Top 100 Most Beautiful Cars of All Time - by Autocar
|Top 100 Most Beautiful Cars of All Time - by Autocar|
Here is a list of 10 most beautiful supercars in the world with familiar brands such as Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Mercedes-Benz, according to Autocars.
Beauty is subjective. However, while acknowledging individual tastes in car design, certain car models tend to come up time and time again, in terms of their classy and iconic looks.
Automobiles are a funny thing. Some people love them, are drawn to the romanticism of travel, and strive for engineering perfection. Other people don’t get them at all, writing them off as overpriced lumps of metal. When viewed from the perspective of design though, it’s hard to argue against them. Sure, there have been many heinous machines over the decades, but there have also been some truly stunning cars, conceived from the eyes of some of the most legendary automotive architects.
There are practically hundreds if not thousands of fantastic-looking automobiles to have come out over the past century, but the 100 examples that I’ve listed in this post sure are some of the very best ones out there. They mainly include cars conceived by the big five Italian styling houses from the early ’50s through the 80s.
Top 100 definitive most beautiful cars of all time
100. 2011 BAC Mono down 1
The BAC Mono track is a single central seat featuring an aggressive design. It is constructed from high-strength carbon fiber composite and is powered by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 280 HP. This engine sprints the car to an impressive top speed of 170 mph.
99. Rolls-Royce Boat Tail – New Entry
Sensuous dignity, luxuriant grace, and arrestingly bold nautical detail distinguish the coachbuilt Boat Tail, the three individuals buying one contributing substantially to its essence.
98. Bentley 4.5 Litre Blower down 1
This was your bombastic supercar of the 1930s, power implied by its sheer scale, the near totally exposed wheels, the big grille, and that jutting supercharger. Amazingly, you can now buy one new (pictured).
97. 1964 Porsche 904 GTS down 1
An extremely rare 1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS that has been tucked away in a Southern California garage for decades just hit the market for $2.45 million. It's a stunning, mostly original car with a rich history. First and foremost, Porsche built the 904 for racing — it had a mid-mounted engine that churned out an impressive-for-the-time 180 horsepower, according to Gooding & Company.
96. 1975 Porsche 917 road car down 1
Another Le Mans winner, and among the most awesome to have graced the Sarthe circuit. Never intended for road use, but with looks and speed this sensational, the project was irresistible.
95. 1971 Maserati Ghibli down 1
With the Ghibli, Giorgetto Giugiaro sharpened the lines he drew for the Iso Grifo in 1963, foreshadowing wedgelike GTs from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Monteverdi. The car debuted at the 1966 Turin show. Its steel Ghia-built body rested on a tubular chassis adapted from Maserati's 3500 GT and Mexico. Enclosing a rich leather interior, the sleek Giugiaro design so impressed showgoers that Maserati put it into production the next year.
94. 1957 Jaguar XKSS down 1
A D-Type shorn of its asymmetric fin, the XKSS was a Le Mans winner for the road. Despite the loss of its stabilizer it still made for a dramatic sight among shoals of Minors, Minxes, and Ford Populars.
93. 2018 Ferrari Monza SP1/SP2 New Entry
The Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 are the forerunners in a new concept, known as ‘Icona’ (Icon), that taps into a leitmotif of the most evocative cars in the company’s history to create a new segment of special limited series cars for clients and collectors. The intention is to use a modern aesthetic to reinterpret a timeless style, with technologically advanced components and the highest performance possible through continuous innovation.
92. Alpine A110
It’s the Alpine A110. And in case you hadn’t heard by now, it’s something very different. On the surface, it’s perfectly straightforward, a compact two-seat coupe in the mold of the Porsche Cayman and Audi TT. But underneath the A110 is perhaps the world’s best example of the virtuous circle approach to automotive engineering.
It’s light. Really light. Lotus light, yet with the creature comforts, you need to make it a pleasing daily driver. How light? Circa 1,100kg depending on which of three versions you choose. That’s 300kg, approaching 25 percent, less than the Porsche or Audi. The upcoming Lotus Emira has some properly tough competition.
91. Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV
Few car manufacturers evoke as much passion as Alfa Romeo, you will scarcely find an automotive enthusiast that hasn’t at least desired to own one of their sports cars.
Although their cars are almost always beautiful and offer exceptional performance, that only creates part of the allure; it is the driving experience that sells their cars. Anyone who says they hate Alfa’s or don’t see what is so special about them either doesn’t like cars or hasn’t ever had the chance to sit behind the wheel of one.
90. 2007 Audi R8
When the Audi R8 is seen on the road, it cannot help but steal the spotlight. With its striking angular lines and glamorous, glass-covered engine, the R8 has an animpressivepresence, which makes it difficult to look anywhere else. Designed by Walter de Silva and Frank Lamberty and launched in the year 2006, the Audi R8 has a Top Speed of 316 kilometers per hour (196.4 mph) and a horsepower of 540 hp.
89. 1963 Ferrari 250 LM
Ferrari made a mid-engined car several years before Lamborghini but temporarily abandoned the format after making only 32 of these delectable 250 LMs. It was disallowed from its intended race category but almost won Le Mans.
88. TVR T350 down 1
The TVRs of the Peter Wheeler years were singularly bold, flaunting almost willfully odd design details that often exposed the big boys for not thinking hard enough. And there was raw beauty to them, too.
87. 2012 Morgan 3 Wheeler down 1
This is an automotive allure of the alternative kind, and not only because of the wheel shortfall. The vintage engineering concept and fine detailing lend this upturned tub of a car an arrestingly functional beauty.
86. 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster
Of the 38 2.3 liter straight-eight Type 55s made 23 wore bodies by Jean Bugatti, 16 of them this door-less two-seater roadster whose alfresco elegance is somewhat undermined by the scream of its straight-cut gears.
85. 2016 Ford GT down 1
This is a visual supercar drama 21st-century style, the tapering cabin, flying buttresses and high-mounted exhaust nozzles cleverly updated a car still redolent of the 1964 Ford GT40.
The biggest change is at the heart of the machine: a new, twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine said to offer north of 600 horsepower. (That compares quite favorably to the 550 horsepower supercharged V-8 found in the last GT.) The engine is, of course, mounted in the middle, behind the seats to offer an ideal weight balance. However, it does not offer any of the trendy electric-assist hybrid systems we've seen in other recent supercars such as the Porsche 918 or McLaren P1.
84. 2019 Porsche Taycan New Entry
The new version is offered with two battery pack options:
- Performance battery: a 79.2 kWh pack with a total output of 390 kW and a 225 kW charging capacity
- Performance battery Plus: a 93.4 kWh pack, same as Turbo, but limited to 420 kW versus 560 kW for Turbo versions. It has a 270 kW charging capacity.
The smaller battery pack results in a range of 407 km (253 miles), and the bigger one should result in 463 km (288 miles) on a single charge based on the WLTP standard.
The Taycan 4S with Performance battery Plus becomes the longest-range version of the Taycan.
83. Bentley R-Type Continental
Formerly the fastest four-seat passenger car in the world, and in its day probably the most expensive, the magnificent R-Type Continental set the standard for British car manufacturers in the early 1950s.
It was based on the R-Type ‘standard steel’ saloon chassis, but featured an upgraded 4.5-litre straight-six engine offering speeds of up to 120nph. The bodies were all coachbuilt, mostly by H.J. Mulliner, to a lightweight fastback designed influenced by the latest aerodynamic testing in the Rolls-Royce wind tunnel.
It’s a rare and beautiful machine, with just 208 chassis numbers recorded, and only a handful of R-Type Contis had bodywork from external suppliers. One such is the wonderful Franay bodied example pictured, recently sold at auction by Bonhams.
82. 2011 Range Rover Evoque
It’s a very regular sight, making it easy to forget what a strikingly fresh design this SUV was. Fresh, and hugely attractive, which is why the more refined follow-up is broadly the same.
81. 1968 Chevrolet Corvette C3 – new entry
So curvaceous it’s almost a parody – but not quite. The body shouts muscle, but there’s subtlety too in the arrowed nose, the Dino-Esque buttress, the cam tail, and the extractor vents. A triumph of US design.
80. 2007 Fiat 500
No one can deny that retro doesn’t sell when the designers get it right, and they certainly did with this remake, which has lasted years. Cute, well detailed, and hides the transposition of the engine from rear to front painlessly.
79. Porsche 928 down 1
A curious mix of voluptuous sculpture and the clean forms of industrial design, the 928 achieves a unique visual flavor that’s aged well. Though not well enough to usurp the 911, as was its maker’s original mission.
78. Maserati Gran Turismo down 1
it's the first known crash involving the newest Maserati. The $115,000 exotic was destroyed, he reports, after an accident in rural Ontario.Italian automotive glamour personified, in elegantly muscular form, and unmistakably a Maserati with a sexily gaping grille.
77. Ford Capri 3000 GT down 1
The Mustang’s appeal miniaturized, though with a style all its own. The classic long bonnet, short boot look, complemented with a fine array of just-so details.
76. 2017 Range Rover Velar New Entry
Not many SUVs make this list, but the Velar canters to inclusion with its exquisitely subtle proportions, clean panel surfacing, and minimized décor. JLR calls it “a study in reductionism,” which the Velar is to distinguished effect.
75. 1974 Citroën CX down 1
With judicious updates the CX’s gracefully aerodynamic body could surely sell again today, it has weathered that well. Trouble is, we don’t buy big Citroëns anymore.
74. BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe down 1
Now out of production, it remains one of BMW’s most handsome and fluent 21st-century designs, the more so compared to the growing number of BMWs with that grille.
73. 1932 Duesenberg Boattail Roadster down 1
People don’t say ‘it’s a doozy’ much anymore but, when the phrase was coined as an expression of excellence, the Duesenberg was the car it referenced.
Power came from a seven-litre straight eight engine, offered with 320bhp via supercharging from 1932 and a top speed of 140mph, but the impact and after-effects of the Great Depression constrained sales of this magnificent machine. Nonetheless, notable owners included Howard Hughes, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and the Duke of Windsor, as well as Al Capone.
72. 2021 McLaren Artura New Entry
You need absorb the detail of this new design to distinguish it from the old 570s, but it’s the detail that coheres more effectively in the Artura, and with more drama too.
71. 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge down 17
A look of broodingly curvaceous menace distinguished this special edition GTO, standard kit including a potent Ram Air V8, heavy-duty suspension, a blacked-out grille, a spoiler, and (surprisingly subtle) stripes. A classy slice of muscle.
70. 1930 Bentley Speed Six
A car whose size, long bonnet and snugly elegant cabin instantly conjure romantic dreams of a European grand tour, this car’s proportions are all more striking today for their big-wheeled, cab-rear silhouette.
69. 2003 Bentley Continental GT
Among the most handsome Bentleys ever, it shares a platform with a Volkswagen. It’s decidedly more handsome than a Phaeton however and though big, does not look as unnecessarily large as its current successor.
68. 1975 Ferrari 308 GTB
It replaced the 246 Dino whose lines it clearly references, though with a look entirely its own. Sensuous wings, a waisted midriff and flying buttresses provide just the right level of visual complexity.
67. 1953 Maserati A6G CS Berlinetta
The A6GCS Berlinetta is ‘remarkably nimble and sure-footed with the accent upon good handling. This characteristic was brilliantly demonstrated in the period by Luigi Musso’s third place overall in the 1,000-mile race of 1954, followed by Francesco Giardini’s fourth-overall in the 1955 event – both of them driving 2-1itre A6GCS cars.”
66. 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport
A sumptuous pre-war GT car for the effortlessly rich, who commissioned coachwork for the rolling chassis. Most successful were Carrozzeria Touring, which designed several rakish bodies for these tourers.
65. Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Still very handsome, still very Aston, its appeal enhanced in the eyes of many, regrettably, by the troubled face of its successor. Looks good from every angle and ageing well.
64. Lotus Esprit S1
In typical Lotus fashion, the Esprit was built on a steel backbone chassis. At 2438mm, the wheelbase was 127mm longer than the outgoing Europa. When combined with an additional 223mm of width, the new car was able to offer considerably more cockpit space.
Suspension was independent all round. The front arrangement consisted of double wishbones and coil spring/damper units with an anti-roll bar. Things were more complex at the rear. Lotus employed fixed-length driveshafts that doubled as the upper transverse links plus lower transverse links, box-section semi-trailing arms and more coil spring/dampers.
63. 2013 Jaguar F-Type coupe up 1
A two-seater sports car, the Jaguar F-Type is based on anabridged platform of the XK convertible.Designed by Matthew Beaven (2010, 2011) and Ian Callum. The car possesses exciting performance, buoyant and stable handling and day to day usability. The F-Type is a true Jaguar sports car. It syndicates effortless, nerve-racking performance and precise, responsive handling with everyday enhancements and usability. This Jaguar is boostedwith a3.0 liter V6 340 hp engine that delivers great and effective performance with speeds ranging upto 171 mph (275 km/h).
62. 2019 Ferrari F8 Tributo – replaces 488
Ferrari rarely fails to make an alluring beast of its mainstream V8 model, and scores once again with the shapely F8 Tributo, which satisfyingly references the F40 (slatted rear window) and 328 GTB (round taillights).
61. 2006 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano up 2
The 599 GTO now has two direct successors, the F12 Berlinetta and currently the 812 Superfast, but neither has the curvaceous grace nor the visual intrigue of the GTO with its flying “D” pillars.
60. 1992 Jaguar XJ220
It looks a little long of body these days – perhaps it always did – but the XJ220 remains a swoopily arresting machine, besides carrying the unmistakable contours of a Jaguar.
59. 2021 Lamborghini Sian FKP 37 New Entry
Lamborghinis are about drama of shape and motion, and the Sian delivers both by the container-load. As it should given its seven-digit price. Cuts, curves, slots, hexagons, blades, grilles and fins litter this design, yet it coheres with surprising elegance.
58. 2001 Mini Cooper S
The older it gets, the more of a triumph this total rework of the 1959 original seems. It’s unmistakably redolent of its inspiration, yet entirely modern and like its forebear, perfectly proportioned.
57. 1955 Austin Healey 100M
Still one of the most handsome two-seater sports cars ever, and purest in its early, folding windscreen form that turns it into a speedster. Crude mechanicals are part of the charm.
56. 1934 Auburn Boattail Speedster 851
As glamorous as any pre-war Alfa Romeo, Hispano-Suiza or Mercedes, Auburn’s straight-eight series reached its lofty design zenith for the 1935 model year. Despite this achievement, Auburn ceased manufacturing in 1937.
55. 2008 Dodge Challenger
A particularly accomplished reimagining of the 1969-74 original, to the point of arguably being the better-looking car. The rightness of the design has allowed it a long life.
54. 2003 Lamborghini Gallardo down 1
The 2001 V12 Murcielago modernized Lamborghini’s look, but it was the Gallardo that realised the new form language to most satisfyingly handsome effect. That its crisp lines differentiated it from Ferraris was another bonus.
53. BMW i8 down 2
BMW’s boldest car yet, exploiting the package of its plug-in hybrid drivetrain, introducing fresh sculptural shapes, unusual two-tone detailing and the drama of dihedral doors.
52. 2020 Ferrari Roma New Entry
There are several front-engine Ferraris of the 1960s in this list, and it’s Ferraris of this era that the Roma evokes with its long bonnet and fastback-tail. But it also presents spare, clean sculpted, big-wheeled modernity. It’s Ferrari’s prettiest car today.
51. Oldsmobile Toronado up 1
It’s big, huge even, and thus has presence, but size isn’t the Toronado’s only arresting feature. Exquisite proportions, pillarless elegance and spare detailing are as much a triumph as its front-drive powerpack.
50. Alfa Romeo 1750 Zagato
The perfectly realized pre-war sports car. What made it right then – the long bonnet, short tail masses, the stance, the face-created grille, and lights – are just as relevant today.
49. 1962 Lotus Elan
The “if it looks right, it is right” cliché surely applies to the first Elan, whose form and detail were perfect enough to heavily inspire Mazda’s MX-5.
48. 1970 Range Rover – replaces 2012 Range Rover
The beauty of functional form is clear to see in the original Range Rover. View the prototypes before and after the design process, and you’ll see that the finishing touches were applied with ground-breaking flair.
47. 1953 Porsche 356 Speedster
It’s almost toy-like, its easily seen steering wheel begging you to drive it. The Speedster’s soap-smooth contours are uniquely distinctive, besides evolving into another beautiful car: the 911.
The Porsche 356 “was a true dual-purpose sports car. Owners could readily use their Speedsters for every-day transportation and then drive to the track on weekends, remove the bumpers, top, windshield, floor mats, and other trim, tape on some numbers, and go racing.”
46. 1964 Aston Martin DB5
Though not the first, the DB5 is known for being the most renowned James Bond car, which first made an appearance in the movie Goldfinger. The DB5 is distinct for its mechanical components and for the dominant but relaxed style with which it cruised the highways. Top speed of an impressive 143 mph (230 km/h) and power ranging upto 282 bhp (210 kW) at 5,500 rpm (210) Net HP. The Aston Martin DB5 is a British luxury grand car, created by Aston Martin and designed by the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera. Launched in 1963, it was a development of the final Aston Martin series of the DB4. The fact that it was a prized possession of two of the most renowned Englishmen of the 20th century (although one a fictional character) was all the proof the world needed that the DB5 was “the” car of the moment.
45. 1998 Audi TT
Clean-sculpted to the point of utilitarianism, the original TT combined modernity with an irresistible flavour of avant-garde 1930s design, a theme abandoned in subsequent generations.
44. 1963 Mercedes-Benz 230SL
The SSK model was first manufactured by Mercedes-Benz between 1928 and 1932. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche it has a top speed of 193.1 kph / 120 mph and is powered up to 223.7 kW / 300 bhp @ 3400 rpm. The SSK is one of the most revered sports cars in the world and this one features a distinctively attractive body. The SSK’s extreme performance and numerous competitive successes made it one of the most highly considered sports cars of its era.
Is the car still the moment of peak elegance for a post-war Mercedes? Its just-so body appears simple of line and lightly decorated with that minimalist grille, those bowl-capped headlights, and the perfect hardtop.
43. 1967 Alfa Romeo T33 Stradale
Launching this 2.0-litre V8, mid-engine race-based beauty a year after the Miura shouldn’t fail, but the Stradale cost over 25% more than the Lambo, and just 18 were made.
42. 1961 Lincoln Continental down 1
There’s nothing quite like the sheer-flanked, chrome-capped elegance of the ’61 Continental. It was a formal car – formal enough for fateful duty under President John F. Kennedy – yet there’s something rakish in its length and lack of height.
41. 1968 Dodge Charger R/T up 1
A quintessential ‘60s muscle car, but one of finesse, from the clean-flanked Coke bottle waist to the sleek, fat-pillared fastback and hidden headlamps, the Richard Sia-designed Charger is a handsome legend.
40. 2007 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
A shapely meld of shapes modern and historic, the 8C demonstrated that buyers are happy to pay big money for an Alfa if it’s truly beautiful, and never mind the impure Maserati motor.
39. 1966 Jaguar XJ13
The smooth-formed, subtly voluptuous contours of a Jaguar as applied to a mid-engine V12 ‘60s supercar, the XJ13 is one of that decade’s great what-might-have-beens.
38. 1960 Ferrari California SWB
An exquisite blend of subtle, shapely lines and hints of potency from the air scooped bonnet, the front wing air extractors and the faired headlights.
36. 1971 Citroën SM
Few cars exude other-worldly glamour as completely as the SM. Part of its promise lies in that low-rider stance when dormant, but much too in its glass nose, its tapering body and the lush interior.
The Citroen SM was an imaginative attempt by the French firm to harness the high-performance potential of its ground-breaking chassis technologies, and its modernist styling was an accurate reflection of the model’s forward-looking character.
35. 1987 Ferrari F40
The ground clearance of a dachshund, a roofline not much higher and a pram-handle spoiler made the F40’s road-racer mission unmistakable. Yet there’s alluring grace in its lines.
34. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Sports car fans don’t tend to rate the handling of the Chevy Corvette compared to European rivals - it was named after a class of warship after all. From an aesthetic point of view though, the Corvette has always delivered, and perhaps never more so than in the guise of the iconic split-window coupe variant, aka the original Stingray.
1963 was the year Chevrolet introduced its MkII Corvette, and the coupe variant was a first. The styling was overseen by GM’s design guru Bill Mitchell, and while he considered the twin-pane rear screen essential, it was dropped a year later for a single rear window.
The ‘63 Stingray coupe has since become one of the most collectible of Corvettes, and you’ve only to look at it to see why.
33. 1963 Buick Riviera
An almost shockingly elegant contrast to all those fins slicing up American highways, the Riviera was part-inspired by a Rolls-Royce GM design chief Bill Mitchell saw parked outside the Claridges Hotel in London.
32. 1952 Jaguar C-Type
Spare of line, curvily aerodynamic with a hint of raw power from its exposed exhaust, the C-Type was built to race and looked it.
31. 1959 Aston Martin DB4
Italy’s Touring coachworks designed the DB4’s body, a compelling blend of rakish grace, aristocratic bearing and velvet power. It soon evolved, but the series 1 DB4 was the purest and lightest.
New for 1959, the sensational Aston Martin DB4 featured an aluminium fastback GT body designed by Italian masters Carrozzeria Touring. The car’s style met with much critical acclaim, while a 3.7-litre 240bhp straight six engine and disc-brakes all round meant performance was rewarding too.
30. 1954 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint
It looks light on its feet and fast, it’s pretty and, suggests the noble three-piece grille, has breeding. This small car embodied the values of Alfa’s mighty pre-war machines, and in a Bertone body just as stylish.
29. 2017 Bugatti Chiron
The Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is a mid-engined sports car, designed and developed in Germany by the Volkswagen Group and manufactured by Bugatti Automobiles S.A.Sin Molsheim, France. Launched in the year 2014, Bugatti Veyron has powerof 736 kW (1001 HP) at 6 000 rpm and atop speed of 407 km/h. The Veyron’s looks and performance took automotive thinking to a new height.
The dramatic arc of its lateral air intakes are the visual signature of a hugely fast car that gobbles air like a jet. The Chiron’s softly contoured curves belie its potency and yield a shape of unexpected elegance.
28. 1925 Bugatti Type 35
A perfectly formed 1920s race car, from horseshoe radiator to tapered tail, its fuselage of body slung between wheels of sculptural beauty. Exquisite.
27. 1974 Lancia Stratos
One of the most iconic shapes on the 20th Century world rally stage was the fabulous Lancia Stratos, a car built to win the World Rally Championship which it promptly did in 1974, ‘75, and ‘76 with Sandro Munari at the wheel.
A curving, visor-like slice of glass, a tapering wedge of body, and a pair of big, glowering taillights made a beautiful beast of the Stratos on both rally stage and road.
26. 1974 Lamborghini Countach LP400
Few cars demonstrate the appeal of clean, addenda-free bodywork as the original Countach, which did without the wings, arch and sill excrescences of later models. The LP400 left Marcello Gandini’s striking sculpture pure and unadorned.
25. 1968 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’
Once one of the fastest production cars on earth, the V12 Daytona looked the part with its chisel nose and abruptly cut tail. Between these extremities lay a coupe of refined grace.
24. 1974 BMW 3.0 CSL
BMW has developed so many models since this E9 coupe, but few have achieved such arresting elegance. Recent BMWs have hinted at the reverse rake nose, but the thin-pillared glasshouse isn’t possible today.
23. 1994 McLaren F1
The odd detail apart, the F1 still looks contemporary now, the subtle packaging of its aerodynamic features allowing it a calm fluency of lines missing from most modern supercars.
22. 1948 Jaguar XK120
An open-top car with a long body and capacity for two people. Instead of a sporty and flashy concept, the designer chose bold colors but thenpolished them in a way that made the car look soft and calm. The Jaguar XK120 is a sports car which was manufactured by Jaguar between 1948 and 1954. Powered with 160 bhp (119 kW; 162 PS) @ 5000 rpm and atop speed of 132.596 mph (213.393 km/h) the Jaguar XK120 is a unique classic. It is looked upon by many as the supreme model of all Jaguars. But whatever your view, the XK120 definitely set the standard for all Jaguar sports cars to follow.
21. 1937 Cord 812
Front-wheel drive packaging allowed a floor low enough to eliminate running boards, the headlamps were hidden pop-ups and the Cord’s elegantly boxy prow produced a beautiful car of tomorrow. Unreliability killed it, but the shape was repeatedly revived by others.
20. 1956 BMW 507
Albrecht von Goertz’s 1956 507 was as handsome as any contemporary Ferrari, but a costly build pushed its price too close to these exotics, killing the car after only 252 were built, and nearly bankrupting BMW.
“The lightweight 90? V8 engine ticked over in sepulchral silence but had an impressively roaring bark when revving to its 150bhp maximum at 5,000rpm.”
19. 1957 Ferrari TR250
The Testa Rossas was a repeat Le Mans winner that continuously evolved over the five years and 33 cars produced in the quest for a racing edge. All are beautiful, aerodynamics only lightly touching their shapes.
18. 2019 Porsche 911 Targa (992) replaces 997
The first of two 911s here, the earliest quite different from the latest. And yet, of course, they’re recognisably the same car. It’s got too big but it’s as sexy as ever, more so as a Targa, that brushed aluminium band maintaining the drama of its pert rump.
17. 2004 Aston Martin DB9
Aston Martin often scores the beauty bullseye, the DB9 a magnificent follow-up to the 2001 Vanquish. That it still looks sensational 17 years after it saw daylight confirms the design’s excellence.
16. 1969 Ferrari Dino 246 GT
An elegant frenzy of sensuous curves and finely wrought chrome, the Dino’s shapes are more suggestive of balletic agility than sledgehammer power. Just right, given its V6.
15. 1966 Ford GT40
When Ford decided to take on Ferrari at Le Mans with a GT car, it turned to British racing car maker Lola for its chassis tech, added its own 289-cubic-inch/4.7-litre V8 engine, and draped it in a low-slung aluminium body with a roof height 40 inches above the ground - the maximum height allowed for international endurance racing.
That in a nutshell is how the now legendary GT40 arrived, and with the help of Carrol Shelby and a roster of star drivers, the name was etched into history by winning Le Mans four times in succession from 1966 to 1969.
It may be coincidental, but the GT40 also happens to look drop-dead gorgeous, which surely helps account for the multi-million pound price-tags achieved for cars like this early prototype GT40 sold in 2020 by Duncan Hamilton/Rofgo.
14. 1955 Citroën DS
Much car design of the 1950s was American influenced. Not the DS, which was shaped by an Italian sculptor and the wind. It levitated as well, to the accompaniment of space age clicks and whirrs.
13. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Styled and designed by designers like Giotto Bizzarrini andSergio Scaglietti. The Ferrari 250 GTO is a competing racing GT car which was created by Ferrari from 1962 to 1964. The 250 GTO is one of the most wanted Ferraris one can buy. This work of art comes with a several million pound price tag. The qualities of the Ferrari 250 GTO are refined by its racing inheritance, aided by itspresentation in the form of the 250’s 3.0l V12, which yields nearly 300 bhp and 0 to 60mph within a time of nearly 6.1 seconds. Alsotouchesa top speed of 158mph.
The race version of Ferrari’s 250 is barely any less beautiful; its lower and longer nose, extra air intakes and upkicked Kamm tail mixing aggressive intent with beauty.
12. 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic
Extravagant, fantastical, sculptural and suggestive of exotic lives lived by the few, the Atlantic borders on the mythic. And the intrigue continues with the clamshell doors and the vertical fin continuing the split screen’s vee.
The Atlantic is not just a car, but a monument to pre-war Europe. It’s one of the last great things mankind produced before everybody switched to building tanks. It’s also the pinnacle of the Bugatti family’s contribution to the twentieth century and the automotive industry. It’s a significant piece of history and its is basically art deco on four wheels. It’s also a ghost we can touch.
11. 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB
Refined lines and spare decoration disguise this car’s potency in spite of the long bonnet and softly muscled wings. It has manners to match, too.
“In recent years there has been ballooning interest in Ferrari 275s, especially the coveted four-cam variants, which now rank among the most collectible of the Italian company’s road cars.” – RM Auctions
10. Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing
It isn’t only the doors. The slender blisters crowning each wheelarch, the fine metalwork of the grille, the air extractors in the front wings and above all, the low, long-bonnet proportions make an arresting beauty of this car.
9. 2001 Aston Martin Vanquish
The car that revived Aston (again) its look defining design themes that have endured for two decades. The Vanquish has aged well. It’s still hugely handsome now.
8. 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
These were almost unsalable new, skewered by astronomical prices despite their lightweight beauty. Prices eventually hit the millions for the 19 originally made, prompting the 1990s build of four more utilising unused chassis numbers.
7. 1962 AC Cobra 289
Brawn on wheels, the Cobra appears to be bursting with power and indeed, usually is. It’s because the AC Ace from which it swelled was so well-proportioned that the Cobra works.
6. 1935 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900
There have been many beautiful Alfa Romeos over the years, but one of the highlights from a spectacular historic portfolio is the car that won the famous Mille Miglia Italian endurance race in 1938. The 8C 2900 was derived from Alfa’s 8C Grand Prix car, and featured an 8-cylinder inline 2.9-litre engine with twin superchargers. The factory Alfa Corse racing team entered four in the 1938 Mille, including this one running the latest Tipo 308 295bhp Grand Prix engine, It was piloted by Clemente Biondetti to victory, with another 8C 2900 MM in second – the other two didn’t finish. The drop-dead gorgeous roadster bodywork of the MM racers was by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera.
5. 1963 Porsche 911
As the successor to the Porsche 356, the 911 won the hearts of sports car enthusiasts from the outset. The prototype was first unveiled at the Frankfurt IAA Motor Show in 1963 as the 901, and was renamed the 911 for its market launch in 1964. Its air-cooled six-cylinder flat engine with two-litre displacement delivered 130 hp, giving it an impressive top speed of 210 km per hour. If you wanted to take things a little slower, you could also opt for the four-cylinder Porsche 912 from 1965. In 1966, Porsche presented the 160 hp 911 S, which was the first to feature forged alloy wheels from Fuchs. The 911 Targa, with its distinctive stainless steel roll-over bar, made its debut in late 1966 as the world’s first ever safety cabriolet. The semi-automatic Sportomatic four-speed transmission joined the line-up in 1967. And with the 911 T, and the later E and S variants, Porsche became the first German manufacturer to comply with strict US exhaust emission control regulations. The Porsche 911 became more and more powerful as displacement increased, initially to 2.2 litres (1969) and later to 2.4 (1971). The 911 Carrera RS 2.7 of 1972 with a 210 hp engine and weighing less than 1000 kg remains the epitome of a dream car to this day. Its characteristic “ducktail” was the world’s first rear spoiler on a production vehicle.
4. 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO
A mere variation on the handsome 308 GTB you may think, but no, this was a new car, and a better-proportioned version of the fabulous sculptural theme begun with the 1969 Dino 206.
3. 1959 Ferrari 250 GTO SWB
1958 would prove to be the 250 Testarossa’s absolute pinnacle. The factory cars won four of the six races to secure Ferrari’s third consecutive World Sports Car Championship for Constructors. Phil Hill and Peter Collins won in Argentina and again at the Sebring 12-Hours. Victory at the Targa Florio was taken by Luigi Musso and Gendebien and the 24 Hours of Le Mans was won by Gendebien and Hill.
At first sight, its lines seem simple, but the more you look, the more complex it becomes, from the fuselage front wings to the haunched rear, from slashed air extractors to delicate front quarter bumpers. Marvellous.
2. 1970 Lamborghini Miura
There wasn’t anything quite like it on the road at the time. Indeed, little to none can claim to have matched it since. The Lamborghini Miura was the original mid-engined supercar. Innovative at the time, it place its V12 transversely behind the driver. What was crafted around that basic architecture is we think an example of pure motoring beauty and distilled flamboyance, without verging into ostentatiousness. The Miura was an original. Really, no other mid-engined road car had come before it. Yes, an argument can be made for the Countach LP500 that followed, though that design suffered necessarily technical perversions to make the cars reliable prior to production. The Miura on the other hand retained its design purity of vision.
1. 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Coupe
It’s six decades since this car’s beauty robbed us of our breath, and still the E-Type is widely considered to be the most beautiful car ever. That it appeared roughly half-way through the evolution of the car to date perhaps begs questions of car design since.
Jaguar’s Malcolm Sayer takes much credit for the roadster’s shape, but it was metal craftsman Bob Blake, an American from North Dakota, who fabricated the coupe.
Who makes the most beautiful cars?
This survey has of course been entirely unscientific based on my belief, but that’s the thing about beauty: we don’t all swipe right on the same things. If we did, the world would be rather boring. This, then, is the league table of brands in this story, which scored at least three entries:
1: Ferrari - 15 entries
2: Jaguar - 8
3: Alfa Romeo - 7
4: Porsche - 7
5: Aston Martin - 6
6: Lamborghini – 5
7: General Motors (all brands) - 5
8: Bentley - 4
9: Bugatti - 4
10: BMW - 4
11: Ford (incl. Lincoln) - 4
12: Land Rover - 3
13: Maserati - 3
14: Citroën - 3
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