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Most Beautiful Race Cars Ever

Published March 14, 2015

Race cars are built with one purpose in mind: to win races. Every so often though, usually unexpectedly, functionality leads to beauty. Here’s our list of candidates for the most beautiful race car ever. You may or may not agree with our selections, or might not be familiar with some of these cars, but I think you’ll have to agree that each is beautiful in its own way.

p4

1967 Ferrari 330 P4

Often mentioned as the most beautiful race car ever built, the Ferrari 330 P4 carried a 4.0 liter V-12 engine, with three valves per cylinder, which produced 450 horsepower. The 330 P4 was part of a one-two-three Ferrari sweep at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona, defeating the team of 7.0 liter Ford GT40s.

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Jordan 191

The Jordan 191 was the first chassis with which Team 7UP Jordan would utilize in its first season of Formula 1. Though long disbanded Jordan is best remembered as giving Michael Schumacher his Formula 1 start. The paint scheme of the 191 has been described as the most attractive applied to a modern Formula 1 car.

SummersBros_03_1000

1965 Summers Brothers Goldenrod

Powered by four Chrysler Hemi engines that produced 2400 horsepower, Goldenrod held the wheel-driven land speed record from 1965 until 1991, an amazing achievement. Goldenrod’s efficiency and beauty come from wind tunnel time at Caltech, recording one of the lowest coefficient of drag for any car.

lesovsky indianapolis roadster 1962

1962 Lesovsky Roadster

Indianapolis in the 1950s was ruled by the roadsters, this car being a beautiful example. Built for the 1962 Indy 500, for which it qualified, it was too late for the car to race there again.  The rear-engined revolution would sweep through Indy in the next few years.

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1977 Porsche 936

The Porsche 936 was a bit of a stop-gap car between the 917 and the 952/956. Although only three chassis we built (all held by the factory) each chassis won Le Mans once over a period of five years. The final bodywork (shown) featured a rear wing develop by an aerospace firm, and when viewed inverted looks like the wing tips of modern airliners.

2008 Mazda Furai Concept

2008 Mazda Furai

Here’s a riddle for you. Does a race car have to race to be considered a race car? Mazda built the Furai concept on top of its fully- operational Le Mans prototype car chassis, but never raced it. Instead it made the auto show circuit then give high speed thrill rides to the media, sponsors, and executives. Unfortunately the Furai burnt to the ground during testing by Top Gear.

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1964 Spirit II Dragster

In an effort to reach 200 miles per hour in the quarter mile, future Land Speed Record holder Craig Breedlove developed this full body dragster, crafted by a master builder of Indy roadsters. As it turned out the car was faster without the bodywork, but boy it looked great.

eagle-gurney-weslake

1967 Eagle T1G

Designed by former Lotus Engineer for Dan Gurney’s AAR team, the car has been sited many times as the most beautiful car of its era.  Power came from a V-12 engine specifically designed for the team, but the car won only one championship Grand Prix.

1928-Indy_Leon_Duray

Miller 91

Harry Miller’s Indy Cars of the 1920s and 30s were works of art. Every component was beautifully cast or machined, all in-house. The Miller 91 was powered by an advanced supercharged and intercooled 2.0 liter engine that delivered a remarkable 285 horsepower at 8000 rpm.

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1981 Zakspeed Ford Capri

Where many of our other candidates have been smooth or swoopy, the Zakspeed Capri draws its beauty from its aggressiveness. Built on a full-frame tube chassis, the car competed in Group 5 racing in Europe. While 600 horsepower was the stated output of the turbocharged Ford motor, some put it closer to 750 horsepower.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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