40 Awesome Old School Cars

What you’re about to see is a series of awesome photos and facts about some of the coolest old-school cars we know of. These rides are the ones that belong to that era nestled right in between the muscle car, beefy-steel rides of the 60s and 70s and the ultra-sleek speedster of today. We call them old-school, and if they’re nothing else – they’re fun to look at. Check them all out!

1999-pagani-zonda-c12(Motor 1)
Motor 1

40. 1999 Pagani Zonda

Just five of these Italian dynamos were produced 20 years ago and introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. A 366-cubic inch Mercedes-Benz V-12 engine allows it to accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in 4 seconds flat, and up to 100 miles per hour in 9.2 seconds. Creator Horacio Pagani formerly worked for Lamborghini as head of its composites department, and worked on this first model for seven years before its Geneva debut. Pagani had planned to name it after his good friend and five-time Formula One winner Juan Manuel Fangio, but the latter passed away in 1995.

1964 Ford GT40(Hemmings)

39. 1964 Ford GT40

Originally built to challenge Ferrari at Le Mans (the Italians won the competition every year from 1960-1965), just 105 of these were produced between 1964-1969. It completed its mission with Le Mans wins in 1968 and 1969. The model name comes from GT – grand touring and 40 – 40 inches measured at the windshield. The original sported a Ford V-8, 4.7 L capacity engine that was later enlarged to 4.9 L.  The first model was modified by John Shelby and turned into a winner at the 1965 Daytona.

1986-porsche-959(Top Speed)
Top Speed

38. 1986 Porsche 959

The 959 was originally built to be a rally car, not a street-legal roadster, winning the Paris-Dakar Rally that saw it whip the tails of the Mercedes G-Wagen and Land Cruiser through the desert of North Africa. It debuted as the fastest car in the world, clocking in at 197 miles per hour, but lost that title to the Ferrari F40 a year later, when that speedster rocketed to 202 miles per hour. A version of it – the 961 – also won 24 Hours of Lemans, making it the only car to ever win both.

1967 Toyota 2000GT(RM Sothebys)
RM Sothebys

37. 1967 Toyota 2000GT

That’s right, there’s a Toyota on the list. It actually started life as a Yamaha, which wanted to build a sports car after all that motorcycle success. Yamaha tried to sell it to Nissan, which passed, and Toyota jumped at the opportunity. Its success racing against European equivalents started the company’s racing success, although just 351 were built, and only 62 of those with the driver’s seat on the left-hand side. The most desirable color is Bellatrix Yellow, seen here. 

1964 Ferrari 275(Hemmings)

36. 1964 Ferrari 275

Listed third on Motor Trend’s “10 Greatest Ferraris of all time” list, this grand touring beauty has a 3.3 L dual overhead camshaft V12 engine capable of cranking out between 260-320 horsepower.  The majority were made of steel with aluminum alloy doors, trunk lid, and hook, but some 72 were built with an all-aluminum body as an extra cost option, making them even faster than their steel brothers and sisters. When collector Preston Henn died in 2017, it was speculated that his 275, one of only three in the world to see actual racing time, could auction for close to $1 million.

1957-maserati-3500gt(Motor 1
Motor 1

35. 1957 Maserati 3500 GT

Most of Maserati’s efforts were going to Formula 1 racing, but the touring 3500 used a lot of British-made components including the rear axle, brakes, and parts of the suspension. Just 119 cars were sold that first year, although nearly 2,250 were produced in all between 1957-1964. The first of the line was painted white and named the Dama Bianca (White Lady). Two of the first prototypes were displayed at the March 1957 Salon International de l’Auto in Geneva.

1951 Jaguar C-Type(Rm Sothebys)
RM Sothebys

34. 1951 Jaguar C-Type

Jaguar sent three -Types to LeMans in 1951. One won the race outright and all three contributed to speed records set during the event. The C, rightfully so, stands for competition. Just fifty-three of the cars were built, with 43 sold to private owners, the majority of whom called the US home. It boasted of 205 horsepower and won the Le Mans 24 hours race twice. The first title went to Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead, the other two C-Types had to retire due to a lack of oil pressure. 

1949 Mercury Coupe (Hemmings)

33. 1949 Mercury Coupe

After its factories were diverted to the US war machine during World War II, Mercury returned with a new model of the EIght in 1949, the first installment of its third generation. It outpaced the 1949 Ford with a more powerful flathead V8 with an overdrive activated with a handle under the dash. It also showed off an 8-tube AM radio as an option. The ‘49 became a signature car in Hollywood, with everyone from Batman and Robin to the characters of Grease, American Graffiti, and Cars using it.


32. 1957 Jaguar XKSS

There are few more iconic photos of a man and his car than American actor Steve McQueen in his 1957 Jaguar XKSS. McQueen had its painted British racing green and called it the “Green Rat” which isn’t exactly the most flattering nickname for this four-speed manual transmission beauty. The tragedy of the car is that in February 1957, a fire at the Browns Lane plant damaged or destroyed 9 of the original 25 cards that had reached completion or were nearly there. The remaining 16 were mostly sold in the US.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette(Hemmings)

31. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette

The split-window Stingray is one of the most instantly recognizable Corvettes in the model’s long history on the American roadway. It looked like something from the future when it debuted with its fiberglass body and its hidden headlights, that appeared majestically at night. It had 250 horsepower as its standard, but could be pushed up to 300, 340, or even 360 horsepower for a price. A Wonderbar AM radio and whitewall tires were standard. The interior was originally black leather, but demand and a supply shortage changed it to Saddle instead.

1966 Triumph GT6(Hagerty)

30. 1966 Triumph GT6

Based on the wildly popular Triumph Spitfire convertible, this 6-cylinder sports car debuted in 1966 after three years of testing and research. IT was a hit, with nearly 16,00 sold in its first incarnation between July 1966 and September 1968. It was a two-seater with an extra rear seat that could be ordered for small children. The 6-cylinder engine generated 95 horsepower and a top seed of 106 miles per hour. The legendary Giovanni Michelotti was the designer of this tough little number.

1973 Porsche Carrera 2.7 RS(RM Sothebys)
RM Sothebys

29. 1973 Porsche Carrera 2.7 RS

Built largely for racing after the European GT banned cards above 3 liters, the Porsche Carrera 2.7 was the first to incorporate the maker’s signature rear ducktail spoiler, reducing rear-end lift by 75 percent. To get it suited up for racing, some 100 pounds were dropped off the model, eliminating carpeting, sound deadening, rear seats, clock, interior armrests, and the passenger-side sun visor. It also didn’t have emissions equipment, which kept it out of the US for quite some time.

1995 Ferrari F50(duPont Registry)
duPont Registry

28. 1995 Ferrari F50

Just 349 of these beauties ever rolled off the assembly line. Powered by a 4.7 L Tipo F130B 60-valve V12 engine, this six-speed manual generated a ridiculous 512 horsepower. Suffice it to say, it was a gas guzzler, getting a combined 8 miles per US gallon (7 city, 10 highway), although when you’re driving a machine that can go from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and 0-100 in 8.5 seconds, are you really worried so much about the cost of gas?


27. 1990 Honda NSX

Yes, there’s a Honda on this list. Although it’s more well known for its time as an Acura. The first generation sports car started as an Italian concept car called the HP-X in 1984. Its inspiration was the Ferrari 328 and 348, but Honda wanted better performance at a lower price. It was the first production car to have an all-aluminum semi-monocoque, which dropped a remarkable 441 pounds of weight versus using steel. It debuted in Chicago and Tokyo in 1989. Its manufacturers were particularly proud of its 23-step paint process to give it a striking top color – usually red.


26. 1996 Ferrari 550 Maranello

Revisiting the style and power of the similarly named model from 30 years earlier, this Ferrari spent 30 months in development before roaring to life at the Nurburgring racing circuit in Germany in July 1996. Its name is a combination of homage to Ferrari’s home base of Maranello, Italy, and the 5.5-liter engine displacement. It’s a six-speed manual transmission with anti-slip regulation and a four-way anti-lock braking system that produced 478 horsepower. It clocked in with a max speed of 199 miles per hour and could reach 62 miles per hour from a stop in 4.4 seconds.

25. 2006 Weineck Cobra 780 cui Limited Edition

This ’06 Weineck Cobra is almost one-of-a-kind!

1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am(Mecum)

24. 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am

Americans might not have the refined lineage of some of the European sports car manufacturers, but for pure “cool style”, it’s hard to beat the muscled look of the 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am. Unlike most new models, it was delayed until the end of February due to tooling and engineering problems, and there were no convertibles available, which had been a staple for the first generation. The classic Coke bottle body style that had embodied the first-generation Firebird from 1967-1969 was replaced by the “swooping bird” style that endured until 1981.

23. 1967 Ferrari 330 P4

One of the slickest Ferrari’s ever! 1967 was a banner year for the Enzo Ferrari motor company, as it saw the production of the mid-engined 330 P4, a V12-engined endurance car intended to replace the previous year’s 330 P3. Only four Ferrari P4-engined cars were ever made: three new 330 P4s and one ex P3 chassis (0846). Here’s one more just for good measure:

1963 Aston Martin DB5(RM Sothebys)
RM Sothebys

22. 1963 Aston Martin DB5

Most memorable as the first car to appear in a James Bond film – 1964’s Goldfinger, and has probably more appearances in pop culture than any other car in the world. Two of the cars appeared at the 1964 World’s Fair. Bond’s car was later driven by Roger Moore – himself a later version of bond – in the 1981 film The Cannonball Run. To further promote the movie, Corgi Toys came out with a model version of the original, which was the top-selling toy in the UK in 1964. 

1956 Austin-Healey 100(RM Sothebys)
RM Sothebys

21. 1956 Austin-Healey 100

1956 marked the last year of production for Donald Healy’s in-house sports car. The 100 designation was simply because the car could reach 100 miles per hour. Its successor, the 3000, was named for its 3000 cc engine displacement. The 1956 version, the 100S, was primarily built for racing, and only 50 were produced, along with five more “work” vehicles. The bumpers and convertible top were eliminated and the windscreen made out of plastic to drop 200 pounds off the car’s weight. 


20. 1930 Duesenberg Model J

It was introduced to the automotive world in New York City on December 1, 1928 – less than a year before the fall of the stock market that would make cars like this unaffordable to no one but the super-rich. A silver-and-black vision, it came rolling down without a price tag, but since the chassis sold for $8,500 and the body was around $2,500, the total price was said to be the same as approximately 22 of Mr. Ford’s Model As.


19. 1928 Mercedes Benz SSK

The SSK stands for “Super Sport Kurz” which translates to SuperSport Short. It was a shorter wheelbase version of the Mercedes-Benz Modell S, and is famously known as the last car designed by the legendary Ferdinand Porsche before he left to form his old company. It featured a 6-liter engine that could produce 200-300 metric horsepower and a top speed around 120 miles per hour, easily the fastest car of the time. Fewer than 40 were ever produced. 

1955-mercedes-benz-300-sl-alloy-gullwing(Motor 1)
Motor 1

18. 1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL “Gullwing”

About the only car in history that can challenge this one’s famous doors is Marty McFly’s DeLorean from the Back to the Future film franchise. It was a racer before becoming a production car and was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show and of the first 1,400 built, 1,100 were sold in the US, giving credence to the debut of the car in New York. The doors were the car’s signature look, but made them difficult to get in and out of. 

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO(RM Sothebys)
RM Sothebys

17. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

The 250 comes from the displacement in cubic centimeters of each of its cylinders. Although only 36 of these beauties were produced, they were sold to great acclaim. They cost $18,000 in the US, but every buyer had to be personally approved by North American rep Luigi Chinetti and company founder Enzo Ferrari himself. Popular Mechanics has dubbed it the “Hottest Car of All Time” and one sold in 2018 for $70 million, the all-time record for a car.

1966 JaguarXJ-13

16. 1965 Jaguar XJ13

Don’t let your friends tell you they had one of these growing up, because only one was ever produced. It was developed by Jaguar Engineering Director William Heynes to compete at Le Mans, but never actually raced. It is a mid-engine racer with an aluminum body for maximum aerodynamics. It is now in the British Motor Museum.


15. 1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo Stradale

The fastest car in the world when it hit the open market, its name means “road-going” in Italian, and that name is still used by carmakers to label a street-legal version of a former racing car. Its butterfly doors gained it instant attention, and its rear mid-engine mount and rear-wheel drive did even more so. Introduced at the Sport Car Show in Monza, Italy, in 1967, only 18 were ever made. Five of its concept cars are on display at the Alfa Romeo Museum.

1992 Jaguar XJ220(RM Sothebys)
RM Sothebys

14. 1992 Jaguar XJ220

Jaguar’s XJ220 was so cool that it launched its own CD-ROM video game the next year,  complete with the then-unheard ability to create your own track. Amiga and Lotus users loved it – even though most of you under 40 are probably saying, Amiga and who? The car behind e game was a modern marvel of its age, topping at 282 miles per hour in testing. It debuted at the 1988 British International Motor Show and drew such rave reviews that 1,500 deposits of £50,000 (about $114,000 in today’s US currency)


13. 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO

This muscle-car masterpiece was built for competition in the Group B Circuit Race series, but that racing sect suspended all action in 1986. Thus, the GTO never actually raced, but the 272 cars produced – all colored red except for one black version – became streetcars. It is far lighter than Ferrari’s 308/328 models – between 500-800 pounds, in fact. This due to the fact that most of the major panels are made of molded fiberglass rather than steel.


12. 1956 BMW 507

It was meant to be exported to the US by the thousands, a competitor for the Mercedes, Triumphs, and MGs of the age. Instead, it clanked to a stop after just 252 cars had been produced, deemed too expensive to make a profit. The car has an enormous gas tank – 29.1 gallons – behind the rear seats, but that limited space for the trunk and the passengers, and ramped up the smell of gas if the hardtop was on. Despite its price tag doubling to $10,500 before it came out, it had celebrity fans including Elvis Presley, who bought a pair.

1987 RUF CTR Yellow Bird

11. 1987 RUF CTR “Yellow Bird”

Just 29 of these brightly-colored sports cars were ever built. It had the body of a Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2, but the engine was something else, bored out to 3.4 L with twin turbochargers and twin-intercoolers. The fuel injection was built for a Porsche 962, and the brakes and tires for a Porsche 959. It hit 211 miles per hour on the track in 1987 due to its epic 469-horsepower engine. A 1989 film with a test driver is essential watching for this vehicle.

1968 Ferrari Dino(RM Sothebys)
RM Sothebys

10. 1968 Ferrari Dino

Needing an answer to Porsche’s popular 911 model, Ferrari looked was looking for a less-expensive model of its signature look. The first Dino was the 206 GT, so named for its 2.0-liter, V-6 engine. Friends of the family recognized the car was not named for the prehistoric monsters that once roamed the earth, but rather for Enzo Ferrari’s son, Alfredo, who was nicknamed Dino and had passed from muscular dystrophy at the age of 24 in 1956. He was working on the engine that Enzo would eventually put in the Dino at the time he passed.


9. 1948 Jaguar XK120

It might be hard to believe, but Jaguar actually shied away from producing sports cars from 1940-1948 –  the events of the Second World War didn’t exactly invite a big market for sports cars in England and war-ravaged Western Europe. It debuted at the 1948 London Motor Show as a show car for the new Jaguar XK engine, but caused such a stir that Jaguar founder William Lyons ordered it into production. The very first one to roll off the production line in 1949 was delivered to American acting legend Clark Gable. 

1961 Jaguar E-Type(RM Sothebys)
Rm Sothebys

8. 1961 Jaguar E-Type

If you’re from North America you more famously know it as the Jaguar XK-E. Its top speed of 150 miles per hour, sub-7-second time from 0-60, disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, and independent front and rear suspension features all flipped the automotive industry on its ear. When it was released in March 1961, it got the highest praise possible from an unlikely source: Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made.” It’s been featured in the Austin Powers movies and the US TV series Mad Men.

1955 MG MGA(RM Sothebys)
RM Sothebys

7. 1955 MG MGA

Announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1955, it replaced MG’s Midget and was a radical change in the company’s style. It was much more popular overseas than in the UK, where just 5,869 units sold. It had tons of racing success in the US, and was used in NASCAR’s Grand National Series from 1960-1963. It had a top speed of 97.8 miles per hour despite just 72 horsepower, stood just 50 inches high, and was just 58 inches wide.

1953 Porsche 550(Hemmings)

6. 1953 Porsche 550

Just 90 of these racing sports cars were ever produced. Designed by Ferry Porsche, they featured an air-cooled four-cylinder engine. The 550 won the first race it ever entered – the Nurburgring Eifel Race in May 1953. But all of that pales in comparison to the car’s infamous history. American iconic actor James Dean was driving his 550 on September 30, 1955, when he lost control, resulting in his passing. Dean had bought the car just 9 days earlier and was planning on racing it in the Salinas Road Race on starting the next day.


5. 1958 Aston Martin DB4

Be honest, if you saw one of these coming up beside you in traffic, you’d expect to find James Bond at the wheel. Just over 1,200 of these were produced between 1958-1963, and it holds the distinction of being the first Aston built outside of Italy at the company’s new place in Buckinghamshire, England. The limited number and that 240-horsepower engine make it a highly-sought after collectible, approaching seven figures.

1964 Ferrari America (RM Sothebys)
RM Sothebys

4. 1964 Ferrari America

Ferrari started the America series in the early 1950s, and the final model was the 500 Superfast that debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show. It was actually supposed to be called the Superamerica, but at the last second the powers-that-were changed it to the Superfast, of which only 36 were made. Perhaps the most famous of these sat in a garage for 34 years, missing from 1985-2019 in Orlando, Florida, before being re-found intact and largely damage free.

1967-ferrari-p4(Motor 1)
Motor 1

3. 1967 Ferrari 330 P4

The P4 was a V-12 endurance car, of which four were ever made, and only three of those brand new. Using the fuel injection system from its predecessor, the 330 P3, it had an engine capable of up to 450 horsepower. All three brand new ones were converted into Spyders for Brands Hatch in 1967. One is in Germany, one in France, and one in Canada. 

1987 BMW M6(Hemmings)

2. 1987 BMW M6

This line got started in 1983, but reached its peak in 1987 despite the sticker-shock effect of seeing $58,720 attached to a vehicle – about $132,000 in today’s US dollars. The 1987 version upgraded by a whopping 74 horsepower over the previous year, giving it 256 horsepower at 6500 rpm. It could hit 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds and ran the quarter-mile in 14.5 seconds. The M series was based on BMW’s championship racing series of the late 1970s.

ac-cobra(Marc Vorgers)
Marc Vogers

1. 1961 AC Cobra

More properly known as the Shelby Cobra in the US, it housed a Ford V8 engine under the hood. John Shelby initially asked Chevrolet for an engine, but it refused, not wanting to spark a competition for its Corvettes. Measuring less than 13 feet long and just a tip past five feet in width, it housed a 221-cubic inch (3.6 L) engine. Shelby, a former competition driver, who had retired two years prior for health reasons, eventually built the model up to take the highest honors in racing, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which he had won as a driver in 1959.

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