One thing is certain. A major segment of the male population is amorous toward cars. As we grow up certain cars remain in our memories because of the way they look, some kind of technological leap that was achieved by a particular car, or speed.
There have been a lot of cars that have been introduced during the past 50 years that stand out more than others. Here are what many consider to be the coolest cars of them all.
1963 Aston Martin D85
One reason why this car remains in our memories is because it belonged to Bond, James Bond, the famous agent for the British Secret Service. But another reason why we cherish it is because it is one of the best cars Aston Martin has ever made. Consider the headlights. Back in the days when this car graced the roads of Europe cars featured round shaped sealed-beam headlamps. The designers at Aston Martin wanted to enhance the look of the car as well as improve its aerodynamics. So they added glass headlamp covers that matched the flow and surface of the metal. They were able to do this because they sunk and could aim the headlamps from behind the glass. Driver and passenger entertainment was provided by an in-dash Philips Auto Mignon record player.
1963 Studebaker Avanti
Before Studebaker faded away from the scene it introduced a groundbreaking high-end luxury car called the Avanti. Although the car was never massed produced, it featured some groundbreaking technologies that led the way to other great cars to come. For example, the futuristic shape of the vehicle was achieved with the use of glass-reinforced plastic, now known as fiberglass. Moreover, it was the first American production car to feature front disc brakes that were standard and the first to incorporate “bottom breather” design in which air needed to cool the front-mounted engine entered from under the front of the vehicle. So there was no need for a conventional grille.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
What red-blooded young American boy didn’t have a picture of this car taped to the wall of his bedroom or impaled on a corkboard above a desk. The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray oozed future due to the unusual exterior silhouette and its divided rear window. Another feature that people liked was the covered headlamps that opened up to reveal the headlights. This was the first American car to have such a feature since the 1942 DeSoto.
1965 Matra Djet
Manufactured by a French carmaker in 1965, this was the first to locate the engine in the mid section of the car. It also featured a long tail and bigger fenders so it could accommodate wide wheels. It included disc brakes and independent suspension with wishbones and coil springs. Yuri Gargarin, a Soviet cosmonaut who was the first man to orbit the Earth, owned one.
1965 Shelby GT350R
Ford got a major shot in the arm when car designer Carroll Shelby created the Shelby Cobra. The car featured a new 4-inch chassis made of tubes and coil spring suspension. A Ford 427 engine that generated 425 bhp and a top speed of 164 miles or a 485 bhp engine with a top speed of 185 mph powered the vehicle.
1965 Jaguar E-Type Coupe Series 1 4.2
Also known as the Jaguar XK-E for the North American market, it was manufactured between 1961 and 1964 and originally came with a 3.8-liter engine and nonsynchromesh transmission. The engine and torque were increased by around 10 percent and the car included a fully synchronized transmission, an alternator instead of a generator, and new reclining seats in the 1965 to 1967 version. Enzo Ferrari said of it, “The most beautiful car ever made.”
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
Both a luxury car and a muscle car, the Toronado featured an Oldsmobile 425-cubic inch 7L, Super Rocket V8 that generated 385-horsepower and 475-ft-lb of torque. Other General Motors innovations included were:
· Heavy-duty Turbo-Hydramatic 400 three-speed automatic transmission
· Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor
· Spherical shaped exhaust-manifold flange gaskets, which offered free movement of the exhaust system and prevented leaks
· “Draft-Free” ventilation system that reduced wind noise and permitted the elimination of a conventional front-door vent window
1966 Alfa Romeo Spider
Boosted by its appearance in the 1966 movie The Graduate, this Alfa Romeo is a legend and rightfully so. It was a convertible that came with no roof and included an aluminum 1,570 cc twin cam engine with dual Weber two-barrel side-draft carburetors that generated 108-horsepower as well as five-speed manual transmission and disc brakes. It sold for $3,950 in the United States.
1967 Mazda Cosmo
Named Cosmo as Mazda’s salute to the space race, it was the first vehicle to be powered by the Mazda Wankel rotary engine. The engine provided a tax break for Japanese owners because although it was more powerful than a traditional inline engine, it was not above one-liter in size avoiding a higher tax bracket.
1967 Ferrari 330 P4
It featured a V12 engine located in the mid-section of the car and the three-valve cylinder head was modeled after one in the winning car in the Italian Grand Prix Formula One race. The powertrain generated up to 450-horsepower.
1967 Ferrari Dino 206 GT
A sports car featured a 2.0 L all-aluminum V6 engine that was transverse-mounted in the midsection of the car and generated 160-horsepower at the 8,000 rpm redline and 138 ft-lbs at 6,500 rpm. Auto journalists were impressed by its driving qualities and design. In 2004, Sports Car International ranked the car number six on its list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s. Motor Trend Classic ranked it at number seven in its list of the 10 Greatest Ferraris of All Time.
1967 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale
Italian auto manufacturers used the word “Stradale” to define a street legal version of a racecar. This car was and was derived from the Tipo 33 sports prototype. It was the first production car to have butterfly doors and featured windows that seamlessly curved upward into the roof. It features an aluminum body on an aluminum tubular chassis. Late models included vents behind the front and rear wheels that permitted the evacuation of hot air from the brakes. It also included 13-inch Campagnolo magnesium wheels and 8-inch wide front and 9-inch wide rear.
1970 Citroen SM
A high-performance coupe that was manufactured from 1970 to 1975, the SM finished third as the 1971 European Car of the Year and won the 1972 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award in the U.S. Some innovative technology featured in the car included variable assist power steering called DIRAVI and carbon-reinforced resin wheels.
1972 De Tomaso Pantera
A sports car with the engine located in the midsection, the Italian-made car was imported into the United States by Ford from 1971 through 1975. Many features of the 1971 Pantera were modified in the 1972 model. A Ford 351-cubic inch 5.8L V8 that was in the ’71 Pantera was replaced by a new 4 Bolt Main Cleveland engine that was also 351-cubic inches in the ’72 model. The engine was used with lower compression ratio and included a Cobra Jet camshaft to retain some of the power lost through the reduction in compression. The engine also included a factory exhaust header.
1973 Lancia Stratos HF
A sports and rally car; it won three consecutive World Rally Championships from 1974 through 1976. It was light and was powered by a 12-valve engine that generated 275-horsepower or a 24-valve engine that produced 320-horsepower. Although the car was never intended to race, two were manufactured with an engine that included a single KKK turbocharger that generated 560-horsepower.
1977 Lamborghini Countach LP400
A Lamborghini sports car powered by a 3929 cc V12 engine that generated 370-horsepower, it popularized the wedge-shape as well as the cab forward design, which pushed the cockpit forward to accommodate a larger engine. In 2004, Sports Car International ranked the car third on its list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s and tenth on its list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.
1985 Audi Sports Quattro S1
This car introduced four-wheel drive to racing and included a carbon-kevlar body and an aluminum alloy 2,133 cc (130.2-cubic inch) 2.1L 20v DOHC engine, which was slightly smaller than the Audi Quattro engine so that it could qualify for the 3-liter engine class. As a street legal car, the engine generated 302-bhp and the racecar produced 444-bhp.
1986 Mercedes-Benz W124 Hammer
AMG started off with a Mercedes-Benz 300E and fitted it with a 5.6-liter M117 V8 and then bolted on DOHC cylinder heads with four valves per cylinder and that became the W124 Hammer. The new engine generated 355-horsepower compared to the 177-horsepower produced by the original engine. In another version the AMG masters bore out the engine to 6.0-liters and matched it with a re-valved four-speed transmission.
1987 Ruf CTR-001 Yellowbird
Tuners got their hands on a Porsche 911 and converted it into the Ruf CTR Yellowbird that outperformed many high-performance cars including the Ferrari Testarossa and Lamborghini Countach. Although it was slower than the Porsche 959 from 0 to 60 mph, it still outperformed the Porsche 959 and Lamborghini Diablo in 0 to 100 mph runs and occasionally achieved a considerably higher top speed than those cars. At the time, it was the only twin turbocharged 911 in the world.
1990 Honda NSX
This was the first mass produced car to be made of an all-aluminum body and it was powered by an all-aluminum 3.0 L V6 engine that includes Honda’s VTEC system, a 5-speed manual or 4-speed Sports Shift automatic transmissions.
1992 McLaren F1
At the time of its debut, the McLaren F1 was recognized as the fastest car in the world. It features a plethora of proprietary designs and technologies including a lighter body, a more streamlined structure, and a driver’s seat located in the center of the passenger compartment and slightly forward of the two passenger seats. The configuration offers better driver visibility than the conventional seating alignment. Although not designed to be a racer, a modified version of the car won several races including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995. In 1994 a staff writer for the British car magazine Autocar wrote after a road test, “(This is) the greatest automotive achievement of all time.”
1995 Mazda Miata
Considered the epitome of a sports roadster, it was powered by a 128-horsepower, 1.8 liter, double-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine that was installed longitudinally. The engine was mated to a five-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic was available as an option.
2005 Lotus Elise
The Lotus Elise is considered to be one of the best handling cars ever made. It can race from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and has a top speed of 141 mph. The prototype achieved close to 150 mph.
2006 Audi R8
This all-wheel drive coupe features a 4.2-liter 8-cylinder naturally aspirated engine with double overhead camshaft that produces 414-bhp at 7800 rpm and a maximum torque of 317 lb-ft (430 N-m) at 4500 to 6000 rpm.
2013 Tesla Model S
Tesla claims that the car has 250 patents and more patents pending. It includes an all-aluminum body and front and rear mostly aluminum suspension. The electric motor is positioned between the rear wheels. The company offers three lithium-ion battery packs to power the car that provide 140, 200, and 265 miles of range. The powertrain generates 362-horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. The performance version produces 416-horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.