The Most Iconic Cars in Automobile History

Throughout the decades within the automobile industry, there are only a few cars that remain iconic and memorable even if they have been released or manufactured years ago. These timeless classics are highly sought after among collectors today, and their value is mainly attributed to their looks, their features, and their significance in the history of cars. Here are the most iconic cars in automobile history.

Porsche 911

Porsche 911
Christchurch,New Zealand – Mars 09,2014 : Car enthusiast driving a a fully restored Porsche 911 from 1980 in a classic car cavalcade the Twin Rivers Car Parade. The car parade is held every year in Christchurch in New Zealand

Out of the countless popular models produced by Porsche, there is one particular model that stands out among the rest. This model is the Porsche 911, a rear-engined sports car that was originally released in September 1964. The Porsche 911 is known for its simple design that hides great features, which make it one of the best-performing cars of all time.

Besides being a popular road car, the Porsche 911 also saw some action in world championship races, where it won first place in 24 Hours of Daytona rays, the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, and Targa Florio.

Ferrari F40

iconic Ferrari F40

Much like Porsche, Ferrari has already manufactured several well-known sports car models, but none is as iconic as the Ferrari F40. The F40 was released in 1987 to commemorate the company’s 40th anniversary. Besides being a commemorative model, the F40 was also the last model in which its design was approved by the legendary Enzo Ferrari.

During the year and decade of its release, the Ferrari F40 is considered the fastest and most powerful car ever produced by the company. Because of its durable and powerful parts and features, the F40 was also the most expensive Ferrari model during that time, as it debuted with a retail price of $400,000. Its expensiveness is also attributed to how few were produced, with Ferrari initially planning to only manufacture 400 units. However, due to popular demand, the total units produced increased to 1315.

Jaguar E-Type

Jaguar E-Type in red

The Jaguar E-Type was already considered an icon in the automobile industry just a few hours after it was released in 1961. In fact, the E-Type was so iconic that Enzo Ferrari, a rival of the Jaguar Cars company, even said that the vehicle is “the most beautiful car ever made.” The E-Type was supposed to be a road car version of the Jaguar D-Type, a racing car that won awards for three consecutive years at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race from 1955 to 1957. But, the E-Type was eventually created as a separate model.

The E-Type’s beauty is brought by its elegant curved design that looks very different from the cars released during the early 60s. Furthermore, the Jaguar E-Type also boasts supreme performance features that enable it to claim a top speed of 150 miles per hour.

Volkswagen Beetle

Jaguar E-Type in red

There have been hundreds of compact cars that have been released over the years, but there is only one compact car that can be recognized by almost all people in the world. That car is the Volkswagen Beetle, which was officially known as the Volkswagen Type 1 when it was produced in 1938.

The Volkswagen Beetle was planned to be a “people’s car” that can be afforded by almost all German citizens of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler tasked the German Labour Front to create a car that is very affordable and can be paid for by the citizens through a savings plan. The Beetle’s production was stopped during World War II in order for the factory to focus on manufacturing military vehicles. It would then be revived after the war thanks to the efforts of British Army officer Major Ivan Hirst and his assistant (and former manager of automobile company Opel) Heinz Nordhoff.

Lamborghini Miura

Lamborghini Miura in yellow

While the Lamborghini Miura is highly regarded as one of the best cars in automobile history, it wasn’t originally intended to be a production model for the company. The Miura was supposed to be only a concept car that a group of engineers working for Lamborghini is designing during their spare time. The engineers designed a road car that has the specifications and features of a racing car so that it can both be driven on the road and on the racing track.

Upon seeing that their design can be successful in the industry, the engineers then presented the concept to Ferrucio Lamborghini, who then approved of the vehicle and allowed the engineers to assemble a team to finally transform the design into a fully functioning sports car. The Lamborghini Miura’s prototype, nicknamed the P400, was finally unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966. Because of the overwhelmingly positive response for the vehicle, the Miura was later turned into a production model and would eventually serve as Lamborghini’s flagship from 1967 to 1973.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL

Mercedes-Benz 300SL in dark gray

The Mercedes-Benz 300SL is one of those futuristic-looking vehicles that have come out of the 1950s, but instead of appearing ridiculous like many “ahead-of-its-time-design” vehicles, the 300SL’s design is just perfect for it to be a timeless classic. The 300SL was first produced in 1954 as a coupe, which is famous for its gullwing doors that open upwards like a pair of wings, but in 1957, Mercedes-Benz introduced a more affordable roadster variant that doesn’t have the gullwing doors.

The “SL” in the car’s name stands for “super-light” in German. True to its name, the 300SL was one of the lightest cars when it was released, and its lightweight construction is possible because of its light tubular frame design. Thanks to its beauty, elegance, and performance, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL was voted as the “sports car of the century” in 1999, beating all of the iconic cars mentioned in this article.

Mini

Mini Cooper
Varallo Sesia, Italy – June 02, 2019: Classic car, old Mini Cooper during a vintage cars rally

The history of the automobile industry wasn’t all about expensive sports cars. Sometimes, it was the likes of Mini that ran for as much as five and a half million units. Considering the numbers, it can easily lay the claim that it is amongst the most iconic cars of all time. Even though it could not challenge the prestige and class of the previously mentioned vehicles but interms of family motoring, it was the best choice of its time.

It was designed by Sir Alec Issigonis at a time when most British cars were both easy to own and maintain. The Mini was a result of the 1956 Suez Crisis, which rose the petrol prices and brought down the sales of bigger cars. Therefore, the need for a compact and classless family car was felt by the public.

Over the years, the car has been used in many iconic movies and continues to have a huge following around the world. 

Citroen DS

Citroen DS
Nordlingen, Germany – April 29, 2017: Citroen DS 21 oldtimer car at the MotoTechnika oldtimer meeting on April 29, 2017 in Nordlingen, Germany. Front side view.

While the world underwent the trauma of the Second World War and the post-colonial identity crisis, the Citroen DS became the poster child representing French technology, design, and ingenuity. Apart from the splendid handling and braking, the Citroen DS was arguably the most beautiful car of its time. 

Although you don’t get to see much of it in the movies and TV shows but whenever it is spotted out on the roads, it receives all the attention it deserves. In the 1955 Paris Motor Show, Citroen received 743 orders in the first 15 minutes and its fans are still wild about it to this day.

Aston Martin DBS

 

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Aston Martins were always beautiful but the DBS was something out of this world. It was made in small numbers between 1963 and 1965 as a classic grand tourer with a 4.0 liter, 282 bhp engine and 4-speed manual gearbox with optional overdrive. Plus, its later versions came with 5-speed transmission.

Its jaw-dropping features made it a part of the iconic James Bond movie and everything from the wood to the chrome and leather signified sheer class and charisma. Even though it has been years since the production stopped but you can’t find even a single individual on earth that doesn’t recognize this car. Such is the fame and popularity carried by this icon.

FAQs: The Most Iconic Cars in Automobile History

Here is a look at some popular questions asked about the most iconic cars in the automobile industry.

1. What is the most iconic car of all time?

Although there are several iconic cars that share the list of the most iconic cars of all time but the Porsche 911, Aston Martin DBS and Mercedes SL300 share the top spot. These cars are bound to turn heads whenever wherever they show up, representing a totally different breed, class, and innovation.

2. What is the most recognized car?

There is a tough battle between Volkswagen and Toyota when it comes to the most recognized car. Even though others manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW are quite famous as well but when it comes to reliability, durability, ease of maintenance, and comfort, Toyota takes the overall lead.

3. What is the most common classic car?

The list of the most common classic cars includes the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang, MG TD, Ford Thunderbird, and Chevrolet Bel-Air. These cars are nothing less than collectibles and carry a huge price tag if found or restored to their original specifications. 

Conclusion

Many car models come and go, but the vehicles mentioned above will forever remain as the icons of the automobile industry. We may see more iconic cars in the future, but for now, these six cars are currently the most recognizable and memorable out of all.