by G. Fernández - theartwolf.com
What is Art and what is not? At the time of considering a discipline as Art or as no-Art, we have to admit that a perfect and unquestionable definition of Art does not exist. This lack of definition makes the debate about the consideration of disciplines such as Architecture or Design as Art or no-Art still open.

I strongly believe that Automobile Design can be considered Art. But it is obvious that this "artistic discipline" is not free, but conditional on many factors beyond the artistic creation. For example, in Architecture, we have to consider factors like stability, durability, functionality or even economy. And the automobile design is clearly conditional on many other factors like security, economy or comfort. However, from time to time automobile designers create some masterpieces that deserve to be considered as "rolling Art". Let's showcase 10 of them, the list of "the 10 Most Beautiful Automobiles of the World"





10. CISITALIA 202 - Museum Piece


Designer: Pininfarina

Though the name of Cisitalia can be less famous than many others in this list, the extremely beautiful Gran Turismo 202 designed by Pininfarina deserves to appear here not only for its evident aesthetic values, which had a notable influence in many coupes of the glorious 50s, but also for being the only automobile that is exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MOMA), like a gorgeous and unforgettable example of "rolling art".

Cisitalia 202

9. ALPHA ROMEO 8C - The Spirit remains

1935-39 and 2007-present

Designer: Vittorio Jano (model 1935) and Wolfgang Egger (model 2007)

Many experts and aficionados consider that the 1930s were the Golden Age of automobile design, and the designers of today often use those marvellous cars as a "divine inspiration" for their new models. But without a doubt, no one is as fascinating as the formidable reinterpretation that Alpha Romeo has done of the legendary model 8C , the successful race car that Vittorio Jano domesticated to be driven in the street in 1935.




Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione


8. VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE - The Car of the People


Design: Ferdinand Porsche

Of course, I know that a considerable number of readers will argue that the small and modest Beetle does not deserve to appear among the exotic, exclusive automobiles of this list. Two arguments to refute them: first, the proletarian beauty of the Beetle has made it survive in a world of competitive design for 65 years, more than any other automobile. And second, those who think that the design of the Beetle is coarse or unfortunate should consider that all the Porsches ever built, from the mythical 356B to the present -and arguably eternal- 911, would have not existed without the tenacious and likeable Beetle.

  Volkswagen Beetle

7. BMW 507 - The Prince of Baviera


Designer: Count Albrecht von Goertz

In early fifties, BMW suffered an important crisis, with a range of vehicles whose design was clearly inferior to other models from its competitors. For that reason, the company -more concretely Max Hoffman- charged Albrecht von Goertz with the task of creating a prototype of a new, head-turner, two-seater roadster. The 507 was exhibited in 1955 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and it immediately became the icon of BMW. Even Elvis Presley could not resist the temptation of acquiring a brand new 507.

However, the high cost of production in the Post-War Germany caused that this car was, sadly, an economic catastrophe for the company. But 50 years after, the 507 still ranks among the finest automobiles ever produced.


BMW 507

BMW 507




Designer: Marcello Gandini (Bertone Studio)

"Go drive tractors because you will never know how to drive a Ferrari", Enzo Ferrari said to Ferruccio Lamborghini when this last complained about the poor reliability of the Modena supercars. And Lamborghini, a wealthy and proud manufacturer of tractors, decided to take revenge in the bravest and most dangerous way: building better sports cars than Ferrari. And although his beginnings were doubtful, with the launching of the Lamborghini Miura he proved that a Ferrari is not always the best supercar available.

The Miura was a radical two-seater sports car, with an aggressive design and a powerful engine, ahead of any Ferrari of its era. Unhappy with that, Lamborghini ordered Gandini an even more exclusive version called SVJ, a supercar whose lines still look modern 35 years after. And although many clients complained about the uncomfortablity of the Miura, with its small, dark and hot -just a hell on hot days- cockpit hardly separated from the powerful motor, the Miura SVJ is still considered one of the best and more beautiful automobiles ever created. A middle-engined rampant bull


Lamborghini Miura SVJ

A Lamborghini Miura SVJ Spider


5. FERRARI TESTAROSSA - Tradition and modernity


Designer: Pininfarina

Arguably, no other name in the automobile world is as famous and admired as Ferrari, but the fact is that the Italian manufacturer suffered at the beginning of the 1980's an important crisis. The cause: the rabid Italians sports cars failed to connect to the American market. The solution was the Testarossa, a spectacular supercar, large and comfortable -despite being a two-seater- and with a spectacular 12-cylinder engine. With its harmonious lines and its exuberant air intakes, the Testarossa opened the door to all the Ferraris in subsequent years, including those we see nowadays.

  Ferrari Testarossa

4. ASTON MARTIN DB4 GT ZAGATO - Italian body, British soul


Designer: Ercole Spada (Zagato Studio)

Aston Martin is the British supercars manufacturer par excellence, and the DB4 is considered to be its most representative model, although DB5 and DB7 obtained the popularity of being "James Bond's vehicles". In the London Motor Show of 1960, Aston Martin exhibited a limited edition of the DB4 modified by the prestigious Estudio Zagato, which added to its spectacular body a formidable 314 HP engine, making the DB4 GT capable of reaching 250 km/h.

Nevertheless, the poor acceptation of the DB4 Zagato limited its production to just 20 units, though nowadays it is widely regarded as one of the finest British car ever created, easily surpassing the $1 million barrier when an original model comes to auction.

  Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

3. CHEVROLET CORVETTE C1 - The American Dream


Designer: General Motors

"In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin out over the line"

Bruce Springsteen

Legendary testimonies of an era in which the gasoline was cheap and the speed limits were uneven, the young Corvettes are now much more that a classic car: they are an icon of the American dream. For more than 50 years, the Corvette has represented the American philosophy of the sports car, the powerful and wild automobile, a dream for millions of young -or not so young- people. But none as mythical as the C1 series from the 50s and early 60s, then replaced by the also lovely C2 series (with the famous Sting Ray model). If we understand Art as emotion, legendary Corvettes from the 50s and 60s are without a doubt the best example of rolling art ever to hit the streets.


Chevrolet Corvette C1

Chevrolet Corvette C1

Lowe photo by Inge Helland


2. MERCEDES BENZ 300 SL "GULLWING" - Majestic gull


Designer: Daimler-Benz (chassis by Rudolf Uhlenhaut)

Developed from a race car, the Mercedes 300 SL is widely considered as the most glorious Mercedes ever built, and arguably as the most beautiful production car ever made. With its harmonious lines, and an almost sensual plasticity in multitude of details, from the slight concavity of its roof to the majestic and later imitated "gull-wing" doors, the 300 SL was in addition an exceptional sports car in its performance, with a light 215 HP engine and an exceptional distribution of weights, which allowed the 300 SL to reach an unbelievable speed of 260 km/h, becoming the fastest model of its time.

Heir of the fast "silver arrows" -the successful Mercedes race cars from the 30s, 40s and 50s- the "Gullwing" initiated a saga -the SL cars- that is still alive half a century later.


Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing_Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing

Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing


1. BUGATTI TYPE 57 SC ATLANTIC - Haute Couture


Designer: Jean Bugatti

With the only exception of Ferrari, it is possible that no other name in the automobile world is as mythical as Bugatti. A French manufacturer founded by an Italian -Ettore Bugatti-, the Bugattis quickly became the objects of desire for the high society of the period between the wars, and constitute, without a doubt, the most glorious chapter in the history of the automobile design in the first half of the 20th century.

The most beautiful Bugatti sports cars were designed by Jean Bugatti, son of Ettore Bugatti. An authentic genius of the automobile design, the "child prodigy" Jean added to his mystic a tragic death in an accident while driving one of his cars, when he was just 30 years old. His masterpiece was the "Atlantic", a version of the fabulous T57 model. With its sensational aluminium body, and its wonderful wooden interior, the Atlantic is considered by many the most beautiful car ever made. In addition, its modern engine with 200 HP made this car capable of surpassing 200 km/h, an unbelievable speed for a street car of its era. Only three examples of this masterwork of rolling Art were completed. One of them, overwhelming one after several restorations, is in the Ralph Lauren collection (see photos). Another unity, painted in the typical Bugatti blue, is in a North American private collection. A third car, painted in red, is believed to be destroyed.


Bugatti T57 SC Atlantic

Bugatti T57 SC Atlantic

Bugatti T57 SC Atlantic

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This is a "Top 10", but there are a lot of cars that also deserve to be in this list. Let's note the iconic Jaguar E-type, the beautiful Pegaso Z-102 by Saoutchick, the Hispano-Suiza Dubonnet Xenia also by Saoutchick, or the marvellous Duesenberg SJ

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