What Cars Have Soul and Passion?
Many have tried, but soul is one of those things that you just can’t define. It can be slightly flawed, a bit temperamental and need constant fettling. It’s exciting, wildly brilliant. Cars with soul have that unquantifiable something. That quality the French would label as je ne sais quoi.
What Cars Have Soul and Passion?
Some might argue that a car cannot have soul, that the very attempt to label it is an amusing but ultimately flawed anthropomorphising of an object which is essentially soulless: no soul, no beating heart, no emotion. Everything on the car behaves, or fails to behave, in accordance with a strict and defined set of physical parameters governed by simple physics. Where we think we see magic, we are actually seeing only flawless technology.
But how does that explain the enchantment and popularity of those cars which are far from flawless yet still hold an enduring appeal? The very phenomenon of classic cars falls outside the parameters of this formula. Why return to the cars of yesteryear, with their retro technology, their flaws and their shortcoming – except because they have some indefinable quality known only as soul?
German cars tend to lack it. Their design is too clinical, the hand of machinery too evident in their manufacture. Japanese cars often suffer similarly, with too much science and technical brilliance polluting the ethos and creative style. Italian cars, on the other hand, are full of passion and excitement. The men who design these vehicles are disciples of style and beauty, and their lavish designs scream of speed and opulence, passion and power. They may sometimes lack the technical brilliance and reliability of German and Japanese designs, but that doesn’t seem to matter. The Lamborghinis of old, too, oozed excitement and a decadence rarely seen in modern designs. Newer versions look sterile in comparison.
So here is our pick of five cars which simply ooze soul and passion. We avoided the prestige supercars this time, and chose to look instead at those vehicles whose appeal is utterly indefinable yet still, for one reason or another, undeniably there.
Dodge Viper RT/10
Manufactured between 1992 and 1995, the Dodge Viper proved that America remembered the muscle car and knew how to update it. The car boasted an eight-litre truck engine swathed in a supercar body to create a fabulous cocktail of speed and power. Designed to beat the Shelby Cobra’s record of 0-100-0mph in fifteen seconds, the Viper was a rolling monument to excessive force and minimalist comfort.
The very first Maserati Quattroporte was a special commission built by Frua for the Aga Khan in 1963. The effortless style and fluid motion of the Quattroporte, the grace with which it covered the ground, and the soul-searing noise it produced were the ingredients which combined to create a soul cocktail in this 1963-69 supercar. Pietro Frua’s design married an interesting mix of curves and angle with a greenhouse which was tall, very glassy and displayed noticeable curvature. Fast, sumptuous and distinctive, this Italian supercar had style and soul in abundance.
For striking and timeless looks, few cars can match the exquisitely styled Fiat Coupe. Able to keep up with a contemporary Ferrari, the Coupe was well-proportioned and athletic. Even now, despite its advancing years, it still looks fresh faced, handles well and offers a smooth ride. Although reliability can be an issue, enthusiasts remain enamoured by this prestige supercar trapped in a Fiat body.
Proving that not all German cars are soulless, the legendary W123 is still widely hailed as the best-engineered motor car ever. This legendary generation of saloons proved huge for its maker, and established them in all manner of new markets thanks to its unmatched build quality, sober-suited style and wide range of engines. This all-purpose sporting saloon was high-powered and rewarding to drive without having sacrificed a shred of Mercedes-Benz’s core values.
Rover SD1 Vitesse
Inspired by the Ferrari Daytona, this car is a guilty pleasure for many classics enthusiasts. The Rover SD1 was the final car designed, engineered and styled by Spen King, Gordon Bashford and David Bache, the dream team that brought us the P5, P6 and Range Rover. It was another revolutionary Rover with daring fastback styling and a lightweight, unstressed V8 up-front. It might have been plagued by tales of poor quality, but this car was fast, appealing and genuinely desirable. Despite its relatively paltry horsepower figure, the Vitesse was a quick and effective bruiser of a sports saloon, and whatever soul is, the Vitesse had it in abundance.
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