When it comes to classic sports cars, Europe always ruled the roost. Many of Europe’s most famous car brands actually built up their reputation by releasing gorgeous sports cars that drive just as good as they look. Cars like the Lancia Stratos and the Maserati Mexico are perfect examples of this. Many are renowned for their luxuriousness and expense, as well as being icons of their time.
This list will explore some of the European classics that truly set unrealistic beauty standards for sports cars. The design language in some of these vehicles has gone on to produce the recent launches in sports cars and will forever leave their mark on classic sports cars.
10 BMW 3.0 CS
The BMW 3.0 CS was launched in 1971. The brand is well known for making stylish and sporty cars. The 3.0 CS is definitely a reflection of this. The car had 180bhp and was boosted to 200bhp in the later CSi version of the same body design.
The shark nose grill was a stylish, and iconic, design on the car. Alongside this, the thin chrome bumpers were especially great as they enhanced the expensive look of the vehicle. The inclusion of the Hofmeister kink in the rear window is a hallmark of all BMWs and looks especially nice here.
9 Alfa Romeo Guilia GTA (road version)
Launched in 1965, the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA was the successor to the Giulietta. The car was homologated for racing, and 500 were made for racing and for the road. The car had aluminum body panels, making it much lighter for racing.
Alfa Romeo managed to make the Guilia GTA lightweight but still stylish, through the use of magnesium alloy wheels and plastic windows. With the ‘A’ in GTA standing for Allegerita (meaning lightweight in Italian), it would have been a surprise for Alfa Romeo not to equip lightweight materials. Very stylish, and very Italian, the Giulia GTA truly sets an unrealistic beauty standard.
8 Ferrari 250 Berlinetta SWB
Introduced in 1959, there were only 176 of the Ferrari 250 Berlinetta SWB produced. The 250 series was always an attractive car, but they shortened the wheelbase to make it more competitive and lighter, which also improved the overall looks of the car.
The car was very elegant, with chrome wire wheels and the “lusso” version was extremely luxurious. The “lusso” version was, and is still, very desirable among enthusiasts. Coming with leather seats and an elegant interior, we can see why.
7 Lotus Elan First Generation
The first generation of the Lotus Elan was a perfect example of the Lotus philosophy of lightness. The car is known for its simplicity. Despite being a small car, the vehicle was big enough and comfortable enough for two.
The car also featured luxury touches inside, like a glove compartment and map pockets, despite a low kerb weight. The Lotus Elan remains renowned for its small size, but luxuriousness too.
6 Aston Martin DB4
Aston Martin launched the DB4 in 1958. Since then, its styling credentials have been recognised by many. Some even consider the DB4 to be the best Aston Martin ever made. The car was styled by Touring of Milan – an Italian design house. The design of the car is very sleek, and is very Italian.
The cockpit was very large and had plenty of room for those sitting in it, allowing for a comfortable ride. The soft suspension also aided the comfort of the car for those inside. Both inside and outside the DB4, the styling was definitely elegant and many definitely took to its appearance.
5 Lamborghini Miura
There were 766 Miuras built from when production started in 1966. The car reflected the amazing designs coming out of Italian car brands at the time. The Miura was completely elegant and brought Bertone and Lamborghini together.
The exterior of the car was simple but a very effective design choice, with the luxury of the Lamborghini standing out. The car reflected soft, yet eye-catching design prior to the Countach which pushed for a more extreme design method used by the brand.
4 Mercedes 300 SL
The coupe of the Mercedes 300 SL was launched in 1954. The Mercedes won Car of the Century in 1999 too, which shows just how impactful the car was. The car made impressive use of gull-wing doors, which were there for both aesthetic and engineering purposes.
Within the interior of the car, leather seats were optional – but were luxurious. The steering wheel was able to move and be tilted so as to help drivers into the car. The 300 SL inspired Mercedes vehicles for years to come with the design language becoming so iconic.
3 Porsche 911 901
The 901 was the original name for the Porsche 911, but after Peugeot objected to Porsche using a three digit number with a ‘0’ in the middle, the brand changed the name of the car to the ‘911’. Some of the 901 produced by Porsche subsequently made it into private ownership.
The 901 is truly iconic in design and has been the foundation of all Porsche 911s for the past 60 years. We can truly see reflections of this design in the Porsches released nowadays.
2 Alpine A110 (1961)
The first launch of the Alpine A110 was in 1961, prior to the modern release of the car in 2017. The unusual styling of the car was interesting. The auxiliary headlights which were designed for rallying were an unusual choice, but fit the rallying pedigree.
The car was absolutely tiny in terms of dimension too, with Alpine taking design influence from Lotus with the Elan. The iconic design of the car was implemented in the Alpine A110 in 2017, with its looks and appeal being long lasting.
1 Jaguar E-Type
The Jaguar E-Type was launched in 1961 and was instantly a hit. Even Enzo Ferrari named it as being the most beautiful car ever. Many also believed that that E-Type was beautiful, especially as though it has won multiple accolades for being as such.
The car definitely stood out, with the curves of the car being especially aerodynamic. The design of the car was very futuristic, and fit the changing world in the 1960s. Jaguar paid extreme attention to detail in the E-Type, and we can definitely see that this is true as the style has become timeless.
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