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Attractive Older Cars and Why You Think So

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
edited March 2014 in Mazda
Those are pretty good lists, and made with a good eye, all in all, and I can live with most of them (scratch the Monte Carlo and I'd be happier) as long as I keep the word "style" in mind and don't let "size" get in the way. It's interesting that some cars only look good BIG and some look good SMALL, and when a big car is too small or vice-versa it doesn't work for me.

I think the last generation RX-7 was a beautiful car in that it was modern but restrained...not a superficial scoop or piece of phony anything on the car...just right.

Sometimes only time can judge a car's rule of thumb I've relied on is whether a car still looks good when it's stripped and lying in a wrecking the 70s Alfa GTV sedan, a clean Bertone design that even looks good wrecked with pieces missing. Can't say that for the Monte, IMO.


  • bubukittybubukitty Posts: 96
    I am glad that this topic was started! I think the gamut was covered on the ugly car topic!

    Here are some of my favorites:

    Jaguar XKE (series one covered headlight) from the early and mid 60's---still timeless
    Chevy Corvette mid year coupe and roadster ('63-'67)-absolutely perfect.
    Ferrari 250 GTL (Lusso). An amazingly beautiful car. Most of the '60's Pinninfarina Ferraris are amazing designs--too many to list here.
    Maserati Ghibli. What a car!
    Lamborgini Miura. Just beautiful.
    Iso Grifo. Italian Style with American power.
    Alfa Romeo boat tail spider (late '60's).
    Alfa Romeo 2000 & 2600 Spider (early 60's).
    Mercedes 230-250SL roadsters.
    Mustang '67-'70, including Shelbys
    Camaro '67-'68 and '70-'73
    BMW 507 roadster (late 50's)
    BMW 2800 & 3.0 cs/csl coupe
    BMW 6 series coupe

    There are others than this, but these are some of the main ones I think are great. Some mentioned earlier too like the '63-'65 Riviera and the Miata.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    yep, yep, like 'em all for style.
  • tbirdtonytbirdtony Posts: 2
    The best looking car of all time is the 1957 Ford Thunderbird. Other great looking cars include:
    65 to 69 Mustangs.
    65 to 70 Shelbys.
    57 Chevys.
    63 Chevy Impala 2 door hardtop.
    63 Falcon convertible and Ranchero.
    66 & 67 Fairlane GT & GTA.

    My opinion.
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    My opinion for best looking cars are as follows:


    Mazda Miata--Wouldn't want to drive one, but they are kinda cute.

    Jag XJ6/8/12/R/whatever else they call the thing--I'd have to give it to this car hands down in the looks department. Even the 80's models with the clunky black bumpers and square headlights look good.

    Jag S-type What can I say, I have a thing for Jaguars!


    Late Model Taurus (Just kidding. I'm not like, you know, high on pot or anything!)

    Late 70's Early 80's Ford/Lincoln/Mercury Full sized cars...Crown Vics (except they were called LTD's back then) Grand Marquis's Town Cars, the like. Also the Caddies from this period (except the one with the chopped trunk)

    Buick Regal Don't know what it is about that car, but I like it.

    57 Chevy Nuff said

    Those snout nosed GM vans of the Early 90's (Lumina, Sillouette, ect.) I'm currently the only person I know who like those things.

    58 Edsel Absolute lemon, but cool looks. (Again, see what I said bout the Lumina. I have weird taste in cars.)

    95 T-Bird...I own one. What can I say?

    I could go on and on, but these are the main ones.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well, you know what you like!
  • esneedesneed Posts: 16
    I'll give you credit - you have a 'different' list! But you included the Miata, and since I own one - how can I judge you too harshly?! :)

    I have an odd appreciation for mid-size/full-size cars of the 70's. (Ah... the days of Landau tops, opera windows, and poorly matched two-tone paint!) Most everyone considers these cars to be the most underpowered, poorly built cars made. And admittedly, there IS complete truth to that. But when I see a mid-70's LTD, or a large Plymouth Fury, or a boat-tail Buick Riviera, there's something about these cars that fires an interest in me - they are sheer yachts on wheels. The '73-'77 Monte Carlo/Grand Prix may look like yachts today, but these cars were VERY popular for their time, and most held up better than their replacements built from '78-80 - just from their sheer bulk. Then when the downsizing era began in 1977 at GM, car styling REALLY did begin to get BORING!

    There's a local guy in town who has a 1979 Chrysler Cordoba (ah, rich Corinitian leather) - gold, loaded w/ all options. Been garaged for 90% of its existence. Absolutely looks like new. OK, it's a Chrysler from the late 70's, so quality was not a strong suit... OK, so Lean-Burn technology wasn't exactly 'successful'. Yes, it makes the Queen Mary look like a small Sea-Ray in comparison. But looking at this car in mint condition was astonishing - it is truly a beautiful looking car, and it definitely stands out with the conservative styling of cars today. And since it only has about 16,000 miles on it - it truly rides like a dream (minus the whistling wind noise from the frameless door windows).

    No, I don't think Chrysler should return to building these beasts once again - but isn't funny when you look at the similarities of full-size cars from the 70's and SUV's today. Look at the chrome and excess on a Lincoln Navigator - even teenage kids who would snuff at an old 70's full-size monster - actually drool over this luxury SUV. Or the sheer massive size of a Ford Excursion - it looks like an Econoline Van with a full truck cab in front!

    Just MY .02!
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,357
    Well, you are still the only known person hta likes the GM "dustbuster" vans - but what the hey
    - you're certainly entitled to your opinion. Love the fact that you included the 58 Edsel. I'm in that school that thinks that is about the top of 50's excess (that and maybe the 59 DeSoto).
    Doesn't mean they can't be seen as attractive (how's that for diplomatic???).

    Of course the 57 T-bird and 57 Chevy. Love the fact that esneed included the 55 Chevy - great design. How about the ol' 57 Ford - you know - Fairlaines. Nice design. Actually sold more cars in 57 than Chevy did (the only year in decades).
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • sbarersbarer Posts: 35
    While most Duesenberg J's and SJ's were quite nice, no two cars were alike. Clark Gable's roadster J looks nothing like Gretta Garbo's J, or a Murphy bodied J which is very distant from a LeBaron dual-cowl phaeton.

    So one would have to classify in a Duesey, much like other high-end cars of the generation, which coachbuilder.

    Although, my two cents enters the Talbot-Lago T150 or a Delahaye v12 (with the covered front wheels)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Did you know that's where the expression..."That's real Doozie" comes from? Oops...should have put that in trivia!
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,357
    People seem to prefer talking about ugly cars than attractive cars by a 10 to one margin.

    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Unlike with people, huh?

    Maybe it's that people agree more easily with what's ugly than what's beautiful...but not always...I think the Viper is a mutt of a car regarding looks but some people think it's actually beautiful...go figure....

    Another problem is that cars in 1999 look very similar to one another...they are designed neither to attract nor repel too by Starbuck's.
  • sbarersbarer Posts: 35
    I almost used that term in the post, but have been shying away from it lately, because most people don't understand its meaning or orgin.

    Duesey: superlative, derived from the 1920s-30s American ultra-luxury auto manufacturer Duesenberg.

    Many people today believe the word to mean "complex, stumper or brainteaser"
  • I love the Starbuck's analogy to modern automotive styling! Maybe one can compare the much better styling of cars in the past to Peets! (Peets makes way better coffee than McStarbucks).

    Yea, the Viper is interesting looking but I don't consider it a beauty by any means. Mr. Shiftright, can you give all of us car worshipers a list of your favorites?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Gee, I have a lot of cars I think are really beautiful, but some are pretty obscure...of the more well-known ones, I'd say my favorites (currently) are: (in no particular order)

    Jaguar XK120 roadster (clean, graceful, beautiful, purposeful, and was as fast as it looked).

    Jaguar XKE --a shocking car for 1961--shocking in price (CHEAP!)in performance, and in outrageous looks. It was, at the time, an absolute sensation to eyes that were used to '58 Buicks

    1955 Buick Convertible, white with red leather...I dunno why, but there is something about it that I find irresistable...the only 50s American car that I personally would consider owning today.

    57 Corvette---just a "classic" Corvette for me...they mussed it up in 1958.

    Alfa GTV Coupe--a very pretty 1970s 2 door coupe by Bertone...the perfect little GT coupe, from which all current Japanese rocket-coupes take their inspiration.

    Mercedes 300SL roadster--not as famous or as valuable as its sister ship, the 300SL Gullwing, but it's got a very muscular style and the power to back up its image....inspiration for the Cobra and Viper, I think, but much more refined than either.

    Saab 850 Monte Carlo--a little two-stroke aerodynamic blob of a car from the 1960s that is a kick to drive and looks like nothing else on the road.

    Mazda RX-7 Twin Turbo Coupe--clean, purposeful, not one extra piece of chrome or decoration, and blazing speed...a lovely, integrated, well-thought-out design.

    1965 Corvair---best looking 4-door hardtop ever made in America.

    Porsche Boxster

    Austin Healey 100M --your classic British sports car--two seats, wind all over, tail swinging out fun-mobile.

    Alfa Guiletta Spyder Veloce -- a cute little jewel of a car that you can wind up to outrageous RPMs for a late 50s-60s "everyday" sportscar.

    63 Buick Riviera ---at attempt at sanity in an insane design environment. A Man's of the first of the "luxury coupes".

    Well, I could go on and on, but I don't want to bore you all...these are some of my favorites...
  • Thanks for your list. Many of yours are the same ones I chose, plus others that I did not think of. There are really a lot of special cars out there that are not only good cars, but beautiful as well. A few more weeks and I'm off to the Monterey Historics and the RM Classics auction to ogle at the beautiful cars and imerse myself in my favorite pastime!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    If you're down there, stop at the Automobilia Bookstore booth at the Laguna Seca historic races. I'll be there...ask for Joe.

    Everyone who likes old cars should go at least once to Pebble Beach, if for no other reason to see such a wide range of domestic and foreign "classics", and also to better appreciate what makes a car special. Some of the restorations are way over the top (a bad American habit), but it's really great to see someone driving a 1.5 million buck car on the track at 9/10ths.
  • buttonbutton Posts: 8
    In addition to many of those already mentioned, I would like to add my list...
    36 Ford Cabriolet
    53-55 Vette
    57 T-Bird
    59 Eldorado Biarritz
    Any E Jag Roadster
    62-63 T-Bird Sports Roadster
    67 Chevelle SS
    76-77 Olds Cutlass Supreme
    Not much from the eighties
    Lamborghini Diablo
    Jag XK8 Roadster
    94 T-Bird LX
    Can't remember the year, but late model Mazda MX6
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Nice list, but...but...'76 Cutlass Supreme...was that a typo?
  • Mr. S., I will make it a point to drop by and say hello when I am at Laguna Seca. It would be nice to meet you. The name is Rob.

    I love the Monterey Historics. My wife is kind enough to go with me each year and indulges me in my love of cars. She has come to enjoy the event too and wanders around the paddock area with me. My favorite was a few years ago when Ferrari was the featured marque. Everywhere you looked were Ferraris of every year and model. I almost got whiplash from looking around so much, especially when I was wandering around in Carmel and heard the beautiful roar of a Ferrari V-12! A visual and sensory feast!! See you there!
  • buttonbutton Posts: 8
    Nope, not a typo. My first brand new car. Ordered from the factory, black on black on black with t-tops, and 455 cid. 4400 lb. of personal luxury and enough grunt to get out of it's own way. Closest thing one could get to a convertible during the mid 70s (you may notice from my list that I tend to lean toward open air autos). Not the greatest handling car, but a really nice cruiser. Also had nice clean lines. Would like to find one today, but the darn bodies had a terrible rust problem. Most of the ones that are still around have the rear bumper held on with bailing wire. I know I know the bumpers could be used as park benches, bit so could those on any other domestic car from that era.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Great choices listed here. I'll add a few:

    49 Cad Sedanette and Convertible

    34 Fords [most models]

    39-40 Ford coupes and convertibles

    34 Chevs and some other GM's of same year.

    39 Lasalle

    61 Buick Electra Convertible [white with red leather]

    61 Pontiac Ventura 2dr hardtop [maroon w/tri-tone leather interior]

    31 Chrysler Imperial

    33 Packard Roadster
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    carnut, there are only two "classics" (as defined by historians) on your list. Can you name them?
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    That would be the 31 Chrysler and the 33 Packard,right? Interesting to look down the list of true classics, as published by the CCCA. Quite a number of Cadillacs are on that list, some of them production cars [no special bodies]. I was interested in your choice of the 55 Buick Convertible. I had a friend who, after owning a 58 Impala and a 60 Corvette, bought a 61 Buick Electra Convertible, white with red leather, in

    mint condition,[in 1966] for 1200 bucks. Things were different then, and that car was not one any of us coveted. But something about it. Since then, over the years, I've seen huge, white, Buick convertibles wityh red leather at car shows. I remember a 57 that was stunning-when I NEVER liked 57 Buicks. Also a 64 Electra, a 79 Riviera, 69 Electra, 64 Wildcat, and a 67 Electra. All white with red leather. And relatively cheap. I thought, what a buy for someone
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think what appeals to me is the sheer excess of it's like the car designers in Detroit int he 50s and 60s were on drugs or something (martinis?). It could only have happened in a country with lots of wealth, wide open spaces and cheap gas.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    That's it. Growing up in the fifties as a carnut kid,seeing those first wrap-around windsheilds on the 54 GM cars-and all that chrome and color. I thought all the 55 GM cars were special even then-the first 55 Pontiac I saw was exactly like the one I own now-bronze and white Starchief 2dr hardtop-even has the stainless fender skirts. The leather and chrome inside are sure different from the snap on plastic interiors of today's cars. Funny you appreciate the excesses of the flashy fifties, yet you really appreciate MGBs, for example-and smaller, more fun to drive cars. Wish my neighbor would get his 2 MGBs running....
  • The 1962 Thunderbird.

    That's my list. I want one so bad I could taste it. I even saw a 1962 Thunderbird station wagon that was fabricated (of course), but even the hypothetical wagon was a piece of artistry in motion. I think the guy wants $20,000 for it. It's in perfect running condition and earned many awards. Anyone got 20 grand I can borrow? ;-)
  • i would have to say that i have three cars that i just love to look at:
    1.- 1958 impala- my grandpa had one and i remember that huge front end pulling into our drive way. his wan't super clean or in great shape but the style shinned through.
    2.- 1963 impala- awesome! my dad had one. i turn my neck everytime i see one.
    3.- 1970 el camino ss396. this ones mine. i always tell my wife.."isn't that the coolest car you have ever seen?" she just tells me it smells like oil...welcome to 1970 baby.
  • vmanvman Posts: 103
    I am certainly an odd-ball lover, and I know Mr S. is going to punish me for this list, but here's a few that come to mind:

    196x Facel Vega (Facellia).

    1972-74 Porsche 914.

    199x Dodge Viper GTS.

    1970-71 Olds. Cutlass S. (I had one that I loved).

    1955-60 Nash Metropolitan (saw one as a kid, and I couldn't tell if it was going forward or backwards , but I couldn't stop staring at it).

    1957 T-Bird (ditto).

    196x Buick Riviera (ditto).

    1972 AMC Hornet, DOT yellow (gotcha!, just kidding).

    195x Mercedes with the gullwing doors (somebody mentioned the model number).

    1949 Ford Fairlane, red/white in and out (an old friend's father had one. What a beauty!).

    I'll need Mr. S.'s help on this one, a 50's beauty that had a hardtop that folded/retracted into the trunk. Possibly a buick?

    I'm sure there's more, but I'll stop now.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Oh, the 1958 Ford retractable...interesting car, that's true, but if we're talking aesthetics here rather than technical things, it's pretty hard to take in the rear view or profile...they had to stuff all that hardware in the truck area and it's quite out of proportion. Not to my taste. They had a hell of a time with it in both design and engineering and it shows. Failed in the marketplace, too, which is a sign that I'm not alone here.

    Otherwise, I thought your list was pretty least most of the cars are interesting, tasteful or cute, except the Viper which I think is hideous. I don't think time will be kind to know, like when we look at some of those 50s and 60s Zagato designs on Italian cars, and we say "what were they THINKING?" Probably the 914 won't look so great either in the next's already kinda odd-looking to the modern eye I think, but not really offensive--it's proportional and balanced at least. Targas in general can be clunky, like that big fat chrome strip on the Porsche 911s...ruins the lines a bit, I thought.

    What seems to hold up over the decades are cars with good proportion.
  • Here's my list (best looking not reliable)

    any 911 (except the 996)
    Datsun 240z
    Jaguar XKE roadster
    Porsche 356 speedster
    Porsche 550 spyder
    63-67 Stingray vette
    Triumph TR6
    BMW 507
    Gullwing Mercedes 300 sl
    Ford Pantera
This discussion has been closed.