The Most Iconic Motorcars
While we are all ‘confined to quarters’ and seeking ‘interesting’ aspects of life, reports Iain Robertson, one of the UK’s largest car clubs has compiled a list of automotive preferences, which is sure to generate lively conversation, if you let it!
From the outset, I should point out that I am not a fan of the loose application of a rather confining noun, ‘icon’. The very act of placing something on a pedestal to declare its praiseworthiness is open to much literal abuse. In many ways, it is as bad as the over-abundant use of ‘unique’ that underscores an inherent language laziness. However, when Boundless, a name that might not be familiar to you, even should you work in our nation’s public sector, but is a membership organisation that used to be known as the Civil Service Motoring Association (CSMA), formulates its preferences, they can be eye-opening.
Boundless believes that the Range Rover, which has beaten James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, should be nominated as the most iconic car of all time. Although changed significantly since its 1970 unveiling as a £2,000 refinement of the potentially more legendary Land Rover (which became Defender), it is a vehicle that changed the face of the former, agricultural 4×4 scene. In half a century, the Range Rover has evolved from intriguing go-anywhere into the glossy and luxurious transport of royalty and celebrity. I can understand its Top of the List position.
Possessing international infamy arising from its filmic exposure, it is no ‘ordinary Aston’ but James Bond 007’s famous silver Aston Martin that has taken second spot in the Top Ten, thereby underscoring the value of a movie timeline. Yet, the svelte, timeless, head-turning appeal of the Jaguar E-Type has been relegated into third spot. Interestingly, no less than six of the Top Ten are British brands.
Boundless began life back in 1923, as the CSMA. Engaging with a panel of five motoring ‘experts’, its management team compiled a long list of potential motoring ‘icons’, prior to presenting it to its 230,000 members, who voted on which of them ought to be included in the overall Top 100. Amassing 52% of the vote, the Range Rover percolated to pole position. To a certain extent, JB007’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5, described variously as ‘the most famous car in the world’, was an understandable runner-up. Only recently, an example that had been used to promote the film Thunderball sold for £5.2m at auction. I can recall watching it perform on the parade ground at Edinburgh Castle, while attending The Military Tattoo with my parents in the mid-1960s. It is not a surprise to see it so high up the list.
Sixties legend, the Jaguar E-Type (1961-1975), took third place but I was truly gobsmacked that the BMW Mini came fourth, with the original Mini Cooper (which starred in The Italian Job movie) grabbing fifth spot. In some ways, this underlines my aforementioned issue with the word ‘icon’. The almost twice-the-size Germanic replica should never replace the original Mini, which defined a new era of small but highly talented city cars, in my opinion. Yet, equally intriguing is the 12th place given to the all-electric Tesla Model S, which emphasises the impact of that large car on our new car scene, although I am slightly disappointed that the streamlined and game-changing Citroen DS of the late-1950s could manage no better than rounding out the Top Ten.
Top Ten most iconic motors of all time:
1 Range Rover
2 Aston Martin DB5
3 Jaguar E-Type
4 BMW Mini
5 Austin Mini Cooper
6 Jaguar Mark 2
7 VW Golf
8 Ford Fiesta
9 Audi Quattro
10 Citroen DS
Other stars inside the top 100:
Top Budget Cars
1 Volkswagen Golf (7th overall)
2 Ford Fiesta (8th overall)
3 Skoda Yeti (37th overall)
4 Vauxhall Corsa (48th overall)
5 BMW E39-Series Estate (51st overall)
1 McLaren F1 1992-98 (14th overall)
2 Bugatti Veyron (15th overall)
3 Ford GT40 (16th overall0
4 Bentley Blower (18th overall)
5 Lamborghini Diablo GT (29th overall)
Top people’s cars:
1 BMW MINI (4th overall)
2 VW Beetle (11th overall)
3 Fort Cortina Mk1 (17th overall)
4 Austin Seven (36th overall)
5 Citroen 2CV (47th overall)
Top sports cars
1 Jaguar E-Type (3rd overall)
2 Austin Healey 3000 (20th overall)
3 Porsche 911 (31st overall)
4 MG MGB (32nd overall)
5 Ford Mustang (44th overall)
Conclusion: There exists an inherent danger of confusing ‘classic’ with ‘iconic’ but it is still fascinating to read the views of a motoring club the size of Boundless. We are a nation of car lovers, a factor of which we ought to be proud, and whether you have enjoyed a personal experience of any of the listed models, or just admire them from afar, the listing makes an interesting read.