E-type? 288 GTO? Atlantic? Vote in Autocar’s Most Beautiful poll
1 February 2008

Many insist it’s Malcolm Sayer’s 1961 Jaguar E-type. Others claim it’s the 1955 Citroen DS. Students of design nominate less well known examples of visual accomplishment like the Cord 812. For the multitude, it’s often the latest and greatest sports car from Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini or Aston Martin. But what’s really the most beautiful road car ever created? Now’s your chance to have a say.We’ve collected 32 of the world’s best-looking cars in a poll we’re calling Autocar’s Most Beautiful. Among them are four-wheel pieces of automotive design both modern and classic – the Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 and Maserati GranTurismo – and all you have to do to arrive at the one you like best is click through our voting system.If you need some inspiration, read what’s below. We asked six of the car industry’s leading car designers what they thought the prettiest car ever created was. Not all of them are in our poll, but they do make compelling reading.

Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar Cars – Ferrari 250 GT SWB

"It's not the most beautiful car in the world, but it is the most spontaneous. It's full of visual energy. The forms and lines look instant and possess a latent power, as if the car is about to leap at you. And you can see the spontaneity of the design - as if it's simply been drawn and there's been no loss of that purity through the engineering process."

Patrick Le Quement, Design Director, Renault – Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Spyder

“I could have picked the roaring energy of the gloriously handsome Ferrari 250GT SWB. Instead, I have chosen the perfect imbalance of the beautifully proportioned 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Spyder.Love at first sight for that off balanced position of the body, the swept-back front grille and the endlessly long tail.But then again, I could have fallen for that exquisitely detailed 1936 Bugatti Type-57 S Atlantic…”

Peter Stevens, designer of the McLaren F1 – CadZZilla

“The most beautiful car is a tough deal when it comes to picking just one. There are some glorious pre-war Delages and Delahayes, but the decision has to be an emotional one; what car brings a tear to your eye when you see it in the metal? For me it has to be my mate Larry Erickson's CadZZilla, a one-off car that he designed for ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons. It is quite simply a beautiful piece of work.”

Martin Smith, Executive Design Director, Ford of Europe – Ferrari 275 GTB4

“The 275 GTB Ferrari has always been my favourite car. It is a wonderful synthesis of the delicate 250 GTO and the more brutal 250 SWB. Absolutely perfectly proportioned.”

David Browne, Head of Transport Design, Coventry University – Bugatti Type-57 Atlantic Coupe

“The ultimate expression of Bugatti's credo of innovative engineering allied to aesthetic beauty. Somehow combining visual lightness with implied power, it defines the expression 'stance'.Jean Bugatti's extraordinarily creative Art Deco coachwork clearly influenced Jaguar's XK120 Coupe over 20 years later. Exotic, rare, fast, endlessly intriguing - the first true supercar?”

Alfonso Albaisa, Vice President of Nissan Design Europe – Jaguar E-type

"The automobile is a reflection of our culture's aspiration. The year was about 1969 when, while playing with my brother in the lobby of my father's architecture firm, I heard the most amazing hum from a car rolling up on the gravel driveway. Context is everything. Miami was a growing city but the growth was coming from Cubans leaving Cuba with little to no money. The automotive landscape of the place was made up of massive land yachts with heroic overhangs and less-than-heroic stance. The car pulling up was a black on black on black Jaguar E-type driven by an American businessman in a black suit. Magical reflections of Miami's beautiful blue sky and dense canopy trees made an already stunning car silky and mysterious. That day, that car inspired me to dream for the next 35 years."

Click here to vote in Autocar’s Most Beautiful poll

Join the debate

Comments
21

2 February 2008

It is clear that much of the voting is being done by the internet generation. A carrera gt more beautiful than an E-type or Dino or Muira ?! Heresy.

2 February 2008

Rightly or wrongly, we all know what will come out top - the Jag E-Type. So is there any point in having such a poll? Don't get me wrong, the Jag is a stunner (and my 3rd fave) but will Autocar ever publish results which would show the E-Type not being top, plus patriotism plays a big part too.

2 February 2008

So far, it's the Murcielago which is winning. Now, it's a good looking motor car, but it's nowhere near as gorgeous as the 250 GT SWB, the most perfect car ever to sit on Borranis. I don't know what's wrong with Autocar readers.

3 February 2008

Guys, what about the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage....that has to be the most beautiful car ever surely?

3 February 2008

At the risk of starting off with a pun, the 'E' type made an instant impression on me in 1961. As an 8 year old I was walking to school when this red vision of automotive desire came purring towards me. As I watched open mouthed as it passed, I walked straight into a lamp post!

The 'E' types purity of flowing sensual design is what marks it out. If it had never been invented (unthinkable), should some imaginative soul have produced the first one now (perhaps losing the heavy headlamp bezels - as it did anyway - and with a wider track) it would make a huge impression even now, nearly 47 years later.

That, i contend, is what marks the 'E' type out as special; I do not believe the same would hold true of the other older designs mentioned as these would clearly be regarded as retro (the Murcielago mentioned elsewhere is dramatic but hardly a design icon).

Long live the 'E' type.

3 February 2008

Why are we letting THEM tell us what is beautiful?

We have minds of our own - let's use them!!

Ferrari 288 GTO.

3 February 2008

I am almost with LeQuement with the Alfa Romeo 2900B... The 250 GTO sits there as the most beautiful envelope, but the wasp-waisted Alfa Romeo 2900B Mille Miglia cars raced by Biondetti and Pintacuda in 1938 and 1939 take the biscuit. Absolutely perfect.

4 February 2008

Its easy to see why cars like the Murcielago are winning. its kids who are voting. They have no taste and most of them find the older, classic, cars meaningless.

Be interesting to see the average age profile of each cars votes. Its the same for me looking back at cars from before the 1960s. I can appreciate the beauty of them but i don't connect with them like I do with cars of 'my' generation.

4 February 2008

The E type is completely lost on me. Its not a pretty car and i dont like its proportians.

I dont think its possible to say one car is the most beautiful EVER made, but i could probably name one from each decade;

  • 1980's Ferrari F40

Having spent about an hour trying to narrow them down, i cant. But the only one i can decide upon is the F40. To me, it sums up the square cut stylings that made up so much of the 80's car design, but still has the smooth sleek look of a Ferrari. Complete with a ridiculously massive, loud and on show engine and pop-up headlights, to me its one of, if not the best looking cars ever made. If you wanted me to pick something from the 60's or 70's it would be american before it was english.

GD

4 February 2008

Where in this list is the Bentley S1, S11 or S111? Surely the finest looking saloon car ever.

GB

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