By on May 21, 2018


Today’s QOTD is a bit of fun … if you’re willing to tell the truth about your age, that is.

The question is simple: what’s the best-looking car from the year you were born?

I’m a relatively young pup, although a quick survey of the TTAC masthead reveals I am squarely in the older half of our group. As the calendar year 1980 marks the beginning of my trips around the sun, I’ll focus my efforts there.

The BMW 6 Series was then, as now, one of the greatest-looking coupes money could buy. Shark-nosed and sleek, this quad-eyed bullet was a scalpel for the road. This measure was not a stretch given 1980 was certainly in the depths of what is now known as the Malaise Era, but the straight-six produced near-as-makes-no-difference 200 horsepower and was hooked to a Getrag manual. The mighty M6 wouldn’t appear for another couple of years.

Your author has always been partial to big coupes, laying down his own money on a 1989 Lincoln Mark VII fifteen years ago. That car was a cherished part of the fleet for six wonderful years. I think I’d enjoy a 633CSi as well.

How about you? What car catches your eye from the year you were born?

[Image: Bring a Trailer]

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104 Comments on “QOTD: The Best Car, the Best Year?...”

  • avatar

    Another relic from the last year of the Carter administration here. The 6-series _would_ be my answer too, unless I can cheat a bit and argue that, since Audi introduced it in 1980 (even though it was only released to the European market that year), I get to say the Quattro, because _damn_ I would still buy that car today if given a tenth of a chance.

  • avatar

    This is easy. 1954 – Bentley R-Type Continental.

  • avatar

    Has to be the ‘55 Thunderbird. Tied for second is the Triumph TR-2 and the Chevy Belair.

  • avatar

    1957 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder

  • avatar

    1961 Ferrari 250 TRI61 just like Phil Hill drove at LeMans.

  • avatar

    67 427 cobra

  • avatar

    1969 Chevy Impala convertible, 427/4-speed, black with red interior. Lemans blue 1969 Chevy Corvette convertible is a very close second.

  • avatar

    1984 Testarossa

  • avatar

    1966, tough year to call. Shelby Mustang GT350, Covertte, Jag E Type. I’ll give it to the E Type.

  • avatar

    This is really hard……….i was born in 61. i wold say it comes down to the Jaguar e type, the Lincoln Continental any Cadillac……………i’ll go with the 1961 Chevy Impala.

  • avatar

    No contest for me a 1966 Jag XKE droptop in british racing green of course, and as a bonus since it was towards the end of it’s run hopefully better parts were put in it.

  • avatar

    1971 – C3 “Mako Shark” Corvette.

    • 0 avatar

      The ’71 and ’72 are my second favorite Corvettes all-time, after the ’63.

    • 0 avatar

      I dunno… 1971?

      That’s when BMW was making the E9 coupe with the pillarless B panel. Great looking car.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep, one year younger than JMII. Off the top of my head:
      – The E9s looked good.
      – C3s, which I don’t like nearly as much as C2s, still was mostly in its original form. Subsequent facelifts would do it no favors. Still, a nice looking car in an absolute sense.
      – The E-Type was in its third series and probably looking its worst, but it still looked good.
      – The Ferrari Daytona seems like an overly obvious but decent candidate for that year.
      – Lancia Fulvia Coupé
      – Series I Jaguar XJ sedan

      Cars that were perhaps not to everyone’s liking but that I think looked striking: the Citroen SM and Lamborghini Espada.

      Relatively bread-and-butter car from the era that I like: the ’68-’72 Olds Cutlass in convertible or two-door hardtop form. Those A-bodies sort of foreshadowed the “too much interdivisional commonality” of the Roger Smith Era, but the Olds details seemed to work best with the design.

      • 0 avatar

        I was gonna say the 1970 Cutlass! Hardtop, Coupe or Supreme (more formal roof), though the best of the three was the ‘71, with the SX package on the Supreme, which got you the 455! That was also peak 4-4-2, I believe!

  • avatar

    Trivially, the 1970 Citroën DS 21. Strong contender for best-looking car *ever* in my book, too.

    • 0 avatar

      Narrowing down to vehicles that debuted in my year of birth, I can actually stay with the manufacturer. Of the two Citroëns that came out in ’70, it’d have to be the GS; the SM is one hell of a car, but it’s not entirely good-looking, in fact I’d rather call it “striking”.

    • 0 avatar

      My 1970 car would be the Toyota 2000GT. That thing was sex on wheels.

  • avatar

    1975 is my year. Two of my favorite cars, the Lancia Fulvia Coupé and Rover P6, were nearing the end of their long production runs. Forced to choose, I suppose I’d go for the Fulvia.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      Same year for me. I’d have to call a tie between the 1975 Corvette convertible and the BMW E21 (European intro 1975, brought to the U.S. in 1977.)

  • avatar

    Concur wholeheartedly on the 633csi, Corey. Dad had an ’80 Eldo bought in ’79, and decided to dump the piece of junk on a BMW that year. I lobbied hard for the 633, but he ended up with a 733 instead (with manual, natch), which was a damned good consolation prize.

    I’ll refine the question a bit and limit it to the cars introduced the year I was born (1963), and it’s a harem:

    1) Aston Martin DB5 (alas, not with the ejector seat)
    2) Iso Grifo
    3) Buick Riviera
    4) Ferrari 430

    And the winner:
    1963 Corvette Stingray coupe. In silver.

  • avatar

    Gee yall are old!

    1994 Lexus SC 400

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Oh geez 1968 was full of them, but I gotta go with the ‘Vette and the A-body (Cutlass/442, LeMans/GTO, Skylark/GS, Chevelle).
    B-body Mopars would also be good.

  • avatar


    I’ve always liked that generation of Corvette even though it has the negative “gold chains & disco” stereotype.

    3rd Generation C/K Chevy trucks are good looking, clean, square, and handsome.

    Chrysler New Yorker Brougham 440 V8 – one of the last gasps of the big block monsters – along with the Lincoln Continental (Town Car).


  • avatar

    1973 DeTomaso Pantera
    Ferrari 365 Daytona
    Countach was very striking, not sure if it qualifies for ‘good looking’ though!

  • avatar

    1954 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing. Yes, I was a fan once upon a time.

  • avatar
    Leonard Ostrander

    I was born in 1949, and i clearly remember that all the cars were ugly.

    • 0 avatar

      Nah. Hudson had good-looking ones, lower and thus more elegant than the rest of the “streamlined” US cars. Mercedes-Benz made the pre-war 170 V again, which is sort of “the” classic car. The Citroën 11CV “Traction Avant” isn’t too shabby either. And how about the Jaguar XK 120? To name but one per country. Surely one of them should be able to float your boat.

      • 0 avatar

        You beat me to it, Ermel. I was going to say Jaguar XK120.

        • 0 avatar

          I’d happily take a 1949 Cadillac two-door sedanet.

          • 0 avatar

            Ooh, good call. I’ve never gotten a close look at it, but a couple in my neighborhood has what I can only generally identify as a “1948-53 Cadillac C-body.” It’s fantastic.

    • 0 avatar
      Lee Wilcox

      You don’t give 1949 enough credit. The 49 Ford is supposedly the car that saved Ford and it certainly got my teen juices to flowing a few years later. The 49 Olds was a sign of the things to come with it’s new V8. Even the old Hudson was pretty neat with it’s big flathead six.

      My year was 1943 and I guess you could choose between a jeep and maybe some Army vehicles that have a sort of “cool” attached. I personally liked the Balao fleet submarine that I drove some a few years later. Always feel left out when I run across this theme in an article.

  • avatar

    67 Mercury Cougar—bonus points for being my first car.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    Haven’t we seen this question before? Anyway, 1975 Ferrari 308 GTB, although my previous answer was the Maserati Khamsin.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    1955 Chevrolet Belair 2-door hardtop, or the Nomad. 1955 Thunderbird.

  • avatar

    1986, I have to give it to the Lamborghini Countach LP5000 Quattrovalvole. It was another year before the F40 and there isn’t one car that’s had it’s posters on more bedroom walls than the Countach.

  • avatar

    1989 – Our lord and savior, the Mazda Miata MX-5 !

    (This was a hard pick over the NSX, but I’ll own a Miata some day and I know I’ll never own an NSX).

  • avatar

    1986 VW GTI, 8V engine, with A/C, stereo, and cruise control.

    If I could have only ONE car, that’s what I would want.

  • avatar
    Kalvin Knox

    1999 Jaguar XJR.

  • avatar

    Being Older than dirt I looked it up.

    According to the internet “In 1941, more than three million cars were manufactured in the United States. Only 139 more were made during the entire war.”

    So for 1945 actually no cars. If it has to be on wheels then a Fixible Bus (A classic beauty, look it up). If any motorized vehicle allowed then Tiger 2 or P51 Mustang.

    Only other choice would be a Ford Pickup or Willys Jeep both made for the military.

    • 0 avatar

      As kind of a Willys Jeep-plus, Dodge was making a fine command car.

      And was the Katyusha rocket launcher a factory option from Studebaker, or were they dealer-installed at Uncle Joe’s Auto Emporium?

      Finally, the Chevy Pulverizer likely was still in production:

  • avatar

    1952 Chevy 2-door fastback.

    • 0 avatar

      It wouldn’t be hard to add TBI now…

      TBI + modern electronic ignition + tune up = roughly 2x the original power

      That’s a piece of progress I’m grateful for.

  • avatar
    new caledonia

    Easy. ’57 Chrysler.

  • avatar

    Nissan Skyline

  • avatar

    1970 Plymouth GTX.

  • avatar

    Ugh. I was born in 1976, the worst year of the malaise era. Even 911s were ugly, having the accordion bumpers but not yet the SC updates.

    But the Italians came through in an otherwise horrible car year. 1976 was the first year for the 308GTB, one of the most iconic Ferraris ever, and one that was waaaaay ahead of its time.

  • avatar

    1979. Really dig the BMW M1 from a styling perspective. Also the Ferrari 400 GT.

    If I had to pick one to actually own it’d have to be the Li’l Red Express.

  • avatar

    1971 – De Tamaso Pantera.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    1953 Studebaker Commander. Very modern looking compared to most of its contemporaries. It’s the first year for the Corvette as well but I like the Studebaker better.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll second this Studebaker Commander Starlight hardtop but the 1954 version. They had subtle differences but were essentially the same car.

  • avatar

    1990, not really a banner year for automobiles. I have no idea what cars (if any decent ones) were introduced that year, but as far as cars fairly early in their production run, I’d take a 300zx, 240sx, or R32 Skyline. Maybe an Oldsmobile Trofeo. Definitely think we’ve had this question before.

    • 0 avatar

      1990 is easy for me, since I was 22 at the time. With ’68, I just got the normal Mustang, Corvette, Charger, etc, list. AMX I guess.

      Anyways, Mistsu Exclipse GSX Turbo AWD, Supra Turbo, MR2 Turbo, and the 5.0 “Notch” Mustang LX could still be had for around $10K with crank windows and radio delete.

  • avatar

    1955 Jaguar XK140:

  • avatar

    1953 Jaguar XK120 Roadster. Honorable mention to Corvette.

  • avatar

    I have always been partial to the ’57 Cadillac, but in terms of popularity I guess my answer would be the ’57 Chevy. ’57 Corvette and ’57 Thunderbird would not be wrong answers either.

  • avatar

    1937 Lincoln Zephyr Coupe

  • avatar

    after quickly considering all of what would be my ‘usual suspects’ for such an endeavor – porsche’s gmund coupe, jaguar’s xk120, aston martin’s db1, even old fastback cadillac sedans – i thought long and hard about ultimately choosing an appropriate delahaye model with a desirable saoutchik body. but in the end, i elected to go with this: an all-original hennecke german model from the year of my birth [1949] …

    an obvious aesthetic purity is clearly in evidence. and so much fun to be had behind the wheel!

  • avatar

    1943 amtrac

  • avatar

    I’ve always been fond of the 50 Ford. Its the only car from that year that I would be able to identify.

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    1981 W126 S-Class
    While SEC is more popular I like the 4 door version better and in the process of restoring a 1987 560SEL with less than 75k miles

  • avatar

    1981 DeLorean DMC-12

  • avatar

    1970 BMW 2800CS. Those lines, that greenhouse…I briefly owned one and wish I had possessed the skills to keep it. Even just sitting in my garage, it was stunning to look at.

  • avatar

    1988. M5. Black on bone.

    • 0 avatar

      E28s may not be considered *the* BMW, but I think it’s one of their best-looking cars. One of the things I especially like about the design is how well it incorporates the US-spec bumpers. The Euro bumper conversion that a lot of enthusiasts espouse seems kind of pointless to me; it looks good in either guise.

  • avatar

    Since the e-type takes all the 60s and half the 70s, I’m gonna say the body style had to debut during your birth year. My Picks:
    1962 MGB
    1962 Studebaker GT Hawk

  • avatar

    1951 MG TD in BRG

  • avatar

    1967 is easy
    Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
    Probably the best looking road car of all time. Too bad so few

  • avatar

    1982 Mazda RX-7
    My uncle had one when I was kid, and recently bought one again (baby blue, GSL), now that he’s approaching retirement for a Sunday driver.

    There’s not a lot to pick from this year.

    I almost went with the best looking version of the Volvo 200 series, the Volvo 262C Bertone. But I realize that’s just good looking for Volvo, and I’m a fanboy

  • avatar

    1965 Mustang. Born in September 1964 so I think puts me in the middle of the “is it a ’64 or ’65 Mustang” discussion.

  • avatar
    Matt Posky

    The Plymouth Voyager.

  • avatar

    1960 Cadillac Coupe DeVille (much better than the 1959 everyone likes).
    For car introduced in 1960 I’d have to go with the Corvair.

  • avatar

    1992 LeBaron convertible. Runners up: New Yorker, Imperial, W140 S-Class/SE-series, Town Car and Suburban.

  • avatar

    Thank you everybody for giving me answers to your security questions.

  • avatar
    Griffin Mill

    If I were a year younger it would be easy… 1970 Alfa Romeo Montreal, but since I was born in 1969 the most beautiful car the year I was born was the Maserati Ghibli.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    1993? Ooh, goodness, I don’t like very many cars from that era. I dunno, maybe something Japanese or German and high-end.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m jealous. I was born a year before my all-time favorites debuted, the 1993 Chrysler Concorde and Eagle Vision.

      • 0 avatar

        I was also born the year before several new body styles came out in 194… way back when.

        • 0 avatar

          I suspected that you were someone with extensive life experiences based on the quality comments you post.

          Nice to have others of my vintage on this board.

          Anyway, I’ll be gone for awhile. I’ll catch up with you guys when I get back.

          Yawl have a great Spring and Super Summer.

          I know I will.

  • avatar

    Chrysler Town & Country Woodie convertible.

  • avatar

    I suppose a few prewar style cars were produced in late 1945, but i cannot find any details. Later in the forties, I always liked the Hudsons, Packards, and Kaiser Fraziers, all lost causes.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I see you could still get a BMW 2002 in 76,though I’m sure it would breed a bumper tuck.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I was born at the end of 1960 so the 1961 model year is more fitting.
    Domestic- Corvette
    Import-MGA Coupe

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    1955 Imperial.
    1959 Cadillac.
    1975 Mark IV (Pucci edition).

    Classics of their respective eras.

  • avatar

    1970. Chevelle’s, Cutlasses, Buick GS or Pontiac GTO would all be on my radar.

  • avatar

    Jensen Interceptor

  • avatar

    1962 Lincoln Town Car, sans roof.

  • avatar

    1952 Lazzarino Roadster. Could not recall any from that year. Did an image search. This was the first one that truly appealed to me.

  • avatar

    American: 1958 Desoto Adventurer Convertible
    Import: Ferrari 250GT

  • avatar

    As has been mentioned, 1976 was an awful year for cars.

    I can only come up with three finalists:

    Pontiac Trans Am
    Jaguar E-Type
    Datsun 260Z

    I think I will settle on the Datsun.

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