Absolute Icons and Total Lemons

We asked our respected colleague Georg Kacher to compile the best and worst cars - ordered by distinctive characteristics. Read the highly entertaining result.
Text Georg Kacher
Photo Alamy

Air-Cooled Rear Engines

The Legends

VW Microbus: Indestructible six-person camping utensil. Joints and flowers in hair are extra.

VW Beetle: Tell us your own personal Beetle story, firing order optional.

Porsche 911: The archetype of the centrifugal pendulum absorber. Or: fear eats up countersteering.

Fiat 500: Her name was Anna, she was nineteen years older and smelled of seduction. The key was in the ignition . . .

The Dark Hours

Chevrolet Corvair: The failed attempt to reimagine the Beetle the American way.

VW Type 4: A working-class Beetle with a puffed-up design, the petty bourgeoisie’s realization of the post-war dream.

Tatra 603: XXL comrade-approved Beetle in Sputnik-inspired streamline design powered by giant air-cooled V8.

Italian: Red, Loud, Mid-Engine

Heaven on Earth

Ferrari 458: Sure, the 488 and F8 are even faster. But the true cuore sportivo beats for Ferrari’s last naturally aspirated V8 engine.

Maserati MC12: Forget the Enzo. The MC12 was hotter, edgier, more savage, much more challenging.

Lambo Huracán Performante: A sports car built on the 
principle of air – naturally aspirated V10, adaptive aerodynamics, thunder and lightning included.

Good Heavens!

Ferrari 348: The 328 was okay, the 355 was okay, the 348 
was grande casino. The handling alone . . . Mamma mia!

Fiat X1/9: Dashing mid-engine Targa with Bertone body . . . 
What can go wrong? Answer: everything!

Lambo Countach Bedroom poster for pre-teen boys. 
Pasted over with Pamela Anderson in puberty.

V8 Power from the U.S. of A.

The Icons

Chevy Impala SS: Cop car looks + Corvette V8 + wide tires = cruising down Main Street.

Ford Taurus SHO Yamaha V6 + manual transmission + sport suspension = ultimate stealth sedan.

Chrysler C300 SRT8 Station Wagon: 425-hp 6.1-L V8 + American mafia styling = one heck of a car.

Chevy Impala SS: Cop car looks + Corvette V8 + wide tires = cruising down Main Street.

The Junk

Almost everything else that rolled off the assembly line in Detroit, had more than two doors, was offered 
in five different shades of red and was exclusively available with a factory-sedated automatic. In other words, 
around 11,208 different models – not including the Japanese-produced clones.

French Legends


Facel Vega HK500: Favorite brand of the wealthy 
left-wing elite who had no idea about cars.

Citroën SM: Beguilingly beautiful road furniture with disturbingly vulnerable Maserati V6 engine.

Renault 5 Turbo 1: Mid-engine hatchback designed to dance: learn to turn before you learn to drive.

Non, merci

Facel Vega Facellia: Baby Facel wannabe. What you would get if Zara or H&M built cars.

Alpine A610: Plastic rocket à la française. Blasé, twisty, shoddily built.

Peugeot 403 Convertible: Just because 
Columbo drove one? Without a roof, the 403 is a rickety, drafty ride.

Read all 15 dream and scare categories, including Japanese icons, British "Bummer" and twelve-cylinders of all kinds in ramp #56.

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