June 22, 2024 | Jamie Hayes

The Greatest Cars Of All Time

What's The Greatest Car Of All Time?

There are a lot of things that make a car great: Performance. Style. Success. Legacy. They can't all be supercars. From the Ford Taurus to the 300SL Gullwing, these are the greatest cars of all time.


1997 Acura Integra Type-R

Hand-ported heads, 8,000-rpm redline, and the best-handling front-drive chassis ever. It's still the ultimate sport compact.

Close Up Photo of 1997 Acura Integra Type R WhiteJacob Frey 4A, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1973 Lancia Stratos

The Lancia Stratos looked like a toy version of a sports car—but that was a real Ferrari V6 under the hood, and it powered the unbelievably unique car to three straight World Rally Championships.

1973 Lancia Stratos Marlboro PrototypeUnknown Author, Wikimedia Commons

1968 Datsun 510

The affordable Japanese Datsun 510 might have looked square—both figuratively and literally—but it has beaten many a Porsche in SCCA races, and it was half the price of the comparable BMW 2002.

Close Up Photo of Green 1968 Datsun 510sv1ambo, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII

Once the Evo first came to North America in 2003 with the VIII, it immediately became the standard for performance in the rally car market—at a price that the common man could afford.

Close Up Photo of 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIIIsv1ambo, Flickr

1963 Jeep Wagoneer

The 1965 Jeep Wagoneer invented the entire family SUV category—and back then, 4x4 Jeep toughness came standard.

Close Up Photo of Blue 1963 Jeep Wagoneer on the streetJOHN LLOYD, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo

Nissan's reputation in the sports car market faded considerably during the 1980s—before they dropped the 300-horsepower 300ZX Twin Turbo in 1990 like an atom bomb. Then they were right back on top.

Close Up Photo of 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin TurboDennis Elzinga, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

The 2007 S65 AMG may look like your standard luxury sedan—but whoever's behind the wheel knows that it's packing a 604-horsepower turbocharged V12 under the hood. It's something special.

Close Up Photo of Silver 2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMGnakhon100, Flickr

1988 BMW M5

The 1988 BMW M5 was the first time a luxury car company made a Motorsport Division version of a sedan. Although its 3.5 liter, 256-hp engine wouldn't raise eyebrows today, in 1988 it was the birth of a legend.

Close Up Photo of Red 1988 BMW M5 parked on grassCharles01, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

1991 Mercedes-Benz 500E/E500

The reason that the bar for high-performance luxury sedans is so high today is because of the arms race in the early 90s between the BMW M5 and Mercedes's 322-hp E500.

Mercedes enlisted the help of Porsche to try and top their rivals, and the result is one of the best cars ever made.

Close Up Photo of 1991 Mercedes-Benz E 500Matti Blume, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z

Probably the single-most underappreciated muscle car ever built, the 1985 Camaro IROC-Z was the peak of 1980s muscle style, performance, and attitude.

Close Up Photo of 1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-ZSicnag, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1939 Lincoln Continental

Edsel Ford, the wealthy son of Henry Ford himself, wanted an American-made "personal luxury" car. The only problem was, it didn't exist yet. The result was the V12-powered 1939 Lincoln continental. 

The American automotive industry has been chasing the original Lincoln Continental ever since.

Close Up Photo of Blue 1939 Lincoln Continental CabrioletGreg Gjerdingen, USA, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1968 Toyota Corolla

The first Corollas hit the road in Japan in 1966, and by 1968 they were already shipping their reliable, affordable compacts in America. 

To say it was a hit would be an understatement. It became the best selling car ever.

 Close Up Photo of White 1968 Toyota Corollaharry_nl, Flickr

1951 Ford Country Squire

The Woody. There's never been a more iconic family vehicle. It's what every minivan wishes it could be. The wood isn't real, but it looks so good.

1951 Ford Country Squire on a parking lotGreg Gjerdingen, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1930 Cadillac V-16

Cadillac means "prestige" because of the V-16. For 11 years, it quite simply set the standard that all other luxury vehicles could only follow.

In the decade that Cadillac built these beasts, barely 4,000 ever rolled off the assembly line, each one a work of art.

Close Up Photo of 1930 Cadillac V-16 Dual Cowl Sports Phaetonsv1ambo, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1979 Mazda RX-7

The sports car was down for the count by the late 1970s—until a little Japanese company called Mazda came around with a simple, affordable, and most importantly, extremely fun two-seater called the RX-7.

Mazda saved the sports car with the RX-7—and it wasn't the only time they'd do it.

Green 1979 Mazda RX-7 displayed on exhibitionRené, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

2003 Bentley Continental GT

Some fans were maybe concerned that their beloved Bentley's might not be the same after Volkswagen purchased them in the late 90s.

The 2003 Bentley Continental GT, packing VW's monster turbocharged W12, proved the brand was in very good hands.

2003 Silver Bentley Continental on a parking lotDetectandpreserve, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

1950 Volkswagen Type 2

The best combination of style and function in the history of the automotive industry, the VW Microbus was cheap, practical, beautiful, and fun. It was an immediate hit in 1950, and it's remained popular ever since.

Blue 1950 Volkswagen Type 2 parked on grassSantosh Puthran, Flickr

2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

GM was very nearly bankrupt in 2009, but their financial problems didn't stop them from unveiling the sixth-generation Corvette ZR1.

With a 638-hp LS9 V8, the 2009 ZR1 is quite simply the best Corvette ever built.

Close Up Photo of 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1Bull-Doser, Wikimedia Commons

1986 Ford Taurus

The 1986 Ford Taurus might not look like much, but don't underestimate it. Ford wouldn't be hear today had they not hit the nail on the head with the original Ford Taurus, a modern, front-drive sedan that proved Ford could still compete with the Camries and Accords on the road.

A 1986 Ford Taurus on display at the Henry Ford MuseumMichael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

1936 Cord 810/812

The Cord 810 and 812 raised the standard for American luxury vehicles. 

Technical innovations like front-wheel drive and independent suspension, combined with the style of its iconic coffin nose, hidden headlamps, and sleek exterior are why the 810 and 812 are still some of the greatest cars ever built.

White 1936 Cord 810 displayed on exhibitionBuch-t, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

1953 Ford F-100

Modern truck culture was born with the 1953 Ford F-100. It was tough and practical and it looked absolutely amazing, the original Ford F-100 was the first truck to gather an enthusiast following—and they're still going strong today.

Pastel green vintage 1953 Ford F-100 V8 on a parking lotJohann Jaritz, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

1946 MG TC

American servicemen who served in WWII fell in love with the sporty MGs they drove while they were over there. When the fighting stopped, MG started exporting the iconic TC to America in 1946, starting the British sports car invasion across the Atlantic.

Black 1946 MG TC parked on grassGraham Robertson, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1968 Jaguar XJ6

The British car industry wasn't exactly setting the automotive industry ablaze through the 70s and 80s—but at least the Brits had the XJ6 to hang their hat on.

Its luxurious styling was so perfect, Jaguar pretty much didn't change the design for 41 years.

1968 Jaguar XJ6 Series parked in front of buildingSteven Leussink, Wikimedia Commons

1955 Chevrolet Corvette V8

The Chevrolet Corvette turned heads from the moment it was unveiled in 1953—but it wasn't until Chevy introduced its small-block V8 engine two years later when it really arrived.

White 1955 Chevrolet Corvette V8 on a parking lotSicnag, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1964 Ford GT40

Ford will always be a legendary name, but nobody thought they could ever—or would ever—compete with the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, and Porsche on the racetrack. 

Carroll Shelby and his GT40—winner of the 24 hours of Le Mans 1966 to 1969 and one of the most beautiful cars ever made—changed that.

Yellow 1964 Ford GT40 at Sepang Intl. Circuit, MalaysiaAero777, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

1948 Jaguar XK120

The Bugatti Veyron before the Bugatti Veyron, the low and sleek XK120's 3.4 liter straight six engine could hit 120 mph, making it the fastest car you could buy at the time of its release.

Close Up Photo of Black 1948 Jaguar XK 120 on a parking lotGeorg Sander, Flickr

1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

Rolls-Royce long claimed that they built "the best car in the world"—and we have the Silver Ghost to thank. That's exactly what the prestigious Autocar called the Silver Ghost on 1906, and it remained so for the 20 years it was in production. Owners included T.E. Lawrence, Woodrow Wilson, and Vladimir Lenin.

Close Up Photo of 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver GhostGeorg Sander, Flickr

2010 Porsche Panamera

Say what you want about the Panamera's stretched out chassis, but under the hood, it's maybe the most high-performance four-door ever built, and only Porsche could built it.

Black 2010 Porsche Panamera on a parking lotnakhon100, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1970 Range Rover

The Land Rover was a workhorse icon for decades before the brand introduced the original Range Rover in 1970. Keeping the utility of the original, the Range Rover invented the luxury SUV—and nothing has dethroned it since.

 Green 1970 Land Rover Range RoverVauxford, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

1975 Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS

If there was ever a time when the name Ferrari lost some of its lustre, it was the 1970s. The iconic brand needed to do something new to bring them back to glory. The midengine, V8 308s were exactly what they needed.

It was a smash hit, and Ferrari ended up back on top.

1975 Ferrari 308 GTS/GTB  parked on grassSG2012, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1941 Jeep MB

600,000 U.S. Army Truck, 1⁄4‑ton, 4×4, Command Reconnaissance vehicles made up a quarter of the US's total vehicles in WWII—but most people just called them Willys Jeeps, or just Jeeps.

After the war ended, the 4x4 icon was adapted for civilian use, the origin of 4x4 vehicles for personal use in America.

Close Up Photo of 1941 Jeep MB parked on grassGreg Gjerdingen, USA, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1955 Chrysler 300

The epitome of style, design, and power, the 1955 Chrysler 300—that's 300 for it's 300-hp V8 engine—dominated the NASCAR track for years, and became the archetype that an entire world of American muscle cars would be based on.

Red 1955 Chrysler 300 displayed on exhibitionGreg Gjerdingen, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1934 Chrysler Airflow

Aerodynamics were not of great concern for early car manufacturers. Then came the 1934 Chrysler Airflow. Its aerodynamic unibody design became the template for virtually all cars built today—but today's cars don't look nearly this good.

Silver 1934 Chrysler Airflow displayed on exhibitionTony Hisgett, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1963 Aston Martin DB5

James Bond has driven a lot of cars. Nothing will top the original. Maybe the most famous car of all time, it's definitely one of the most beautiful.

Silver 1963 Aston Martin DB5 parked on the streetBernard Spragg, Wikimedia Commons

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster

The 540K wasn't just the most beautiful car in the world at the time of its release—it was also one of the most powerful, thanks to it's ridiculous supercharged straight-8.

Close Up Photo of 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K RoadsterMatti Blume, Wikimedia Commons

1984 Chrysler Minivans

Chrysler was facing bankruptcy when it came up with new idea: A small, affordable van that felt more like a car. Based off it's K-car chassis, they released the first Chrysler minivans in 1984—and changed the family car market forever.

When Chrysler was up against bankruptcy, it took some K-Car pieces, remodeled them into the minivan and reinvented family transportation. You grew up in this.

Close Up Photo of 1984 Plymouth Voyager minivanJoe Ross, Flickr

1968 BMW 2002

Before the BMW 2002, there was only so much you could expect out of a simple sedan. Then came the BMW 2002 that was actually...fun to drive? What a concept. 

Thank you for your service, BMW.

Close Up Photo of yellow 1968 BMW 2002Wajira Somaratne, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

1976 Porsche 930

When Porsche made a turbocharged version of their iconic 911, the world was never the same. It was disgustingly fast—but you had to know what you were doing to get the most out of that turbo.

A 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo in fairly unusual Emerald Green MetallicMr.choppers, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

2011 Nissan Leaf

Despite the technology existing for decades, not a single major automotive manufacturer mass-produced an all-electric vehicle until Nissan did it with the 2011 Leaf, proving it could be done.

Then it was off to the races.

Black 2011 Nissan Leaf on a parking lotU.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Wikimedia Commons

2005 Bugatti Veyron

1,001-hp. 8.0-liter. Quad turbo W16. All-wheel-drive. Top speed: 253.52. And that's not even the Super Sports version.

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 2005 Displayed on ExhibitionFalcon® Photography, Flickr

1977 Lotus Esprit

The Lotus Esprit's midengine design and angular style was so perfect that they didn't need to change it once for 27 years. Oh, and James Bond's Esprit could turn into a submarine.

White 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 on a parking lotAndrew Bone, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1962 Shelby Cobra 260 and 289

Before Caroll Shelby got his hands on it, the AC Ace was a boring English sports car barely worth its stripes. Then came Shelby with a small-block Ford V8, and a racing legend was born.

Blue 1962 Shelby Cobra 260 displayed on exhibitionSicnag, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1965 Shelby Cobra 427

As if his first Cobra wasn't enough, Shelby topped himself with his own coil-sprung chassis built to fit the enormous medium-block Ford 427 V8. Even better, it's still in production today!

Close Up Photo of 1965 Shelby Cobra 427Pokemonprime, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

1928 Duesenberg Model J

If you've ever said, "Now that's a doozy!" it's because of the 1928 Duesenberg Model J, the first supercar.

Blue Duesenberg Model J parked on grassRex Gray, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL "Gullwing"

The peak of engineering at the time with its tubular frame, steel and aluminum construction, and direct-injection straight 6. The greatest Mercedes ever built.

Close Up Photo of A Black Mercedes-Benz 300SLMrWalkr, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

1932 Ford V8

The first-time ever a performance car was built at an affordable price, and with style taken straight from the Duesenberg, the Ford V8 maybe the single most iconic and important car in American automotive culture.

Blue 1932 Ford V8 on a parking lotGPS 56, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons


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