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The 100 Best Cars of All Time

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
edited April 2 in General
An enterprising gentleman over at GeoCities has
posted a list of his picks for the Best 100 Cars
ever. Of course, such a list could be debated into
infinity, but I must say that aside from just a few
clunkers on the list, he's come up with a most
impressive display of automotive history.

I suspect he's a little light on the American
cars, so perhaps you'd like to look over the list
and make comments both here and to him at his site.

Keep in mind, however, we are talking about the
BEST cars (i.e., exceptional in some way, be it
performance, trend-setting or styling, that is
historically significant and memorable)...and we're
talking about ALL TIME, which is about 100 years.
So think about this. I'd be very interested to here
all of your opinions and suggestions for new
entries and upon what basis you might justify such
a candidate.

The link is:

Sometimes you can't get right to it, sometimes you
can...if you can't, use the GeoCities search
engine to go to the "Motor City" section, and then
to Space'll figure it out.

Mr. Shiftright




  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Okay, I'll start with a lot of praise for this list but a couple of gripes.

    What the heck is the MGC GT doing on there? A pleasant curiousity, but basically an MGB overloaded with a wheezy I-6 engine from...I forget...some kind of taxicab...I dunno. Anyway, here we are in 1969 and the world market is crying out for a high-performance roadster like the old Healeys, and more affordable than the XKE, and we get this....THING...instead of that lovely body with a small V-8 or a 6 cylinder ohc engine that could rev up and go. And thus did Japan invent the 240Z and British affordable roadsters go down the toilet. To be fair though, the MGC is pleasant enough touring car, especially the coupe, but Best 100 of all time...I don't think so myself.

    Second clunker, that Daimler SP 250. Just click on that link and rear back in terror at what you see. Again, the basic IDEA might have been pretty good (Hey, the Sunbeam Tiger did an okay job of it), but just look at that mess of a styling exercise!
    What trends did it set? What new ground did it pioneer with technology or styling or marketing?
    I'm waiting to be converted.

    PS: I don't pretend to be knowledgable about all the cars on this list! But I do have an awesome library so if there's something you want to know about any of them and you can't find it, maybe I glad to try.


  • Quite a list. What about a '67 Shelby Mustang. The first of the bad*ss pony cars. Very few 80s vintage cars too, so I nominate the 1988 BMW //M3. This is when the BMW Motorsport division really got going. These are important landmarks too.
  • Shiftright-

    Can you please list the Geocities sight your talking about so we'll have some point of reference. I own a few but would like to see what some absolute stranger potentially w/o a clue thinks about them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Yes, Frederick, just go to the beginning of this topic (response #0)and click on the highlighted link that I've provided.


  • All post war MG cars are dogs being rebodied versions of dull poorly made saloons [sedans]. MGCin uk was a 3 litre 6 cyl.The engine was from an Austin A90. The result was a front heavy gas guzzeler,handled like a pig,rusted on the way home from the showroom,in general a classic example of state owned industry at its best.I would nominate for 100 top cars- CITROEN DS. JAGUAR XK 150. JAG E-TYPE..CITROEN CX. CADDILAC ELDORADO 53 and 62.A Pontiac and Packard must be worth including.Cheers from haggis land.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Pretty good list there, but I can't say that postwar Packards were very much at that time, although the '55 did have some interesting innovations, like self-leveling suspension and lock-up torque converter (which is common now). But the Jags and Citroens were really inventive, and embodied some bold engineering...the XKE was, and still is, a genuine 140+mph car for a bargain price...and beautiful enough to sit in the Museum of Modern ARt in NY.


  • List was impressive. But, I did not see any Hudsons. The Hudson Hornets were top for years in all categories of performance and safety. Still probably hold the record for most racing wins. Built to last through collisions with any thing except another tank.
  • weslwesl Posts: 53
    I found the list to be severely lacking. I fail to comprehend how anyone could almost completely ignore domestic manufacturers in a top 100 cars list. No Pierce-Arrow, Cord, or Packard? And anyone who would put the Rover 3.5 coupe on their list has serious problems. Later, Wes.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Well, wes, he does ask for should write him! I thought he did okay, really, for such an ambitious undertaking.


  • If the Alfa Romeo 8C2900 is the most important car in automotive history (in this guys opinion), how come I never heard of it? I mean really, I'm not all knowing or anything, but I don't think that the average joe know what this is and I fail to see how it could be so incredibly influencial and historically significant. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

    You want the most important cars of all time, I think the Ford Model-T would be a good place to start-the first car normal people could afford as well as the first use of a modern assembly line. How 'bout the Dodge Caravan? You can scoff and laugh all you want, but you can't tell me it didn't revolutionize the auto industry. Or the Willys Jeep? Can you imagine an auto industry sans 4x4 vehicles? All those fancy European cars are okay, but if you want see the vehicles that really made a difference, I think you need to look closer to home. My $.02
  • By the way, I think the VW Beetle is an outstanding choice for the list, though I'd probably rate it a little higher than dead last.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    I don't know about the Alfa 8C 2900 being the MOST important, but it was certainly an outstanding sports car of the 1930s, won the Mille Miglia, (1938) almost won Le Mans, won the first Watkins Glen Grand Prix here in America (1948). Depending on the type of race, the cars were fitted differently in terms of body and engine components, but most people who think of this car think of a straight-8, twin superchargers, OHC engine, with ten main bearings and something like 255 hp. Pretty good for 65 years ago. They were beautiful, very fast, and kind of brutal to drive...modern owners describe the performance as "a kick in the back". There is a persistent and possibly true story that Henry Ford once said that whenever an Alfa Romeo passed by, he tipped his hat.

    It was a great, great car and deserves to be on the list.

    VW bug? yeah, I'd buy that...lightweight, cheap, very well-built, a modern Model T...yes, it should be on the list!

    Model T Ford? Same as above, I'd say.

    Dodge Caravan....please, after I've gone to my grave you can put it on the list....or, we could put in on the 100 Greatest Concepts That Didn't Turn Out to be Great Cars But We Appreciate Them Anyway List....


  • esneedesneed Posts: 16
    I concur with Lohengrin... whomever comprised this list has a great deal of knowledge of classic car history, and went through a great deal of effort to put such a list together... I commend him for his time and detail.

    However, I am also an avid car buff, but more influenced by Western tastes - particularly in the U.S. domain. What makes these 100 cars so significant? And to who?

    The Model-T, the Corvette, the VW Beetle, the Chrysler Minivans, the Austin Mini, the Citroen 2CV, the Jeep, Pontiac GTO, the Edsel, Lincoln Continental Mark II, the Chrysler DeSoto... these are broad exmaples of cars which were all influential in the automotive landscape by either creating new market niches for automakers to compete, or set new standards in future designs.

    Maybe my gripe is that I don't see the significance in how these cars could be considered the 'Best'. Perhaps I would prefer to see a list like 'The 100 Most Influential Cars of All Time', based on how they changed the auto landscape. These are the 'Best' representatives of cars in our history.

    Again... kudos to the original author - I just can't see how these cars are really considered 'the Best'.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    I think he did mean the most influential actually...good point.

    The Edsel? You must be kidding....


  • esneedesneed Posts: 16
    Well, no... the most influential are not NECESSARILY the 'best'. Here's what I mean...

    The Edsel? Was I kidding? Actually, no I'm not. It wasn't a POSITIVE influence - granted, but it definitely changed the industry.

    You don't think Ford (and the other car makers) didn't learn a lesson or two from the Edsel? Next to the 'New Coke' from the mid 80's, it was the marketing lesson of the century... here's just a few things they learned...

    1) Marketing HYPE and bold styling (if one calls it that) does not a sales winner make.
    2) DON'T start a whole new car division on a totally new vehicle line that has absolutely no track record. (You would think Chrysler would have learned from that and saved some hefty marketing dollars before launching the Eagle brand, huh?)
    3) Timing is everything. (The horse collar grill didn't work for Edsel, but the similar effect sure worked for the 68-69 Pontiac Catalina/Bonneville, right?)
    4) DON'T deliver cars just so you can say you met the introduction date.
    5) If the car has quality problems, don't let it leave the factory.
    6) The general consensus within the Big Three by the mid-50's was - if we build it with boldness and distinctiveness, it will sell. The Edsel was a LOUD wake-up call to the contrary.

    And MANY, MANY other lessons learned....

    Much can also be said about the Chevrolet Corvair, which changed the industry not by its revolutionary and clever design, but on account of its weaknesses - in safety. Ralph Nader, seat belts, and the term 'consumer advocacy' would soon become household words.

    Again - I'm not knocking the guy with the original list... I just would like to know more about why they are considered 'best' and what they are 'best' in?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Hmm...well, that's a very interesting way to look at it, I hadn't thought of "influence" in terms of "negative influence", but I guess it takes as much genius and effort to totally screw a car up as it does to make it brilliant.

    I don't think, however, it would be fair to put the Edsel and the Corvair in the same category. The Corvair was technologically interesting, and a rare attempt by Detroit to do some real engineering for a change. The car's failure is mostly related to the Detroit beancounters who refused to invest in the car's future development. There went America's future Porsche down the drain.
    The Edsel had no such engineering. It was just a gagdet-ridden car with the same old stuff underneath, and not very well put together either. Problem was, it was ALL marketing and no engineering and no quality and certainly no aesthetics.

    But you're right, lessons were learned from it. It would be appropriate for a list of the world's Worst 100 cars....but really, maybe not that bad either...more like a Big Nothing. You can hardly give one away today, although they are kinda fun to own, giving the mythology.

    I think "best" means best efforts...something exceptional, innovative, influential, successful...not unlike say, the "best" athletes or best songs...something that stands the test of time, and is admired by the next generation and the one after that (you can't really trust the taste of the public when something is too new, don't you think?)


  • esneedesneed Posts: 16
    Yes - I'd have to retract my comment on the Corvair... you're right - it was a technologically advanced car, with incredible potential... my intent was to state that people don't remember the Corvair as much for its innovation as they do its reputation for being 'dangerous' through hype in the media. However, my wording sounded harsh towards the Corvair - and that was not intended.

    Your defintion for 'best' is one I would agree with as well... and looking at 100 Best, I don't see how an Alfa Romeo from years of yore can be considered 'best' in any way... (No offense to Alfa lovers, just making a point).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    I think Alfa best defense is it's amazing racing history, not the cars it sent here in the last ten years. They've produced some magnificent cars of outstanding performance and beauty, but most people today don't see that because well, it's not exactly taught in schools and shown on TV...I only learned it from books and old films...after World War II, they didn't do too much, but they made some lovely sports cars in the 1950s and 60s which are highly prized today.

    I'm pleased you also like the Corvair, and you're so right, it isn't remembered for the good things, only the bad, which was an easily correctible fault. Another few million bucks and GM could have had a fabulous car, I think.


  • jeff88jeff88 Posts: 94
    How about this as a qualifier:
    If one wants to select the best in history, why not select the car you would house in the additional garage bay that most of us do not have. It would be the car you would run on Sunday's, in nice weather, that would be both fun to drive and cool to be seen in.
    For me: either a '68 MB 280SL or almost any Porsche 911 Cabriolet. A '49 Woody Wagon would be nice too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Yes, but have you seen what some people store in their garage? What's "best" to Ralph in Cincinatti may or may not be a standard the world should look up to. I think each car put up as "best" has to be qualified beyond the idea of "I like it", don't you?

    For instance, your 280SL is a great little car, the best of the SLs easily, except for the magnificent 300 gullwing and coupe, and one could argue for it, ditto the 911 cabrio...but the woodie is just a car it's pretty awful to drive and the technology is from the 1920s at I wouldn't put the latter on any best list speaking for myself. I'd pick a '49 Olds before I'd pick that car, because at least you could argue that here was one of the first hi-compression OHV V-8s to be mass-produced.

    So I guess any Best List comes down to justifying the entry with some good hard facts regarding what makes this car special, superior in some way, and worthy of respect. It's like the Hall of Fame in don't pick somebody because he was a nice guy.


This discussion has been closed.