly during the 80s and early 90s; however, I honestly think that regardless of what level of 4X4 you think you need, Land Rover has one for you. Heavy off roading and trekking through woods and nature at it’s worst—Defender. Occasional off roading and perhaps driving in heavy snow—Discovery. Normal city/town driving with less than usual off road activity (picnicking or whatever)—Range Rover. City/town driving and no occasion to go off road – ALL OF THEM! Brilliant car and unlike Jeep, they do it with class.
4. BMW M5
This is probably the best car out there today. If you look at overall value, performance, comfort, equipment, etc, this one has statistically been in the running on a consistent basis since it’s arrival in 1986, when it was the fastest production sedan in the world. Even at that time, while the kinks hadn’t gotten completely worked out, it still had THAT accomplishment.
3. Porsche 911
Over the past 52 years there has been a 911. Honestly, many people hate the fact that the styling hasn’t changed much; but, I think that’s why I like it. I mean I can honestly see myself in a silver 1963 911, as much as I can see myself in the newer Carrera S editions. I love the way it looks. I love the way the Germans have (with significant scrutiny) avoided moving the engine around too much. Rear engine, rear wheel drive is contrary to what all supercars (outside of the new Vette) have. The intelligent thing to do is to move the engine to the middle and keep it low. Porsche has decided they didn’t want to do that and yet, the 911 is still keeping up after more than 50 years. Just a wonderful car. I have only had the pleasure of driving one once. It was 1999 and I drove a 1997 model. It was what first got me very interested in that car, and it stuck.
2. **1970 – 1972 Buick Riviera Boat Tail
I have to show two pictures of this car so you actually get the right idea of what it looks like. I honestly can’t tell you why I like this car so much. I just think that it is beautifully striking. It is not the prettiest car ever made (as we have established) but it leaves an impression. I think the unique look coupled with the Olds 455 under the hood makes it my second favorite car of all time. From what I have read, it was a long running, reliable car with typical GM problems having to do with lack luster build quality. Such as in the 1970 model where there were louvered vents on the trunk lid. After the car went out for sale to the general public, a major design flaw was highlighted in that rain water and exhaust would enter through the vents and subsequently create problems both inside the trunk and inside the car. In 1971, GM removed the trunk louvers. Lessons learned. Also, you should google some pictures of the interior of this car. Way ahead of it’s time. I just think it looks like such a nice place to be.
1. **1978 Pontiac Trans Am
My love of this car started when I was four years old. I watched Smokey and the Bandit for the first time. My mother told me that I loved that car so much I didn’t even know what the movie was about, and I still watched it somewhere in the realm of 5-6 times a week until I was about 10. To be honest, if we look at the technical bits of the car, it really is crap. It’s too heavy (hence the 6.6 liter engine), it didn’t handle well, and to be honest, didn’t really compete well with the other muscle cars at the time as far as performance. Honestly, at the time, why not buy a Vette? I mean, the TA was cheaper and sales didn’t suffer. From what I have heard from my folks, everyone back then knew someone who had one. However, the Firebird name was always overshadowed by it’s predecessor and twin, the Camaro. This is probably why there is only a whisper of a call for a new one to be built by a small group of enthusiasts. That, and Pontiac died. I think this car is an example of childhood dreams that will never die. This is now becoming very popular amongst collectors, hence it is becoming more expensive. I would pass up any other car on earth to have this one. I’d even grow a mustache and rock an orange button up on occasion with East Bound and Down playing on the stereo. I’m that much of a dork over it.
There are so many others that almost made the list or on another day, if I were in a different mood, would have. Today, these are the winners. Like I said, my reasoning for loving some of these are my own and don’t necessarily have to make sense to car enthusiasts or critics out there. I just like them, and often, all the pain that comes with them.