Vintage cars, depending on who you ask, can mean anything from cars from the early 1900s to late 1900s. To me, vintage is anything something that seems like it is from another age, an earlier age. The word vintage means something from the past that was of a high pedigree and class. Something that at the time of its making was a thing of beauty and was the best of its kind. Now beauty is subjective and it is entirely dependent on the eye of the beholder. This list covers vintage cars from the 1950s to the 1990s because it is at this point that most traditional car companies and individuals had gotten their stride. It was also a post war period and the world that had birthed new inventions and peace had led people to create things of joy, things of beauty.
1958 Aston Martin DB4
This car represented the onset of the gentleman. It was launched at the London Motor Show in 1958 and came with a 3.7L straight 6 engine. The engine was wrapped in a sleek and beautiful exterior that was designed by Carrozzeria Milan. This car was the foundation used in designing the Aston Martin DB5 which was among the first cars to be featured in the early James Bond films. It is a classic vintage car for a vintage classic film.
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL
This car is seemingly on every car enthusiast’s list simply because as time progresses it ages just as wine does. The production Gullwing version was a spectacle with its doors that opened upward and not forward similar to flap of the Seagull wing. It had its genes from the racing variant known as the W194.
1963 AC Shelby Cobra
This car was and is still is a delight. It was a creation of the legendary Carroll Shelby in conjunction with AC Cars. It was powered by a 3.6L V8 engine block that was supplied by Ford Motor Company. This car is divine because it has such a simple and redefined body, a small one at that yet with a belly of a beast.
1964 Porsche 911
This car has such a profound place in the automotive world because it was unlike many cars of its time. It had a rear-mounted 130 horsepower air cooled 2.0L boxer engine that gave it a crispy, bubbly rumble housed in a small yet adequate body. This car gave the Porsche Company the edge it needed to survive the harsh conditions most companies faced in trying to rebuild post World War II.
1967 Lamborghini Miura
The Miura came at a time when Italian passion and art was finding their way into their cars. In doing so Lamborghini made the world’s first supercar in a bid to outdo their rival Ferrari. It was powered by 3.9L V12 that allowed it to top out at 280 km/h.
1982 BMW 3 Series (E30)
We shall skip the 1975 BMW E21 because the E30 was really the defining BMW 3 series that sparked life at BMW. It came with a variety of engines and a new all-wheel drive drivetrain which then led to the creation of the very first BMW M3.
1974 MK1 Volkswagen Golf
This, unlike the cars that precede it on this list, is not a top of the line car. It was produced to cater for the growing middle and lower income households who needed a practical and economical daily driver. At the time a 3-door hatchback could get the job done for many families. In 1976 Volkswagen introduced the Golf GTI. This car is famed for being the world’s first high-performance hot hatchback. High performance here meaning 108 horsepower which was more than enough. When it launched, it was a dream car for almost many boys and girls as well as young adults.
1992 McLaren F1
This last spot had been reserved for the Ferrari F50. However, upon further consideration, the F1 stood out. This is because at the time McLaren was a very new company that shone with new vehicle technology. It also came out just 3 years before the F50 so it beat the iconic Ferrari to market. It was at its time the fastest naturally aspirated car in the world. The world had gone crazy and technology companies were springing up everywhere. This was largely because the internet was revealing previously unknown opportunities as the McLaren F1 was doing in the automotive industry.
It has to be said that though this list has some very iconic vintage cars, so many more have not yet been listed. Some might say every car ever produced should be on this list since every car model has a story to it and that argument is probable. This list is a generalized Mount Rushmore of sorts, representing some of the greatest automobiles and most beautiful vintage cars to have ever been produced and sold to the general public. There are seemingly many cars that never got to the public because they never went into production and only existed as prototypes.