There’s something to be said about the feeling when you get behind the wheel of a vintage car.
Maybe it’s a sense of nostalgia. Maybe it’s the style. Or perhaps it’s the slice of history that sits in your hands. But, whatever the source of its charm, one thing is sure: driving a classic car is a desire of many, but obtained by few.
The singular luxury of driving a 1965 Aston Martin D35 is unmistakable. And nothing comes close to the feeling of collecting a piece of history like the 1945 Beetle.
Whether you’re a connoisseur of classic cars on the lookout for a few more additions, or you have your eye on your first vintage vehicle, here’s a list of the 20 coolest classic cars occupying a spot in every auto aficionado’s heart.
Top 20 of the Coolest Classic Cars by Year
There is no clear-cut definition of a classic car. Some organizations will say that they’re distinctive cars built between specific years. Some states’ Department of Motor Vehicles have more specific qualifications: For instance, New York State says that any car manufactured 25 years before the present date is a classic car.
For most, the consensus comes down to one single point: It’s all about the feeling that you get when you’re behind the wheel.
The top 20 coolest classic cars on our list starts with the most recent models and goes back to the beginning of the United States’ automobile history.
No matter the year, make, and model, though, every one of these vehicles gives you that undeniable sense of luxury, nostalgia, power, and charm. You’ll find an elegant blend of sports cars mixed with rugged muscle cars that are impossible to pass on.
And should you ever be lucky enough to come across a classic car from a private seller or at an auto show, snap that baby up and ship her to your location because it won’t come again.
Let’s dive right in.
Classic Car #20: DeLorean DMC 12 — 1981
The DeLorean is known for its role as the time machine in the 1980s trilogy, Back to the Future. It was the only model produced by the DeLorean Motor Company, with a mere 6,500 in existence today.
Its futuristic look makes it distinct — to the point that it’s become a cultural icon with worldwide recognition. Complete with gullwing doors, the DeLorean is a cult classic eventually known as “the Tesla of the past.”
Classic Car #19: Lotus Esprit Turbo — 1981
When you first get behind the wheel of an Esprit Turbo, there’s probably much to be desired. There’s nothing classy or flashy about this car. Instead, the interior resembles something designed by someone unfamiliar with cars.
Take a closer look, and you’ll see that every detail aims at achieving the optimal driving experience.
The seat sits low, next to the pedals, and the gears are in a perfect position. It’s not an attractive car — unless you like pop-up headlights — but when you get behind the wheel, it’s like driving a race car.
Classic Car #18: Ford Mustang Mach 1 — 1969
Over the years, Ford has released plenty of models that can make even the most stubborn enthusiast stop in his tracks. But this performance-oriented Mustang Mach 1 is unlike anything before its time. Released when the Pony Car war was at its peak, its fastback body with an unforgettable hood scoop entices those who crave the wind in their hair. In this classic car, you can channel your inner John Wick-level badassery.
Classic Car #17: Chevrolet Camaro — 1969
This couldn’t be a proper classic cars list without mentioning the Chevy Camaro. As Chevy’s response to the Ford Mustang, the 1969 Camaro offered more style and power, completely breaking records when it sold 243,085 units during its first year on the market.
The Camaro’s muscle power effortlessly translates to its old school-American look and feel, truly serving as a cultural icon in automotive history.
Classic Car #16: Dodge Charger — 1969
Made famous by the 1970s sitcom Dukes of Hazzard, the 1969 Dodge Charger is the true definition of a muscle car — but what’s even better is that it’s complete with a fastback look and classic American touches.
With or without the famous 01 on the side, the Charger is a fan-favorite because of its powerful engine and design nostalgia that recalls the early years in the American automotive scene. It’s an appeal that lives on 50 years later, thanks to its slim yet substantial body and adventurous handling.
Classic Car #15: Maserati Ghibli 4.7 — 1969
Designed with the driver in mind, this sleek, shark-nosed vintage piece is of pure distinction. Its interior is simple while maintaining all the gauges and toggle switches close to the driver’s seat — all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
Back in 1969, there was nothing quite like the Ghibli 4.7 on the market — and that’s true, even today.
Classic Car #14: Shelby 427 Cobra — 1966
In 1965, race car driver Carroll Shelby personally requested a car that could manage a V8 engine. This later became the Cobra. It was used as Shelby’s vehicle, so there’s no question about how this car feels on the street.
When starting its ignition, the car rumbles and shimmies, which is nothing compared to the way it moves on the road. With an 800-horsepower engine, going from 0 to 60 in three seconds is entirely effortless.
Classic Car #13: Aston Martin DB5 — 1965
James Bond isn’t James Bond without his DB5. The world’s best international spy always had his Aston Martin to fall back on, appearing on-screen during the most nail-biting getaway scenes. There’s no question as to why Bond prefers this as his ride: A combination of Italian styling and British engineering, this luxurious car hits speeds of up to 145 miles per hour and boasts an iconic look that retains a timeless quality. On its 50th anniversary, Aston Martin released a limited edition car that mimics the exact look and feel of Bond’s true partner in crime.
Classic Car #12: Toyota 2000 GT — 1965
The Aston Martin may be Bond’s favorite even today, but the vintage vibes of the Toyota 2000 GT give all classics a run for their money.
Its sleek, luxurious look boasts an elongated front that offers a high-performance fastback. Although it’s an American car, it feels foreign because of its classy interior and careful exterior detail. Unfortunately, this exotic sports car is scarce, with only a few left in the world.
Classic Car #11: Corvette Sting Ray — 1963
Everybody loves the resonant rumble of a classic Corvette — but the Sting Ray model blew the standard models away.
A lighter version with better handling, the Corvette Sting Ray set the tone for the rest of the line. Its aerodynamic design isn’t just for show, either: Behind its pretty looks are power brakes and ultimate steering, which changed the game for everyday drivers in the auto industry.
Classic Car #10: Porsche 911 — 1963
The Porsche 911 is a classic car that doesn’t cut corners. This well-built sports car was compelling for its time, and if you can find one, you’ll see why.
The 911 is ideal for everyday driving (and maybe a quick bit of racing and rallying). Whatever your style, the Porsche 911 offers tons of horsepower — even by today’s standards.
Classic Car #9: Ferrari 250 GTO — 1962
Is it possible to have a classic car that does it all — one that offers speed, class, and room for the kids? The Ferrari 250 GTO is the answer to that question.
Ferrari designed this sharp number for the everyday driver — as long as the everyday driver had a family in the suburbs and an expectation of luxury.
This glorious and inimitable car took the gold for being the most expensive vehicle ever sold at an auction.
Its $48.4 million price tag comes down to a dynamic combination of sleek style that offers ultimate aerodynamic efficiency while also providing plenty of room for the whole family. As a result, the Ferrari 250 GTO indeed provides the best of both worlds.
Classic Car #8: Jaguar E-Type — 1961
“The most beautiful car ever made.”
That’s the way Enzo Ferrari described this classic car — and, as a race car driver and the founder of the Ferrari marque, it’s safe to say he knew cars.
The Jaguar E-type is a must-drive luxury car pulling up with tons of style while holding onto its elegance with a fluid, aerodynamic design.
That’s a good thing, too, because this set of wheels hits up to 150 miles per hour and brakes better than other models from its era. All these details make the E-type one of the most incredible engines ever produced.
Classic Car #7: Sunbeam Alpine — 1959
The Sunbeam Alpine indeed fell under the radar soon after its introduction on the market, but, these days, it’s making a well-deserved comeback.
Initially, other models, like its own Series II through IV, eclipsed its entry. Still, this ‘50s throwback is nothing to scoff at: As a sports car, the Alpine was a dependable yet unforgettable coupe.
Classic Car #6: Chevrolet Corvette — 1953
A beautiful car with a powerful engine? Enough said: the Chevrolet Corvette is an American icon. This car is what likely comes to mind when you think about hitting the road with some friends. This two-door coupe was Chevy’s most impressive foray into today’s sports cars, inspiring several rival lines and proved its role in the history of the American automotive industry.
Classic Car #5: Rolls-Royce Dawn Drophead — 1949
There’s no surprise that the 1949 Dawn Drophead marks the dawn of a new era after World War II. With only 760 units produced, this car featured an in-line six-cylinder and a four-speed manual gearbox. Its solid, classy exterior makes it a vintage star, grabbing the attention of passersby from just about anywhere.
Classic Car #4: Bentley Mark IV — 1946
As Bentley’s response to the end of the war, the Mark IV was more compact while setting new driving standards in an attempt to appeal to younger drivers without a chauffeur.
But once you step inside, you’ll be hard-pressed to say this isn’t one of the better-driving machines from the era: Its acceleration remains impressive for its bulky body. This convenient, indestructible car might have been a way to lure young buyers—but it truly stands the test of time.
Classic Car #3: Volkswagen Beetle — 1945
At first glance, this car doesn’t sweep anyone off their feet. But there’s a reason that it still sits at #2 for best-selling vehicles of all time: Its never-before-seen design and durability were eye-catching in its heyday and remain novel today.
With no more than 200 moving parts, the Beetle is an otherwise simple car — and yet, it can’t seem to shake its cult following.
Classic Car #2: Jeep CJ — 1945
Jeeps are a staple of true American heritage. Before the first mass-produced SUV made its way to the people, Jeeps were general-purpose vehicles for World War II. The Jeep CJ was released as the “civilian version,” but there’s nothing breathtaking about it.
The truth is that the Jeep CJ is neither quick, comfortable, or as stylish as the “vintage” classic car. Yet, it earns and keeps its spot on this 20 coolest classic cars list because of its rugged roots.
Today, Jeeps remain an adventure-seeking SUV exuding an aura of confidence—likely because it knows that it will always be part of American history.
Classic Car #1: Ford Model T — 1908
Without the innovation of the Ford Model T, the American auto industry would not be where it is today. Of course, the buggy only goes 27 miles per hour, but the history attached to the car stands strong even today.
Car enthusiasts and historians alike can genuinely say they’ve seen a classic if they’ve ever been in a Ford Model T.
How Much Does It Cost to Transport a Classic Car?
Classic car transportation is about 60% more expensive than shipping regular cars because they require an enclosed trailer for extra protection against extreme weather or other debris. However, for classic car enthusiasts, the additional fees ensure peace of mind when protecting these prized vehicles.
Classic car delivery is a financial investment worth every dime. Your classic or antique car deserves five-star care, and the best way to get it is with a trusted car transport company. So when it’s time to head home, choose Guardian Auto Transport, an expert in safely transporting classic cars from just about anywhere.
From a Model T Ford to a Corvette Sting Ray, Guardian Auto’s experienced team and fleet are equipped to handle any transport needs when it comes to shipping your classic car. With some of the most competitive rates you’ll find and a 99.4% customer rating for great service, there’s no better classic car transport company around. Get your free instant quote today.