BOTB Asks: What’s the best car from the Euros? {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

14 Jun 2016

France – Renault 5 Turbo

France has always been the undoubted King of the hot hatch, with plenty to choose from. This could’ve been the day for the Peugeot 205 GTi, but as this is my party I’m going for the craziest original hot hatch – the Renault 5 Turbo 2. Okay, the 5 Turbo was the original, but I think the Turbo 2 looked better. What Renault did was take their little shopping/city car and slap a turbocharged 1.4 litre engine with 158bhp in the middle where the back seats should be. It weighed around 970kg and had a crazy wide arch body kit which made it look like it had just driven off a rally stage. It was just effortlessly cool, not least because you could get it in very 70’s brown. Okay there is the slight point that it tried to kill you every time you went around a corner, but these are minor details…

Italy – Ferrari 250 SWB

There are so so many cars to choose from in Italy’s rich history, but for me there can be only one winner – the 250 Berlinetta SWB. There are many technical reasons, such as the short wheelbase handling, the incredible 3.0 litre V12 producing 280bhp that made the lightweight SWB feel like a rocket ship, the crisp gearchange and the first use of disc brakes as standard. But the main reason is a very simple one – JUST LOOK AT IT. The 250 SWB is, to me, the most beautiful car ever made, and that is a very strong statement I know. From the short nose and the headlights, the front wings curve up and over the wheels then taper down before the line then jumps up again over the rear arches to the stubby rear end. Add in the tapering roofline, perfect stance and you just have the best looking car ever in my opinion.

England – British Leyland Princess

Given that England is pretty much always a disappointment in football tournaments, I’ve decided to choose my most disappointing car in England’s history and there’s only one choice for me – the BL Princess. Now I’ll admit to having a vested interest in this as the hideous blue monstrosity in the above picture was actually mine – it was given to me aged 18 by a family member as a stopgap before I could save up and buy my own first car and despite being free it was still the worst value car I’ve ever owned. My Princess was the upmost luxury for the range – the 2200 HLS which had the fire breathing 2.2 litre straight-six engine with 110bhp, though most of that was sapped by the lethargic 3-speed automatic gearbox. It was slow, broke down a LOT, fell apart regularly and looked like a wedge of smelly cheese. Covered in chrome trim and vinyl. Utterly awful, just like England in football matches.

Germany – Porsche 928

In the mid-70’s Porsche decided that they would like to replace their now-iconic 911 with a new model with a different layout. So out went the rear engine flat-six and in came plans for a front engined V8 powered GT car – the 928. In the end it didn’t replace the 911 as Porsche realised that the two cars complemented each other and hit different target markets so the 928 ran from 1977 to 1995 in many different forms, but they always had a big V8 engine at the front. The 928 had truly futuristic styling when it was launched too, with the long bonnet, high nose and gloriously rounded off rear end. And of course the interior has to be mentioned – the dashboard with the high centre console was unlike anything before it, and the incredibly 70’s seat patterns had to be seen to be believed. As the car progressed through its life there were spoilers, bigger engines and other options added but for me the original 1978 Porsche 928 remains my favourite German car.

Sweden – Guy Martin’s 1967 Volvo Amazon

We love a fast Volvo estate here at BOTB and you can try to win the latest V60 Polestar if you want. But if we’re talking my favourite car to come from Sweden there’s only one choice. Okay, there might be two as I also love the P1800, but I’ve settled on one car – the Volvo Amazon – but not just any Amazon. This one was created for motorbike racer and TV star Guy Martin by Vox Racing and looks incredible, but also has the firepower to back them up. It’s lowered, shaved, turned into a 3-door, painted battleship grey and under the bonnet sits a Volvo engine with a difference. This is a 2.8 litre straight-six, but with a monumental turbocharger so it now produces 788bhp. Yes, you read that correctly – more than an Aventador SV. It’ll hit 60mph in less than 3 seconds and top out at over 200mph, all in a 1967 Volvo Estate car. Absolutely brilliant!

Austria – KTM X-Bow

This is a bit of a tricky one, because aside from some Steyr vehicles in the early half of the last century, there’s only really one modern Austrian car manufacturer – KTM. And they only make one model with a few variants – the X-Bow, so really it’s a fairly obvious conclusion that my favourite Austrian car is the KTM X-Bow! It is a pretty cool car though, taking on the track day and fast road specials from the likes of Caterham, Zenos, Vuhl and BAC with their X-Bow. Featuring a carbon fibre composite monocoque it’s lightweight and stiff, while the Audi-sourced 2.0 litre turbo engines (producing between 280 and 320 bhp) provide more than enough grunt to move the 790kg car around at serious speed. Did I also mention that it looks absolutely mental? Imagine what Darth Vader would have as his track day car, and that’s pretty much it. Crazy, crazy machine.