By rights the FPV should not exist. It’s pointless. But then so is the koala, and we’d all be a bit sad if we woke up one morning to find that the last button-nosed little stoner had fallen out of his tree.10 April 2011. There’s a conventional way of doing this. You take drive from the engine to a centrally mounted transfer box, which then distributes power to front and rear axles. Naturally, Ferrari decided not to do this. It says that if you send the power down shafts below the engine to the front axle, the engine must sit up high, which is bad for the handling and bad for the styling, too.. Don’t you think it’s strange? You buy a BMW one day and you are told that it is the ultimate driving machine, that it is all about balance and grip and immediacy. Whereas the very next day you are told that exactly the same car is all about joy. It was designed and built to be happy and to make you happy as a result. Welcome to the world of advertising.. They don’t even have to work. Many years ago Peugeot turned up at the British motor show with a concept car that looked like a cross between an America’s Cup catamaran, the glider Pierce Brosnan used in the remake ofThe Thomas Crown Affair and a sex toy. However, on the downside, it didn’t have an engine. It didn’t even have a space where an engine could go.. So I gave up with the idea of a temporary dam and plunged straight in with the real one. And after about an hour, I realized I wasn’t making much progress at all. Even though I had many stones and some of them were quite large, they didn’t fit together very well, or they sank into the ooze. Either way, the water carried on flowing, oblivious to my efforts.. Unfortunately, there is a problem. You can’t just turn up with your dowdy English hair and your flabby breasts and your pot belly, because you will look foolish. In Miami you need to make an effort.. This car is unique. It’s something that’s not made any more and will probably – because of the world’s poor grasp of science – never be made again. On the face of it, it’s a German DTM racer, a road rocket from the country that invented such things. But, deep down, it’s on Telegraph Road, eight miles north of Detroit, on a Saturday night, with its cap on back to front and a bottle of Coors in its big, working-class paw. Deep down, it’s a muscle car.. Each time there’s a tragedy, coroners can point the finger of blame. They can accuse defence chiefs of penny-pinching and the engineers who design these vehicles of incompetence. But the reality is very simple. If a bomb is big enough, it will tear through anything. And there’s nothing that can be done to change that.. Other things? Well, the cupholders are located right in front of the heater vents, which means that when you turn on the air-conditioning, the first thing to get chilled is your mug of tea. And there’s a mysterious button that, when pressed, makes the exhaust so loud you can’t hear the radio any more. And I didn’t like the electric steering. Or the fact the boot is in the front, which means you get dirty fingers every time you need to get something out of it.. We’re told by Ferrari that you get used to this after a while, and I don’t doubt that’s true. In the same way that you can get used to having arthritis.. On a recent trip to America I maintained my 100 per cent record of never having driven though Nevada without being stopped by the police. Six trips. Six heartfelt roadside apologies to a selection of burly-looking men in beige trousers.. But, of course, today you can’t go about your daily business with a machinegun slung casually over your left shoulder. Which means that you need a substitute. Some say it’s regular trips to the gym. Others say it’s wit, or money, or a kitchen full of cookbooks. But, actually, it’s a manual gearbox.. I learnt this outside the police station in Ladbroke Grove in west London. The traffic lights went green and I set off. But I didn’t because the car stalled and it would not restart. So I pushed it to the side of the road where, after several attempts, the diesel engine finally clattered into life.. For a hundred years Mercedes was a byword for solid, sensible engineering. While the rest of the world let its hair down and listened to Jimi Hendrix, the company plodded on with its doleful recipe of longevity with just a sprinkling of toughness. The men of Stuttgart built no-frills cars that were made to last. They were tortoises to counter the hares from BMW.. It’s strange. Today there are far fewer car makers than there were thirty years ago. And yet choosing what sort of car you would like next has never been more difficult. This is because thirty years ago only one thing mattered: the letter at the beginning of the numberplate. That’s what told yourneighbours you had a new car..