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The 25 Greatest Rides
  • May 08, 2012 : 07:05
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5. MERCEDES-BENZ GULLWING

Mercedes-Benz Gullwing

BARELY SEVEN YEARS after World War II, Mercedes-Benz engineers led by Rudolf Uhlenhaut designed a radical German sports coupe with vertically opening gullwing doors, fully independent suspension and a three-liter fuel-injected six cylinder. The 300SL became an instant classic. Enthusiasts love the 1957–1960 convertible, with its improved suspension and disc brakes, but 300SL coupes from 1954 to 1957 still cost more. Plan on at least $704K. 

4. JAGUAR E-TYPE

This 150 mph projectile transformed Jaguar from an interesting British sports-car purveyor into a serious Ferrari challenger. Like a stiletto heel on wheels, the E-Type’s six-cylinder engine came from Jag’s legendary D-Type Le Mans racer. Purists covet Series I coupes and roadsters (1961–1964). Restored examples fetch about $107K—more than 20 times their original price. 

3. SHELBY COBRA

Le Mans champ Carroll Shelby was a broke ex-racer with a bad heart when he came up with the idea to match the chassis of a British AC roadster with a lightweight Ford V8. The Shelby Cobra (1962–1967) became the fastest production car in the world. A Cobra with a small-block 289 engine will run you $519K today, more for authentic competition models. 

2. PORSCHE 911

Porsche 911

Among the cars on this page, only one is actually attainable. Porsche this year unveiled its seventh-generation 911, a delight to all five senses. How do you pick a favorite from 49 years of 911s? Not easy. Here’s ours: the 1973 911 Carrera RS Lightweight, a race car for the road. In fact, the RS (Rennsport, or “race sport”) was not approved for road use in the U.S., but it was street legal in Europe. It had a lighter body shell, almost no insulation, even thinner windshield glass (to reduce weight) and a 240-horsepower fuel-injected 2.7-liter flat six. Top speed: 149 mph. Figure on $390K today for the most iconic early 911. 

1. FERRARI GTO

Ferrari GTO

The most coveted Ferrari of all, and the most valuable postwar sports car in the world today, the GTO (for Gran Turismo Omologato) beat all comers in its day. Only 39 were built, between 1962 and 1964. The GTO, which turns 50 this year, won everywhere it raced, often beating more powerful cars, thanks to its impossibly shapely, aerodynamically sound ultra-lightweight alloy body, high-revving three-liter V12 engine with six carburetors and snap-shifting five-speed tranny. Fakes abound, but every one of the real GTOs is accounted for. The last one up for auction sold for more than $35 million. The price is probably double that now.

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read more: lifestyle, cars, bmw, ferrari, chevrolet, issue may 2012

10 comments

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Too many ordinary cars on the list. Muscles doesn't means great ride...or try to control a pathetic Ford falcon chassis taylored by Shelby, not to mention the "impossible to turn and no brakes at all" Pontiac GTO, Corvette, Camaro and so on. Those are fashionable but not extraordinary cars in my opinion. A weird list shared by the ubiquitous VW with a top of the line Ferrari. Is like compare the Maxims with McDonalds, both of them serves food...but.... Just my opinion.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Man, I'd love to have the pictures with each car. I can look them up, but you'd think that they would be included.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Where's the 87 GNX fools
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    the mini should be on there
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    The gto no good cars on the list but no way
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    The Ferrari Enzo must have made the 25 best cars list its magnificent
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Man I'd like the chance to make a new list.......my list.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Where's the Nissan Skyline GT-R R34?
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Tears and saliva rolled down my face T.T
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    No 1970 Hemi Cuda? Are you f'ing kidding?
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