A handful of decade-defining motors, from Fords to Jaguars to Chevrolets. Here are some legendary (and beautiful) cars!
Produced from 1935-55, the MG T series was a popular range of small, convertible sports cars, mostly steel-bodied on a wooden frame, and capable of around 80 mph (129 km/h). The post-war TC enjoyed particular success with sales of more than 10,000, in large part because of the car’s achievements on the export market. It did especially well in the US, the open-bodied two-seater being widely credited with introducing American drivers to the concept of the small sports car.
The Thunderbird made its debut in 1954, initially as a two-seater convertible that Ford hoped would rival Chevrolet’s racy Corvette. With its scooping bonnet, covered, rear-mounted spare tyre, and (somewhat optimistic) 150 mph (241 km/h) speedometer, the car undoubtedly had upmarket credentials, but like the early Corvettes it was never meant to be overly sporting. While striking to look at, it used the same conventional 4.8-litre V8 as several other cars in Ford’s Mercury stable.
With the ground-breaking Mini at the forefront of the 1960s swing, lovers of high-performance cars favoured the Jaguar E-type. Instantly recognizable and enormously desirable, it was never quite as fast as the public imagined. However, with aerodynamic lines clearly derived from the Le Mans-conquering D-type, it was nevertheless frequently voted the most beautiful car ever designed, and with some justification.
The winner of the Rally World Championships in 1974, 1975 and 1976, the Lancia Stratos was developed from a striking, fluorescent orange, wedge-shaped concept car designed by Bertone and launched at the Turin Motor Show in 1971. Swapping that model’s four-cylinder Lancia engine for Ferrari’s Dino V6 made it one of the decade’s most charismatic stars, and – in the right hands, at least – an authentically potent weapon when it came to top-level motor sport.
One of the most evocative names in the business, after more than 60 years on the road the Corvette is still very much the definitive American sports car. Originally intended as a rival for the UK’s Jaguar XK120, it cost almost twice as much as the previous Chevrolet’s and sold slowly at first, only really taking off when the V8 engines were added. Since then a process of continual development has kept the Corvette at the very forefront of US motoring.
From the Chevrolet Bel Air to the Ferrari Testarossa, The Classic Car Book showcases the most important and iconic classic cars from every decade since the 1940s. Fully illustrated and packed with stunning photography, it uses specially commissioned photographic tours to put you in the driver's seat of the world's most famous vintage cars, including stylish roadsters and luxury limousines from manufacturers such as Mercedez-Benz, Ferrari, Rover, Jaguar, and Bentley.