Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is how the famous quote goes. Someone said it, we’re really not sure who and can’t really be bothered looking it up.
However, it nicely kicks off the theme of this week’s Thursday Five, as we know you probably won’t agree with what we have picked as the Five Most Beautiful Cars of All Time.
Beauty is very subjective, particularly when it comes to cars, but we ARE right here. Just go with it.
Widely regarded by, well, everyone really (including Enzo Ferrari) as the most beautiful car ever made, the E-Type really is just that beautiful.
The fact that it had serious performance credentials to back up those gorgeous looks cemented its legend. Although this was undoubtedly helped by the fact that cars provided to the motoring media of the time were “specially prepared” by Jaguar...
While the longer wheelbase 2+2 coupe didn’t look quite as good, Series 2 and 3 cars were cursed with larger bumpers and intakes and it was an utter pig to drive after 1971 when they misguidedly jammed a V12 under the bonnet, the E-Type - unlike a lot of cars - remained gorgeous right up until it went out of production in 1975 and was replaced by the XJS. Which most certainly wasn’t pretty...
The car that forced the switch from front-engined to mid-engined layouts for supercars was also easily the prettiest to ever do it that way too.
Built from 1966 to 1973, the Miura was an ironic twist on the fact that Ferruccio Lamborghini first started making cars because he preferred comfortable GT, rather than Ferrari’s race-derived sports cars. In fact, the Miura was designed in secret by the engineering team, against Ferruccio’s wishes. Once he saw it, however, he was convinced, and the Miura went into production.
Following its end in 1973, the Miura was replaced by the Countach in 1974. While not in any way pretty, the Countach was stunning and was the ultimate dream car for every boy in the 1980s. Preferably with Phoebe Cates in the passenger seat wearing THAT red bikini...
Just to prove that the prettiest cars don’t necessarily have to be sports cars (although they usually are...), the staggeringly beautiful Citroen DS just has to be in this list.
Not only beautiful, but also startlingly advanced for its time, the DS utterly startled the motoring world when it appeared in 1955. Clearly this is what Citroen wanted, as it didn’t even use car designers to pen that gorgeous shape, rather it was designed by Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and French aeronautical engineer Andre Lefebvre.
To give you an idea of just how incredible the DS looked in 1955, 15 minutes after the DS was revealed at the Paris Motor Show, Citroen had taken 743 orders. By the end of the first day they had reportedly taken 12,000 orders, which was about 2,000 more than the first year’s production!
Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB
While the 250 GTO might be the most expensive car in the world, the American market convertible is undoubtedly the most gorgeous Ferrari of all time, as well as being one of the prettiest cars ever made.
That’s not to say the 250 GT Spyder California is in any way a “cheap” Ferrari - one sold earlier this year for a staggering US$15.9 million (NZ$24.1 million).
Plus there is the bonus fact that the 250 GT Spyder is also responsible for one of Ferrari’s legendary hissy fits when an MG cloaked in a 250 GT Spyder fibreglass replica body appeared in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Ferrari threatened to sue, etc, etc...
The gorgeous 300 SL was born out of a suggestion by the American distributor for Mercedes to create a road-going version of the Le Mans-winning W194 racing car, but with bit more power.
So they did. And they also produced one of the most beautiful and iconic cars of all time while they were at it.
The first production car to get direct fuel injection, the 300 SL’s race-derived inline 6-cylinder engine was good for 160kW and was, interestingly enough, actually derived from the DB 601 V12 that was used in the Messerschmitt Bf 109E fighter plane from WWII.
This probably isn’t something they used in their sales material though, because the 300 SL went on to be a massive success in the USA, singlehandedly moving Mercedes reputation there from a company that built sold, reliable sedans to one capable of making high-performance sports cars.