10 cars to drive before you die
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Dying – it’s a horrible thought, isn’t it? But whether we like it or not, we’re all going to meet our maker one day. Hopefully later rather than sooner, mind.
That’s why we should always live life to the full (don’t worry, we haven’t just come back from a life philosophy class). And as hardcore petrolheads, living life to the full involves driving as many of the world’s hottest cars as possible before we leave this fair world.
As you’re old friends of ours (not old as in near death’s door, we should add), we’ve decided to let you in on the 10 cars we think you should drive before you die. They’re so good you’ll be in seventh heaven by the time you reach the end of this gallery. Joke. Enjoy!
Lotus Esprit (S1)
While Italy gave the world the Lamborghini Countach during the ‘70s, we Brits (well, Lotus, to be more specific) came up with our own wedge-shaped beauty, the Esprit.
Although it was in no way as athletic or powerful-looking as the Countach, the Esprit’s unique design, great handling and steering made it a car that would remain long in the memory banks. And that scene where Roger Moore drove it underwater in The Spy Who Loved Me probably helped matters a bit…
In our humble opinions, Beemer has never produced a more desirable car than the M1 mid-engined sports car that had a limited production run (just 455 units) between 1978 and 1981.
Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro (who also influenced the look of the DeLorean DMC-12) after the struggling Lamborghini pulled out of the design process, the M1 has real Italian flair in its design language, which explains why it has the aesthetic of a Beemer but not as we know it.
Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport
One day we’ll lose our enthusiasm for praising the god of 21st-century supercars that is the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport. One day.
But until another supercar comes along that can replicate and surpass the Super Sport’s earth-shattering top speed of 268mph, we’ll be happy to continue singing the praises of this matte black and orange £1.7m masterpiece. A definite must-drive before you meet your maker.
SSC Ultimate Aero
It may recently have been dethroned as the world’s fastest car by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, but the Ultimate Aero from Shelby SuperCars is still the second-fastest production car in the world, and a very attractive one at that.
The second generation of the SSC is due out in 2011, although we think it’s the original landmark-breaker that you need to get behind the wheel of before you wave goodbye to this world.
Aston Martin DB5
For a brief moment, we were torn between choosing the new Aston One-77 and the original Bond car, the DB5. But then we returned to our senses and realised that as good as Aston's first real big-gun supercar is, the DB5 will always be the real object of our affections.
It featured in the Sean Connery-fronted Bond films Goldfinger and Thunderball, and one of two DB5s that appeared in those films recently sold for more than £2m at auction. And yes, that means the owner gets all of the gadgets, including dual machine guns, ejector seat and oil-slick creator. License to kill not included.
Dreamt up by legendary designer Ken Okuyama while he was working for world-famous Italian design house Pininfarina, the Enzo is the fastest car ever to come off the Ferrari production line. A top speed of 220mph backs up that claim!
Only 400 examples of the Enzo were created, selling for around £420,000 a go, but they now turn up being sold for more than £800,000 at auction houses around the world. Not bad for a car that’s less than 10 years old!
The Bertone-designed, wedge-shaped wonder that is the Lamborghini Countach burst onto the motoring scene as far back as 1971, before entering production in 1974. However, it remains one of the hottest supercars of all time – if not the hottest.
A top speed of over 160mph made the Countach one of the fastest cars of its time, but it’s the unique, innovative design, whose cues can still be seen in today’s supercars, that makes this one of the cars you definitely need to drive before you die.
Inspired by Ford’s world-famous GT40 racing cars, it’s fair to say that the GT is the only supercar ever to come from America’s most famous car manufacturer.
Produced in 2005 and 2006, only 4,000 units of the GT were created, each housing a 5.4-litre supercharged V8 powertrain that could propel the GT from 0-60mph in 3.3 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 205mph. It’s a must-drive for connoisseurs of all things supercar-related.
Every teenage boy had a poster of the Testarossa on his wall during the ‘80s (well, we did, at least), so it remains one of those cars that any petrolhead worth his salt would want to drive at least once in a lifetime. Or maybe twice…
Created by Pininfarina, the Testarossa (which is Italian for “red head”) went on to appear as the main car in the iconic ‘80s arcade game Out Run and even appeared as Sonny Crockett’s car in Miami Vice. If that doesn’t seal its status as the ultimate motoring icon of the ‘80s, we don’t know what will! Get behind the wheel of this dream machine! Go on, you deserve it!
The ‘Stang might still be going strong over 46 years after it first hit the US market, but it’s the original version that you need to make sure you get behind the wheel of during this lifetime.
The original muscle car sold over one million units in its first two years on the US market. Perhaps that’s because few other cars have matched desirability with affordability in such an effective way. We’ve seen one or two driving around London, so don’t write off the chances of driving the original ‘Stang just yet.