“Car” Survey 2012

“Car” Survey. October 2012.


Assessment possesses a very human desire to debate and evaluate .It can be an important method of self-criticism and placement. It is a reasonably scientific approach. In simple terms its an elementary benchmarking and or measure of relativity. Best to worst. Almost any subject person /object can be graded in this fashion. In some cases the assessment subject might be marked or scored. By taking a wide cross section there is reasonable expectation of fair representation.
The exercise might be performed and samples taken by one of many organizations or individuals/ specialists. The outcomes might be seen as broader representation and have commercial overtones ranging from popular demand to values.
Radio stations often run such exercises and it helps determine what is played. The BBC series on “Great Britons” [see A&R related articles] are based on assessments.
It ought be noted that fashions and taste changes and this is desirable. However the exercise still tends to produce the “classics” or stalwarts or well regarded and those making impressions. Conducting surveys at intervals is valuable to measure how and why assessments or perspectives change.
The A&R will report regularly on such surveys and conduct its own on line.

The “Car” 50 Greatest Cars

See issue 603; October 2012 celebrating fifty years of Car magazine.
Visit www.carmagazine.co.uk

The magazine editor relates to the 50 greatest cars survey by prefacing:
“This is issue shows why the car is mans greatest invention; incredibly complex, perpetually advancing, often beautiful to behold and thrilling to operate, and providing freedom for you and your loved ones.”
The editors of the A&R concur with these remarks. They apply in general [and if the “greatest invention’ is a slight exaggeration we get the drift.
The statement is particularly relevant to the designs of Colin Chapman and Lotus.

As part of their survey they feature cars that possess that special “aesthetic quality” and single out the Jaguar E Type, Chevrolet Corvette, Aston Martin DB5 and the Lamborghini Muria. The A&R editors believe that the aesthetic qualities of a car are important considerations and raise it above mere utility. As such elegant refined design whether it is a chair or bridge renders it with sculptural qualities and culture.
This issue of car is their fiftieth anniversary. It contains excellent reporting on several Lotus models [see below] also an article relating to six of the Bond cars including the Esprit SI.
Very much reinforcing and integrating with other topics is a lengthy and quality article devoted to Giorgetto Giugiario. [See survey results and placing of the Lotus Esprit etc]
The A&R editors like the Car magazine and the editorial approach. Journalists articulate their subject graphically. This is felt to be a sharing experience. We are not all privileged to experience so many cars for practical and financial reasons. Rich and graphic language helps convey the experience and permit the layman a partial participation in the totality of the driving experience.
Taken as a whole this is a good read.

Car Magazine Survey Sept.2102
Readers Survey CAR Staff Survey
Place Marque Model







Austin Mini BMW M3


McLaren FI McLaren F!


Volkswagen Golf Volkswagen Golf GTI


Jaguar E Type Range Rover


Caterham Seven Austin Mini


Citroen DS Jaguar E Type


Range Rover Lamborghini Countach


Bugatti Veryron Ferrari



Ferrari F40 Nissan GT-R


Mini [BMW] Honda NSX


Lancia Delta Integ’ Lotus Elan


Mazda MX-5 Aston Martin DB5


Alfa Romeo Alfasud Audi Quattro


Audi Quattro Citroen 2CV


BMW 5 Series Ford Focus


Audi A2 Lotus Elise


Nissan GT-R Smart Fortwo


Mercedes B’ S –class BMW 5-series


Ford Focus Lamborghini Miura




Peugeot 205 Gti


Honda NSX Ferrari 250 GTO


Ferrari 458 Italia Chevrolet Corvette


Ford S’Cosworth Land Rover Defender


Land Rover Defender Mazda MX-5


Lotus Elise Rolls-Royce Phantom


Lamborghini Miura Ferrari F40


Ford Mustang Saab 99 Turbo


Ford GT 40 Lancia Integrale


Citroen 2CV Mercedes-B S-class


Sabaru Impreza Lancia Stratos


BMW M3 Ariel Atom


Aston Martin DB5 Renault



Lamborghini Countach Ford Mustang




Bugatti Veyron


Mercedes E –class Mitsubishi Evo


Toyota Corolla Subaru Impreza


Mercedes B’ SL Fiat Panda


Lancia Stratos Jensen FF


Audi TT Lexus LS400


Chevrolet Corvette Alfa Romeo Alfasud


Jensen FF Renault





Citroen DS


Fiat Panda Ford S’Cosworth


Vauxhall Lotus Carlton Caterham Seven




Jaguar XJ6




NSU Ro80


Porsche Boxter Fiat Multipla


Lotus Elan Lotus Carlton


Fiat Multipla Lotus Esprit

The A&R Interpretation of Survey Results.

In such a survey it would be wise to know what was the size, response rate and who were the participants. [If identified in greater detail than readership] Demographics have an impact. It seems that readers were offered a shortlist from which to select. The evidence suggests this was restricted to post WWII cars. There is a tendency for humans to select the dream or super cars of their youth that remain indelibly in the mind or alternatively those cars that have been owned. Their assessments tend to be coloured by experts who test drive and report. How else could they make estimations of certain super cars? However in the absence of this information does not distract. We might make some assumptions not least from the readership base of the magazine and its history, current style and its journalists.

An extra strength or counterpoise to the public survey is that of staff. These individuals may have been privileged to drive and more objectively assess all models under consideration. They might have already entered the exercise with a subconscious benchmarking which perhaps is an occupational hazard. Even here within a specialist group with direct experience there is a degree of balance as result of age, experience and probable debate and persuasion.

The A&R editors observe that Lotus as usual do well both in the reader and staff survey.
The readers placed the Caterham [Lotus Seven derived] in joint fifth place alongside the Jaguar E Type!! , the Elise in 26th jointly with the Miura and the Vauxhall Lotus Carlton in 45th and the Elan 49th. Thus holding four places in the top fifty and one in the top ten.
The staff survey contains five Lotus models. Perhaps the most significant contrast is the placement of the Caterham/Lotus Seven and Elan in near reverse positions. The Elise was respectively 26th with readers and 17th with staff.

“Car” articulates is reasoning in smaller detailed descriptions of the Esprit, Caterham/Lotus Seven, Elise and the Elan.

The A&R editors note some interesting similarities and contrasts between the two groups. Both shared the perspective regarding the Porsche 911 and a tendency to broad agreement.
The reader survey seems to indicate a preference for practical performance cars that are affordable, useable and accessible to the majority. The high placing of the Caterham Seven might be attributed to second car ownership and the pure driving pleasure it represents v the commute. Readers also like cars with strong aesthetic appeal and or raw performance and this touches on wishful thinking and the powerful imagery that the super car can project.

The staff assessment as noted is in broad agreement. Staff are possible more occupationally disciplined to fixed criteria and perhaps able to measure nuisances as result of experience and the very great number of cars that they test. Both are valuable.

The A&R editors are interested in the fact that readers may buy second hand and this and serving / quality issues might colour their impressions particularly with older classic cars. Whereas cars provided to the magazine might have been prepared in anticipation. The driving experiences might be very different. Neither party will perhaps have experience of the Ferrari GTO!! Because of their value. Which is of course is a shame.

The A&R note there are some glaring omissions but accept this might be due to manufacturers not making cars available or small production numbers owners willing to loan for objective testing or perhaps insurance at very practical level.

Overall the A&R editors concurred with the results. The evidence is that Lotus is respected. The Elan is well-regarded fifty years on. It’s very possibly that manufacturers use benchmarking to assess their products. The A&R will continue to record the democratic evidence of experts and the public for we too use the information. In our case its function is justify the evidence for the proposed CCM&EC based on the fact that Chapman’s cars have and remain so influential. When so many are included in a survey of this type its very evident they are part of the cultural landscape.

As we are totally biased we thought a photo of each Lotus mentioned was just about right.(Editors discretion)

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The Proposed CCM&EC

The proposed museum believes that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.
For these reasons our Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. Its suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.
In particular the museum ought conduct surveys such as the “ Cars” magazine. This can be done both on line and from visitors. There is significant information to be gained not least relating to acquisition policy but also exhibitions. Contained within surveys is a deep inherent educational opportunity. It can be used to make students more analytical and expose then to engineering / production costs/ problems and outcomes. The museum exhibits and archive might be interrogated as part of the education search and evaluation exercise.
In addition surveys render invaluable commercial information regarding taste and preference and this can be invaluable with regard to merchandising. The proposed CCM&EC although conceived as non-for profit organization must be commercially driven and market analysis is imperative to remain on top of trends. Benchmarking is an invaluable tool for placing exhibits in various peer and competition contexts and provides related merchandising opportunities beyond the dedicated marque.