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Clarkson in 1999: “In six days, God created Heaven and Earth and then, just to keep his oppo amused, he let Beelzebub do Birmingham.”

Three cars from 1999

Rover 75

“The styling will woo foreigners looking for a taste of Britain, and over 55 members of your local Conservative association, it is not snazzy enough for the trendy and hip. Ozwald Boateng would never, ever drive a Rover 75. That wouldn’t really matter if it were a nice car. But it is not. I only drove the thing for 70 miles and than was enough to confirm that the wipers are noisy, the driving position is odd, there’s not much space in the back, there’s a jerkiness in the driveline that appears every time you change gear, and the steering is preposterous.” March 1999

Honda S2000

“It’s a spine-tingling thrill to see the rev-counter lights flick all the way round to 9,000. Using the close-geared box, you can either keep the engine howling away at the top end or, if you want to relax a little, take advantage of the wide swathes of power to eat B-road miles with scarcely more than the occasional shift. The S2000 is s thoroughly practical sports car after the fashion of the MX-5, MGF and BMW Z3. And what’s more, it happens to drive the pants of all of them.” June 1999

Pagani Zonda

“What Pagani has endeavored to create here, and I would say he has succeeded, is a car with at least as much visual impact and performance as a Diablo, but with the civility and, indeed, comfort of a 550 Maranello. No, the Zonda wouldn’t be as practical day-to-day as a 550; there’s precious little luggage space, there’s not an airbag in sight and I wouldn’t want to park one in a tight space, but it’ll turn heads in a way no 550 can.” September 1999

The best-selling car of 1999: Ford Focus

The best-selling song of 1999: Baby One More Time - Britney Spears

And elsewhere in the world in 1998: Nelson Mandela steps down as President of South Africa, the Euro is established on January 1, and the Izmit Earthquake kills more than 17,000 in Turkey.


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