There’s no shortage of cool cars for today’s auto aficionados, but it comes with a cruel irony. As we’re faced with more and more automotive options, it seems the cars themselves get more similar every day. Who wants a generic sports car when you could have something with character? These beautiful vintage roadsters would make A+ additions to any serious driver’s car collection.
1953 Ferrari 250 MM
The earliest incarnation of the Ferrari 250 was born in 1953. The company’s most successful early line, the 250 series includes several variants and was produced until 1964. This beauty is the 1953 Ferrari 250 MM, a long-distance racer introduced at 1953’s Geneva Motor Show. The innovative design showcased recessed headlights and side vents that became a Ferrari staple of the 1950s.
1953 Porsche 550 Spyder
The Porsche 550 Spyder was designed for use in auto racing and introduced at the 1953 Paris Auto Show. Built low to the ground in order to be efficient on the track, the roadster won its first race in May 1953 and went on to become an active participant around the European and US champions circuit until 1965.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray
America’s sports car had grown incredibly popular since its 1953 debut, but by the 60s it was time for a change. Chevrolet chief Bill Mitchell and stylist Larry Shinoda were faced with the tough task of improving a living legend, but they succeeded in creating the most collectible Corvette of them all. The Sting Ray was universally lauded in the press for its handling, road adhesion and sheer power.
1957 Mercedes Benz 300SL Roadster
Mercedes-Benz introduced a Roadster version of the 300SL at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show. The initial version was known for its gullwing doors, first-ever consumer fuel-injection and for reaching the world’s fastest top speed at the time. In 1957, the original 300SL got the Roadster makeover along with cosmetic changes like larger headlights, a smaller grille and a chrome accent strip down the side of the car.
1962-1980 Triumph Spitfire
The Triumph Spitire was such a success upon its 1962 launch that the basic design remained virtually unchanged until 1970. Giovani Michelotti was responsible for the car’s curvaceous body, while many of its internal workings were adapted from Triumph’s Herald saloon. The Spitfire was an instant success, particularly in North America.
1966 Jaguar E-Type
The Jaguar E-Type’s killer combination of good looks, high performance and competitive pricing made it unbeatable during the 1960s. Legend has it that when it went on display for the first time at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show, Enzo Ferrari himself remarked that it was the most beautiful car he’d ever seen. 1966 saw the introduction of a 2+2 body style to the E-Type line-up.
1961 Shelby Cobra
In 1961, racecar driver turned automotive entrepreneur Carroll Shelby learned that England AC cars was losing the engine supplier for its open two-seater and saw an opportunity. He convinced AC to provide him the cars, and brokered a deal with Ford to supply its new small-block V-8. The combination of classic British roadster with American engine power was irresistible and the car was an immediate sensation.
1956-1959 BMW 507
The BMW 507 was initially intended to be exported to the United States at a rate of thousands per year, but the undertaking proved to be too expensive. In the end only 252 units were made and losses were heavy for BMW. Shockingly, over 200 of the 507s are still known to exist, a testimony to the timeless design of BMW’s most valuable classic road car.
1956 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta was introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1954. The open two-seat Giulietta Spider made its debut in mid-1955, featuring convertible bodywork by Pininfarina. It was Alfa Romeo’s first post-war convertible and remained in production, more or less untouched, until the arrival of the Duetto in 1966.
1971 Volvo P1800
Modern associations with the name Volvo typically do not involve sports cars, but once upon a time a little something called the Volvo P1800 was rocking the road. Volvo’s previous attempt to produce a sports car, the P1900, had ended in disaster, but this time Volvo was destined for greatness. The P1800 celebrated its much-acclaimed 50th anniversary in France during the Viking Classic Auto Show of 2010.