What a beautiful car! Supplied to me at 'Rob Walkers' by Maranello in May 1968 Chassis and Engine No. 11069 provided very, very special motoring. Here it is at Castle Coombe ....

 

 

I wrote the following in response to a Jeremy Clarkson item in December 2005

I like Clarkson. He’s very much one of us. Enthusiastic and boring, yet with that “je ne sais car” that endears him to motoring voyeurs the world over. Who are we to criticise him just because we, quite rightly, believe that we know more about cars than he does. 

This brings me neatly to the Bugatti Verone which I think could be a good car, but not a great car.  

In fairness, I have not driven the Verone. I have, though, lived the drive from Northern Italy to Calais which was undertaken by Jeremy Clarkson. A great drive. A superb experience for all the BBC viewers. A great production by the Top Gear team, to let us all have a taste of what a real super-car must be like. Please do not let us take anything away from Top Gear. Really first-class. 

But, what do they know? They know about what’s going on, what’s been going on, but how far back can they go? They can’t know about everything, and this could well be the problem about what is the World’s finest Super-car. 

It’s a bit like trying to assess whether Fangio and Moss were better than Senna and Schumacher. They are, and were, great in their time and we should never say that one was the “greatest driver of all time”. I am sure it has to be the same with cars. 

In 1969, on a Wednesday evening, I was sitting with a pal over Dinner and the odd glass of wine. “It’s the French Grand Prix this week-end” he said. I said “let’s go”. The next evening, Thursday, we caught the night ferry from Portsmouth. We arrived at Rheims at 09.30. “Let’s go further South” he said. 

We drove on: we stopped for lunch, sun and wine. We arrived at The Hotel du Cap just as the sun was going down. What a drive. What a car. What a trip. What an experience. I will never forget that drive. 

Is the Verone the best car ever? 

I do not really know. We were in a GTB Long-Nose. Clarkson would have loved it, but because he’s so young he will never know what it was like. It was ever thus.

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