Top Ten Unforgettable Classic Cars
“A true classic.” Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard that before, but how many of these “classics” are actually committed to memory? Unfortunately for car makers, not a whole lot. Then there are those cars that just cannot be forgotten, no matter how hard we try; those cars define “classic” for many people. These unforgettable cars don’t seem to age no matter how long they remain on our minds.
1. Ferrari 246 Dino
From its launch in 1969, the “baby Ferrari” has been a favorite of car collectors the world over. There are other dreamy Ferraris both on the lower and higher end of the scale, of course, but this Italian export is still the most desirable. Why? Because nothing quite beats the 246GT’s timeless look, balanced handling, and tearing-calico V6 out back. Take good care of this baby and you will have a treasure.
With superb styling by Pininfarina, car stylist Sergio Farina couldn’t have been more proud of the Dino as it represented a departure into mid-engine road cars for Ferrari. The Ferrari name or cavallino rampante badge was never worn by this icon, though. Any mark on the tail would just be an add-on. It might also be interesting to note that the Dino found its beginnings as a marque to honor the son of Enzo Ferrari, Alfredino, who met an early death.
Cars like these aren’t cheap to maintain. Set aside about $1700-3000 a year to look after a good car. A worn one would take an arm and a leg to restore. You might be able to get a 246GT for $90,000, but that could be a very costly mistake. Experts advise to budget about $140,000 for a good deal.
At the end of the day, this isn’t just a car—it’s a Ferrari. And it’s not just a Ferrari—it’s a Dino.
2. Jaguar E-type
Former General Motors styling chief Chuck Gordon wasn’t exaggerating when he said: "The smooth, voluptuous envelope body shape and flowing upper edge makes my mouth water.” Watch that sleek Malcolm Sayer styling run at nearly a speed of 150mph and it’s not hard to understand why the Jaguar E-type turns heads wherever it goes.
A Jaguar E-type classic carThe very first E-type, a coupe, was driven overnight to the Geneva Motor Show in 1961. The E-type got a larger engine in 1964, better headlights and creature comforts mid-way through 1966, and changed character again when the traditional straight-six was replaced by a creamy V12 in 1970. Upgraded cars are naturally more road-friendly, with alternators instead of dynamos, better brakes, and better electric fans to keep the engine cool.
An E-type might be purchased for as little as $50,000, but that price bracket is dangerous territory. $100,000 would be a safe estimate for a nice original car. Restoring and modernizing an E-type will set you back about $300,000. The costs might be hard to swallow, but note that this is the ultimate British classic car and probably the most beautiful roadster in the world.
3. Ford Mustang
Ride back to the sixties with a genuine sixties style icon: the Ford Mustang. Launched in 1964, this all-American classic is compact, unlike most US stunners. In the Sixties, the Mustang was a "build-it-yourself" car. It would be difficult to find any identical two as there were three different body styles - notch, fastback and convertible - and three basic choices of engine to choose from. Mustangs that came out between 1964 and 1969 look basically the same, albeit slightly heavier every year from ‘66.
A Ford Mustang classic carPrices are similar for all "classic" years. A really nice car would go for about $30,000. Budget at least $2,000 for restoration work, and a lot more if the car isn’t in such good shape. The most sought-after Mustangs, the rare Shelby GT350s, cost about $80,000.
4. VW type 2
It’s a style you can sleep in. The VW bus is a fun and practical vehicle that can be fitted with fold-out beds, a cooker, a fridge, plenty of storage space, and sometimes a "pop-top" or lifting roof section to provide extra headroom.
A Volkswagen type 2 classic vanThere are two types of VW campers. Aficionados go for the split-screen, the so-called “split”, early versions. This type, made until 1967, has tiny, low-powered engines and limited top speed because of low gearing. Still enthusiasts don’t mind, because in splits, originality is prized, and the more windows it has the rarer and more valuable it is. The second type, "bays", which has a large one-piece curved windscreen, are more numerous, easier to drive and cheaper, though still cost up to $16,000.
Looking for a new version of the VW type 2? VW Brazil makes them. The basic price is $42,500, but you can add at least $10,000 if you have specifications like alloy wheels, interior appointments and any color other than white.
The MGB’s basic toughness, reliability and spare supply makes it the logical choice for those looking for a classic they can actually drive. MG made close to half a million Bs between 1962 and 1980, so they aren’t hard to find. Early roadsters are the most popular, with hoods that can be removed completely from the car and stowed unseen in the boot. The newest models, the "rubber-bumper" cars made from 1975-1980, are the least loved, but they are the cheapest you can find.
A MGB convertible carUse the MGB as everyday transport and it will surprise you. For a classic, with the youngest models aged 27 years, it handles pretty well. The engine will cope unbelievably well in traffic jams as well. You might have to deal with a bit of body rot, but complete new body shells are available and many cars on the market have been rebuilt.
6. Ford F Series Pickup Trucks
A classic truck from the father of the truck.
A Ford F Series classic pickup truckFord has offered many different models in its F series line since its release in 1948. It was a necessary decision as various pickup drivers use their vehicles in many different ways. Seeing as the F series truck makes up almost half of Ford Motor Company’s profits in the more recent years, Henry Ford’s decision proved a very wise one.
Now on its eleventh generation, the pickup continues to stay popular enough to warrant the release of the super duty pickups introduced in 1999. Want to know what’s going around on the grapevine? The newest generation will be released in 2008.
7. Chevy Corvette
A Chevy Corvette classic carSince 1953, Chevrolet has been producing the Corvette for the honest American. To this day, it remains as pure and American as its roots demand. Its design is clean and simple, leading its European counterparts to criticize it for being dull and unrefined. Still, Chevy’s Corvette remains to be the sports car dreams are made of for many a teenage boy.
8. Chevy Camaro
This is one muscle car oozing with machismo. A total stud.
A Chevy Camaro classic carIntroduced in 1967, the Camaro was built to ride for 35 years, until its popularity waned and production ended in 2002. Camaro enthusiasts need no fret, for there is hope yet! The 2006 North American International Auto Show introduced the fifth generation Camaro concept, a beautifully stylish adaptation on an old favorite. Watch out for that revving engine in production by 2009.
When someone mentions “Jeep,” there’s no question as to what the vehicle will look like. That’s how commanding the name is, and how distinctive the classic is.
A blue classic Jeep CJFirst built in 1945, the CJ-2A is the father of all Jeeps; all models today are direct descendants. Like so many vehicles of its type, the Jeep was originally formulated for the armed services and this iconic terrain crawler was initially built by the lowest bidder.
The creature comforts of today’s market now demands a little more luxury when it comes to vehicles, but the Jeep manages to hold onto its utilitarian roots. Who says a Jeep can’t be tough and pretty at the same time?
10. VW Beetle
Anyone can recognize a Beetle. With its unique (and maybe a little strange) styling and signature sounding engine, there’s no mistaking it for anything else.
A classic Volkswagen Beetle carFirst seen in 1938, not a lot of cars can boast the lasting power that these models have exhibited throughout the twentieth century. Every Beetle is respected and admired for its lasting power both in the market and on the street. This is one make that is still seen plenty on the streets of warm climates.
VW introduced the New Beetle in 1998; stylistically it is similar to the original, however in every other sense the car is modernized and updated.
These ten exemplary vehicles aren’t likely to escape us anytime soon. We’re not likely to find a lot of them on the streets, but we know they’re there: in the world, on our minds, and for car enthusiasts, in our aspirations.
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