The world has changed a lot since the mid-1980s, more than those of us of a certain age would like to think. Roads are more clogged, speed limits are lower and more numerous, much of the population adopts a higher moral tone when fast and thirsty cars are involved. All of which alters the way we see cars such as the Lamborghini Countach and the Ferrari Testarossa, the twin peaks (limited-run hypercars excepted) of 1980s supercardom.
Then there's the meeting-the-film-star element. Obviously we were awestruck back then if we saw and heard one or other of these red (and they usually were red) monsters. Objectivity would not apply; if we read in a road test that the windscreen misted up or the window winder interfered with the driver's knee, we'd be irritated. So what, we would think. Just tell me how fast it goes, what it sounds like and how it makes you feel. And meanwhile, I'll just carry on ogling the poster.
Was there an element of the emperor's new clothes here? Was it that no-one dared to be hard-headed and truly objective? Would anyone have listened if a pundit had dared to go against the flow?
Twenty-five years on, it's an extraordinary experience to get up close to these cars again. Suddenly we can see them for what they really are, the hype having long retreated to leave just the metal, glass, leather, plastic and rubber.
Even the numbers have lost their ability to shock. The arrival of the 200mph supercars
Published Dec 7th, 2015
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