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A Quick Tootle Through Chris Barrie's Top Classics

Famous for his portrayals of 'Rimmer' in Red Dwarf and Gordon Brittas in The Brittas Empire on TV, Chris is a pure petrolhead with a penchant for classic cars. He has indulged his passion by presenting TV series such as Britain's Greatest Machines, and his collection currently includes a Triumph TR2, MGB GT, Jaguar XJ6 and Wolseley 1500.

Classic cars, motorcycles and transport in general, provide us with a unique multi-dimensional window into the past. The style, sound and smell of a well looked-after classic can take us back to the good old days like nothing else can - and they really were the good old days compared to the over-regulated 21st Century!

My favourite classics are those time warp cars which have survived for decades without being dismantled. The more 'sympathetic' a restoration, the better. Personally I don't like vehicles which have been over-restored or over-modified. I prefer to see and experience them as near as possible to how they were in the day.

I have never really thought about precisely what my 'Top Ten' classics would be. I'm afraid it would be a fairly traditional selection. But, in no particular order, I can certainly point to a few cars that would be there or thereabouts...

The Bentley R-Type Continental would definitely register - the stunning lines and high geared performance make this stylish vehicle simply one of the most awesome conveyances of all time.
Within a nanosecond I can think of at least five Jaguar contenders - and not just the legendary sports cars. For some, the Mark ll is the definitive sports saloon and then there is the Daddy itself, my personal favourite, the imposing MkVll.

I have been fortunate enough to have clocked up decent mileage in two Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts over the years and the utter magnificence of these cars never fails to blow my mind. Henry Royce's masterpiece, probably a tourer on an early chassis, would certainly be up there.

I'm not big on foreign cars, but some of the front-engined Ferraris are difficult to resist and those glamorous 1930s Alfa Romeos are dripping with quality and elan.

Regarding Alec Issigonis' magnificent contribution to the motor industry, I believe the world-beating Mini should never completely overshadow his brilliant Morris Minor.

A piece of W.O. Bentley's work would have to be there as well - probably an unblown 4½ or a light and lithe 3-litre.

Then of course we have the original Range Rover (preferably two-door) - handsome, strong and practical, and well worthy of a place alongside its rugged stablemates, the 'Series' Land Rover and its coil-sprung development, the seemingly immortal Defender.

Whatever classic car, motorcycle, van, bus or truck we have, let's drive them, enjoy them and keep them on the road!

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