Consensus is overrated. No one walks into a nice restaurant planning to poll the establishment’s other patrons in order to determine what to eat. Likewise, no one can tell you what you think is beautiful.
I make this point because the 15 vehicles shared here did not make this list as a result of any scientific polling. Instead, I simply asked four of our editors to provide me with a list of the three rides they find best looking (hence the asterisk in this article’s title).
The asterisk is also there because of the fact that one vehicle appears twice—though once as a coupe and once and a convertible—and one of our editors brought a truck into the mix.
That said, we offer no apologies. The Consumer Guide team finds the 15 vehicles shared below to be especially attractive.
As always, we invite your comments and list suggestions, and we expect a certain amount of scorn. After all, there is little more personal than your list of best-looking cars.
With that, we invite your to peruse our list of the 15 Best-Looking Cars of All Time.
Tom Appel’s First Choice: 1954-57 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing”
There is a certain sensibility to German design that I find incredibly compelling. There is something about the proportion and substance, about the solidity and finesse of certain German cars that is undeniable.
The 1954-1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” is a triumph of that sort of design restraint. There isn’t a single design flourish on the car that doesn’t contribute its overall beauty. Standing still, the Gullwing looks as if it’s speeding.
This breathtaking beast looks both nimble and dignified, yet somehow luxurious in a very minimalist way. I would argue that every attractive Mercedes built in the wake of the 300 SL shared at least some aspect of this car’s design philosophy.
Tom’s Second Choice: 1976-89 BMW 6-Series
Tom’s Third Choice: 1970 Pontiac Firebird
* * *
Damon Bell’s First Choice: 1967-69 Chevrolet Camaro
Narrowing down my personal favorite vehicles to just three choices is always an impossible task, as is ranking them in any specific order. So, I’m cheating a bit (okay, maybe a lot) with the parameters here. I picked these vehicles not only for how great-looking they were when they rolled off the assembly line, but also (perhaps mainly) for what they became in the hands of countless hot rodders and customizers over the years. These are timelessly cool canvases for customization, and their wonderfully proportioned styling is endlessly adaptable to pretty much any hot-rod genre—past, present, or future. They’re eternal.
Damon’s Second Choice: 1932 Ford (any two-door body style)
Damon’s Third Choice: 1953-56 Ford F-100
* * *
Jack Stewart’s First Choice: 1961-67 Jaguar E-Type
Jack’s Second Choice: 1936-37 Cord 810/812
Jack’s Third Choice: 1935 Duesenberg SSJ
* * *
John Biel’s First Choice: 1963-64 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso (GTL)
John’s Second Choice: 1961 Pontiac Catalina 2-Door Hardtop
John’s Third Choice: 1969 Dodge Charger
* * *
Rick Cotta’s First Choice: 1963 Jaguar E-Type
Although its sweeping, compound-curve sheetmetal would surely be a bodyman’s nightmare, I’m always struck by how sensuous the E-Type’s lines remain even 50+ years after they were penned. Proportion has a lot to do with that, a hood that makes up almost half the car’s length being a “proportion” I rather like. Even after adopting 5-mph bumpers in the ’70s, the XKE remained a great-looking car, with no need to add a qualifying, “for the era.” As Jack has selected the coupe (above), I lay claim to the convertible, which I genuinely prefer.
Rick’s Second Choice: 1960 Chrysler 300F