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Most beautiful classic cars: Top 10

Want to see some of the most beautiful cars ever made? Here are ten of our favourite classics

Top speed, acceleration and power outputs are all easy quantifiable statistics. Compare the numbers and arrange in ascending order. Things start to get a little bit more complicated when you start to make subjective comparisons, such as ride, handling feel and engine sounds, but most people tend to agree on many of these aspects. When it comes to the task of listing the ten most beautiful cars ever made? That's another story! 
Amazingly futuristic concept cars and edgy designs can look great initially but they may not age as well as a classically styled one. There are others that become more desirable over the years as they become indelibly linked to our consciousness through the media. Our top ten list therefore lists the cars that we believe have stood the test of time and remained desirable well after that first unveiling. There will undoubtedly be some cars omitted that you may feel are worthy of a top ten mention... Let us know in the comments!
Mercedes-Benz 300SL

A technical tour-de-force encased in a beautifully sculpted body, the 300SL was the harbinger of today’s supercars. The gullwing doors were just the start, mechanical fuel injection and an advanced aluminium overhead cam engine made it the fastest production car of its day. Up to 160mph was possible from the 210bhp beauty. The later convertibles had uprated rear suspension to tame twitchy on-the-limit handling, but at today’s prices it’s probably best to enjoy your 300SL at more pedestrian speeds and marvel at its magnificent lines.

>Take a look at the Mercedes 300SL Gullwings for sale in the classifieds

Jaguar E-type
Jaguar is not in the business of making ugly cars, but in 1961 when the E-type was launched, it surpassed the company's lofty standards of automotive design. Enzo Ferrari, a man responsible for some stunning cars himself, stated that he had never seen a more beautiful car. The early E-Types are perhaps the best of the breed as later face lifted models lost some of the design purity. The E-type's performance may easily be eclipsed by more modern machinery but few current cars are half as visually desirable. Perhaps something else to consider is the recent trend of 'resto mod' E-types, such as the exquisite Eagle Speedster GT, which attempts to create the ultimate incarnation.

>Take a look at classic Jaguar E-types for sale in the classifieds

Lamborghini Miura

Oft referred to as the most beautiful car ever, the Miura tends to make most automotive top ten lists when it comes to looks. Designed by Marcello Gandini, the Miura has the sort of low curvy lines that makes you stop and stare at it as it drives by. Admittedly that would be a rare thing nowadays as only 764 were built and sadly most spend their time in private collections. Not just a pretty face, the 360bhp Miura was also the world’s fastest production car at its launch, however if you want to test its top speed, stick to the later models with revised front spoilers as they reduced the tendency for some scary front end lift. The one-off Spider model (pictured above) is perhaps the prettiest of all.

>Take a look at Lamborghini Miuras for sale in the classifieds

Blower Bentley

The last Bentley to come out of the factory before its amalgamation with Rolls-Royce, the 4.5 Litre released in 1927 was a remarkable automobile. In those days, most auto manufacturers would produce a rolling chassis and coachbuilders then built bespoke bodies for them. Of them all, the open topped four-seater Blower Bentleys are the ones that are the most beautiful, with their massive bonnets and protruding superchargers they evoke a real sense of speed and style. Producing up to 240bhp, the limited run of 55 supercharged Bentleys matched their evocative looks with serious pace too.

>Take a look at classic pre-war Bentleys for sale in the classifieds

Toyota 2000GT
Making its international debut in James Bond’s You Only Live Twice, the hardtop only 2000GT was modified into a convertible at the last minute to accommodate Sean Connery’s lanky frame. Sadly no further open topped variants were produced, however the standard coupe is a fantastic looking thing in its own right, and is one of Japan’s first true sportscars. While the 150bhp output may not seem like much today, the car's light weight and sharp handling made it a spirited performer. Its curvaceously swoopy lines and lovingly crafted interior have stood the test of time. The 2000GT still turns heads today, and is a rare (and very expensive) beast too, with just over 350 units made.
Immortalised in numerous Bond films, the DB5 is arguably one of the best looking and most desirable Aston Martins ever made. Even without rotating number plates and machine guns, its 4.0-litre straight-six engine had enough fire power to top 145mph. A little over 1000 cars were manufactured with the convertible and Vantage versions being the rarest and most valuable today. Thanks to their extreme popularity most DB5s are now valued at stratospheric prices, meaning that most of us will have to make do with the much more affordable Corgi toy car instead of the real thing. 

>Take a look at Aston Martin DB5s for sale in the classifieds

Austin-Healey 3000

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if your eyes happen to be beholding an Austin-Healey 3000 with its two tone paint job and flowing lines, you are definitely witnessing pure automotive beauty. A quintessentially British sports car with its torquey big six-cylinder engine and stunning looks, made it a very popular open topped sportster in its day. Despite remaining very popular to this day, prices are still within the reach of mortals. There can be few better ways to enjoy a summer day than behind the wheel of a big Healey.

>Take a look at classic Austin-Healey 3000s for sale in the classifieds
Dodge Charger

Car design can in many cases be a reflection of the values and desires of the nation that built it. If you had never seen a Dodge Charger before then it wouldn't take long to guess that its enormous V8 engine and unashamedly massive proportions could only have come from America. Perhaps not traditionally beautiful, it still possesses a desirability and rightness to its lines that hasn’t diminished with time. The one most people remember is the orange Charger which accrued a fair number of air miles in The Dukes of Hazzard TV series. It also attempted to get airborne a number of times in the Fast and Furious movies many decades later. Such enduring popularity has ensured that the brutish charms of the original Charger have made it one of the most collectible muscle cars today.
Ferrari 250 California

The 250 GT SWB California is one of those rare cars that looks achingly desirable from every angle in any light. Its perfectly judged proportions accompanied by a masterpiece of an engine have ensured that it is also one of the most valuable cars on the planet. With only 56 cars built, supply is limited. Nevertheless, it is quite possibly the most beautiful Ferrari ever made, with the added bonus of a fantastic exhaust note.
Porsche 911S 2.4
The 911 has been with us for over half a century now and while it has gone through countless updates and modifications the trademark slopping roofline and distinctive round headlights (bar a small hiccup with the late '90s 996 models) have remained a core component of its design. While the newer models are no doubt more accomplished in pure performance terms, their wings, spoilers and air vents can mask the purity of that original design. That is why cars like the late 1960s 2.4S have become collectors’ favourites, their timeless design allied with that unique air-cooled driving experience mark them out as special cars indeed. 

Take a look at classic Porche 911s for sale in the classifieds
Words: John Tallodi

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