Vintage cars are full of character and ageless beauty, but they often get overlooked by many contemporary auto enthusiasts. In a world that is obsessed with the latest supercars and electric vehicles, it’s time to pay homage to the great cars of the past. Here are five of history’s most iconic classic cars.
1961 Jaguar E-Type
Any list of the best classic cars is incomplete without mention of the Jaguar E-Type. Enzo Ferrari once called this the most beautiful car in the world, and it is easy to see why. Beneath a sleek, glossy exterior, the E-Type was equipped with a triple carbureted I6 engine that gave it a top speed of 241 kph (150 mph). Such speed was unheard of at the time and, when combined with the look of the car, secured the E-Type’s legacy as one of the world’s greatest classic cars.
1971 Ford Thunderbird
Ford has made many iconic cars throughout its long history, but the Thunderbird is certainly among the manufacturer’s most recognizable vehicles. With its oversized body and upscale interior, the Thunderbird was an instant hit with drivers. Throughout its production years, it outsold other popular vehicles of the time like the Oldsmobile Tornado and Buick Riviera. With its undeniable charm and stellar vintage looks, the Thunderbird continues to be a favorite among classic car collectors.
1949 Rolls-Royce Dawn Drophead
The Dawn Drophead is the quintessential Rolls-Royce. After the devastation of WWII, the Dawn Drophead was designed to remind people of what it felt like to ride in a luxurious and comfortable vehicle. It achieved its goal, to a point. The Dawn Drophead looked good, but it was not the best performer on the road. The car’s I6 engine only produced 128 horsepower, so it wasn’t as fast as many other cars of the time. It also lacked seat belts and the subtle labeling on the buttons was not very user-friendly. Yet, despite its quirks, the Dawn Drophead was a popular status symbol in its day and was crucial to Rolls-Royce’s survival in the early postwar era.
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Few vintage cars are as globally renowned as the Ferrari 250 GTO. When this car was unveiled in the early 1960s, it was in a unique league of its own due to a sleek, futuristic design and big price tag. Ferrari engineers nicknamed the 250 GTO “Il Mostro”, meaning “The Monster”. It lived up to that name with its bold looks and V12 engine that generated 296 horsepower. With only 36 models produced, the 250 GTO is one of the rarest Ferraris and highly prized by vintage collectors. It is also one of the most expensive classic cars in the world.
1938 Volkswagen Beetle
Is there any car more recognizable than a VW Bug? Probably not. When it was first released to the public in 1938, drivers found the Beetle’s lightweight frame hard to resist. It offered an easier and more enjoyable ride than most other cars at the time, though its air cooled flat-four engine only generated 25 horsepower and a top speed of 100 kph (62 mph). That made the car perfect for cruising the newly constructed Autobahn, and engines were upgraded after it hit global markets in the 1950s. You can still catch classic Beetles cruising the roadways, often in near perfect condition. With millions of Beetles sold worldwide throughout its 65-year production run, and a style that has lasted through the ages, the VW Beetle is undoubtedly one of the most iconic classic cars to ever hit the streets.