1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

24 Most Beautiful Automobiles to Grace the Road

The automobile has only been around for a short time in human history. Only a handful of generations have experienced it. Despite that, there’s been a lot of cars that are so beautiful they’re considered rolling art.

We’ve included cars from all around the world, but let’s be honest, we could easily have filled this entire article with just Italian and British cars. You’ll probably also notice that many of these cars are old, and there’s a reason for that. Back in the good old days, car designers would draw the car on a piece of paper without using wind tunnels, and they designed the cars to be aesthetically pleasing. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 24 of the most beautiful cars from around the world.

1961 Jaguar XKE E-Type

1961 Jaguar E-Type
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Ferrari XKE E-Type was allegedly described by Enzo Ferrari as the most beautiful car ever made. Looking at the E-Type, it’s hard to disagree. The E-Type was produced from 1961 to 1975, spanning three generations in coupe and convertible form.

The Series 1 cars are the most sought-after, thanks to their clean design. Series 1 cars were powered by a 3.8-liter straight-six engine, followed by a 4.2-liter straight-six, and finally a 5.3-liter V12 in the Series 3 cars.

1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Italian coachbuilder Zagato has achieved legendary status among car enthusiasts. For decades, they’ve restyled good-looking cars into what can only be considered automotive perfection. The Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato is one of their stylish masterpieces.

Combining classy British design with Italian eccentricity works like a charm. The DB4 Zagato’s aesthetics are timeless and make the car highly desirable.

1963 Corvette Stingray

1963 Chevrolet Corvette C2 Stingray
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

While old Corvettes are no match for European sports cars when it comes to handling, they were just as aesthetically pleasing. The split-window model from 1963 is the best-looking ‘Vette ever.

The C2 Corvette was introduced in 1963, the only time the coupe was delivered with the split rear window. It was dropped the following year, which made the ’63 Stingray coupe one of the most sought-after Corvettes.

1967 Toyota 2000GT

1967 Toyota 2000GT
Image Credit: Mecum Auctions.

The Toyota 2000GT may just be the most beautiful Japanese car ever made. It even holds its own against some of Europe’s finest. The 2000GT was a convertible in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice. They just chopped the roof off so Sean Connery could fit.

The 2000GT featured pop-up headlights, a nicely curved body, and a long hood. In some ways, it was like a Japanese E-Type. Under the hood, it had a 2.0-liter straight-six with 150 horsepower and a glorious, raspy soundtrack. Unfortunately, Toyota only built 337 cars, so it’s now the most expensive Japanese car money can buy.

1959 Ferrari 250 GTO Series I

1959 Ferrari 250 GTO
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Until recently, the Ferrari 250 GTO held the record for the most expensive car sold at auction. Its stunning looks, rarity, and performance have made it very popular among collectors.

Ferrari built the 250 GTO to go racing, but they only made 36 cars. The “250” in its name denotes the displacement in cubic centimeters of each of its cylinders, while “GTO” stands for Gran Turismo Omologato. That’s Italian for “Grand Touring Homologated.”

1956 Aston Martin DBR1

1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Roadster
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Aston Martin DBR1 is one beautiful race car. Built to conquer Le Mans, it’s one of only three cars from the ’50s to win the World Sports Car Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours in the same year.

The DBR1’s curves and bulges are perfectly shaped and sized, and lacking a roof made it look even more purpose-built. We’re not the only ones who think this is a fantastic machine, as someone was willing to fork out $22.5 million for a DBR1 at an RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey.

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Zagato didn’t just mold the DB4 mentioned above into something special; they also created this excellent Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. Essentially, they got their hands on an Aston Martin Vanquish, then stretched it and redesigned the rear end to become a two-door station wagon.

That, in itself, isn’t anything new. In fact, it has a name – Shooting Brake. There aren’t many in existence, and the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is perhaps the most beautiful of them all.

1967 Shelby Cobra 427

1967 Shelby Cobra 427
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Should the Shelby Cobra be classified as a British or American car? The British AC Cobra was, after all, the inspiration and donor car for the first models. However, Shelby designed the beefier Mark III models in cooperation with Ford in Detroit.

The classic Shelby Cobra is very masculine, yet it has swooping curves. It’s as raw and minimalistic as a modern track day special, and the lightweight body is combined with a 427 V8 that sends 360 horses to the rear wheels. This car is automotive art!

Lamborghini Miura SV

Lamborghini Miura SV
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Marcello Gandini designed the Miura when he was working for Bertone, and his work has inspired every mid-engined supercar since then. To this day, few cars can match its design.

There were many versions of the V12-powered supercar over the following years, but the last variant, the SV, is arguably the best-looking one. Here, the ‘eyelashes’ on the headlights were gone, and the rear wheel arches swelled up in size, making it even more intimidating.

2013 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante

2013 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Touring was inspired by the C52 Disco Volante from the 1950s when they sculpted the 2013 Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. It was based on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, which was already one of the best-looking modern-day cars and was made available to a select group of exclusive customers.

The Disco Volante packed a serious punch thanks to its Ferrari-derived V8 engine, and its sound on full chat was a symphony to gearheads. The Disco Volante truly is one of the most impressive automotive masterpieces of the 21st century.

1970 Citroën SM

1970 Citroën SM
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Citroën SM came packed with futuristic features, such as variable power-steering assistance and rain-sensitive wipers. This was in 1970! Its alien technology and beautiful design featuring a Kamm-style rear end made it a fan favorite.

Since Citroën bought Maserati two years prior, installing a Maserati V6 under the SM’s hood made perfect sense. That would prove to be a stroke of genius, as it made the SM an excellent cruiser.

2006 Ferrari P4/5 By Pininfarina

2006 Ferrari P4/5 By Pininfarina
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Ferrari allows some of its most loyal (and affluent) customers to order one-off specials. In this case, that customer was James Glickenhaus.

Glickenhaus wanted something extraordinary, so the stunning P4/5 was based on the Enzo and styled to resemble Ferrari’s P race cars from the 1960s. The end result was so unique that Ferrari gave it an official badge.

Duesenberg Model J

Duesenberg Model J
Image Credit: Rex Gray/WikiCommons.

The Duesenberg Model J was sold between 1928 and 1937 and was celebrated as one of the world’s most luxurious and powerful cars. The Model J rivaled the finest automobiles from luxury carmakers such as Rolls-Royce and Hispano-Suiza.

Under the hood, the Model J had a seven-liter straight-eight engine that produced an awe-inspiring 400 horsepower in the SSJ spec – the supercharged short wheelbase version.

Maserati A6 GCS

Maserati A6 GCS
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The A6 GCS is one of the most beautiful Maseratis of all time, which really says a lot. Only two of the four cars are still around today. Interestingly, all four cars were ordered by the same customer.

Pininfarina designed the A6 GCS, and it featured a sleek, muscular look, a stretched-out hood, double side-exit exhausts, and a large grille where the Maserati trident was on display.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Image Credit: WikiCommmons.

The Mercedes-Benz 300SL was one of very few cars from the 1950s that looked as good as the Maserati A6 GCS. It came about thanks to luxury car importer Max Hoffman. He recognized his customers’ wants and convinced Mercedes to produce the road-going 300SL.

It was a road racer in the most literal sense, developed from the W194 race car. The gorgeously sculpted body with its streamlined design and iconic gullwing doors means it’s still the best-looking SL Benz.

Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale

Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Alfa Romeo only built 18 units of the Tipo 33 Stradale, and it’s one of the most stunningly beautiful Alfas we’ve ever seen. The Tipo 33 Stradale weighed in at a mere 1,543 lbs, and with a 225 horsepower engine, it offered racecar-like performance on the road.

The curvy body, low front, large headlights, and butterfly doors meant it would never be able to sneak in anywhere unnoticed, and that’s also why it’s one of our favorite Italian cars.

1964 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada

1964 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Giotto Bizzarrini was an ex-Ferrari chief engineer who decided to venture out independently. He designed the Strada in 1963, and it was launched in 1964. The 5300 GT Strada borrowed some ideas from the Iso Grifo, another car Bizzarrini designed, and the Iso Rivolta 300’s welded unibody platform.

No one would’ve guessed that an established auto manufacturer didn’t build the 5300 GT Strada, as it looked just as good, if not better, than the competition. It also provided an excellent driving experience thanks to its 365 horsepower Chevy V8.

1956 BMW 507

1956 BMW 507
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The BMW 507 was the car that nearly bankrupted the German automaker. Partly because of its handcrafted aluminum body, which made the sports car so expensive that it became impossible to find any buyers.

In the end, only around 250 BMW 507s found a home after 14 years of production. It’s a shame because the V8-powered Bimmer is one of the most beautiful cars ever emerging from Bavaria.

Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic

Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic is the automotive definition of Art Deco. Bugatti only built four cars in the late 1930s; one was lost during World War II.

The prototype’s body was made from an alloy called Elektron. It was lightweight but flammable, so it couldn’t be welded. Because of that, the car was given a dorsal fin that was riveted, giving the car a unique style. The production models were actually made from aluminum, but Bugatti decided to keep the fin and its rivets since they were a part of the car’s identity.

1955 Citroën DS

1955 Citroën DS
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Citroën DS debuted at the 1955 Paris Motor Show, and the French carmaker had 743 orders within 15 minutes and a rather ridiculous 12,000 orders by the time the first day ended.

In true Citroën fashion, the DS was beautifully styled, and it packed more innovative tech than you could shake a stick at, such as the hydropneumatic suspension. The DS was such a hit among car buyers that it remained in production for 20 years.

1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Coupe

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster
Image Credit: Mad4Wheels.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 Jonckheere Coupe started as a Hooper-bodied cabriolet in 1925. Back then, coachbuilding was popular, and in 1934, it was re-bodied by Jonckheere, a Belgian coachbuilder.

This car is massive, yet the proportions are oh-so-right, and we love the circular doors that provide access to the cabin. At some point, the Phantom 1 Jonckheere Coupe moved across the pond and is now found in the Petersen Museum in California.

1959 Cadillac Eldorado

1959 Cadillac Eldorado
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The fourth-generation Cadillac Eldorado is one of the most iconic and flashy cars ever made. It may not be made of gold like the lost city, but it certainly used to symbolize wealth and success.

The large fins were peak automotive Americana back in 1959 and served as a home to the now-iconic rocket taillights. It’s challenging to think of a more suitable car to describe the American dream.

1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster was the most glamorous version of Mercedes’ supercharged beast. The opulent German car emerged just before things took a turn for the worse in Europe, and the country’s car industry took a few years to return to its old form.

The gorgeous two-seater had a straight-eight engine under the hood, and if that wasn’t enough, a driver-operated supercharger provided some extra juice when needed. Unlike many other luxury cars of this era, the bodywork wasn’t by a coachbuilder. Instead, Mercedes had its own in-house team of craftsmen to handle any bespoke work.

1954 Jaguar XK120

1954 Jaguar XK120
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

Jaguar unveiled a stylish 2-seat roadster at the 1948 London Motor Show. It was initially meant to showcase the British manufacturer’s new six-cylinder XK engine. The show going public liked it so much that Jaguar saw no other option than immediately putting it into production.

That car was, of course, the XK120 – named after its engine and the car’s top speed in miles per hour. It became available as a roadster, fixed- and drop-head coupe versions, and is considered the E-Type’s great-grandfather.

Andre Nalin

Author: Andre Nalin

Title: Writer

Bio:

Andre has worked as a writer and editor for multiple car and motorcycle publications over the last decade, but he has reverted to freelancing these days. He has accumulated a ton of seat time during his ridiculous road trips in highly unsuitable vehicles, and he’s built magazine-featured cars. He prefers it when his bikes and cars are fast and loud, but if he had to pick one, he’d go with loud.

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