Some people just view cars as utilitarian machines that are meant to take them from point A to point B. They’ll claim they don’t really care about the looks, as long as the car has huge service intervals. We say, that’s not entirely accurate as there are many examples of cars that sold in huge number simply because they looked great.
And when you peer into the yesteryears when car design wasn’t shackled down to legalities and aerodynamics, you come across some truly jaw dropping designs. With no need to worry about how high headlights should be and so on, car designers had free reign to design a car that looked the way they wanted it to. Their vision really could become reality.
Can you imagine a car like the E-Type Jaguar existing today? Probably not. And this is part of the reason why so many car enthusiasts are drawn to jaw dropping classic cars. Sure, jaw dropping classic cars aren’t the best to drive but you’ll come across many that look absolutely gorgeous, even after decades.
In this post, we’ll be ranking some of the most jaw dropping classic cars ever made, for your viewing pleasure of course.
‘66 Shelby 427 Cobra
Almost every car that Carroll Shelby touched became an icon, but then Shelby only chose icons to begin with. Enter the ‘66 Shelby 427 Cobra, an enhanced version of the AC Cobra. Thanks to its lightweight chassis and Shelby’s signature engine improvements, the Shelby Cobra had an amazing power to weight ratio for its time.
The AC Cobra was always a great car to look at, with a simple yet muscular aesthetic that resonated with macho men of the era. But with the blue color scheme and signature Shelby pinstripes, the Cobra looked even more menacing.
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Drophead
Everyone knows Rolls Royce makes expensive luxury cars, but that’s because the car maker can absolutely get away with it. You may find luxury cars that are just as comfortable as a Rolls, but none of them have the style and presence.
And the Rolls Royce Silvercloud Drophead just exemplifies this. What Rolls Royce did was to essentially take the roof off a huge luxury barge and give its passengers access to a million miles worth of sky instead. Fantastic. Sure, you are going to feel a big conspicuous while driving along in this car but that’s the whole point. This car was designed to turn heads and it does so with excellent style.
The Jaguar E-Type was a groundbreaking car for the British car manufacturer. With its low, sleek body shape and a muscular straight-six under the hood, the E-Type instantly made a name for itself for being both a beauty and a beast.
Today, the E-Type’s performance doesn’t sound particularly impressive. A modern sport hatchback (like the Civic Type R) will run circles around the E-Type. But what the Type R doesn’t have, is the E-Type beautiful and curvy shape. There is a reason why E-Types are near the top of every car collector’s dream garage. They’re absolutely beautiful to behold.
Mercedes 300SL Gullwing
The Mercedes 300SL Gullwing is considered by many to be the pinnacle of German automotive design. It has everything you could ask for in a beautiful car, and then some more. Let’s start off by talking about those iconic gullwing doors. Without these, the car would still be beautiful but perhaps not as distinctive.
The gullwing doors do nothing for the practicality aspect of the car. In fact, people of short stature will have a hard time closing them once they’re seated. But viewed truly as an aesthetic object, the gullwing doors are what makes this car so special.
The 300SL as a whole is beautiful, but if you would like to ask anyone about the thing they remember the most about the car, it would definitely be those beautifully engineered gullwing doors.
Yup, there are two Jaguars on this list, but that is to be expected. Even today, Jaguar makes some of the most beautiful production cars. Just look at the F-Type, or the XKR (all model years), and you’ll realize that Jaguar has always been on the pinnacle of automotive design.
The XKSS was basically an engorged version of the E-Type, with a more curvier shape that commanded attention. No wonder it was one of Steve McQueen’s very favorites.
Ferrari 250 GTO
No matter how you look at it, the Ferrari 250 GTO is one of the most beautiful cars ever made. With an absurdly long hood and a low roofline, this classic car is the quintessential roadster.
Sadly, most classic car enthusiasts will never get to see one, let alone drive one as only 39 of these beauties were made. Today, all of them sit in rich men’s garages as display pieces, which is a shame because to drive, the 250 GTO was sublime with a beautiful-sounding engine.
The curvy design of the 250 GTO wasn’t made to just look good. It underwent rigorous windtunnel testing to improve the aerodynamic performance of the car, so there’s a bit of science involved in the shape as well. This car exemplifies form and function.
‘69 Boss 429 Mustang
Ford Mustangs of the 60s are already badass cars in their own right, but when you see a Boss 429 Mustang it completely changes your perspective on what a classic Mustang should look like. The body of the Mustang was actually modified to accommodate the snarling V8 under the hood.
This car is all about looks and performance, with practicality thrown out the window. Due to the behemoth under the hood, the engineers couldn’t find a place for the air conditioning unit. But it’s not such a bad idea to roll the windows down to cool yourself, as you’ll be greeted to the amazing soundtrack made by that monstrous engine.