Many insist it’s Malcolm Sayer’s 1961 Jaguar E-type. Others claim it’s the 1955 Citroen DS. Students of design nominate less well known examples of visual accomplishment like the Cord 812. For the multitude, it’s often the latest and greatest sports car from Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini or Aston Martin. But what’s really the most beautiful road car ever created? Now’s your chance to have a say.We’ve collected 32 of the world’s best-looking cars in a poll we’re calling Autocar’s Most Beautiful. Among them are four-wheel pieces of automotive design both modern and classic – the Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 and Maserati GranTurismo – and all you have to do to arrive at the one you like best is click through our voting system.If you need some inspiration, read what’s below. We asked six of the car industry’s leading car designers what they thought the prettiest car ever created was. Not all of them are in our poll, but they do make compelling reading.
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar Cars – Ferrari 250 GT SWB
"It's not the most beautiful car in the world, but it is the most spontaneous. It's full of visual energy. The forms and lines look instant and possess a latent power, as if the car is about to leap at you. And you can see the spontaneity of the design - as if it's simply been drawn and there's been no loss of that purity through the engineering process."
Patrick Le Quement, Design Director, Renault – Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Spyder
“I could have picked the roaring energy of the gloriously handsome Ferrari 250GT SWB. Instead, I have chosen the perfect imbalance of the beautifully proportioned 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Spyder.Love at first sight for that off balanced position of the body, the swept-back front grille and the endlessly long tail.But then again, I could have fallen for that exquisitely detailed 1936 Bugatti Type-57 S Atlantic…”
Peter Stevens, designer of the McLaren F1 – CadZZilla
“The most beautiful car is a tough deal when it comes to picking just one. There are some glorious pre-war Delages and Delahayes, but the decision has to be an emotional one; what car brings a tear to your eye when you see it in the metal? For me it has to be my mate Larry Erickson's CadZZilla, a one-off car that he designed for ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons. It is quite simply a beautiful piece of work.”
Martin Smith, Executive Design Director, Ford of Europe – Ferrari 275 GTB4
“The 275 GTB Ferrari has always been my favourite car. It is a wonderful synthesis of the delicate 250 GTO and the more brutal 250 SWB. Absolutely perfectly proportioned.”
David Browne, Head of Transport Design, Coventry University – Bugatti Type-57 Atlantic Coupe
“The ultimate expression of Bugatti's credo of innovative engineering allied to aesthetic beauty. Somehow combining visual lightness with implied power, it defines the expression 'stance'.Jean Bugatti's extraordinarily creative Art Deco coachwork clearly influenced Jaguar's XK120 Coupe over 20 years later. Exotic, rare, fast, endlessly intriguing - the first true supercar?”
Alfonso Albaisa, Vice President of Nissan Design Europe – Jaguar E-type
"The automobile is a reflection of our culture's aspiration. The year was about 1969 when, while playing with my brother in the lobby of my father's architecture firm, I heard the most amazing hum from a car rolling up on the gravel driveway. Context is everything. Miami was a growing city but the growth was coming from Cubans leaving Cuba with little to no money. The automotive landscape of the place was made up of massive land yachts with heroic overhangs and less-than-heroic stance. The car pulling up was a black on black on black Jaguar E-type driven by an American businessman in a black suit. Magical reflections of Miami's beautiful blue sky and dense canopy trees made an already stunning car silky and mysterious. That day, that car inspired me to dream for the next 35 years."