Cars mean various things to various people, and for most of us they are a form of transport. People use them to move quickly from one place to another, traffic jams not permitting. However, this chore means that often the simple joys of taking to the road are overlooked when swallowed up by the everyday grind that people carry out when driving, that a car soon becomes a tool more than the cool machine viewed by the young. Although many people would love to take to the road and watch the country, and maybe even the world unfold in a beautiful car to get away from it all and experience the freedom of putting the pedal to the metal.
Many people have their dreams of which car they would love to get behind the wheel of for when they leave it all behind, Thelma and Louise style. A lot of these vehicles become fixed in the memory of culture due to either their design or speed, perhaps because of how they are featured in iconic and memorable movies or music videos, commercials and such. Unfortunately, a wide array of these vehicles now reside as relics of the past and plenty are stuck away from prying eyes, sleeping safely in a garage, receiving more of a polish than a spin! Some cars are so iconic that they make a comeback, such as the Mini Cooper and the Volkswagen Campervan, and motoring enthusiasts would love to see the rebirth of some other legendary vehicles again… like these 20 beautiful automobiles.
20. The DeLorean
There is a grand tradition of celebrity cars from the Batmobile to Herbie, the General Lee to Kit in Knightrider. All of those aforementioned cars have special powers, and so do many cinematic vehicles, such as the car in Grease and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang that both can fly. Although one car can fly and travel through time – provided it hits 88 miles per hour. This is the DeLorean, made famous by the Back to the Future movies. Although it did not sell well during its run from 1975 to 1982, the trilogy of blockbusters starring Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly made the DeLorean more legendary than any marketing the car company ever did! And if it was released once more, Back to the Future fans would surely snap them up… and they would need no roads!
19. Jaguar E-Type
The British motor industry once had a proud and unique tradition of providing and making stand out cars, ones that defined eras and cemented British style globally. Chief among the epoch-altering style icons of the 1960s was the Jaguar E-Type sports car, which was yet another vehicle that grew infamous through appearing in movies. The E-Type is synonymous with the effortless grace of sartorial elegance, associated with the British and secret agents like 007, James Bond. The MI6 spy and his parody – Mike Myers’ Austin Powers – are often seen sporting the peerless beauty of the E-Type, and many would love to channel some of the majesty of being On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in a new edition of this timeless motor.
18. Aston Martin DB-5
The seminal Aston Martin DB-5 is another staple of the James Bond franchise, and yet another example of the classic tradition of elegant British motorcars. The Aston Martin brand often goes hand-in-hand with the entire James Bond franchise, to the extent that an image of the famous spy is usually accompanied in the public’s mind’s eye with him, standing beside the Aston Martin car. So because of the automobile being a constant companion of the suave, womanizing secret agent, it equals a much-desired accessory for anyone wishing to emulate the MI6 sleuth. A relaunch of this car would be widely welcomed and although it would not come with all of the kick-ass modifications that Q would fit it still remains a beautiful brand of a luxury sports model.
17. Ford Capri
Another era-defining car that was a sought-after middle-of-the-road model that combined affordable sports and racing agility with everyday dependability, was the Ford Capri. The Capri was a defining motor that was popular throughout the 80s, and though production of the car ceased in this decade, its popularity has extended beyond the 80s. Which for that decade is quite remarkable. As most of the designs from the 80s seem best forgotten by everyone, the mark of the Capri is that it remains a desirable drive, especially for those wishing to get a little nostalgic and recapture their youth, which is obvious why the car still holds its value.
16. Jensen Interceptor
Here is a car that even inspired the name of a champion Formula One racer, Jenson Button! Well, it is a fitting name for both the man and the vehicle which share a passion for speed, and what is swifter than a car that had a large 7.2-litre V8 engine? Well, this was the capacity of the ultra-powerful, British-made Jenson Interceptor, a motor whose body that was created initially by Vignale in Italy, before Jenson undertook the building of the model entirely. Jenson goes to show the lengths and breakthroughs that were a driving force behind the golden age of British engineering and motoring excellence. Perhaps the fact that such skills seem like they are of a bygone era is what stops these cars from undergoing a Renaissance?
What’s better than taking to the road with a monster of a vehicle that takes up two lanes? A Hummer is certainly effective at terrifying other motorists that are approaching the huge SUV! With a 6.2-litre V8 engine, the Hummer was a former US military vehicle that soon crossed over into being a must-have vehicle for the rich and famous after Arnold Schwarzenegger owned one of the off-roaders. A trend of owning a Humvee as they often are affectionately referred to soon became part and parcel of being a rapper and in the grand tradition of hip-hop ostentation, stretched Humvees were soon a thing too! However, the tide of opinion turned against massive, gas-guzzling semi-trucks like Hummers and they have now ceased production.
14. Audi Quattro
“Vorsprung durch Technik” (Advancement through Technology) is one of the most memorable company slogans as it sounds cool in both German and English, and is the famous hook for the German manufacturer Audi. German engineering itself is a byword for finesse and skill, and alongside BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Audi is a world leader in automotive luxury. It is inevitable then that such a manufacturer at the forefront of its science should release great cars and the Audi Quattro indeed is that! With a futuristic-cum-aerodynamic design that is quintessentially 80s, the Quattro marries speed with functionality that German motors excel at, perfectly fitting for rallies as well as the road.
13. Volkswagen Golf Convertible
Another German company that provides a cornerstone of excellence is Volkswagen; and they are adept at launching vehicles that remain historical signifiers of style. Two such cars are the Volkswagen Beetle (Bug) – made famous in Hollywood in the Herbie movies – and every hippie and beatnik’s favorite mode of transport, the VW Campervan. While both of these have made a comeback, the popular Golf convertible remains a thing of the past, and that is a shame because it offered an affordable soft top car that was also decent on the road. While the Bug offers a cabriolet model, it doesn’t quite measure up to the easy cool image of the Golf.
12. Citroën 2CV
With the rebirth of the Volkswagen proving as popular as its original incarnation (likewise where the Mini Cooper is concerned), perhaps Citroën should also consider going retro? With compact motors being in demand more than ever, and the need for electric cars increasing, the Citroën 2CV is ripe for stepping in with iconic upside down pot look. More popularly known as the Dolly Citroën in some parts of the world, the 2CV is definitely a dainty reminder of how quirky design can remain dear to people’s hearts. No doubt some French engineers could rehash the simple outline of the car with a little modern aerodynamic grace, as the France is all about romantic takes on everything.
11. Morris Minor
What could resemble the pure British blend of class and functionality better than this automobile? The Morris Minor is a car that was everywhere in the 50s and 60s and is a simple car that went a long way, curvaceous and a four-door marvel. Designed three years after the close of the Second World War, the Morris Minor defined the every day British car throughout a generation. Production of the Morris Minor ceased production in 1971, after more than 1.3 million models were created, which for the UK at the time proved quite remarkable. So with a legendary reputation as a selling point at a time when nostalgia is a strong trend right now, perhaps it would not be a “minor” issue to revamp the Morris?
10. Land Rover Defender
Land Rover is a brand of car that equals Jeep in its unrivaled tackling and mastering of nature. The brand is synonymous with the British military, and their Defender model is the archetypal motor of the UK’s Armed Forces. The Defender is also a common ‘defender’ of farms and is additionally a Royal favorite too. It is well known that the Queen is quite adept behind the wheel (as she was a mechanic in World War II), and is often in the driving seat of a Land Rover Defender, as she whizzes around her vast estates of Sandringham or Balmoral. Of course, an iconic vehicle that is a reworking of the original Land Rover during World War II, that has the seal of Royal approval is driven by many landowners and farmers everywhere. The Defender was only canceled last year; perhaps it was too soon for the very convenient working vehicle.
9. Sinclair C5
This entry is here purely for its total ridiculousness and comedic value. In the 1980s it was a decade that was ripe with the thirst for making wealth, and being an entrepreneur and nowhere was this more evident, than with Sir Clive Sinclair. His creation of the Sinclair Spectrum was an innovation that hooked up to TVs and enabled kids to blast 8-Bit space blobs with a joystick. Although life is all about ups and downs, and Sir Clive Sinclair’s C5 was such a tremendous leap of faith that Sir Clive was arguably delusional! As an electrically powered seated bike of sorts, it combined automatic engine power with pedals and allowed users to sit and peddle but on the road. Not many of them sold as who on Earth wants to head along a highway on a puny little bike? However, with a little building up and casing, it could rival the Smart Car.
8. Lotus Elan
Supercars are consistently part of the fantasies of a multitude of young men – that as well as, well, ahem! – Moreover, Lotus has a brilliant reputation for creating convertible and other supercars. Lotus still makes supercars, but one of the stand-out models of the British manufacturer was the Lotus Elan. A classy, classic little two-seater soft top by a British car manufacturer for throwing the roof down for a lovely, baking hot British summer… oh right! The Elan also came in a hard top version that looked just as awesome as its convertible cousin, so if it did then, it will do so now.
7. MG MGB
British car making at its height liked to pretend obviously, pretend that the UK has beautiful, blistering sunny summers for months on end. Although overlooking the tempestuous climate of the island nation, MG still aspired to motoring excellence and even modified this brand of motor eventually with a “Winter Brand.” So the wealthier among society at the time could own one convertible for the summer, and another MG brand car with a fixed roof for the when the weather went south, and the snow came howling in from the north! Now car makers have structured more durable soft top roofs, so should MG do that too?
6. Alfa Romeo Spider
The Alfa Romeo is another car that was made iconic by its starring role in a major movie; this movie being The Graduate. In the 60s cinema classic, Dustin Hoffman speeds to thwart the wedding of the woman he loves, all while traversing picturesque mountain and coastal roads. What better time than to use this journey than to throw in a vehicle that smacks of Italian passion and vivacity, an emblem of the new free-spirited ethos of the 60s? In steps the Alfa Romeo classic, the Spider, a vehicle that seems made to cruise with the wind in your hair and nothing else!
5. Mazda RX-7
A car that looks a little like the DeLorean’s more responsible brother, minus the winged doors and painted in a more tasteful color. The Mazda lasted longer than the DeLorean too and more than likely outsold the DeLorean, all without the aid of a cult cinema trilogy of films. Although its implementation of a rotary was just as unique, if not more so and led to the RX-7’s success that kept it rolling off Mazda production lines from 1978 to 2002 when replaced with the less powerful RX-8, and the rotary engine was eventually ditched by the Japanese car maker.
4. Batrodz 66 Batmobile
POW! That may be the expression when learning it is possible to build a Batmobile from scratch but wait a minute, this is no Batmobile from the dark and edgy Christopher Nolan Batman movies. The Batrodz Batmobile is a Batmobile; although it is a replica of the 60s TV series starring Adam West. A little more kitsch than classic, it still resembles a motor that was part of TV history and it could all be yours… if DC Comics had not launched a lawsuit to stop production of the replicas. A little supervillain-like perhaps, people only want to indulge their love of a rather camp 60s series with the same gusto as the BAM! WHACK! Cards on the show!
3. Honda CRX
Another example of Japanese brilliance where the cars were not only efficient but upgradeable, much like a PC version of a vehicle in a world of Macs. During its eight-year run between 1983 and 1991, the Honda brought a very unique culture of customizing cars in order to make drag racing popular in America. So the CRX embodied the best of both worlds, being lighter than its Honda cousin, the Civic and with the advantage of an upgradeable engine this lightness gave the CRX a good dose of power. A car great for everyday life and racing, the replacement, the Honda CRZ, just doesn’t cut it!
2. Pontiac Firebird
Another car that takes pride of place in a movie, this movie being American Beauty. The film stars Kevin Spacey as a run-of-the-mill middle-aged dad, working an average job who develops a crush on his daughter’s best friend and experiences a mid-life crisis. As a result, he quits his job and with the decent severance package he receives – gained through blackmailing his boss – he buys a classic Pontiac Firebird that he had always wanted since he saw his cousin’s as a youngster. Moreover, it is clear why the Pontiac Firebird is a gem of a car, meaty and robust and born for the American road!
1. Toyota 2000 GT
A vehicle so rare that only 371 were made. This Japanese automobile is a rare, yet a perfect blend of both British class and American gusto! Mixing sleek lines and an elongated engine, the Toyota is an excellent example of elegant and functional design, a sleek addition to the stylish roll-call of the motors that defined the 60s. Sharing similarities with some of the seminal automobiles of that era, the 2000 GT did even have a cameo in a James Bond movie, like its E-Type and DB5 peers. Although that star turn on the silver screen only lasted briefly, as it went out of production in 1967.
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