When it comes to classic cars, many makes and models come and go. Luckily for us enthusiasts, there are a handful that stand the test of time and remain popular, whether it’s a vintage racer or a more modern counterpart.
For most car fans, the history and background of a specific model is a key factor when deciding to purchase. It’s inevitable that models will adapt to new trends and technologies over time, but it’s important to be aware of which iconic motors you should look out for.
Here, the Classic Car Finance Team at Cambridge & Counties Bank take a look at some of the classic cars that have stood the test of time.
Chevrolet Corvette (1953 – present)
When the Chevrolet Corvette first appeared in 1953 at New York’s Astoria Hotel, it was marketed as a ‘dream car’. Later that year, the first 300 Corvettes were built in Michigan and it’s safe to say it has been a popular model ever since, owned by numerous celebrities including car nut Jay Leno, Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Willis, and George Clooney.
Although it was initially designed as a ‘show car’, the Corvette has remained a high-performance vehicle, that has an impressive 650 horsepower and is capable of reaching 60mph in less than 3 seconds.
Mercedes-Benz SL (1954 – present)
The vision for the Mercedes SL was brought to life in the early 1950s as the 300SL remains a fundamental part of the Mercedes story to this day. Short for the ‘300 Super Light’, the Mercedes SL was the most lightweight automotive of its time, with a tubular frame made from aluminium weighing just 50kg.
As Mercedes have updated the SL over time, its iconic looks, grace and power have remained. Though the models from the 50s through to late 80s are the most classic, the latest generation is slicker and speedier than before, and almost drives itself! The introduction of Active Body Control, which has been seen in other Mercedes models, gives this once classic a sharp and aerodynamic edge.
BMW M Cars (1978 – present)
The ‘M’ car started with the M1 supercar, BMW partnered with Lamborghini and it’s safe to say the result did not disappoint. Just before production, Lamborghini pulled out of the project, leaving BMW to bring the vision to life solo in 1978. Very few models were built (less than 500), making the M1 extremely sought after even to this day. Many subsequent models have gone on to become highly desirable including the classic M3 CSL, early noughties Z8 and the M5.
Mini Cooper (1951 – present)
Marketed as a new and revolutionary compact car, the iconic Mini Cooper was born over 60 years ago by The British Motor Corporation (BMC). It was not only small and stylish, it was labelled the ‘efficient city car’ of its time, having been produced in the midst of a fuel shortage.
The tiny car was favoured by rock stars, actors and even junior royalty throughout London at the time, making it a true statement of the 1960s. Although the latest models are much larger in size, they still look rather classic and have an exterior that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. A spacious interior, impeccable driving characteristics and fantastic fuel economy are just some of the characteristics that make the Mini Cooper a model to be reckoned with.
Porsche 911 (1963 – present)
Some car fanatics would say the 911 is the only Porsche worth considering, and with its superior technology and timeless design, it’s hard to disagree. Set to be sold as the 901, the 911 is the only model linked to the original Porsche 365 and is held highly by Porsche lovers because of this. Some of the best and rarest models can fetch well over £1m. The latest version of the 911 has kept many of its predecessors’ characteristics and is likely to remain an iconic automotive for a while longer.
Modern cars can often trace their lineage back to cars that are iconic classics. Whilst cars have come on leaps and bounds over the past few decades, moulding and adapting to new technology and trends, who knows what the progeny of these classic models will look like in the future. It’s inevitable that the next decade will bring radical changes in the automotive industry, but it’s likely that these iconic models will remain.