Old but Gold: Classic Cars of All Time
Who says that old has to mean bad? In the world of cars, “old” very often means gold. Sure, it’s not like every mass-produced car in the world today is going to go down as a timeless classic, but there are some that buck the trend and remain firmly in our hearts and minds as simply great cars for the ages. Let’s look at some examples below:
Classic Cars of All Time
1. Jaguar E-Type
We had to kick the list off with this car; the car that none other than Enzo Ferrari himself described upon its release in 1961 as “the most beautiful car ever made.” The E-Type — known as the XK-E in North America — had top speeds of up to 150mph and a braking system that was light years ahead of its time. Its production run went from 1961 to 1975.
British newspaper The Daily Telegraph ranked it first in their online list of “100 most beautiful cars of all time” from around the world. The earliest models were powered by either a 3.8L or a 4.2L inline-6 engine paired with a 4-speed manual transmission. For real collector’s value, try to find a low drag coupe model from 1962 or a lightweight E-type from 1963-1964.
2. Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing
A timeless German car made famous again in the modern era by the fandom of one of the world’s best Formula 1 driver, Nico Rosberg, the 1954-1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing coupe remains an object of automotive fascination. It was powered by a 3.0L straight-six engine paired with a 4-speed manual transmission with max power rated at 240hp and 217lb-ft of torque.
Once you are past the iconic vertical-lifting doors, you are met with a stunning interior either in the distinctive plaid cloth that was standard, or the optional red leather. Both designs featured that big white steering wheel, which has the interesting quirk of being able to be tilted right down to make it easier to get in and out of the thing.
3. Ferrari 250 GTO
First manufactured from 1962 to 1964, it is among the most exclusive cars ever built, and already one somewhat beyond the reach of the average collector. With only 36 models in existence, the 250 GTO is set to be the ultimate classic Italian sports car.
A 1962 model was sold at RM Sotheby’s, Monterey in 2018 for a jaw-dropping $48,405,000. A 1963 model sold privately for an even more astounding $70 million. That’s a lot of cash to drop on a single car, but then again this was no ordinary car. The 3.0L, 296hp engine delivered 217lb-ft of torque, and to buy it originally (for just $18,000 back in the day) you had to be personally approved by Ferrari himself.
4. Aston Martin DB4
You might look at this car and think it’s the James Bond from Sean Connery’s days, but you’d be just a little wrong. Bond drove the DB5, which is a great car in itself but also taken over somewhat by Bond-mania. The DB4 is the unsung classic hero. Its production ran from 1958 to 1963, where only 1,204 in total were ever produced.
Its 3.7L had racetrack DNA thanks to its Polish racing star designer Tadek Marek. The earliest models were known for their vulnerability to overheating, but this was soon fixed and the car had a top speed of 139mph. Models included the main coupe, a convertible, and the DB4 GT, a high-performance version introduced in 1959. Only 19 of the GTs were ever made, though, so they’re quite hard to come by.
5. Dodge Viper GTS
This classic of the 1990s is a true American icon. The Dodge Viper GTS housed a V10 engine with 450hp and took the term “raw power” to new heights. This was the car that “freedom” built, which meant having no ABS and no traction control. This machine needed a serious and skilled driver to truly master.
Classic car insurance specialists Hagerty’s CEO McKeel Hagerty once described the car as the “whisky, neat” or the automotive world; an unfussy and ‘unadulterated’ raw automotive experience. It’s certainly not a model that could be produced today, so you’d have to find yourself one of these in an auction house.
6. Porsche 911
Perhaps the single-most iconic model in the eclectic Porsche range is the 911. But it’s been around since 1964, so which models are the truly timeless classic ones? Many argue that the real golden age of the model was before its first major redesign in 1974.
If you can get your hands on a 1965 air-cooled 2.0L 130hp flat-6 “boxer” engine Porsche 911, you might just be grasping at pure gold. The 1967 model was similar in design but offered more power at 160hp. These are cars that can still compete with new cars in the modern age, with the added bonus of looking stunning and evoking some serious automotive nostalgia in all who see them.