As any vintage car owner will tell you, a car is so much more than a means of getting from point A to point B. They’re also sure to add that anyone who says otherwise has likely never felt the rush of driving a classic car out on the open road.
Vintage cars are so much more than a means of transport. Nor is their appeal the same as owning other status symbols, such as high-powered modern cars, no matter how fast or luxurious they are. Instead, owning a vintage car means possessing a key to another way of life. A life that redefines cool, celebrates style, and reexamines what it means to own and drive a vehicle.
These classic cars laid the foundations for the golden age of the auto industry when craftsmanship was true craftsmanship and beauty was both an undeniable fact and a necessity.
But of all the vintage cars out there, which deserve a parking spot in the automobile hall of fame? Keep reading to find out!
1. Jaguar E-Type
Few would argue with Enzo Ferrari’s declaration that this is the “most beautiful car ever made.” As such, it’s only right to start our list off with this stunning example of what Jaguar was capable of back in the day. Full of swinging sixties chic and faster than a Ferrari at a third of the price, the Jaguar E-Type was the ultimate sports car of its time and the ultimate in vintage cars today.
Thanks to consistent internal revisions that didn’t affect its elegant outer appearance, Jaguar managed to keep the E-Type in production until the mid-seventies. This tactic ensured that it moved with the times in terms of performance while still looking as sleek and stylish as ever. In fact, it brakes much better than many cars from the same era and retains plenty of vigor.
2. Porsche 911
Back in 1963, Porsche unveiled its successor to the famous 356, the 911. This powerful, more spacious evolution was meant to be called the ‘901’. Yet, with Peugeot holding the rights to three-digit car names featuring a zero in the middle, Porsche settled on calling it the 911, and the rest was history.
The earliest 911 started life with a 2.0 engine and was air-cooled and rear-mounted. And, although the 130 bhp seems paltry in comparison to today’s 911 turbos with their 500+ bhp, the 911 had almost 50 percent more power than the 356.
More power came in the 1970s, with the Carrera RS now seen by many experts as the ultimate 911. Porsche then ceased production of the original 911 back in 1989, but this model is still in high demand due to its vintage 1960s frame, sleek design, high-quality Porsche classic parts, and excellent reliability rating.
3. Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500
Made from 1965 to 1973, there’s no doubt that this first-generation Mustang was the “it” car of its time, and a must-have vintage car that still embodies the same cool that it exuded back then.
Ford made the first model available as a coupe or convertible, with the Mustang soon hailed as a marvel of a design. It grew more powerful over the years and sold millions of units, although it was the 1967 Shelby GT500 that really cemented the Mustang reputation thanks to its huge grille, triple tail lamps, and 428 in³ V-8 engine that could reach a whopping 355 bhp.
4. Mercedes 300SL Gullwing
If ever you needed proof that they don’t make old vintage cars like they used to, one glimpse of the 300SL’s wing-style doors should do it. Although, if Mercedes had had their way, its 300SL race car would have never gone into production. It was only due to the tireless campaigning of Maxi Hoffman, the official American importer of Mercedes-Benz, that Mercedes changed their mind.
Launched in 1954 at the New York International Motor Show, the Gullwing drew much acclaim from the admiring crowds, thanks to its innovative appearance and sleek design. But the Gullwing was far more than a pretty car. Mercedes designed it with a racing heritage, building up the flat, graceful body over a space frame chassis. It also boasted impressive aerodynamics ready to slice through the air and a powerful 215 bhp – a first for a fuel-injected engine from Mercedes.
5. Ferrari 250 GTO
While the original $18,000 price tag of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was far from cheap, it’s nothing compared to the $48.4 million that a keen buyer paid for one in 2018. But, with only 36 ever made, it’s no wonder that this car is sought after enough to hold the record for the most expensive car sold at auction.
Record-breaking prices aside, this Ferrari is an obvious choice for any ultimate list of vintage cars thanks to its striking appearance. But the distinctive design was born of necessity – keeping it low to the ground and placing the engine lower and further back meant optimal aerodynamic efficiency. The exhaust pipes and integrated rear spoiler make for an intimidating view from behind, while the front grille is both aesthetically pleasing and purposeful, offering form and function as only this awe-inspiring Ferrari could.
6. Aston Martin DB5
As James Bond’s car of choice, it’s no wonder that this is one of the most sought-after vintage car rental models for events and special occasions.
Packed with quintessential British charm, the DB5 was the last evolution of the DB4 series, made famous by its starring role in more 007 movies than any other car. Although the DB5 could reach speeds of up to 145 mph, the model’s 4.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine meant that it was far from a definitive sports car. Instead, it was more of a luxury ride, with wool pile carpets and electric windows as standard.
These touches, combined with a failsafe combination of British engineering and Italian styling, are sure to leave you shaken and stirred if you’re ever lucky enough to get your hands on one.
7. Ford Thunderbird
Built as an ode to the American beauty and with driver comfort in mind rather than speed, Ford described the Thunderbird as a “personal car of distinction.” This 1955 two–seat convertible referred back to the Ford heritage models of the 1930s and featured a 4.8-liter V8 engine. And, while it was not a direct competitor to any other sports cars being made at the time, the Ford Thunderbird stood out for its style and comfort.
8. Citroen DS
Full of French flair and hailed for its design worthy of a science fiction movie, the DS was Citroen’s long-awaited successor to the Traction Avant. And it didn’t disappoint. Once again, Citroen was way ahead of its time thanks to the DS model’s futuristic styling and minimal interior.
Quirky extras and concepts set the DS apart from the start. The doors didn’t feature window frames, and the rear brake lights wet set higher to line up with the eyes of following motorists. Slim pillars offered great visibility for the DS driver, while this vintage car’s hydraulic independent suspension gave comfort like never before.
What’s more, the DS was an instant hit. Citroen took over 12,000 orders from eager customers on the first day of its unveiling at the 1955 Paris Motor Show.
9. Toyota 2000GT
Another limited-addition vintage car full of exclusive appeal is the Toyota 2000GT, the result of a Toyota and Yamaha collaboration. Stunning and rare, this stylish front-engine rear-wheel-drive two-seater became known as Japan’s first supercar after first going on display at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1965.
This beauty also has more than its fair share of Bond credentials, appearing in the 1967 movie, You Only Live Twice. And, although Aki, the Japanese secret service agent drove it more than 007 himself, Toyota modified the car in question from a coupe to a roadster to allow for Sean Connery’s height. And, while Daniel Craig admits that the Aston Martin DB5 is an exquisite vehicle, he chose the Toyota 2000GT as his favorite Bond car of all time.
10. Dodge Charger
As one of the most popular vintage cars for sale even nowadays, there’s no doubt that the 1969 Dodge Charger is an American car that will never go out of fashion.
A fine figure of beauty with a fastback look and an aerodynamic body shape that feels both muscular and sleek, the Dodge Charger is full of all-American style. What’s more, while it may not get the same attention as a Mustang, its continuing popularity means that it’s a lot easier to find Charger vintage car parts than it is to find pieces for other, more exclusive classic cars.
Your Guide to Different Vintage Car Options
If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a vintage car, we’d bet money that one of these bad boys was on your wishlist.
But, while some of these classic cars were seriously limited edition, there are others that often turn up as vintage cars for sale if you know where to look – and have the cash and garage space ready to go!
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