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Right off the top of your head, tell us, who is the most beautiful woman on the planet right now? We’ll give you five seconds…
Too easy? What about the most beautiful woman who ever lived? Even if you are sure of your answer, the chances are you’re wrong, or at very least that there are millions of people who would disagree with you According to Esquire magazine, the girl who used to play Hermione in the Harry Potter movies makes the all-time list, as do Blake Lively, Zoe Kravitz, Lupita Nyong’o and Audrey Hepburn.
Clearly, the idea of beauty is even more subjective than the question of whether anyone should eat oysters, ever.
You can imagine, then, that arguments over which cars deserve to be called the most beautiful of all time can rage late into the night, amongst people who care deeply about such things, like car designers. I’ve asked a few, and they never come up with the same Top 10 list. Nor have any of them agreed that my list is irrefutable and should be etched into stone tablets for all time.
There are, however, some cars, or at least some brands, that come up in almost every discussion about the best looking cars of all time. And there are some things that don’t - there is little chance of the best looking SUV in the world making such a list (it’s not the Lamborghini Urus, or the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, but it might be the Audi e-tron), nor the world’s coolest looking hatchback ever (it was the Volkswagen Scirocco, though, in case you’re wondering).
It would be easy to make a list that includes only supercars, of course, but fortunately there some sub-supers that deserve a place, because beauty is not all about performance, it’s about what makes your heart flip when you look at it.
Here, then, is a list of the Top 10 Most Beautiful Cars of All Time, or, to give it another name, a Good Argument Starter.
A car that has stayed so true to its design for so long must be doing something right, and while it could be argued that people buy this car more for its legendary levels of driving joy, it is also a truly classic, and instantly recognisable shape.
People can argue until the cows their leather seats were made of come home about which 911 is the coolest looking ever, and the 997 version certainly gets a lot of votes, but for me it’s the very latest iteration, the 992, which looks wider, meaner, lower and even more sizzlingly hot than ever.
Old people with beards and crotchety attitudes tend to witter on (wittering is an old person’s version of Twitter-ing) endlessly about how cars were better, and more beautiful, in the old days, and for the main part they should be ignored, and locked outside in winter.
In the case of Benz’s famously fabulous Gullwing, however, they might have a point. Old cars generally leave me cold and bored, but the first time I saw one of these in the metal I couldn’t resist letting out a low whistle of admiration. What’s that saying, “a thing of beauty is a joy forever”, and this car always will be.
There are two cars that appear on just about every list of beautiful cars ever made, and this is one of them. Can everyone be wrong?
Again, we do run into the old cars being revered problem, but the fact is this car was a game-changer. Lamborghini, as a company, was just three years old when the Miura was launched, and was more of a tractor company than a super-car super power. The sheer gob-smacking beauty of the Miura (and its performance, obviously) changed all that forever.
Having heard so much about them, the first time you see one it’s hard not to smile, if only admiration of a company that was willing not only to give its car a sultry, sexy face, but cute little eyelashes as well. Truly, unique.
Yes, this is the other car that no one is game to leave off their list of the coolest cars ever, because it would be sacrilege to do so.
No less a judge than Enzo Ferrari himself declared the E-type to be “the most beautiful car ever made”, which is almost as unimaginable as Paul McCartney declaring Pet Sounds to be the best album he’d ever heard.
This Jaguar was also a child of the swinging, sexy ’60s, and there really is something devil-may-care, cool as funk wicked about its shape and nosey proportions.
There’s something almost fluid about its shape and, even though it’s a classic car, it still looks pretty damn fantastic today.
Sure, people tend to bang on about older Ferraris when they talk about which ones are the most beautiful, cars like the original 1962 GTO, the 275 GTB and the 288 GTO, but frankly you could park any of them next to the Testarossa and they would look flaccid, frankly.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a child of the 1980s myself, but this car just represents that period of conspicuous excess as powerfully as big hair and silly shoulder pads.
It’s stupidly wide from behind, smooth and sleek from front on, and has those fantastic straked sides. I dare you to see one in the flesh and not be overtaken by the urge to touch it. Truly wondrous.
There are those who will tell you that this car was awful to drive, and otiose in every way, but there are plenty who will argue that none of that matters. The Countach is the car that inspired a passion for cars in a billion boys. The poster car for Italianate madness and super-car silliness in general.
It might not be beautiful in the way that the Miura or the E-type clearly are, but it is just so damn cool that it simply must make this list.
There’s no question that Alfa Romeo deserves a spot on this list, and arguably more than one, because it has produced so many deeply beautiful cars, and continues to do so today - even the Giulia and the Stelvio are pretty damn fine.
Many classic-car fans nominate the 8C 2900 Mille Miglia as the best-looking Alfa, but I think even the humble 4C is a better example of Alfa style.
But for me there is no question - the 8C Competizione first revealed back in 2003, is as close as Alfa Romeo has ever come to building a proper supercar, and is, without doubt, a work of automotive art that belongs in a gallery, and on this list. I love it.
Look, between you and me, I don’t really like Astons all that much, because they’re a bit like Keanu Reeves; nice to look at, hugely popular, but lack in substance.
The reason they’re a bit of a letdown to drive, however, is that they get your hopes up so high by being so fabulous to look at. They’re so big and mean and sleek and muscular and just so perfectly proportioned that you immediately assume that driving one would change your life, and make you more attractive.
Sadly, you’re only half right there. But when it comes to any list of the most beautiful cars to look at, Aston Martin must be on it. Frankly, it could be just about any Aston of the past decade, but the V8 Vantage has a particularly punchy appeal to it.
When I think about cars that give me whiplash if they drive past, the 458 has to be top of the list. Ferrari has made many, many stunning cars, and the 488, which followed this, is also wonderful to behold. But there’s something just… perfect about the 458.
That floating prancing horse on the nose, those hips, that rear end, that face, the flowing lines. It is, or at least was, until very recently, the absolute apotheosis of supercar design. If it’s not already, it should be to this generation what the Lamborghini Countach was to mine.
And then Ferrari had to go and make this. I honestly thought that no car would ever best the 458, and I was happy to live with it being my favourite, forever and ever, Amen.
You might not have seen the SF90 in the flesh yet, but when you do, it will blow your mind. This is a supercar fantasy made real. It is science fiction and physics and art all combined in perfect harmony and with the genius that only a designer as gifted as Flavio Manzoni could provide.
Ferrari makes beautiful cars, that is a given, and it’s why it takes so many places on this list, but the SF90 is something else and it is, without question, the most beautiful car in the world right now. And it’s not even on public roads yet.
You just wait and see it.