The Coolest Cars Ever

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Aston Martin DB5

Some cars just ooze cool, especially those with a high price tag, sexy good looks and the “right” people driving them. Here are four of the coolest classics of all time along with the film and music legends who drove them and pushed their cool factor over the top:

  1. 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder: James Dean was a budding race car driver of some talent. He ordered what was then Porsche’s fastest dual-purpose (race/street) car available, and after wrapping “Giant,” had famed customizer Dean Jeffries paint in script on the car “Little Bastard.” Whether that was a reference to the car itself or a reference made to Dean by studio head Jack Warner isn’t clear. What is clear is that Dean tragically perished in the car on his way to a race in Salinas, Calif., at the age of 24, remaining forever young and sparing fans from a Brando-esque decline.  Dean and the 550 were the originators of the cool ethos “live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse.”
  2. 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390: Combine a Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT 390 Fastback, Steve “The King of Cool” McQueen and “Bullitt,” which contains perhaps the greatest chase scene ever committed to celluloid — it just doesn’t get any cooler than this.
  3. 1964 Aston Martin DB5James Bond’s long-standing association with this iconic British GT began in 1964, in “Gold Finger: “007: You’ll be using this Aston Martin DB5, with modifications.” Whether you love the gadgets like the machine guns and ejector seat or you’re just a fan of its classic Italian styling by Touring Superleggera and chrome wire wheels, the DB5 has more cool in the air of its tires than the entire first season of “Mad Men.”
  4. 1957 Continental Mark II: The Continental MK II of 1956-57 wasn’t branded a Lincoln. Continental was a division unto itself for those years, and to this day it remains America’s best attempt at building a car of Rolls-Royce or Bentley caliber. At 10 grand, it was double the cost of the average Cadillac and so much hand labor went into the car that Ford estimates they lost $1,000 on each one. The Mark II’s spot in the iconography of cool comes from its association with the Rat Pack during its Vegas/Palm Springs glory years.
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The Coolest Cars Ever

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TVR Cerbera

While it may be tough to stump a dedicated gear head, we’d wager that the vast majority of car-aware types out there have neither seen nor heard of this interesting group of four cars:

  • 1996-04 TVR Cerbera – TVR was a low-volume British manufacturer of sports cars based in the seaside town of Blackpool. They were in business from the late 1940s until 2006, and the Cerbera was one very outlandish sports car. Named for the mythological  three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades, the V-8 Cerbera could accelerate from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and do 180 mph. Sadly, emissions and safety regulations meant the car was never sold in the U.S., where it remains essentially unknown.
  • 1963-65 ATS 2500GT – Enzo Ferrari was a tough man to work for, and in the early 1960s, many of his key employees got fed up at around the same time and decided to out-Ferrari Mr. Ferrari by putting together a mid-engine V-8 powered sports car about 10 years before Ferrari adopted a similar configuration in the 308 GT/4. The project was undercapitalized and collapsed, with only 12 very lovely cars built.
  • 1961-64 Reliant Sabre – The Sabre was a small British GT that, in coupe form, looked like a pint-sized Aston Martin. Powered by various English Ford four- and six-cylinder motors, the Sabre had the odd distinction of being produced as the Sabra Sports in Haifa, Israel, and remains to this day, the only Israeli-built sports car.
  • 1973-79 Bitter CD – Erich Bitter was a successful German race car driver with the ambition, like so many others, to build his own car (named for himself, of course). The Bitter CD was an unusually well-executed car (support and help came from none other than Bob Lutz, then the head of GM’s German Opel division). The sleek and pretty CD was powered by a small block Chevy V-8. In spite of its American power, the CD is exceedingly rare in the U.S.
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