The 10 most beautiful cars of all time

CNBC


In celebration of the classic and exotic car events Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit, Total Car Score has weighed in on the car world’s all-time best looking rides.

Normally, Total Car Score creates its top 10 lists by crunching the numbers on specifications like horsepower, top speed, zero-to-60 acceleration, MSRP and fuel efficiency.

Beauty, of course, is ephemeral and subjective. However, while acknowledging individual tastes, certain model names tend to come up again and again in terms of their slick and iconic looks.

"Ask 10 people to name the best-looking car of all time and you'll likely get 10 different answers," said the website’s editor, Karl Brauer. "But I'd suggest these 10 cars would be among the most popular answers given. Furthermore, all 10 of these cars have modern-day successors that clearly trace their appearance back to these timeless designs."

All of the cars on the list were produced within a 20-year period, which Brauer and his colleagues noted, suggests “a heightened sense of exterior design evolution” during this period in the history of the automobile.

One brand holds down two of the 10 slots. The others include such diverse brands as Aston Martin and Dodge, from those well-known from the movies, or from their accomplishments, to those known for being the first of their kind.

"If you haven't seen any of these cars in person, you owe it to yourself to get to a world-class car show, such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance or Woodward Dream Cruise, to fully appreciate these beautiful machines," Brauer said.

Here are those 10 all-time classics, listed chronologically, beginning with a little number that dates to the Eisenhower administration.


1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

It was the fastest top-speed production car at the time. The 1954 edition was the first consumer-oriented (non-racing) car sold with fuel injection.

Modern Day Successor: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG




2. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California

A red ’61 Ferrari 250 GT California was immortalized, sometimes in midair, as Cameron’s dad’s prized possession in the 1986 film “Ferris Bueller's Day Off.” Brauer says it’s not only considered by many the most beautiful car ever created, but it’s one of the most valuable collector cars today.

Modern Day Successor: Ferrari California



3. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette


The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette is distinguished as the first year of second-generation (or "mid-year") Corvette; only year with "split window" rear glass. It was also the first Corvette with hidden headlamps and independent rear suspension.

Modern Day Successor: Chevrolet Corvette



1964 Aston Martin DB5

The car Brauer calls one of the most famous ever was a major presence in James Bond films, first appearing in “Goldfinger,” followed by appearances in “Thunderball,” “GoldenEye,” “Casino Royale” and “Tomorrow Never Dies”.

Modern Day Successor: Aston Martin V8 Vantage



1965 Jaguar E-Type

The 1965 Jaguar E-Type’s important advancement was its in-board rear disc brakes. At least one expert praised it as “the most beautiful car ever made”—it was Enzo Ferrari, who should know about such matters.

Modern Day Successor: Jaguar XK



1966 Ford GT40

The only car to win the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in first, second and third place, Brauer notes it is also one of the lowest cars ever made, at 40 inches tall.  

Modern Day Successor: Ford GT



1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4

The 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 could go 165 mph and was the first Ferrari to use an integrated transmission and rear axle for improved balance.

Modern Day Successor: Ferrari F12 Berlinetta



1970 Dodge Challenger R/T

A white 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T famously starred in the 1971 film “Vanishing Point” (and because of that, a plot device in Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof”). Brauer points out other noteworthy aspects of this model: It was also the first for “E-Body,” it offered with 426 Hemi engine and it was available in "high-impact" colors like "Plum Crazy Purple."

Modern Day Successor: Dodge Challenger



1971 Lamborghini Miura SV

The first exotic car—Brauer says this was due to the Lamborghini Miura SV’s mid-engine V12, making it one of the fastest production cars available in 1971.

Modern Day Successor: Lamborghini Aventador



1973 Porsche Carrera RS

The 1973 Carrera RS has the large rear tires, wider rear fenders, a spoiler, as well as larger brakes and fuel injection, resulting in a lighter, more powerful Porsche.

Modern Day Successor: Porsche 911

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