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Clarkson in 1997: “Prolonging a boring life is worse than not starting it in the first place. This is why you must not drive a Toyota Corolla.”

Three cars from 1997

Ford Puma

“A drum-roll should most definitely be playing to herald Ford’s latest trick - the Puma. For a company whose idea of fun used to be sticking a set of alloys and a ropey spoiler on a Fiesta, the Puma is something of a U-turn. The Puma is the first of its kind to drive even better than it looks. Start its fruity 1.7-litre engine, snick the chrome-topped gear-lever into first and it’ll take about 60 seconds for it to put a smile on your face.” August 1997

Honda Integra Type R

“I’m going to lose my license for sure. The rev counter’s reading 8,500, the engine’s howling a race-ready roar, the scenery’s blurring by. But wait. The speedo’s only just nudging 60mph. I’m not even slightly speeding. Don’t get me wrong, the Integra is more than capable of shattering speed limits, it’s just that thanks to the stupendous sounds of its 1.8-litre VTEC you can have immense fun at a plod-friendly pace.” October 1997

Land Rover Freelander

“The Freelander is the best car in its class. It’s the best looking, the best off-road, has the best interior and is not that far off being the best on-road. Admittedly, it feels a little rugged to drive, but only enough to remind you it’s a proper off-roader. Not enough to put you off.” December 1997

The best-selling car of 1997: Ford Fiesta

The best-selling song of 1997: Candle In The Wind (1997) - Elton John

And elsewhere in the world in 1997: The UK transfers sovereignty Hong Kong back to China, Princess Diana is killed in a car accident in Paris, and the Labour Party returns to power when Tony Blair wins the ‘97 General Election.


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