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Crazy Favourites

1. Benz Patentwagen

Karl Benz did a brilliant job for the 1880s but his three-wheeler re-created by Mercedes-Benz apprentices _ was missing even the basics of modern motoring. We had to push it up a slight rise and it was scarifying on a downhill run, with almost zero braking and steering vaguely controlled by a tiller feeding directions through a solid rubber tyre that would have been more use on a pram. Memorable, but . 2. 1911 Rolls-Royce.

So many classic cars look fantastic but drive like old, slow . . . trucks. The Roller was one of those, with piddling acceleration, no cornering grip and a body which invited air in through all sorts of gaping holes. But the worst thing was the brake _ a single rear drum operated by a wild west wagon-style lever beside the driver's seat. It was incapable of stopping the car but did a great job of throwing it sideways at 80km/h.

3. 1955 Ford Fairlane convertible

This was supposed to have been a Route 66-style run to a 1950s-vintage petrol station in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I can remember the giant folding metal roof and the gorgeous body, but my real memory is a car with brakes the size of bootpolish cans. When the traffic pulled up for one unexpected red light I had to take to the sidewalk to avoid them.

4. Lada Samara

Peter Brock did some strange things in his life, but putting his name to the evil little Russian hatchback is right up there. Quality was lousy, performance was missing and one journalist crashed at the first corner _ with Brock egging him on. If it's not the worst car I have driven, it's only because the other experience was so bad it's been erased from my memory.

5. Bugatti Veyron

Now I can tell the truth about the Veyron. Beyond its shattering performance, I can see zero reason to pay more than $1.5 million for a car which is ugly, devours petrol and does not even have electric seat adjustments. But does it go. It felt quicker around Sandown than a V8 Supercar.

Paul Gover
Paul Gover is a former CarsGuide contributor. During decades of experience as a motoring journalist, he has acted as chief reporter of News Corp Australia. Paul is an all-round automotive expert and specialises in motorsport.
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