We're driving back to London from Oxfordshire one Sunday evening, and suddenly we're playing tic-tac with a dark blue Rolls-Royce Camargue. On the M40. There's an interesting looking blonde dolly-bird in the back, shielded by half-drawn sun curtains; propped up on silk cushons, reading The Sunday Telegraph, and her chauffeur looks like a swarthy Italian gigilo: unshaven, 80's sun-glasses, unbuttoned shirt.
The Camargue is one of those cars. Marmite Cars, I call them. You either love the design, or loathe it. Personally, I happen to like it. If there ever was going to be a Lady Penelope car, this one has to be it. The Camargue was first introduced in 1975; designed for Rolls-Royce by Pininfarina, with coachwork by the famous old firm of Mulliner Park Ward. In its day it was the most expensive car in the world. It was produced in a very limited edition. Only 530 cars were made.
In 2010 it was voted one of the "ten worst cars in the world" by the readers of the Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail. There's no accounting for taste, is there?
If the front is, perhaps, to the modern eye, a trifle clumsy, the side profile and rear is all sweeping elegance and svelte lines: this is a seriously grown-up machine. They're also still relatively affordable. But how long is that going to last? I'm currently saving up for one.