20 June 2013

The Automotive Bucket List—Five Cars To Drive While You Still Have A Pulse

With baby boomers more aware of their own mortality these days, “bucket lists” of things to do before one’s demise have become increasingly popular. Here are five of the cars we think that anyone needs to drive before kicking the bucket, taking the big dirt nap, biting the dust or, well, you get the idea:

  1. 1967 Corvette L88: The L88 was the Corvette that ordinary civilians weren’t supposed to be able to buy. Rather, it was built to be taken racing by “privateers” (GM was still observing a ban on manufacturer supported racing). Although a regular production option, the L88 was expensive and came with almost no creature comforts. The horsepower was deliberately underrated on the option sheet to come in below the regular 427-cubic-inch 435-hp engine to further discourage Average Joe buyers. In reality, the L88 could make over 500 hp on racing fuel. Acceleration was shattering. It’s the ultimate classic Corvette Sting Ray.
  2. 1967 Shelby Cobra 427: Carroll Shelby found that there was almost no spindly little British sports car that couldn’t be improved with the insertion of an American V-8. Under Shelby’s direction, the Sunbeam Alpine became the Sunbeam Tiger, and the AC Ace became the vaunted Shelby Cobra. The baddest version of the Cobra sported a 427-cubic-inch engine that was similar to the one developed for NASCAR. Cobras are hot, noisy and cramped, but they’re really the greatest expression of the muscle car ethos—cram the largest possible engine into the smallest package.
  3. 1992-98 McLaren F1: The F1 was everything a supercar should be but so seldom is. Many modern supercars are as much a fashion accessory as a car. Nobody ever bought an F1 as a bauble. Because of the car’s somewhat minimalist nature, and the fact that it was offered only with a conventional three-pedal manual transmission, posers didn’t apply. It’s a reasonable certainty that Kanye West doesn’t own an F1.  With three seats and a center driving position, plus reams of Formula One technology and incredible performance (0-60 in 3.2 seconds, ¼ mile in 11.6 and a top speed of 241 mph), the F1 is the one supercar that should be on any automotive bucket list.
  4. 1976 Porsche 930: Of all the cars on this list, the earliest version of the Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera (otherwise known as the 930) is probably the one most capable of preventing the fulfillment of one’s automotive bucket list. Early 930s were somewhat diabolical cars with tires that were a bit too small and a turbocharger that lit up suddenly and with a vengeance. The turbo’s abrupt nature could make for scary driving at inopportune times (like the apex of a corner).  But it’s the car’s ability to bite back that can make it so much fun and a genuine accomplishment to master. 
  5. 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi Superbird: The Superbird appeals to anyone with a “stick it to the man” sensibility. It’s whole reason for being was to introduce the streamlined nose cone and giant wing into Chrysler’s NASCAR efforts back when NASCAR still had homologation requirements for race cars. Although available with Mopar’s excellent 440-cubic-inch V-8, it’s the 426 Hemi that belongs on anyone’s automotive bucket list. Between the view over the long hood and nose cone and the view out the back with the five-story-tall wing, the Superbird driving experience is like nothing else. 

52 Reader Comments

  • 1
    David Bell Grayslake/Libertyville June 26, 2013 at 16:22
    What, no Series One Jaguar E type (over a Plymouth no less); what's up with that????????
  • 2
    gary dayton ohio. June 26, 2013 at 16:27
    I have driven those cars and own a Sunbeam Tiger, E jag and now the best I have experienced. My Chrysler Crossfire SRT6. roadster. Styled by Chrysler, Built by Karmann and powered by AMG.
  • 3
    Gary Anderson Los Altos, CA June 26, 2013 at 16:33
    I'll give you the Cobra and maybe the Porsche, but once you've driven those two, there's no reason to drive the Corvette -- who needs a second-best too-loud, too-powerful kick in the pants -- and any good fomula junior will give you the same sensation as the F1. As for the Plymouth Road Runner, all the problems of handling of the Cobra and then some... But maybe some sort of muscle car should be on the list to know what these cars offered... and didn't offer to their owners. On the other hand, what about the Jaguar C-Type/D-Type/XKSS and the Mulliner-bodied Bentley Continental? Totally different from one another and from everything else on this list, and each unique and historic in its own right.
  • 4
    Eric Long Island June 26, 2013 at 16:38
    my list: 1) some sort of 911 2) 1963 Pontiac Tempest Lemans Convt 3) 1986 Mustang SVO 4) Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead 5) Lotus Espirit
  • 5
    lowery woodell Macon,Ga June 26, 2013 at 16:47
    Those are good cars but none are as awesome as a 2006-213 ZO-6. The ZR-1 is just a little bit better but cost a lot more
  • 6
    Frank G New York June 26, 2013 at 17:05
    Superbird? Corvette? These lists are always impossible to come up with, but not a Ferrari, Lambo, Jaguar "E", Mercedes, ALFA ???!!!
  • 7
    Russ Keller K.C. MO June 26, 2013 at 17:36
    I owned a 1977 930 and nothing I've ever owned or driven comes close to the terror (and thrills) that car can bring. Far more capable a car than I was a driver---if you went into a corner too fast you just had to grit your teeth and drive thru it. Let off the gas or (worse) touch the brake and you were going to go around, but if you were able to stay with it you could drive it thru. The worst was to come into a corner behind someone going slower--figure out a way around him or spin. Very low maintenance (except Pirelli P7's). I've owned a lot of cars but this is the one I wish i'd never sold--I never "mastered" it. I've driven newer 930/turbo's but all the violence has been engineered out and, while nice, they just don't have the scary excitement of the older 930's. I have driven several Cobras--brutal but predictable acceleration so long as you had it pointed in the direction you wanted to go
  • 8
    Dennis D'Andrea East Hampton, New York June 26, 2013 at 17:53
    My free Hagerty Magazine is better than the subscription publications for which I have to pay.
  • 9
    Ed Florida June 26, 2013 at 17:58
    Misleading title, it should probably be: "Five Cars You'll Never have to Worry About Driving".
  • 10
    mike Auclair Idaho June 26, 2013 at 18:00
    The Ford GT will outperform all of them. Just sold mine because it scared me to death!!
  • 11
    al zim FT. Worth June 26, 2013 at 18:21
    All these cars share one thing that is blasting acceleration but none of the car has any finesse. They are all big blobs of acceleration. Certainly one of the cars you should suggest is a original 356 as a all round car. Perhaps you should have a 911 turbo but try a later Carrera turbo that has better handling and suspension than the 1976 car. Worthy of consideration is the 1970/1 Mercedes sedan 300SEL 6.3. a rocket ship with wonderful appointments and stupendous acceleration. I do not have any thoughts on the other two cars.
  • 12
    James B. Steerman Hudson Valley, NY June 26, 2013 at 18:44
    Dear Sirs, Although the 5 autos you list are of course, great cars, they are also exclusively examples of machines that feature horsepower over the more subtle but equally important characteristics of braking and handling. Somewhere in your list there should have appeared a Lancia Aurelia, (Coupe or Spider) from the 1950s, which remains to many auto enthusiasts the supreme example of perfect balance between brakes, handling, and power. These were qualities that enabled semi-stock Aurelia B20 Coupes to defeat Ferraris with three times the horsepower in the Mille Miglia and many other road races in the 1950s. By now I would have thought that more Americans would understand that it's not all about cubic inches. It's also about how quickly one can negotiate the curves from point a to point b. Sincerely, Jim Steerman
  • 13
    Dave A. Sparks,NV June 26, 2013 at 19:10
    The L88 Corvettes were very fast, but also were prone to overheating when stuck in traffic.
  • 14
    Jim Tumpane Depoe Bay, OR June 26, 2013 at 19:28
    My list contains none of the above. Speed merchants driven: '63 Jaguar E type roadster; Chevelle SS's: '66 396, '69 396, '71 454; '06 John Cooper Works MINI. Land yachts driven: '47 Jaguar 3.5 liter saloon; '60 Lincoln Mark V convertible; '63 Lincoln convertible; '74 El Dorado; various Lincoln town cars. My bucket list: Bugatti Type 35; Bugatti Royale; Jaguar SS 100; Duesenberg; Mercedes 540. Bottom line: to each his own.
  • 15
    robert mencl Maine June 26, 2013 at 19:35
    Volkswagen Beetle, Model T Ford, Citroen DS, Studebaker Avanti, Mercedes 600
  • 16
    Bob Goodwin Jonesboro, Arkansas June 26, 2013 at 20:05
    At one of the HSR Walter Mitty Challenge races at Road Atlanta, I had the privilege of driving Corvette Grand Sport #001. I didn't get to drive it at speed but I did drive it. In the car world, I consider myself "Blessed".
  • 17
    peter America today June 26, 2013 at 20:22
    #6 Mercedes 450SEL 6.9 What better way to go down the highway (in Texas or Montana) at 150+ with 5 of your friends, the music blasting and the AC pumping with hp's to spare for the pocket rocket that wants to race.
  • 18
    bentleyguy Oregon June 26, 2013 at 20:31
    I think this article would have been better if it had listed five (or more) cars we really have a semi-real chance of ever driving . . . by the way, I have driven CSX3016 so I've got one on your list but don't expect to ever drive any of the others. There are all sorts of really good cars available to someone without more money than brains, such as a Bentley Mark VI that are such an absolute joy to drive, or a Citroen 2CV, particularly a Lomax three wheel version that will leave you smiling for weeks, yet most guys have never taken the chance., The original Mini is another etc etc etc.
  • 19
    Dave Randall Marblehead, Ma June 26, 2013 at 21:01
    My list would be a bit different. !: #1 Jaguar C Type. #2. Lancia D50. #3. Bugatti T35. #4. Porsche 550 spyder. #5. GTO Ferarri. The car on the Hagerty list that I like is the McLaren. The Vette ok, the Cobra I'd rather a 289. The rest can remain parked.
  • 20
    Jeff Benedict Pt. Ludlow, WA June 26, 2013 at 21:22
    One car that would be on my list is the 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9. How wonderful would it be to take this car that is big, fast, comfortable and quite ahead of its' time with ABS braking and hydraulic suspension and 450 HP engine on a cross country road trip. 120 MPH all day long would be no trouble at all.
  • 21
    robert casper Reading,PA 19606 June 26, 2013 at 21:59
    I own a 2009 supercharged Callaway Corvette with 580HP that will blow away any of these "bucket list " cars and still has the modern day creature comforts and reliability only a modern day fuel injected car can give you. Oh by the way, I only paid $37318 for it !!! The only other car I would want and could afford would be a ZR1. Good old American Muscle car. You can't beat a 'Vette for pure exhilaration for the money.
  • 22
    John Sherwill Denver, CO June 26, 2013 at 22:01
    I've owned and driven some pretty awesome cars over the years; most recently a Ferrari F-430. But how does one actually get to drive any of the rare cars mentioned without owning them? Please share that elusive detail with the rest of the class so we can start checking them off our bucket list. Thanks!
  • 23
    Steve Morris DFW June 26, 2013 at 22:17
    Where fore are these magnificient beast to be driven by a man with a passion for speed?
  • 24
    lewis.mendenhall@ssa.gov Maryland June 26, 2013 at 22:31
    Kinda neat list. But how about a list that the normal collector could fill. I mean, all but the Porsche are just about impossible to find let alone get to drive.
  • 25
    Paul Wigton Denver June 27, 2013 at 13:11
    I've driven all but the McLaren and, frankly, all were *pigs.* I suppose the McLaren would easily be the best among this list, but..this just seem like a list for hairy-chesters, not real drivers.
  • 26
    Gary Anderson Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico June 27, 2013 at 13:20
    I once owned a '78 930 Turbo, and you're right:. That was one scary car to drive. I LOVED it, but I came pretty close to killing myself a couple of times in that thing, which us why I sold it. At my age, the '63 356 S90 Coupe I drive now when I'm in the USA is more my speed. :-) I also once had a '67 'Vette roadster, ostensibly with the 427 435HP engine. I took it to a guy to have it balanced & blueprinted & a week later he called me & said he couldn't do anything with it - he put it on his dyno & got 575 HP at the flywheel. It was one of the very last '67 roadsters made (maybe the factory had a spare L88 engine laying around that they had to put in something, who knows?), & I very much wish I had never sold it.
  • 27
    vic Manahawkin N.J. June 27, 2013 at 13:47
    What, no 1929 roadster. It seams to me that where ever I go someone looks at my yellow hot rod and says, " that's to die for". And that's coming from Cobra and Plymouth owners. If you want to feel a little uncomfortable but still look way KOOL then you have to add an original 1929 yellow roadster highboy roadster to your bucket list. Oh by the way, it has a surf board mounted on top to match.
  • 28
    Mickey Alpert Central NJ June 27, 2013 at 15:38
    When I was 22 years old, I bought a brand new 375hp SS 396 1968 Camaro that came with the M22 rock crusher 4 speed and factory 4.56 12 bolt rear.Window sticker was $4400. After a short time, I went to the Chevy parts counter and purchased an L88 short block for $466. I replaced the original 396 short block with the L88 and with no other mods except Long tube headers and M+H Racemasters, clicked off a 10.78 quarter mile pass.at Atco NJ. So, being factory blueprinted , the L88 motor most likely produced between 550 and 600 HP.
  • 29
    Mark Causey United States June 27, 2013 at 06:08
    I , like most people, would be lucky to see all of these cars in person in their lifetime let alone drive one. What a foolish article.
  • 30
    ken anderson springfield va June 27, 2013 at 19:14
    My neighbor had a silver 67' L-88 what a sleeper, I was not aware it was a L=88 till he wrecked it!
  • 31
    Perr United States June 27, 2013 at 19:55
    Yep those would be awesome cars to drive before I die. But since I actually work for a living, I'm pretty sure I'll croak long before someone let's drive one of those. Why don't you come up with something a little more realistic. I think I'll stick with my $10k spindly Brit car.
  • 32
    Greg janeczek Glennville, GA June 27, 2013 at 08:53
    I really like the idea of having the opportunity to drive these cars before I die. I would be willing to spend good money on a track day where like minded drivers could spend time in these cars. Is this something that Hagerty could organize? I do not have 2.5 million to go out and purchase these cars but......I have several hundred dollars to spend to aquire some seat time in each ot these beauties....what can we do???
  • 33
    Hermann Schaller Roswell, GA June 27, 2013 at 09:43
    While I have driven some of your top five, I would have hated to miss the special experience of driving a Morgan Plus 8. The view over the hood is special and the far back seating position makes you feel that the car bends in tight curves. Talking about classic feel and strong performance, it is hard to beat.
  • 34
    Larry Chicago June 27, 2013 at 09:56
    Great bucket list of cars to drive. But how????? Anybody who ones one of these megabuck vintage performance cars would be nuts to let you drive it. Crash their baby and you'd better have a good lawyer.
  • 35
    chauncey johnstone Connecticut June 27, 2013 at 10:00
    I agree with you on the Cobra. I had a very good friend, Carter Gette, who passed away a few years ago.He had many cars over the years, as did I. He had an original Cobra, aluminun body, 427. I drove the beast a few times, even at a lap day at Lime Rock. Your right it was uncomfortable, hot, and don't get burned on those pipes. Also you could not lean against the car, unlike these reproductions you see today. Carter also had one of the first GT 350 Shelby Mustangs, no back seat. It had no amenities, big tack molded into the top of the dash. Those were the days. My days included a 62 FI Corvette, 60 healey, 64 GTO 3 carb, 67 Firebird, 70 Vette, 350/350, Then started a family, so things changed. Hope to fill the "Bucket List " again. The road ahead is not as long as the road in back, so I know where some of the bumps were/are. God it was fun!!
  • 36
    Dave Frederick The Space Coast, Florida June 27, 2013 at 22:09
    I have never driven an L-88 but I am fortunate to own a 69 400 HP Tri-Power 427 Corvette. The best part of owning this car is I can actually DRIVE it on the road without the problems of a race engine. The new cars are fantastic (wife has a 2010 426 HP Camaro) but there is nothing like putting down 400 foot lbs of torque at the rear wheels from 1500 RPM with a big block Corvette. PS, there's more to life than gas milage.
  • 37
    Rick Dunham Kalamazoo, MI. June 27, 2013 at 11:11
    I worked in sales at a Plymouth dealer in 1969/70. We sold Road Runners and 'Cudas and all the hottest muscle cars of the day. We had a Superbird come in and we all went crazy over a car that looked like this one did. I was fortunate enough to sell the car to a man who was working to build the Palisades nuclear plant on Lake Michigan and made more money than he could spend. He loved the car and very soon one of his friends came to see me about buying a Superbird for himself. We searched the dealer network and found him a 'Bird and he took it home. I sold TWO Superbirds in a month !!! WOW!! The owner of the dealership bought a Hemi 'Cuda for his demo and when the time came to sell it I also sold that car too. What a time to be in the car business.............
  • 38
    Steven Mc Massachusetts June 27, 2013 at 00:08
    Too muscle car heavy. There should be more variety of vehicles. Maybe some European or Asian models.
  • 39
    John Fortman Maine June 28, 2013 at 08:15
    I came out of automotive school in sept 1969, i went to work for a plymouth dealer in october we had a green superbird the list price was around 4300.00 but they could not sell it i was offered the car for half price, but my wife said it was to ugly. I am still regretting not buying this car.
  • 40
    Bruce Baicar Crownsville, MD June 28, 2013 at 08:53
    Nice bucket list! At this point, the reality of even adding these to a real "must drive bucket list" is almost impossible. So, given that premise, I would include any Chaparral but particularly the original car built and raced by Jim Hall and Hap Sharp at Sebring. Next I would include a Ford GT-40. I had a couple of the original Muscle Cars when they were new and wish I could go back in time and keep every one! For now, I'm looking for that one special car again. I agree with all comments, except for the first! I have great muscle car memories and love to talk about them!
  • 41
    Phil Crossland K.C. June 29, 2013 at 09:29
    I think (maybe???) you guys blew it on the Cobra. I thought the 1966 was the real-deal 427 full rise side oiler while the 1967 was a 428 (much lower power). I had a chance to buy a new '66 Cobra from Broadway Ford (KC Mo.). I believe list price was $7900. The blue Cobra sat in the showroom for over seven months - no interest - too crude. I thought it was beautiful but could not get close to the cash - junior in high school. My friends and I use to go over and stare at the bad boy. Much fun!
  • 42
    Dick R United States June 29, 2013 at 09:57
    I guess it all depends on your perspective. Nothing here even slightly interests me. The cars that would get my vote are perhaps more classical than 'classics'. Start with a 1906 Olds, throw in some brass era class, maybe end with an early '30s Packard. And note: the early '60s IH Scouts I drive sure get a lot of "could I drive it" requests, too. Your list is fine for some folks, but we car/truck fans are a diverse group.
  • 43
    Bradley Dale Nashville,TN. July 2, 2013 at 12:09
    A true classic and a true muscle car can only be American made or American modified. The Shelby Cobra is one example. Many folks like lots of vintage cars of so many makes and models, but the best will always be American. I have loved and admired the Mercury Cougar for over 30 years. I have had several Cougar Eliminators and currently own a nice convertible. Take note of the only car offered in 1968 with the 427 Cobra engine, a Mercury Cougar GT-E. Muscle car heaven..
  • 44
    Rod Ottawa Ontario Canada July 5, 2013 at 16:17
    I own a plymouth so that is a given for sure. The porsche was fun but the Vette was hard on the butt. The problem with the Shelby and Maclaren is the size. I am a pretty big guy so not sure if the enjoyment would be the same with my knees attached to my chest. Worth a try I suppose. The most fun I ever had though was in a 1970 Cutlass 442 W30 4 speed with some nice air suspension underneath. Can't beat the raw insanity of an American Classic.
  • 45
    T. Saxe Grand Rapids July 9, 2013 at 08:43
    I owned a 1968 Shelby KR convertible, and like most of the muscle cars noted in your article, it went really fast in a straight line, but took a lot of planning to stop and turn well. The most quasi-religious feeling driving a rare car was my trip in a friend's 1962 Ferrari California Spyder. The 12 cylinder symphony from under that hood was unmatched. And, 120 in third gear.
  • 46
    Dean Marshall Clarkston, Mi September 26, 2013 at 21:39
    I'd swap the L88 vette for a 1970 LS6 Chevelle. Throw a Grand National in as well. I remember fondly smoking a Porsche 911 Turbo (which I also love) while riding shotgun in my bud's '87 Grand National (bone stock) from a stoplight on Woodward. All you could hear was that Porsche rowing through the gears. I heard the tires squeal when we hit 2nd gear but the GN was otherwise whisper silent. When the next light changed to red, he pulled up to us in a huff. My buddy asked the 911 owner's girlfriend if they wanted to race, like for real this time. He looked really mad.
  • 47
    Todd Palm Desert, CA April 6, 2014 at 16:12
    You missed a good one: My 1993 BMW M5 which I have owned since 1995. It's been tweaked a bit, hehe, and it's also a bit of a sleeper given that it looks like a regular 5 Series to the unaware
  • 48
    William Cruzen St.Louis August 27, 2014 at 19:34
    Nothing nothing can compare to being 21 having a 1969 Shelby mustang and having Carla ( now my wife ) in the back fold down seat area .
  • 49
    Jay Reno March 7, 2015 at 14:09
    As a young man, I worked for a car rental company on the weekends. It was just a part time gig for money to spend on my 67 SS Chevelle, but it turned into something even better. The company had a couple of brand new Trans Ams and Camaros that I would drive to the local dealerships and, with some creative storytelling, I was able to take out 2 different L-88s, a 289 Cobra, a 77 930 and several other outstanding vehicles that I could have never imagined owning or driving. That job didn't pay much, but the fringe benefits were above and beyond.
  • 50
    Sarah Vancouver October 9, 2015 at 23:25
    Well, I drove a Superbird when in grade 12, since my friend Kathy's dad worked for a local Chrysler dealer, and she bugged him to bring it home one weekend. The dealership could not sell that car for many months! Yeah, lots of power and you could burn rubber in all gears, but not my kind of car. The McLaren and Porsche would I agree be interesting to drive, but my E-Type Coupe, Austin-Healey, Triumph TR250, MGA Coupe and Volvo 1800ES are far more my style, and are way more affordable than any of the five of them! There is more to life than just brute horsepower IMHO.
  • 51
    Loren Moore Dearborn October 29, 2015 at 16:21
    I have owned a new '60 fuel injection Corvette, '66 customized Sting Ray, SS 396 '69 Chevelle and ridden in an E Jag. Can't stand the looks of a Porsche they are so damn ugly! Like a person without a face when you look at them. Now that I am an old man, don't feel like one though. I love my '86 Lincoln Towncar and my '34 Ford!
  • 52
    Jeff Redding, CA May 17, 2017 at 22:56
    Glad I can count above 5---------so many cars, so little $$$$$$$$$$

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