As the name suggests, a Grand Tourer isn't about lap times or all-out performance, but is rather focused on carrying two people in extreme style, speed and comfort. Here are ten of the best from the 1960s and 1970s
There’s something particularly special about the GT car formula. Big powerful engine, beautiful looks and the ability to transport two occupants (usually with a token pair of rear seats) in comfort, speed and style. The basic requirements seem easy, but there are just a few cars that really make our list…
The term ‘Icon’ really is brandished around far too much, but in the case of the E-type it’s genuinely justified. The purity of the Series 1 cars developed into more user-friendly grand tourers throughout the years, and although it’s the early cars that really do attract the most attention, there’s as much joy to be had from any well-sorted E-type. Enthusiasts often pay a premium for the roadsters, but it the fixed-head cars that offer the truly gorgeous looks and long-distance cruising ability needed to be a GT.
Price to pay: £35,000-£100,000
No, not the BMW 5-Series rival launched last year, or the Bi-turbo variant from the 1990s (although that’s not a bad GT car itself…), but the original Maserati Ghibli – a true super grand tourer. Powered by a four-cam V8 engine, this gorgeous coupe has been overshadowed by the Ferrari Daytona and Miura, but it claimed a 170mph top speed and offers great value now in comparison…
Price to pay: £70,000-£150,000 (coupe)
Lamborghini Espada (Image: Mark Dixon/Octane)
This wasn’t Lamborghini’s first grand tourer, but it was its last. With the highly-tuned V12 engine up front, the Espada will comfortably seat four people and a reasonable amount of luggage in its rear hatchback compartment. It took its inspiration from the wonderful Marzal concept, retaining its slightly unusual proportions. Despite the extra size and weight, the Espada still drives like a Lamborghini should – just a little more compfortably.
Price to pay: £40,000-£70,000
Iso Grifo (Image: Octane)
Italian styling with American muscle: It was a formula that worked well in many applications, and the Iso Grifo was one of them. Giorgetto Giugiaro looked after styling, while the underpinnings were developed by ex-Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini. This knockout combination was completed with the addition of a 5.4-litre small-block Chevrolet Corvette engine, delivering performance to match the most exotic Italians.
Price to pay: £70,000-£200,000
Ferrari Daytona (Image: Paul Harmer/Octane)
Ferrari’s 365 GTB/4, nicknamed the Daytona, offered a racing-derived V12 engine up front. The quad cam 4.4-litre V12 features six twin-choke Weber carburettors, producing an impressive 352bhp in road-going form. Although a direct rival to the mid-engined Miura (widely considered to the be the world’s first ‘Supercar’) the Daytona was a much easier car to live with, and could still motor on to a claimed top speed of 174mph – giving it the title of ‘fastest production car’ for a time.
Price to pay: £400,000-£600,000
Porsche 928 (Image: Paul Harmer/Octane)
It may have failed its primary objective of replacing the Porsche 911, but the European Car of The Year-winning 928 is truly a superior GT car. Although the later models were faster and better developed, we can’t help but think the super-sleek S1 cars have the most visual impact, and are still great value if you can find one in good shape.
Price to pay: £5000-£15,000
Citroen SM (Image: Drew Gibson/evo)
The SM, like most Citroens of the pre-Peugeot era, was a built with little concern for profit margins or spiraling development costs. A Maserati-built V6 engine, driving the front wheels, provides a suitably special experience, while Citroen’s Hydropneumatic suspension system makes this the most comfortable and capable cars of its generation. The extremely quick (and fully-hydraulic) steering does take some getting used to, but learn to drive the SM smoothly and it’ll reward you with huge levels of speed and stability.
Price to pay: £15,000-£35,000
Aston Martin DBS-V8 (Martyn Goddard/Octane)
Not that we don’t like the six-cylinder DBS, but with the introduction of the ‘Marek’ V8 in 1969 the DBS finally became the car it should have always been. The DBS-V8 was fairly short lived, being replaced by the V8 in 1972, making it surprisingly rare. The hand-built British GT is a rather hefty machine, but that 5340cc fuel-injected 315bhp engine gives it more than enough brawn.
Price to pay: £50,000-£95,000
BMW 3.0 CSi
When BMW introduced the 3.0CS, the new more powerful engine, revised chassis and better brakes transformed this stylish coupe into a true grand tourer. With the introduction of the fuel-injected 200bhp CSi model, BMW really was onto a winner.
Price to pay: £12,000-£26,000
Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC
Based on the R107 Mercedes SL Roadster, this fantastic coupe consists of a slightly extended wheelbase, rear seats as well as a new fixed roof. The smaller-engined 350 might seem like good value, but it’s the thumping V8 of the 450SLC that gets our vote.
Price to pay: £4000-£12,000