One of mid-century America’s great automotive writers was Ken Purdy. So regarded is his work that every year the International Motor Press Association presents the Ken Purdy Award to an outstanding writer covering the automotive world. Before his passing in 1972, Purdy wrote numerous articles for Playboy and we thought it would be fun to dip into his archive for some of the most iconic cars he covered in our pages. Enjoy the list here and to read every article the magazine has ever published—from 1953 until today—visit the complete archive at iplayboy.com.
“The Compleat Sports Car Stable” (April 1957)
Purdy declared these autos the must-have six for any 1950s man’s sports car collection. L to R: Porsche Super, Lancia G. T. 2500, Bentley Continental, Jaguar XK140MC, Mercedes-Benz 300SL, Ford Thunderbird.
“Status and Speed” (June 1960)
Purdy lauded Mercedes-Benz’s “inspired precision and calculated daring,” 300SL Roadster.
“The Italian Line” (March 1964)
A group of Italian designers, from Pininfarina to Allemano, crafted some of the most beautiful mid-century cars.
“The GT” (August 1967)
The glamour car of the late 1960s was the Gran Turismo. Some of Purdy’s favorites included the Ferrari 330 GTC, Toyota 2000, Marcos 1600, Maserati Ghibli and Lotus Europa.
“The Germans Are Coming!” June 1970
Purdy explained how the ubiquitous VW Beetle ushered in an era of German cars on the world’s roads.
“The Jaguar Story” (June 1971)
An assessment of the iconic brand nearly a half century after its dynasty was spawned.