The 50 Hottest Cars Of The Past 100 Years

1968 Mustang Fastback GT 390 bullitt replica
1968 Mustang Fastback GT 390 bullitt replica

Cars may be machines, but they can still touch the heart and provoke strong emotions.

Curving lines, powerful engines, and outrageous luxury can draw people in just as much as a pretty face.

People have been falling in love with their cars for 100 years.

That's why we've assembled this list of the 50 sexiest cars of the past century.

We've got American muscle, Italian speed, and British luxury. We even have Swedish power.

Some of these cars were lemons, some were total flops. Others were wildly successful and are still on the market today. But every last one is packed with sex appeal.

[An earlier version of this story was written by Alex Davies.]

50. A rather hefty ride, the Hummer H2 has none of the sleek characteristics that often note a sexy car. Its appealing, brawny look marked the heyday of the big American SUV.

49. A product of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Miura was one of the first cars Lamborghini built to rival Ferrari (Ferruccio Lamborghini founded the car company after making his money in tractors). The model pictured here once belonged to Frank Sinatra.

48. Maserati was founded in 1914, but it didn't build a grand touring car (for luxury and long drives) until 1957, when the 3500GT went into production. With room for four and a straight-six cylinder engine, it was a beautiful machine.

47. In 1969, Pontiac took the Firebird and added handling, suspension, and horsepower, resulting in the Trans Am. The Firebird decal gave it one of the most iconic hoods in auto history.

46. The Dino name was used for the smaller, lighter end of Ferrari's lineup, and the 1966 Dino 206 S fit the bill. The mid-engined rear wheel-drive car took first place in 1966 in Italy's Enna City Cup and the Sierre Montana-Crans Hillclimb in Switzerland.

[Source: How Stuff Works]

45. Before the sports car became a true art form in the 1960s, there was the 1951 Jaguar C-Type. The two-seater was made for racing, and Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead drove one to victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951.

[Source: Jaguar Heritage]

44. Land Rover has done an excellent job updating the Range Rover, from the first generation in 1970 to the latest version. It may not have the reputation for being the most reliable vehicle, but it always looks good.

43. Produced in the early 1950s, the Porsche 550 sports car (pictured is the Spyder version) is best known as the car James Dean dubbed "Little Bastard" and fatally crashed in 1955.

42. Despite its stupid name, Ferrari's new flagship supercar, the Laferrari, which debuted in 2013, is a beautiful beast — with nearly 1,000 horsepower.

41. Cars like the Continental Mark IV are proof that Lincoln once made fantastic luxury rides, which makes the current state of their lineup all the more depressing (though it's gotten better this year). Here's Neil Young with his 1959 Mark IV, which he converted to run on electricity and natural gas.

40. A big competitor of Lincoln's Mark series, the Eldorado is one of the cars that helped make "Cadillac" synonymous with quality.

39. Introduced in 1966, the Alfa Romeo Spider is the epitome of a sexy little sports car. No wonder it stayed in production until 1993.

38. The sexiest car ever to come out of Sweden, the Koenigsegg Agera R debuted in March 2011 at the Geneva Motor Show. Its 5-liter twin-turbo V8 engine uses biofuel to produce an astounding 1,115 horsepower.

37. Not every car on this list is a post-war creation. Mercedes-Benz made the 540K from 1936 until 1940.

36. Cars like the Ford Thunderbird serve to remind us that some stunning rides have come out of Detroit.

35. These days, the best work is being done overseas. Between 2001 and 2010, Lamborghini built 4,099 Murcielago's at its Sant'Agata factory near Bologna.

[Source: Autoblog]

34. Named for the racecar driver and founder of Ferrari, the Enzo Ferrari was built using the best Formula 1 technology of the day. That included a V12 engine that produced 660 horsepower. Only 400 Enzos were built, between 2002 and 2004.

[Source: Ferrari]

33. Before it could make a profit selling the relatively practical Model S, Tesla Motors had to prove it could build an electric car that worked. The result was the gorgeous Roadster, produced from 2008 to 2012.

32. To mark the debut of the roadster version of the LP 700-4 in January, Lamborghini took over a runway at Miami International Airport and raced five of the new cars at 210 mph.

31. The oh-so-beautiful Shelby Daytona was an especially successful racecar. It won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1964 and took first in three Grand Prix races the next year.

30. The strangest-looking car on this list, the 917 secured Porsche its first overall win at Le Mans in 1970. It took first again in 1971.

29. The 2001 Morgan Aero 8 was the first car England's Morgan Motor Company produced in half a century, and it did not do a whole lot to update the vehicle's look. The two-door convertible may have an old-school vibe, but it's powered by a modern V8 engine that makes it a formidable sports car.

28. The little 507 roadster was not a financial success for BMW, but it was a visual winner. Only 252 were built, from 1956 to 1959.

27. The very first Porsche sports car, the 356 hit the road in 1948 and entered series production in 1950. The next year, the 356 SL won at Le Mans.

26. The scissor door-equipped Lamborghini Countach — named for the Piedmontese exclamation often used when a beautiful woman is seen — is one of very few cars that can be accurately described as "trapezoidal."

25. Another work of Carroll Shelby, the automotive designer and racecar driver, the Shelby Cobra is a two-door roadster built in Britain with an American engine. It's a beautiful combination.

24. Produced from 1928 to 1932, the Mercedes-Benz SSK was commissioned by Count Carlo Felice Trossi and engineered by Ferdinand Porsche, who soon Mercedes just after to start his own company. The SSK was powerful and shorter than its predecessor, thus the name Super Sport Kurz (German for "short").

23. One of several James Bond rides on this list, the Aston Martin Vanquish debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 2001. It was designed by Ian Callum starred alongside Pierce Brosnan in the 2002 flick "Die Another Day."

22. In 1952, Bentley, then owned by Rolls-Royce, needed to replace its Mark VI model. The R Type was the car to do it. That gave birth to the R Type Continental, pictured here, which had a top speed of nearly 120 mph, making it the fastest four-seater in the world.

[Source: Bentley]

21. Named for an Argentine air current, Pagani's Zonda is made mostly from carbon fiber. The Zonda F has a top speed of 214 mph and can go from a standstill to 60 mph in a blazing 3.6 seconds.

20. Back to the big American muscle cars of old. The 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 had a V8 engine under its sizeable hood.

19. Another Bond car (also driven by Pierce Brosnan), the BMW Z8 was a limited production model that hit the road between 1999 and 2003. It was designed by Henrik Fisker, and had a role in "The World Is Not Enough."

18. One of the greatest living car designers, Henrik Fisker started his own car company in 2004. Fisker Automotive didn't really work out, but there's no denying the Karma is a truly gorgeous ride.

17. In November 2012, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The car has a top speed of 196 mph, can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and has a hand-built engine that delivers 622 horsepower.

16. Another oddly-named Ferrari creation, the F12berlinetta is the Italian automaker's fastest road car ever. The first one sold for $1.125 million at a Formula 1 US Grand Prix event to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims.

15. One of the sexiest — and most expensive — rides of all time, the Ferrari 250 GTO was named the greatest car of the post-war era by Playboy last year. Produced from 1962 to 1964, it sold for $18,000 when it was brand new. In May 2012, a 250 GTO that once belonged to driver Stirling Moss sold at auction for $35 million.

[Source: Bloomberg]

14. In 1998, the McLaren F1 became the fastest car in the world, topping out at 243 mph. It has since been surpassed, but the F1 is still the fastest car with a naturally aspirated engine. It's not a great date car, though: The driver sits front and center, with passengers on either side and slightly to the rear.

13. At auto shows, many automakers hire female models (AKA booth babes) to stand alongside their products. But the Bugatti Veyron doesn't need a model to make it look good.

12. The Lamborghini Gallardo has some of the trapezoids that made the Countach stand out (note the headlights), but it's overall a much smoother looking car that its predecessor. The Gallardo Superleggera LP 570-4 goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds, and has a top speed north of 200 mph.

11. Porsche's 911 line may have peaked with the 993, produced in the mid-1990s. The successor of the 911 964, the 993 was the final Porsche to be air-cooled (reliant on circulating air to keep the engine cool).

10. In August 2012, a 1968 Ford GT40 sold at auction for $11 million. The high-performance racing car won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times in a row (1966-1969) and was driven by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film "Le Mans."

9. Considering how good the 1934 Duesenberg Model J looked in gold, it's surprising you don't see more cars in the color. Only 12 units of the three-speed manual were built, and the pictured Model J sold for $1.43 million at auction.

8. Revealed in August 2012, McLaren's MP4-12C Spider is has the same chassis as the model it is based on, giving it a rigidity and stability often lacking in convertibles. The result is a 0 to 62 mph time of 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 204 mph.

7. Rolls-Royce resurrected the name Wraith for a very nice new model. We think the 1947 original is sexier. It was pretty practical, too. In post-war England, Rolls-Royce started using interchangeable parts to conserve costs, which made the Wraith a lot easier to maintain and repair.

[Source: Top Speed]

6. Simply put, the One-77 is the fastest, most gorgeous Aston Martin of all time. Only 77 units of the supercar were built, and it was a coup for Tesla Motors when it hired the car's designer, Chris Porritt, away from Aston.

5. The Corvette has been called the greatest American car of all time, and it's easy to see why when you look at the 1963 Sting Ray. The second generation of the iconic car was the sexiest car ever produced by Chevy.

[Source: Ask Men]

4. Ford has built some great Mustangs over the past fifty years. The 1968 Fastback GT 390 is the best of them all, if only because it starred in one of the most famous car chases ever filmed, with Steve McQueen racing around San Francisco in "Bullitt."

3. Europeans control the rest of this list, starting with the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300SL. The fastest production car of the day, it rolled off the line between 1954 and 1963. The 1955 version pictured here featured the gullwing doors that helped make the model famous.

2. The One-77 may be the fastest and most gorgeous Aston Martin, but the DB5 is sexier. It's the ultimate James Bond car, and looks great alongside Sean Connery. The DB5 entered production in 1963, with all-aluminum 4.0-liter engine that provided a 0 to 60 mph time of 8 seconds.

1. The Jaguar E-Type is the hottest car ever built. The ultimate 1960s sports car debuted in 1961 and was produced until 1974. It was famously unreliable, but that did not stop Enzo Ferrari himself from calling it the "most beautiful car ever made."

[Source: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance]

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