For users of question and answer community Quora.com, the cars below fall firmly into that category. Though not every responder arrived at the same conclusion, there is no debating that each car mentioned was intentionally crafted to steal a second look.
These cars age well
What were once merely machines of their time, force us now to gape in astonishment, whether they’re passing by in parades or preening on concours lawns.
For Glenard Munson, nothing embodies car beauty better than the 1929 Duesenberg SJ. That car, from the defunct American manufacturer, has been the pinnacle for him since he built metal model versions of the car as a child. Lee Ballentine agrees with the Duesenberg's appeal, though he offered the 1935 Model J Supercharged 530 Convertible Coupe as the one worthy of worship. "My sentimental favorite is a Stutz Bearcat, but the Duesenberg is, I have to admit, more elegant," he wrote.
Dan Pepper draws from the same era, but argues that the 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special (or Spezial) Roadster deserves first billing. He's a sucker for long-wheelbase roadsters, he explains: "This one epitomizes the quiet power and majesty of the big power plant up-front 2-seater design concept. It is akin to a 20,000-square-foot mansion with one bedroom."
For one anonymous Quora user, the production of the Morgan Motor Company – the family-owned producer based in Malvern, Worcestershire – is incomparable. "Morgans are for chaps who love the classic look not just because it is curvy and shiny, but because it was perfect for the union of man and machine," he wrote.
As expected, it's difficult to debate the best-looking cars without dipping one's toe into the exotica pool. Rajat Chauhan is fixated on the McLaren F1, one of the fastest production cars of all time. He first laid eyes on it in the Need for Speed racing simulator, and "fell instantly in love with it." Unfortunately, as only 106 of the cars were ever made, most car lovers will have to settle for the digital version.
Kartik Sunku’s vote goes to Ferrari's alluring new hybrid, the LaFerrari, which he calls "a beautiful piece of art and a brilliant combination of form and function." He admits, though, that it does need improvement in at least one area. "LaFerrari. Daft name."
For many Quora users, the decades between the 1950s and the ‘70s contain the very best of automotive eye candy. Ford's original Shelby GT500 was mentioned more than a handful of times, as was Aston Martin's DB5, the car inextricable from James Bond’s legend.
But for one Quora user, another Aston Martin holds his gaze – the DB4 GT Zagato. The car was unveiled in 1960, and only 19 examples were ever produced. Randall Reese is among the fortunate few who have laid eyes on them, and says they are "absolutely stunning in person."
Some cars simply don't lose their lustre, even after decades of shifting car trends. For Jaydeep Singh, that's particularly true of the Lamborghini Miura, widely regarded as the first supercar. "I personally go for poise more than aggression," he writes. "And, the fact that it still looks like a stunner, 47 years on, strengthens my statement."
But no best-looking-car list is complete without saving space for the Jaguar E-type, sold primarily as the XK-E in the US. Jaguar debuted the elegant powerhouse in 1961 and produced 70,000 of them through 1975. Enzo Ferrari is said to have called it "the most beautiful car ever made," and Quora user Euan Cameron concurs with old Enzo’s assessment. "When you see an E-type you step back in awe of its design brilliance," he writes.
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