Red telephone boxes were a prime example of this. They were useless and smelt of urine, and you could die of hypothermia before the pips even began. But there was a huge furore when someone – probably a German – suggested they should be updated. Change? Here? In Britain? Are you mad? We are a nation that putsThe Two Ronnies on every Christmas, even though one of them is dead.. Seriously, going to someone’s house and asking for a gin and tonic is like asking for a shepherd’s pie. And you wouldn’t do that because you know it’d be a nuisance. Especially if your wife has asked for a vodka and cranberry juice, with just a hint of lime. We don’t have any cranberry juice, or lime. Or vodka usually. Because the kids’ friends have drunk it all.. What’s more, it’s ?25,000 cheaper than the DBS and, really, it’s hard to see why, since the two cars have the same 6-litre V12 engine. It may have been mildly detuned in the Virage, but you still get 490 horsepower, and that’s enough to get you from rest to the wrong side of the national speedlimit in 4.6 seconds. Provided you are in the right gear – and the auto box can be a bit dim-witted sometimes – this is a very, very fast car.. So, a very special, very fast car, with a dollop of practicality and a four-wheel-drive system that may not add much. But it doesn’t take anything away, either.. However. There are a few problems. There are so many gadgets that some of the features are not very easy to use. Such as: last night I arrived at theTop Gear edit, put the gearbox in neutral and started to get out.‘Bong,’ said the warning buzzer and ‘flash’ went the dash display. ‘You have not put the vehicle in Park. It may roll away. You may not lock the doors until you have put it in Park. Bong.’. More recently we have been seeing some clever variations on the hybrid theme. From Vauxhall there’s the Ampera, and from a small firm in America there’s the Fisker Karma, which works like a diesel-electric locomotive. Elsewhere people are working on hydrogen fuel cells, and there are pure electric cars, too, such as the Nissan Leaf. But the less we say about those, the better. Because let’s be clear. They are interesting to write about, but… They. Do. Not. Work.. We refer often in the Clarkson household to people we call‘winners’. It’s easy to spot one. He’s a man, he has a Montblanc pen and he enjoys playing golf almost as much as he enjoys talking about it, especially to those who aren’t interested.. I can think of hundreds of people – probably thousands – who would love a car such as this. People who are not bothered about handling or driving along as though they are on fire. People who just want a quiet, comfortable, gadget-laden cruiser. At an amazingly low price.. You buy a Ferrari because you think it makes you look interesting, rich and attractive. You buy one because you like the feel of the thing, or the styling, or the cut of the salesman’s jib. You buy one so, at night, when it’s dark and you’re feeling worthless, you can say to yourself, ‘But I have a Ferrari.’ And you will feel better. I know. I’ve been there.. I think, therefore, I’d make a good fist of running Aston Martin. It is a small company with limited resources and no big-boy owner to help out with the economies of scale when buying components. Bentley can get its masters at Volkswagen to make noises when negotiating a deal on a new supply of brakes. Rolls-Royce can turn to BMW. Ferrari can look to Fiat. But Aston has to go and see ZF, the German gearbox manufacturer, and say, ‘Please, sir, can we have some more?’ And usually the answer is, ‘Nein, Englander.’ So it has to produce a range of cars using nothing but what it’s got. And what it’s got is two engines. And one basic design.. I suppose I should point out that in Britain today the Corolla is actually sold as the Auris. No idea why. Seems to me like Apple changing its name to Pazizzle. But I was interested to find out what it might be like driving around in a car that was deliberately designed to be as uninteresting as possible.. But there are some problems with this, as I discovered over a few days with the Aston Martin V12 Vantage roadster. On cold mornings the big metal lever was jolly chilly. So chilly, in fact, that you needed to think about wearing mittens before setting off. And in the fight-or-flight, hunter-killer world of male pride, you really want to be in a loincloth, not mittens.. Peugeot 208 GTi. But when the car arrived, I discovered that, actually, it isn’t a convertible at all. It’s a normal car with a big canvas sunroof. Back in the Seventies my grandfather had a Rover 3.5 that had a Tudor Webasto sunroof. And that wasn’t a convertible either.. They say it will get from standstill to 62 mph in 8.4 seconds, which is respectable enough, but at no time does it feel even remotely sprightly. You put your foot down on the motorway and it’s as though something is broken. There’s more noise but no more speed. Not until you’re going past Penrith, at least..