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5 Best Auto Designs of All Time

Our design experts showed more consensus as they picked their all-time favorite automotive designs. Again, our panel listed their all-time favorites and we presented the designs with the most votes below. Demonstrating that defining a classic proved easier for the panel, a couple of vehicles showed up on almost every list.

Ferrari 250 GT

Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheel Base (1959)
The 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheel Base is one of a number of Ferrari 250 models, many of which embody the best elements of design. Perhaps because of its racing heritage, this particular Ferrari stands out as a memorable favorite among the family of 250s, that also includes the 1961 250 GT California Spider.

Ferrari Dino 246

Ferrari Dino 246 (1969-74)
The history of the Ferrari Dino is that the company wanted to field a less expensive GT car to compete with the Porsche 911. All Dinos were powered by a compact V-6 mounted just aft of the cockpit. The design is credited to Sergio Pininfarina, who eventually took over running the coachbuilding company his father started and continued a long and successful career designing many vehicles.

Jaguar E-Type Series

Jaguar E-Type Series 1 (1961-67)
With a shape that followed up the successful D-Type Jaguar of the 1950s, the Series 1 Jaguar E-Type (1961-67) became an icon of motoring. Body styles include the OTS (Open Two Seater) and FHC (Fixed Head Coupe). Upon the car's introduction, Enzo Ferrari reportedly called it, "The most beautiful car ever made." Proportions and details on the Series 1 cars are considered to be more pure than later editions.

Cadillac Series 62 Sedanette

Cadillac Series 62 Sedanette (1948-49)
The 1948 Cadillac is widely regarded as the car that first sprouted tail fins. Those small kick-ups at the trailing edge of the rear fenders started a revolution in styling. While significant, what makes the 1948-49 Cadillac Series 62 Sedanette so handsome is the car's balance and flowing lines.

Mustang Fastback

Mustang Fastback (1967-68)
Designers often talk of balance and the purity of the lines and proportions. Certainly, these are elements of design. Compared to other cars on this list, the second-generation Mustang in the fastback body style simply doesn't seem to fit the criteria the designers said they were looking for. But upon closer inspection, the 1967 and 1968 Mustangs are simply striking and exude an aggressiveness that is rare to capture in sheet metal.

Bugatti Type 57

Honorable Mentions: Bugatti Type 57
Produced from 1934 through 1949 in several different variants, the Bugatti Type 57 was penned by Ettore Bugatti's son, Jean. In the words of panelist Pat Schiavone, "The Type 57 just drips elegance."
Honorable Mentions: Cord 810 Phaeton
Built only in 1937, the Cord 810 Phaeton is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cars ever produced. The low-slung body was enabled by a front-engine/front-wheel-drive power train. Major design cues included hidden headlamps (a first), a concealed fuel-filler, and the absence of running boards. The designed was created by the prolific Gordon Buehrig, who is also known for his designs for automobile manufacturers Auburn, Packard, Stutz and Duesenberg.
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