25 Iconic Cars for Style Aficionados’ Appreciation, Part 1

There are many beautiful and stylish cars that would be appreciated by style enthusiasts, but included on this list are only those that earned iconic status or were in some way influential.

1. Citroen DS

From the moment DS was unveiled at Paris Motor Show in 1955 it caused a stir among general public with it’s radical design and unconventional never-before-seen features. Editors of Classic & Sports Car magazine named Citroen DS “Most Beautiful Car.”

“The Citroën is a benchmark design, but we were still astonished that it came out on top when you look at the sexiness – and values – of some of its rivals” – James Elliott, editor of Classic & Sports Car.

2. Jaguar E-Type

Jaguar E-Type was the British sports car icon of the 60s. It was positioned at the top of the Daily Telegraph’s “100 most beautiful cars” list.

“The most beautiful car ever made.” – Enzo Ferrari

3. Aston Martin DB4/DB5

DB4 is responsible for establishing Aston Martin’s reputation. Unique Italian design and quality English construction made it a sensation of 1958 London Motor Show.

DB5 is a synonym for James Bond car appearing first in Goldfinger. Released in 1963, DB5 was evolved version of DB4 and most popular in DB series.

„Men like me don’t own vehicles like that. To paraphrase Jeremy Clarkson, if this car were a woman she would be out of my league.“ – Jim White, The Telegraph

4. Lotus Esprit

Italian ‘concept car’ design based on Lotus Europa chassis made for one of the most beautiful profiles of a car ever. Stunning looks secured many movie appearances, most notably in James Bond films. Built between 1976 and 2004.

„When Sean Connery was Bond he had an Aston Martin, when Roger Moore took over he got a Lotus, and that seemed somehow appropriate.“ Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear

5. Ford Mustang

1965 Mustang was Ford’s most successful launch in modern history and originator of  ‘pony cars.’ Immortalized trough appearances in many movies starting with Goldfinger.

“I told the team that I wanted the car to appeal to women, but I wanted men to desire it, too.” – Joe Oros, Design Director

6. BMW New Class

Neue Classe is line of cars that revolutionized the definition of BMW. Beginning with production of a Sedan 1500 in 1962 and ending in 1976 with production of last cars of legendary 2002 Coupe.

“Its body is a work of precision, its construction a genuine masterpiece.” – A car magazine’s road tester

7. Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gull-Wing

Introduced in 1954 it was the fastest production car at the time. With cool distinctive gull wing doors it was the hottest car of the late 50s.

“The 300 SL is the ultimate in an all-around sports car. It combines more desirable features in one streamlined package than we ever imagined or hoped would be possible”
– Road & Track Editors

8. Mercedes Benz W113 SL Pagoda

Probably the most elegant Benz of them all the „Pagoda“ was made from 1963 until 1971. It had a tough act to follow (300SL Gullwing) but it immediately appealed to high-class Americans who bought almost half of the cars produced.

„That high, sleek roof has all the elegance of Jackie O’s casually tied headscarf or Sophia Loren’s loosely draped shawl.“ Jason Barlow, GQ

9. Porsche 356 Speedster

It was the first Porsche and true parent of legendary 911. It was much faster and cooler cousin of Volkswagen Beetle. James Dean had one.

„More than 60 years later, the Porsche 356 design holds it’s own against almost every car built before and since.“ – Ian Merritt, automotive journalist

10. Porsche 911

A classic sports car if there is one. Introduced in 1963, the 911 lived trough many changes and modifications but it is still marching strong under the same name. The original was built until 1989.

”I’ve always sold the Porsche as the kind of vehicle you can enter into a grand prix one day and drive your kid to kindergarten in the next,” – Bob Snodgrass, a Porsche dealer

11. Ferrari 250 GT Lusso

The most elegant of the Ferraris GT Lusso holds a special place in the legendary 250 series, the company’s most successful early line. Steve McQueen owned Lusso was sold few years ago at auction for $2.3 million.

„Most 250’s are beautiful but the Lusso stands out even in that crowd.“ – Peter Orosz, automotive journalist

12. Lamborghini Countach

Total of 2,042 cars were build. A dream car of many kids growing up in the 70s and 80s Countach was in production from 1974 to 1990. Its wedge-shaped design was copied ever since in many high performance sports cars.

„Nobody believed it was a car.” – Valentino Balboni, Lamborghini test driver

13. Mini

Lounched by British Motor Corporation in 1959, it stayed in production until 2000. Mini’s iconic status is unmatched. At The Car of the Century award Mini was voted the second most influential car, behind the Ford Model T.

“God damn these bloody awful bubble cars. We must drive them off the streets by designing a proper small car”. – Leonard Percy Lord, captain of the British motor industry.

Part 2 to follow…


  1. Miami Mike said:

    Had a DS in the shop for a brake job – inboard front brakes, absolutely no parts available. Nothing. Sorry, can’t fix your car.

    Enzo’s praise for the XKE is high praise indeed.

    Aston Martin DB4-5-6 engine parts – sand castings, production levels too low for modern tooling.

    Esprit – liked my 69 Elan S4 better, hopefully the Esprit ran more often.

    64-65-66 Mustang, great design, indifferent mechanicals (Ford Falcon innards), Shelby made real cars out of them. Ford’s efforts looked OK but didn’t go.

    Worked for Hoffman, the US distributor. Drove the first 2002 in the US, the dock hands at Port Elizabeth (Newark) weren’t kind to these cars at all.

    Could have bought a 300SL – bad engine – summer of 1963 – for $1,500, which I didn’t have at the time. The one that got away.

    Had a 1968 Eurospec 280SL, car felt like it was milled out of a block of steel. Not very fast, and every time I sat in it, it cost me $500, I didn’t even have to start it up and it STILL cost me $500 every time I sat in it.

    Paid $50 for a 1960 356A, drove it away. Floor rusted out. Sold it a week later for $600. Unimpressive car even though it ran perfectly.

    Never had a 911.

    Worked for a Ferrari dealer in Miami – one mechanic (wasn’t me) test drove customer’s cars on SW 8th street at $100 mph + on a daily basis. YeeHaaa!

    Watched someone learning to drive stick in one of these (yes, really) in Ft. Lauderdale one time. The car won, but it was a Phyrric victory.

    Picked up a full race 1275cc Mini Cooper S from the dock in NYC, drove it back to the dealership in NJ, no muffler, no plates, no registration, just the shipping documents. What a blast! Eventual buyer called us two days later asking how to remove the rear anti-sway bar – he’d wrecked it already and that was all that was still good . . .

    Remember, to get to be old and wise you have to start by being young and dumb 😉

    Waiting for the next installment of cars I used to own and work on!

    October 14, 2012
  2. Bilal said:

    Miami Mike,

    Thanks for the great comment… What would be your favourite from the bunch above, and generally what cars do you hold in high regard?

    October 14, 2012
  3. Riley said:

    What about the ADO16? The Car of the 60’s for the normal man. Pinafarina styling and especially in the Riley/VDP models a bit of luxury.
    Riley Kestrel, MG/Austin/Morris 11/1300 or Wolsely Hornet.

    October 15, 2012
  4. Riley said:

    The Mini,whilst a brilliant piece of Issi genius, probably bankrupted BMC and led to such abominations as the Allegro.

    October 15, 2012
  5. Miami Mike said:


    That’s a tough call. The 280SL was horrendously expensive to fix (I did the work, the parts prices were astronomical) and I found myself going out with women who were dating the car, not me. One of them actually said “Drive down this street, I want my old boyfriend to see that I’m dating a guy with a Mercedes.” I got rid of both of them. The Mercedes drove wonderfully, no review forthcoming on the young lady. Definitely a crumpet catcher, but the wrong kind of crumpet.

    The Elan was astonishing – I got into more trouble in that car than in everything else combined, before or since (about 160 cars, many, many motorcycles, a couple of airplanes, etc.) Once you learned to drive it (“Roto-lastic” anyone?), it was like being shot out of a cannon, it would corner like a ballpoint pen and stop so hard your eyeballs would almost pop out. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for my health and well being), it didn’t run very often and even though I bought it brand new (!) it was essentially a “kit car” and needed a LOT of finishing up. Scared everyone who got into it, including me.

    Probably the all around nicest sedan (saloon) I ever owned was a grey 1986 Audi 5000 (100 over there), five cylinder, standard shift. It didn’t do anything superlatively, but it was very well “balanced” and was a real pleasure to drive. Comfortable, quiet, good “feel”, and would easily cruise at illegal speeds if I didn’t pay attention. Galvanized body, so won’t rust – something to consider in Florida! Alas, the car started falling apart faster than I could (or was willing to) keep up with it, so I sold it. Sex appeal, zero. Resale value, zero. Geek factor, off the chart.

    The “best” car I’ve ever owned (and still own) is a totally bland, utterly boring Honda Accord. All it does is run. In six years, I’ve changed one headlight bulb and one battery ground wire. (Other than normal service, of course.) To check the oil, I have to refer to the manual because I don’t remember where the dipstick is – it doesn’t burn or leak a drop of oil, ever. This is a car for people who aren’t interested in cars. I have more emotional involvement with my refrigerator than with this car. This is a car you park and just walk away from, and you don’t even look back at it. (I didn’t even buy it, it came to me out of an estate.)

    I’m playing a lot more with airplanes nowadays, but just to keep my hand in, I’m building a Factory Five 818 roadster (kit car) because I really do like convertibles.

    Best Regards,

    Miami Mike

    October 16, 2012
  6. Alan said:

    Lovely! As a non-car person, many of these are the exceptions to my indifference; including the BMW 2002 that my father owned from new for over 20 years.

    If cars were made like this today, I might show a greater interest.

    October 16, 2012

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