Here to Eternity: The 50 Most Iconic Cars in Motoring History

Hot Wheels, Indeed

Editor’s Prologue: Cars get our blood flowing here at GP. From vintage racers to compacts to the latest supercar offerings, we realize that there are myriad discussions debates over which ones are the most memorable, the most celebrated and the most remarkable. So to end the inquisition we’ve been compiling a list over the past two months and honing (and honing) it down to what we feel are the 50 most iconic automobiles in motoring history.

Cars are objects of subjectivity, and everyone seems to have an opinion, from the cognoscenti to the everyman. The best cars can be whittled down based on design, popularity, exclusivity, performance or all of the above. There are plenty of lists out there and opinions inevitably vary (widely), but for our humble screed of 50 we’ve used a single rule: which cars are truly significant in our own minds.

So sit back, hit the jump and get to scrolling.

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1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic


The Type 57 Atlantic is the kind of car that can never be copied, reproduced or emulated without utterly ruining the memory. The sheet metal alone will send you home drooling, as if you’d seen the most sensuous woman in the world. With curves galore and an elongated hood, the Atlantic looked like nothing else on the road in its day and still stands apart over the generations. Like a vintage era Batmobile, it’s both Powerful and elegant. It now auctions north of 30 million dollars and is essentially the world’s most expensive car.

1948 Tucker Torpedo


The brainchild of Preston Tucker, the “Torpedo” or Tucker Sedan, was created in response to the lack of new ideas from any of the big three in the early 1940’s. Originally designed with such innovations as four-wheel independent suspension, a rear mounted flat six aluminum engine a hydraulic drive system and four-wheel disc brakes. Sadly only 51 cars were made and the Tucker Torpedo never got out of the starting gates, supposedly due to a conspiracy by the big three. On the bright side, a single iteration of this pioneering automobile is worth a sweet $1.2 million.

1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato


Though not as famous as its younger DB5 brother, it’s even more stunning in our humble opinion. The bulging hood, the big frowning Aston grille and the spectacular wire wheels, along with the Zagato Italian touch rendered this British car stunningly curvaceous. Limited to only 20 versions, it still trades at over a cool million at auction. 0-60 times of 6 seconds and 314 horsepower made this car a force to be reckoned with in its day. We envision someone like Sir Richard Branson tooling around in one of these. Lucky bastard.

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB


Probably one of Ferrari/Pininfarina’s most beautiful designs, the 250GT Berlinetta SWB dominated the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans by taking the first four positions. With a shorter wheelbase (SWB) than the 250GT Berlinetta and the removal of the rear quarter windows, the 250GT SWB boasted improved cornering due to the wheelbase reduction. A revised V12 was parked under the hood, along with larger carburetors. The competition version crushed everyone else on the racing circuit in 1959 and 1960. Current versions bring upwards of $4 million to own a piece of racing history.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Coupe


Also known as the C2, this version of the Corvette turned things around for Chevy. Redesigned completely, it sported a now much sought after split window, Corvette-only reverse flip-up headlights, improved handling and performance and a gorgeous silhouette made the C2 a standout amongst American sports cars. Produced for 20 years, the Sting Ray Coupe is as American as it gets. Part elegance and all sinew, the wide and sleek C2 will forever be associated with brilliant American design.

Ford GT40


Built by Ford to not only compete with Ferrari but to humiliate them at Le Mans, the GT40 was racing domination at its best, taking top position at the grueling 24 hour race series four years in a row. Utilizing high displacement Ford V8s, the GT40 established Ford as the only American built car to ever take Le Mans overall. It spawned the Ford GT, which carries forward the same kind of ferocious performance that made it an icon. Recently a 1966 Mk1 version brought in over $4 million at auction. Now that’s a pricey Ford.

Aston Martin DB5


Bond made it famous in Goldfinger, but it would’ve stood on the merits of its own looks. The silky grand tourer was built from 1963-1965 and boasted a then-healthy 282 horsepower, enabling it to reach 145 mph at the top end and zero to sixty in around 7 seconds. Most importantly, the DB5 still stands as one of the most recognizable cars in the world. Instant panache for and respect to anyone lucky enough to own this rarity.

1967 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale


Widely considered to be one of the sexiest automobiles ever made, the car was not just a looker. Alfa produced the 33 as a roadgoing version of the racing Tipo 33 and introduced Alfa’s racing technology to the world. It clocked 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and topped out at a blistering 160 mph. Sadly, only 18 were made. If it looks familiar, it inspired the modern Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. A beauty in its own right.



The intention to build the sleek and unique supercar was purely for homologation, and in 1970, BMW partnered with Lamborghini to help bring it to life. Lambo jumped ship before production and BMW took over the entire project, bringing the rare cars to market from 1978 to 1981. Fewer than 500 were built and they’re still so sought after today that BMW still holds the M1 name sacred, as does the rest of the automotive world. We’ve seen it in the flesh and it is awesome.

AC Shelby Cobra 427


The stuff of legend, this is. Carroll Shelby approached Ford MoCo in order to shoehorn its monster 520 bhp, 427 V-8 into the AC Cobra, a British sports car. The result was magic and threw down with the previously victorious Chevy Corvettes in auto racing. It was a triumph of huge proportions. Shelby’s beast did the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds and handled like it was on rails. And though the production of these monsters ended in 1967, the automotive world would never be the same

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Acura NSX


When the NSX was introduced to the public in 1990, it was one of the most technologically advanced supercars ever made. The first production vehicle to use an all-aluminum monocoque chassis, it was made even more rigid after consultation by the famous F1 driver, Ayrton Senna. The lightness of the engine, frame and body aided in top-notch performance numbers which did not go unrecognized. The NSX garnered major automotive awards and redefined the supercar for the 21st century. When we see this rarity on the street today, it still makes us want one. So it’s sometimes referred it as the ‘poor man’s Ferrari’, it stands on its own as one of the greats.

DeLorean DMC-12


Despite what you remember about the DeLorean from the Back to the Future movies, it was only fast if you dropped it off a cliff, but it is certainly hard to forget. Stainless steel body, gullwing doors and a body flat enough to grill on, the DMC-12 is one seriously beautiful failure. Its founder and creator was a crook, but he put his stamp on the automotive world by bringing us a vehicle that was like nothing else. Flux capacitor optional.

Jaguar E-Type


Any top 10 most iconic cars list will have this beauty near the top. The gloriously long hood and the elegant power the XKE communicates will turn heads anywhere you go. The burbling V12 power and the ridiculously low slung body made it that much more desirable. Though we prefer it in roadster form, the coupe will do us just fine. Just don’t do it up Austin Powers-style and emblazon the car with the Union Jack. This car actually makes driving gloves look cool, not like the fool wearing them in his Trans Am.

Lamborghini Countach


Practical was the farthest thing from its vocabulary, the Countach was the truly excessive supercar. With a mailslot of a rear window, it was impossible to park, but who cares. The wedge shape, scissor doors, massive engine vents and the pronounced angles made it instantly recognizable. Sporting a monster Lambo V12 engine, it was hellaciously fast, as well. The bespoilered LP500S is easily the most remembered. Big bank roll required. Gold chain and chest hair not included.

Mazda Miata


Make no mistake. This tiny roadster single-handedly revived the type for the world. Mazda produced this car back when everything about tiny convertibles pointed to the crusher. Light and rear-wheel drive, the precision and the “snikt” sound of the shifter along with nimble and taut dynamics were driving heaven. Even now, after four generations, the Miata (MX-5) still brings the kind of pure driving pleasure that no amount of automotive technology can replace.

Volvo P1800


And you thought Volvo started out making shipping crates for ovens. Let the P1800 prove you wrong. It was built-in 1957 as a much-needed answer for a Swedish sports car. It was, however, the car that nearly didn’t happen due to conflicts with automaker Karmann, who had previously agreed to produce the car for Volvo. Jensen motors took on the job and the P1800 came to life with a Volvo B18 engine that could take the svelte body up to 120 mph. Who said Volvos of old are boring?

1967 Pontiac GTO


Otherwise known as the “Judge”, the GTO was actually named after Ferrari’s 250 GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato), despite the dissimilarities. The split grille design and the monster 335 hp, 441 lb ft V8 engine, along with the optional Hurst shifter made it a true American classic and the sales figures proved its popularity. Today, a pristine model is worth a pretty penny. The modern version of it was basically a rebadged Holden Monaro from GM Australia, and though it was quick, it didn’t even come close to the presence of the original.

Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spyder


In the late 1950’s Maserati decided to capitalize on the improved roads in Europe by creating a true roadgoing GT car and hence the 3500 GT Vignale Spyder was born. Having pulled back from its dedicated racing roots, Maserati succeeded in producing a car that rivaled the best from Ferrari and Aston Martin by providing prodigious straight six power and luxurious amenities. It was both a performer and a looker by all measures and ended its production run with 2,200 cars, more than all other previous Maseratis made. It was the car that essentially put Maserati on the GT map. One look at this car, and you’ll be won over by its elegance. Just don’t wear an ascot if you own one.

Audi Quattro


We all know the term ‘Quattro’ to stand for Audi’s four-wheel drive system, but the term arose from the early 80’s when Audi brought the original Audi Quattro stateside. It was born from the original rally car that was the first to mate 4-wheel drive with turbocharging. With straight, hard-edged design, the Quattro was angry and sophisticated at the same time. The 2.1 liter high-revving inline-5 cylinder churned out 197 hp and could propel the car to 60 in 7 seconds with a top speed of nearly 140 mph. Every Audi with the Quattro system on the road today can thank its predecessor for the rugged and rapid heritage passed on by the original. It looks like Audi may try to repeat that same success by coming out with a re-imagined version. Let’s hope.

Datsun 240Z-280Z


The poor man’s Jaguar E-Type, the Datsun S30 series, named the 240Z, 260Z and 280Z marked the birth of the Z car and are true classics. Produced in the 1970’s the cars were low cost and highly successful here in the U.S., as a result of both their price and appealing sports car design. These bargain sports cars could do sixty in under 8 seconds and top out at over 120 mph. Eventually Nissan even refurbished a handful of them for sale several years ago and what we wouldn’t do now to get our mitts on one of those.

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Nissan Skyline GTR r34


The current Nissan GT-R is a monster, no doubt, but its origins date back to 1989 with what was dubbed “Godzilla” by the automotive press, the R32 Nissan Skyline GTR. The target was the Porsche 959 and what a lofty goal it was. The Skyline sported twin ceramic turbochargers, all-wheel steering, electronically controlled four-wheel drive, and 276 hp. It dominated 29 out of 29 races in Japan and went on to conquer circuits all over the world. Thankfully, its heritage lives on in the current version.

Porsche 959


It was one of the first true supercars. Born out of Gruppe B racing, it had a steroidal 911 silhouette, an aluminum and kevlar body with enhanced aerodynamics, all-wheel drive, and a monster flat six engine with 444 horsepower, which propelled it to 60 mph in less than four seconds. Incredibly rare, the 959 is considered the father of the current 911 Turbo and still asks for and gets high prices at auction. The likelihood of ever seeing one in the flesh is infinitesimally small due to the fact that very few owners modified it for U.S. streets.

Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona Spyder


You don’t have to be Sonny Crockett to appreciate this car. Miami Vice made it popular but it has far more pedigree. Named for the famous racetrack, the Daytona’s design was nothing if not clean. From the smooth hood to the circular taillights, it was sleek and muscular at the same time and sadly was limited to only 122 versions. The Spider was so coveted that many coupe owners paid to have the tops lopped off. Sporting a sonorous V12, the Daytona maxed out at blistering 180 mph. Road and Track called it “world’s best sportscar.” It had both the looks and the performance. Many hairpieces were lost, no doubt.

Rolls-Royce Phantom


The original British luxury car that started its run in 1925, the Rolls-Royce Phantom moniker and heritage spread over seven model generations. Owned by the likes of John Lennon and the Sultan of Brunei (what doesn’t he own?), the Phantom exuded class and wealth. Driving in it can be equated with sitting in an executive boardroom on wheels. Though it may have suffered from a bit of bloatedness in its fifth and sixth generations, the seventh and current iteration proves to be the right combination of power, performance and sophistication. Like it for its power and size. Love it for its ever-upright logo’d wheel hubs and its door retractable umbrella holders. Who needs Grey Poupon?

Toyota 2000GT


Crafted in the late 1960’s, the 2000GT was built out of a partnership between Toyotal and Yamaha. It is, essentially, Japan’s first supercar. With large headlights and taillights, a long hood and an elegant tapering tail, the 2000GT proved to the world that Japan could build an exotic sports car. It was so good, in fact, that some car enthusiasts ranked it up there with the Porsche 911. That’s nothing to laugh at. The car was even svelte enough to be used in the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice.

BMW 2002


The tiny but capable father of the current BMW 3-Series, the 2002 is one of the most famous BMWs of all time. Short, quick and clean in design, the 2002 was launched back in 1967. Producing 108 horsepower and 130 in the 2002tii, this two-door sports coupe succeeded in the racing circuit and actually found victory in the 1970 Nurburgring 24 hour race. It has a huge cult following today. The super-rare tii commands high prices, but beware of base 2002s rebadged.



The original Mini is diminutive compared to the modern version, but it was no less wonderful. With its front wheel drive layout, the Mini enabled its owners to pack in people and cargo while maintaining a tiny footprint, making it endlessly practical. The UK subcompact grew into several different versions, including a wagon, a pickup truck and our personal favorite, the Mini Moke, a bizarre Jeep-like version. BMW did up its own successful reincarnation in 2000 but our hearts are still with the big (little) brother. If you can drive it like Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity, you have our utmost respect.

McLaren F1


In 1998, engineer Gordon Murray set the world on fire by setting a new production car top speed record of 231 mph in the F1. In a few words, it was supercar domination. The McLaren F1 was an exercise in a no-holds-barred approach to automotive supremacy utilizing ultralight materials, a production first monocoque carbon fiber chassis, superb aerodynamics and a naturally aspirated BMW V12 with 618 horsepower. Uniquely for a production car, the center positioned driver’s seat echoed F1 design. But the car also stood out as an everyday supercar with its driveability and quality build. All other supercars are still measured against this one and its value and stature in the automotive world continue to rise.

Jeep Willys


Originally the Willys-Overland MB, it was commissioned for the U.S. military to fulfill the need for a light, rugged and versatile recon vehicle during World War II. And though there is dispute to this day over the origin of the ‘Jeep’ nomenclature, there no doubt that the modern descendants, the Jeep CJ and Wrangler, exemplify the all-around utility of this wartime workhorse. From Willys to Ford to Chrysler, the Jeep maintains bomb-proof the heritage that was born in a time of our country’s greatest need.

Austin Healey 3000


We love roadsters and the Jensen Motors bodied Austin-Healey 3000 is no exception. Built in the 50s and 60s, the 3000 went through three iterations from MkI to MkIII, with ever-growing output and refinement. The bug-eyed fascia and large shiny grille made it a standout, along with the prominent bulging hood. Racing versions showed up at Sebring and LeMans. Sadly the run ended in 1967 when Austin-Healey stopped producing cars. It remains as a true gentleman’s car and is upheld by enthusiasts and vintage racing circuits today. Classy and very, very British.

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Ford Shelby Mustang GT350/500


These beefed up versions of the standard Ford Mustang emerged in 1965 as essentially street legal race cars with the aid of Carroll Shelby, himself. Over the course of production, they eventually were moved to in-house production directly by Ford. What started out as an attempt to create a unique performance vehicle with some modifications from the standard car has resulted in generations of a true American icon (as exemplified by the coveted “Eleanor” in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds). Heavier, more brutal and yet more refined in character, the current 2012 top of the line version (the Super Snake) boasts a face-ripping 800 horsepower, up from the original 289 hp in 1965.

Ferrari F40


Quite possibly the ultimate driver’s Ferrari. Built in the days when traction control, ABS and other driver assist tech was for sissies. Lean, light, fast and positively ferocious, the F40 made mincemeat of cars with more horsepower due to its singular purpose of being a rocket powered street razor. The huge and purposeful rear wing both keeps the car planted and makes it visible from a mile away. No AC and no radio so you can hear the sonorous twin turbo V8 rasping its pipes at 471 orgasmic horsepower.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL


In 1955, the 300 SL took the world by storm, positioning itself as not only one of the most beautiful cars ever made but also as the fastest car of its day with the world’s first direct injection gasoline four stroke engine. The Roadster with its curvacious gullwing doors made the car that much more exclusive. Today, it commands up to three quarters of a million dollars at auction and we think its worth every penny.

Volkswagen Beetle


An automotive hippie magnet, the Beetle could just be the most recognized car in the world. Built in colossal numbers for a world market, the Beetle was unsafe, underpowered and just plain unimpressive, except that it looked like nothing the world had ever seen. It was the car that made people happy just by looking at it. Don’t even get us started on the New Beetle. We think the 3rd try will be “the cleaner” and make us forget the tragically flawed but ever so successful designs of the first two.

Citroen DS


You might consider it a dowdy European taxi of sorts, but the Citroen DS gave its driver instant class and sophistication combined with technology and utility. This wonder was introduced in the 50s and went on to see 20 years of production. Possessing the world’s first front disc brakes in a production car, along with self-leveling suspension and self-leveling directional headlights, it was truly revolutionary. If you’ve seen it in person, you know how well it has stood the test of time. And this is one case where being French is truly a very good thing.

Porsche 356 Speedster


Brought into existence by Ferdinand Porsche himself, the 356 is considered Porsche’s first production vehicle. A direct relation to the VW Beetle (say it isn’t so), the 356 was built it both coupe and Speedster forms from the 1940s through 1965 It wasn’t a speed machine, with only a flat-4 engine, but the design was both simple and classic. In various racing iterations, it made itself additionally famous in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and still brings upwards of $300,000 at auction. Most importantly, it gave birth to the Porsche 911. Talk about good genes.

1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster


Elegantly simple and achingly beautiful, the 280SL Roadster had a smooth inline six engine with either a 4-speed manual, 4-speed automatic or a wonderful ZF 5-speed manual. With an upgraded M130 170 horsepower engine, the car had enough kick to be quick but not surprisingly so. American models were upgraded with fancy imperial gauges and chrome bumper guards and essentially transitioned the car from sports convertible to luxury grand tourer. It clearly exuded wealth and sophistication from the driver’s seat and the car found huge success with nearly 20,000 versions sold in America. It’s a beautiful example of what a roadster should look like, no matter what generation it’s from.

Acura Legend


The Legend was the first Japanese sedan to move into the luxury sedan market that was dominated by the Germans in the late 1980s and 1990s. Long, smooth and utterly reliable, it was the first flagship released under the Acura luxury brand and everyone, including the Germans, took notice. With a butter-smooth V6 that could kick 60 in under 8 seconds, a low curb weight, responsive throttle, expanses of fine leather and a ride to rival Mercedes and BMW the Legend became just that. The leaders in the luxury car segment started making their own changes as a result. It still sells as the Legend outside of the states and sadly goes under the boring Acura RL name here.

Land Rover Defender


The SUV for the ages, the Land Rover Defender is the benchmark for a capable SUV. Low tech and all the more glorious for it, the Defender conquers rocks, mud and snow where others fear to tread. Carried over from the Land Rover Series I, II and III, the Defender 110 and 90 (indicating wheelbase lengths) modernized the original by adding an upgraded interior, beefed up and more compliant suspension and more powerful engines. Production in the U.S. sadly ended in the 1990s but used models are still much-coveted. Let’s hope for a new version within the next year or two. Please carry over the jump seats.

Ferrari 250 GTO


If you have one of these, you’re pretty damned special (and phenomenally wealthy). It was only produced for a few years in the 1960’s for GT racing and roadgoing models for homologation. The 250 GT SWB was the springboard for the iconic GTO, which is not a bad place to start. With its 3.0 liter V12 engine, characteristic hood, front fender and rear fender vents, the GTO was both purposeful and gorgeous. It is considered one of Ferrari’s most beautiful designs, though it was never penned by any one person. The last one sold for nearly $20 million.

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Lamborghini Miura


The opposite of the sharp and angry Countach, the Miura was all sex-appeal and smooth lines. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful automotive designs of all time, the Miura was built chassis and engine first and then covered in a svelte Bertone design. The monster mid-engine V12 and the two-seater setup essentially created the impetus behind the modern supercar. Only 764 were built between 1966 and 1972. It was recently duplicated in modern concept form in 2006, but the original stands as the true supercar classic. Gotta love the eyelash headlights.

Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4


The new and Thousands of hours of research and development went into this pinnacle of supercardom. Released in 2005, the 8-liter W16, quad turbo, 1001 horsepower engine launched the original to a top speed of 253 mph, setting a new record for a roadgoing production car. If you mash the throttle to the maximum speed, a full tank of gas will be drained in 13 minutes. Crikey. Subsequent nutified versions were even more powerful–the Super Sport topping out at 268 mph, to be specific. Regardless of the version, the Volkswagen Group that brought this car to the world, did right by it and gave us unparalleled refinement in a sports car along with unsurpassed performance. It is over the top, over-priced and utterly desirable.

Porsche 911


Originally released way back in 1963, the Porsche 911 stands as the most recognizable sports car in history. Shamingly fathered by the Volkswagen Beetle and then summarily run over by something heavy, the 911 is the quintessential sports car. Beyond Ferrari, Jaguar and Lamborghini. The essential design hasn’t changed in half a century and the performance never ceases to amaze the automotive public. Rear engined and all business, the 911 has spawned numerous iterations from the Boxster to the insane GT2, GT3, RS and the Cayman, the 911 will outlive all of us.

Volkswagen Golf


Making its debut in the U.S. in the early 70’s, the Golf (then Rabbit) was the first true German hatchback and the rightful heir to the Beetle empire. Thank goodness it was so much better, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be refined, and that’s exactly what VW did throughout the 80s, 90s and especially into the 21st Century. More power, smoother lines, a more refined interior and captivating performance pushed the car upmarket. The current Mark VI versions exemplified in both the GTI and R32 models go to show what this little car that could was truly capable of.

Ferrari Enzo


No ultimate Ferrari list would be complete without the revolutionary Enzo, built from 2002-2004. Named after the founder of the marque, the Enzo brought true Formula One technology to the masses (the 399 people who constitute the limited ownership, that is) via a carbon fiber body, carbon ceramic brakes, hyper-quick F1 transmission and a 6.0 liter V12 engine. It could hit 60 in just over 3 seconds and top out at 220 mph. Sure, more recent Ferraris can outperform this track machine, but the Enzo bled red exclusivity and power never seen before in a vehicle from the Cavallino Rampante. It’s even more insane brother, the FXX, was reserved for the track only and came with its own technical team. We want.

Lamborghini LM002


Born out of a desire to create a military vehicle in the late 80’s, Lamborghini created the blocky and insane LM002 that was essentially the biggest departure the Italian automaker has ever made, hands down. With a huge V12, custom run-flat Pirelli Scorpion tires and a 76 gallon fuel tank, the beast could do 120 mph in the sand and ended up being the SUV of choice for Saudi oil tycoons. It could even be optioned out with a monstrous 7.2 liter powerboat engine, if so desired (yes). The military version never saw the light of day, but that didn’t prevent the LM002 from making its mark as the first real exotic 4×4. We want one, without the fuel bill, of course.

Bentley Blower


Some vintage power here. The year 1929 and the word ‘supercharger’ don’t exactly go together, but that’s exactly what happened with the 240 horsepower Bentley Blower. It became the quintessential British sportscar. Though it was an extremely heavy car due to the massive brakes and chassis, it dominated the 1928 and 1928 Le Mans 24 hours. The Blower even broke a speed record at Brooklands, clocking in at a very impressive 137 mph. Try that without seatbelts and an adequate windshield.

Lancia Stratos


Built by the Italian automaker in the 1970’s the Stratos was the first car built from the ground up strictly for rallying purposes. 492 were built for homologation. The design stood apart, with its duckbill front end and the crescent-shaped windshield that lent fantastic visibility. The 190 hp V6 enabled the roadgoing Stratos to get to 60 in under five seconds, but racing versions were tuned up to 560 hp. The impressive result of this design was three World Rally Championships under Lancia’s belt. The design of the car itself spawned a private automaker to reincarnate the Stratos for the 21st Century. Here’s hoping it gets built, in a case where retro is so right.

Ferrari 288 GTO


Don’t mistake it for a run-of-the-mill 308 GTB. The 1986 288 GTO was created for homolgation but never saw a race due to the cancellation of the Group B series. The 308’s V-8 engine was augmented in the GTO with twin turbos and intercoolers making it a balls-to-the wall homage to the original Ferrari 250 GTO that was positively magnificent in its power, presence and performance. 0-60 in a little more than 4 seconds and the first production car to reach 186 mph, the GTO delivered. Only 272 were made. If you ever get to see one in the flesh, you’ll know how truly special it is.

Bonus: Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione


What’s a list without a bonus? We consider the 8C Competizione a modern icon that will stand the test of time, carrying over the 8C name for the 1930’s version and the Competizione designation from the Alfa 1948 6C Competizione. Propelled by a big Ferrari 4.7 liter V8 generating 444 horsepower, the 8C Competizione has a carbon fiber body, double wishbone suspension and a six-speed sequential manual gearbox. Performance is a quick 4 second sprint to 60 and a top speed of 181 mph. What makes this car a modern icon is not so much the solid performance numbers but the jaw dropping design, with nary a straight hard edge to be found. With a classic Alfa grille and sensuous lines throughout, it’s art imitating car at the highest level. Speed, beauty, exclusivity (only 500 were made) and historic motoring genes are what make the 8C Competizione supremely desirable.

Who Didn’t Make the Cut

We get it. The list isn’t going to satisfy everyone. Hell, the comments on Twitter alone affirmed that. So we’ve added a list of all the other cars that were in contention for the list that either didn’t make the cut or too controversial within our selection. That doesn’t mean they’re any lesser of a vehicle, but simply didn’t work within our pantheon of 50.

  • Porsche 928 S4
  • Bentley Embiricos
  • Jaguar XJ220
  • 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
  • Ford Model T
  • Porsche 550 Spyder
  • 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air
  • Bentley Continental
  • Ferrari Dino
  • Ford F100
  • 1953 Chevrolet Corvette
  • 1960 Ford Bronco
  • 1978 Firebird Trans Am Special Edition
  • Jaguar XJ6
  • Maserati Merak
  • Lotus Esprit Turbo
  • Lamborghini 350GT
  • BMW 507
  • Mercedes McLaren SLR
  • 1959 Cadillac Eldorado
  • Acura Integra
  • Honda Civic
  • Maserati Merak
  • Lamborghini Murcielago
  • Lamborghini Aventador
  • BMW M5
  • Jaguar XK120
  • 1967 Dodge Charger
  • 1959 Pontiac Bonneville
  • Ferrari F50
  • 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

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