The True Motor Icons of Our Time

Filed under: Classic News |
The classic car market in the UK is worth an estimated £5.5 billion. The chance that most people will ever be able to own one of these true icons is very small but not zero. There are numerous reports all the time of people uncovering millions of pounds worth of cars in barns, old garages or even sheds. If you were in the right place at the right time, would you know what you’d found? What true classics should you dream of uncovering?

Classics From Before The Second World War

The Talbot-Lago T150 CSS needs to be seen to be believed. It may have been built in the year Superman was created but its styling is pure Batmobile. There is nothing at all on the market today that can capture the joy and feeling of speed you have when you see a T150 just standing still; to see one race is to take it to another level.

The Duesenberg Model J stopped being built in the year before the T150 started but it had been around since 1928. Once again the styling of this classic lent itself to inspire at least one of Batman’s enormous garage of cars. The Model J represents everything one thinks of when it comes to 1920s supercars - It has a bonnet the length of an oil tanker but with the styling of the best steam engines. Chrome-plated pipes come out of the side of the bonnet telling you just how powerful it is and sleek running boards evoke feelings of gangsters with Tommy guns. It is perfection… and it may be hiding in a woodland somewhere for you to discover.

Classics From The 50 Through To The 70s

Between 1961 and 1975 Jaguar produced one of the greatest sports cars of all time. The E-Type was declared by Enzo Ferrari to be the best looking car ever made. With a V 12 5.3 litre engine the monstrous beast changed the UK forever. Never before had the world seen a car like it, and never before had the UK had a road that would suit it. The newly built motorway projects offered a virtually empty racetrack for the Jaguar, and they had no speed limits. This changed very quickly after it was discovered that whilst the Jaguar may be able to travel at insane speeds on the UK road network, it lacked the brakes, and the drivers lacked the skill, to do so safely. After a dramatic high-speed crash Parliament introduced the 70mph limit that still stands today. If you come across the sleek, long lines of an E-Type in a barn take a deep breath and find out the vehicle value if restored.

The Ford Thunderbird summed up everything the world needed to know about 50s America. Although the original T-Birds was only produced between 1955 and 1957 it inspired generations of copies and improvements. Soon after the T-Bird’s first run had ended (from 1961 to 1967) there came a car that is, perhaps, the most copied beast on the road; the AC Cobra. Whilst impractical compared to modern supercars the Cobra just screams at you about how fast it is and begs to be raced.

Whilst Porsche is best known for the Beetle inspired 911, the Yuppie Special is not their best beast. Between 1954 and 1965 they produced the magnificent 356. This is the company’s true icon, and if you can find one of these in an old shed you will be laughing all the way to the auction.

Even if James Bond hadn’t driven it the Aston Martin DB5 (built from 1963 to 1965) would have still been world famous. Powerful, low, and very fast, this elegant tourer could eat the miles in style and make anyone look like Sean Connery. Whilst the UK was making the glorious and subtle stylings of the DB5, America took another route. The Ford GT40 started being built the year after the DB5 but carried on until 1969. This was pure American muscle and it had one job to do; to smash the Ferrari strangle-hold on Le Mans. This roaring, ferocious lump of metal succeeded and became the shape American boys and girls true for a generation when they thought of a race car.

Modern Classics - From The 80s To Today

According to Top Gear the Koenigsegg Agera (first built in 2011) is the ultimate supercar. This is the beast that the show used to turn to every time they needed a benchmark. Before this they used the equally glorious Bugatti Veyron that hit the market in 2005 but stopped being built when the Agera started. Both of these cars represented the ultimate in speed and performance for the modern market.

The Bugatti and Koenigsegg replaced the previous two ultimate supercars; the Jaguar XJ220 and the McLaren F1. Both of these hit the market in 1992 but the F1 was built for 4 years longer than the Jaguar (ending in 1998). Which car was better has caused family feuds since the 90s, and it really isn’t clear. The XJ220 has been shown to out accelerate (and have a higher top speed) than the top supercars of today, it also was able to reverse into a brick wall at 100mph and drive away safely. The F1, however, featured a racing-like central driving position, phenomenal handling and was, in essence, a Formula One car adapted to be road legal. Whilst the Jaguar has its fans, experts generally give the nod to the F1.

Just Keep Looking

It is okay to dream. Work hard, save your money or enter the lottery… maybe one day you will be able to afford the iconic car of your dreams. There is no harm in believing this, but there is another way. Keep exploring those abandoned buildings, keep on hiking through deserted woodland… in short keep your eye out for the restoration project of your dreams.