Six decades of the world’s greatest dream cars

To provide a welcome distraction, we’ve collated beautiful images of the world’s finest dream cars. Enjoy…

  • Dream car distraction

    Dream car distraction

    © Lamborghini

    We’re all in need of a little escapism. So we thought we’d gather together a selection of cars that might have adorned your bedroom wall or your computer/phone background. Where possible, we’ve selected pictures from the time these cars were new, for maximum pinup appeal. From the 60s, to the opening of the 20s, here are the greatest dream cars of all time.

  • Jaguar E-Type

    Jaguar E-Type

    © Jaguar

    We begin in the early 1960s with the Jaguar E-Type. Not much more needs to be said of this car, other than that it’s still regarded by many as the most beautiful car ever made. In spite of the fact that it was born out of Le Mans knowhow and success, it was never considered to be as good to drive as it was to look at. Not that anybody cared.

  • Ferrari 250 GTO

    Ferrari 250 GTO

    © Ferrari

    For those more in tune with motorsport, the Ferrari 250 GTO will have been a bit more like it. Gran Turismo Omologato carries such provenance now, that original 250s can fetch tens of millions of pounds at auction. Its slippery Bizzarrini-designed bodywork was revolutionary at the time, though no two cars were the same due to the nature of their hand-built construction.

  • Lamborghini Miura

    Lamborghini Miura

    © Lamborghini

    Of course, some want style for style’s sake. Lamborghini didn’t need an excuse like racing to build his stunning Miura. Originally an after-hours project, the Miura began a long line of dream cars to come out of Sant’Agata, now five generations deep. The first ever mid-engined road car is also considered by many to be the original supercar.

  • Aston Martin DB5

    Aston Martin DB5

    © Aston Martin

    Some dream cars accrued that status by being the ultimate cinematic sidekick. Few on-screen pairings are more iconic than Sean Connery’s James Bond and his Aston Martin DB5. If you were a 007 aficionado, the only way was Aston.

  • Lamborghini Countach Periscopo

    Lamborghini Countach Periscopo

    © Lamborghini

    If the 1960s were all about panel-beaten curves, the 70s went angular. Few cars, more-so, than the Lamborghini Countach. We’ll say right now that it might be the ultimate all-time pinup, with production spanning nearly two decades. The early wingless LP400 dropped jaws when it debuted. The wedge had arrived.

  • Ferrari 365 GT4 BB

    Ferrari 365 GT4 BB

    © Ferrari

    Enzo, always more interested in his racers than his road cars, saw to it that on-track tech made its way to his road cars. Enter the 365 Berlinetta Boxer – Ferrari’s own wedge, with a race-proven flat twelve engine design.

  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage

    Aston Martin V8 Vantage

    © Aston Martin

    The Brits never truly embraced the idea of making a flamboyant supercar. We tend to prefer a muscular grand tourer with the performance to leave the Italians in the dust. For more than two decades, beginning in the 70s, that’s what the Aston Martin V8 Vantage was all about.

  • De Tomaso Pantera

    De Tomaso Pantera

    © De Tomaso

    The De Tomaso Pantera seems to deliver the best of both worlds, with V8 muscle to match the Aston, and a flamboyant wedge-like design to match the Lambo. It’s one of the original left-field supercar icons.

  • Lotus Esprit

    Lotus Esprit

    © Lotus

    If you fancy your super-sports wedges with a bit more finesse and delicacy, Colin Chapman had the car for you. The Lotus Esprit was as at home in Monaco as it was at Monza, combining drop-dead Giugiaro supercar looks with ‘just add lightness’ Lotus engineering. A fitting car to be turned into a submarine for Mr James Bond, too.

  • BMW M1

    BMW M1

    © BMW

    Most don’t believe you when they first look upon the M1 and you tell them it’s a BMW. But it is, though it’s easily forgiven, given that this was originally a collaboration with Lamborghini. It was a bit of a flop at the time, but it was prime bedroom wall fodder, and of course was the genesis of BMW M.

  • Porsche 911 Turbo

    Porsche 911 Turbo

    © Porsche

    While the 911 Turbo is a long-standing performance stalwart these days, when it arrived in the 1970s, it was Porsche’s halo model. Like the 918 of the day. For the next decade and a half, it was the car to buy to signify success.

  • Lamborghini Countach

    Lamborghini Countach

    © Lamborghini

    The only double mention on this list is deserving. As above, the Lamborghini Countach is considered by many to be the ultimate pinup car. It evolved enormously over the course of its near two decades on sale. As you can see, a selection of aero upgrades came on the outside, while the V12’s power swelled on the inside. If the white car pictured reminds you of The Wolf of Wall Street, that’ll be because a white 25th Anniversary Countach took a starring role alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.

  • Ferrari Testarossa

    Ferrari Testarossa

    © Ferrari

    Ferrari’s Berlinetta Boxer evolved into the full-blown Testarossa. Translated, that means ‘redhead’, of which you’ll find a couple in the engine bay of a TR. Thanks to some on-screen fame in Miami Vice, the Testarossa is considered one of the most famous Ferraris in popular culture.

  • Audi Sport Quattro

    Audi Sport Quattro

    © Audi

    The 1980s also yielded a different type of dream car: the homologation special. Not as exotic as a Ferrari GTO, but very expensively engineered, very fast and very rare. This is the Audi Sport Quattro, an everyman pinup that certainly didn’t have an everyman price – not every man could have one. Just 164 examples of this rally stage refugee were made.

  • BMW M3 E30

    BMW M3 E30

    © BMW

    While the M3 today is more an ‘i’m doing quite well’ car, when it debuted in E30 form, it was a bonafide dream car and a pinup. Especially for touring car racing aficionados. The original M3 was an everyman exotic, built in numbers and priced low enough to be attainable.

  • Porsche 959

    Porsche 959

    © Porsche

    The end of the 1980s saw the arrival of what we now call the hypercar. This is machinery that outdoes all other cars in terms of sophistication, performance, flamboyance and of course price. While the 959 looks like a strange variant of the 911 to untrained eyes, to those who know, it could have been the product of decades of motoring advancement to come.

  • Ferrari F40

    Ferrari F40

    © Ferrari

    But Ferrari set the mould for what the hypercar would be. An original, drastically exaggerated body, couldn’t be mistaken for anything else. It took liberties that you just can’t on normal cars. Examples included visible glue in the cabin sound, and carbon you can see through the extremely thin (and light) paint. It and truly extreme performance, with its heavily turbocharged 2.9-litre V8 putting out up to 500hp. Beautiful? Perhaps not. An instant pinup? 100 percent. And it was likely this prototype image you had on your wall.

  • Jaguar XJ220

    Jaguar XJ220

    © Jaguar

    If the F40 was the genesis for the hypercar, more were shortly to follow. First, the Jaguar XJ220. Originally conceived to have a V12 and four-wheel-drive, it wound up having a V6 from a Metro rally car, and rear-wheel-drive. It was heavy, cumbersome, but fast all the same, and extremely sleek. Almost 30 years on, it’s considered to be a bit of a legend, even if it never quite managed the 220mph figure referenced in its name.

  • McLaren F1

    McLaren F1

    © McLaren

    All hail the Mac daddy. The McLaren F1 is considered by many to be the greatest car ever made. The values reflect that, with the average F1 worth many, even tens of, millions. Where do we start? The last road-related racer to win Le Mans outright? The fastest car in the world (240mph+), officially, for eight years? The fastest naturally aspirated road car to this day? The fullest expression of F1 design ace Gordon Murray at the height of his genius in the early 90s? Check, check, double-check.

  • Lamborghini Diablo

    Lamborghini Diablo

    © Lamborghini

    It wouldn’t be a decade of dream cars without a Lamborghini to represent. And here we have the Diablo, the long-awaited successor to the Countach. The first Lambo to crack 200mph, the Diablo was a proper snarling supercar, and pure poster porn. Its V12 made more power and revved higher than the comparatively wheezy Countach. First deliveries were in 1990, with the car leaving production in 2001.

  • Bugatti EB110

    Bugatti EB110

    © Bugatti

    Bugatti’s Italian supercar comeback of the 1990s was considered challenging-looking by some. The EB110 was the product of an architect, who also designed the building it was manufactured in. Its 560hp quad-turbo V12 is considered one of the sweeter supercar powertrains of the 1990s, in spite of its sophistication. It was ruddy quick, too, with 0-62mph achievable in under four seconds, on the way to a 210mph+ top speed.

  • Ferrari F50

    Ferrari F50

    © Ferrari

    Ferrari’s F40 follow-up, the F50, had a harsh reception when it was revealed in the mid 1990s. Some called it ugly, some said it was slower than its predecessor the F40. That last point wasn’t helped by the fact that Ferrari wouldn’t allow back-to-back testing. However, that didn’t stop it becoming prime bedroom wall fodder. Look at that wing! Look at those nostrils! In time, it also became an analogue hero, with its V12 and manual transmission being celebrated as hybridisation and automatic boxes proliferated.

  • Lamborghini Murcielago

    Lamborghini Murcielago

    © Lamborghini

    The 2000s brought Audi influence to Lamborghini, beginning with the replacement for the Diablo – the Murcielago. Had the Germans corked the horns of the raging bull? Not a bit of it. The long-serving Lambo V12 was enlarged to 6.2 litres, and boosted to 580hp. The Murcielago also introduced the dreaded e-gear automated manual transmission. All told, the Murcielago was a much cleaner-cut design than its predecessor, but it was still prime poster fodder.

  • Ferrari Enzo

    Ferrari Enzo

    © Ferrari

    The Enzo debuted in 2002, in the name of the father. So proud Ferrari was of its creation, that it named its latest halo model after the founder of the company. It featured bleeding-edge aerodynamics and carbon fibre tech. Under the skin it debuted the F140 V12 – still in service today – in 6.0-litre form, with a then-incredible 660hp. You didn’t get to just pop into a Ferrari dealer and order one, either. Ferrari hand-selected customers to buy Enzos. Famous owners included Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Jay Kay (Jamiroquai) and the Pope.

  • Porsche Carrera GT

    Porsche Carrera GT

    © Porsche

    The early to mid-2000s saw something of a supercar flare-up. There were newcomers, which we’ll get to in a sec, joined by Lamborghini and Ferrari as above, and Porsche. The Carrera GT featured a rev-happy 612hp V10 originally conceived for racing, was constructed entirely of carbon fibre, had a removable roof and best of all, a proper manual gearbox. Today, it’s hailed as one of the last great analogue supercars. If you had a poster of this gorgeous 200mph+ machine on your wall, it was likely this image.

  • Mercedes-McLaren SLR

    Mercedes-McLaren SLR

    © Mercedes-McLaren

    The Carrera GT was one of a carbon-clad duo of German supercars to come from the early 2000s. Mercedes partnered up with McLaren to give us this, the much-maligned ‘McMerc’ SLR. The carbon construction and German blood is where the similarities end, however. The SLR had a front-mid mounted 626hp supercharged 5.4-litre V8 connected to an old-fashioned automatic gearbox. A traditional GT, then? Save for the £300,000+ price (from new), Gordon Murray-designed ground effect aero, and suspension that could substantiate claims that Mercedes had shares in chiropractors. It’s a lovely looking thing, mind, and a worthy dream car.

  • Koenigsegg CC

    Koenigsegg CC

    © Koenigsegg

    “A what?” we exclaimed, when Koenigsegg burst onto the scene in the early 2000s. Yes, this sleek Swedish supercar was a pretender to the McLaren F1’s top speed glory. Today, we know Koenigsegg as one of the great automotive innovators and leaders in speed. It was the same back then, albeit while fighting off a lot more scepticism. Today’s 1,600hp Jesko can trace its roots back to the 600-800hp CC8S and CCR of 2002, and 2004. Both were claimed to be good for over 240mph, and both had the incredible dihedral synchro-helix-actuation doors. As beautifully illustrated by the CCR in this poster-worthy shot.

  • Pagani Zonda

    Pagani Zonda

    © Pagani

    It wouldn’t be a brief look at early 2000s hypercars without making mention of the Pagani Zonda. Pagani joined Mr Koenigsegg in the late 1990s in starting a car manufacturer of his own. Borrowing V12 engines from AMG and combining them with industry-leading carbon fibre expertise and styling by his own pen, Pagani created the Zonda. This revolutionary hypercar found its feet in the mid-2000s, with the 605hp F variant (pictured) debuting in 2005. Pagani says his cars are a Da Vincian combination of art and science. We say it might be the ultimate early 2000s hypercar pinup.

  • Maserati MC12

    Maserati MC12

    © Maserati

    Ferrari didn’t want to go racing with the Enzo, but the platform had potential in the prevalent at-the-time GT1 class. So, Maserati, then sister company to Ferrari, took the underpinning and came up with the MC12. Just 50 were made to homologate the racers, which racked up 40 race wins during its career. Is it pretty? Not exactly, but it is extremely cool, and is eight-times rarer than the Enzo on which it’s based.

  • Bugatti Veyron

    Bugatti Veyron

    © Bugatti

    If the Miura, Countach and McLaren F1 were era-defining for the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, then this is it for the 2000s. It is, of course, the Bugatti Veyron. Industry titan Ferdinand Piech’s most ambitious passion project. When asked for 1,000hp, and a 250mph+ top speed, while being comfortable, cosseting, and safe, his brightest and best told him it couldn’t be done. He told them they were wrong and to keep working until they proved themselves wrong. Around five years later, the Veyron arrived, capable of 253mph, with 1,000hp, and comfort and refinement levels befitting a Bentley. It was rumoured each car cost VW group over double what they were sold for, though we suspect the Chiron has now made some of that back…

  • Aston Martin One-77

    Aston Martin One-77

    © Aston Martin

    The Veyron was a bit of a problem for Aston Martin. See, everything that came after was speculated by the media to be a “Veyron Killer!”. The One-77 was never intended to be that. It was meant to be the ultimate Aston. That means the longest bonnet, the silkiest V12, the classiest styling. Record-breaking? No. Beautiful, glorious, an object of pure desire? Absolutely. Not that a 7.3-litre 750hp V12 and a 220mph+ top speed is exactly unimpressive. What a way to end the 2000s.

  • Pagani Huayra

    Pagani Huayra

    © Pagani

    With the Veyron’s majesty well established, Pagani with his clever carbon fibre tech, and sonorous V12, needed a bit more puff to keep up. Enter the Huayra, with a new 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 and 730hp on tap. That V12 was tuned, so said Pagani, to sound like a jet aircraft taking off every time you put your foot down. Given all that punch, we’d bet it feels jet-powered too. The Huayra is considered by most to not be as pretty as the Zonda, but it still looks great on a poster.

  • Koenigsegg Agera

    Koenigsegg Agera

    © Koenigsegg

    Koenigsegg came out fighting in 2010 too. The Agera brought a new twin-turbo V8 engine, revised styling and aerodynamics. It debuted with 960hp, but swelled to over 1,300hp. It wouldn’t be put to the test in terms of top speed until 2017, with the more powerful and more track-focused Agera RS. It took the record from the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, averaging 278mph on a two-way run, and topping 284mph.

  • Lamborghini Aventador

    Lamborghini Aventador

    © Lamborghini

    Lamborghini’s long-awaited Murcielago replacement arrived with a bang in 2011, with a 700hp 6.5-litre V12 and styling to render the Batmobile invisible. The Aventador was all angles and anger, which made it a boon for the social media generation. Videos flooded YouTube in 2011 and 2012, of Aventador owners treating the rev-limiter like a punching bag. Flames erupted, videos went viral, and the professional supercar spotter was born. The Aventador became a ticket to online fame, and sales swelled. Every other supercar in central London became a Lamborghini Aventador. They outnumbered black cabs on Sloane Street for a while there, and it remains a popular model among London show-offs to this day. The numbers were impressive, too: 62mph in under three seconds, 217mph. Lambo was back on top. It’s nearing the end of its life now, with the monstrous SVJ sending it on its way. The Aventador successor has big shoes to fill.

  • Porsche 918 Spyder

    Porsche 918 Spyder

    © Porsche

    Enter the ‘holy trinity’ of hypercars. The first, as previewed in 2010 with a concept, was the 918 Spyder. The first hybrid hypercar, with two electric motors, and a 600hp V8, working together to generate 887hp. While it was as beautiful as a Carrera GT for the new decade, it was no analogue hero. It was a technological tour de force, delivering performance and responses to shame a Veyron anywhere but on the autobahn. It even set the benchmark at the Nurburgring, with a then-record time of 6:57 – the first road car under seven minutes. Of course, being a PHEV, after setting the record, it could well have driven back to the hotel in zero-emission mode…

  • McLaren P1

    McLaren P1

    © McLaren

    The 918 was (and is) amazing. Then McLaren came along with the P1. After the pretty but somewhat sober-looking 12C, McLaren’s comeback needed a halo model. The shrink-wrapped hypercar from the future was almost an overcorrection. Protruding wings, sweeping LED lights, slices, holes made it a feast of high-speed detailing. Drop the ride, pop the spoiler and get it in track mode, and it spits sparks from the diffuser like the fastest F1 machinery as you deploy its 916 turbocharged hybridised horsepower. At night, you’ll note a P1 on-limit by afterburner-style flames and of course, the sweeping light. It was a defining car for McLaren and an incredible machine, even seven years (!) on.

  • Ferrari LaFerrari

    Ferrari LaFerrari

    © Ferrari

    Then Ferrari joined to complete the ‘holy trinity’ – what became one of the great three-way hypercar rivalries. We needn’t have worried about it being a hybrid. That electric power wound up augmenting a near-800hp 6.3-litre V12. Total system output was a monstrous 963hp, going through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to the rear wheels. That was music to the ears of those familiar with the Enzo’s automated manual transmission. The LaFerrari was almost perfect, apart from a name which many considered a little odd, especially following the Enzo. Being the Ferrari, it’s the one that today holds the most value, too.

  • Bugatti Chiron

    Bugatti Chiron

    © Bugatti

    After a ten-year run, the Veyron bowed out. What would replace the defining hypercar of the new millennium? Enter the Chiron, named after the famous pre-war Bugatti racing driver, Louis Chiron. Unlike the Veyron, the Chiron wasn’t to be a record-breaker (yet). It was more an object of desire, designed to be timeless and luxurious. Bugatti even elected to not fit an enormous sat-nav screen, in order to make sure the Chiron aged well. It’s not all about style, though. A chassis as stiff as an LMP1 racer, and revised dynamics, made the Chiron a better drive than the Veyron, too. Eventually, though, the Chiron needed to step up. The Super Sport 300+ was the first car to break the 300mph barrier, toward the end of 2019.

  • Aston Martin Valkyrie

    Aston Martin Valkyrie

    © Aston Martin

    The bonus round is dream cars of the future. Yes, the Aston Martin Valkyrie was revealed a while ago, but customers won’t receive them until this year. So it’s a dream car for the 2020s. Many refer to it as the ‘McLaren F1’ moment of this era. Design by F1 ace Adrian Newey, 11,000rpm 6.5-litre V12 by Cosworth, performance to nearly rival F1 cars. It’s almost unheard of. Nothing has dropped jaws in terms of capability since the McLaren F1, so the Valkyrie gets the nod from us. We just can’t wait to see it in action properly, hopefully at Le Mans one day…

  • Mercedes-AMG Project One

    Mercedes-AMG Project One

    © Mercedes-AMG

    Of course the real F1 car for the road, so says Mercedes-AMG, is its Project One. And for good reason, given it’ll use an F1-derived hybrid 1.6-litre V6 turbo powertrain. If you think an F1 engine in a road car might be difficult to make work, you’d be right. Mercedes is struggling a bit, to get the Project One to work. But they’ll get there, and when they do, it’ll be epic.

  • Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut

    Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut

    © Koenigsegg

    Koenigsegg lives on, as it ever did, making the fastest cars you can buy. The Absolut variant of the Jesko hypercar, streamlined to put that 1,600hp to top speed work, could be the fastest car ever, permanently. 330mph is on the cards. If that’s not dream car, poster material, we don’t know what is.

  • Pininfarina Battista

    Pininfarina Battista

    © Pininfarina

    Of course, many of the latest hypercars have no such problems with emissions, because they don’t produce any. One of the most interesting is the Pininfarina Battista, because it’s a legendary long-standing legacy name in the world of car styling, attached to a bleeding-edge electric vehicle. It’s traditionally beautiful, but has 1,900hp, and a 0-62mph time of under 2.5 seconds, and emits zero emissions. A brave – and fun – new world.

  • Lotus Evija

    Lotus Evija

    © Lotus

    Even Lotus is in on the dream car action in the 2020s. The Evija is its hypercar comeback. All-electric, with a design that dominates the air, the Evija, like the Battista, is beautiful in a modern way. With 2,000hp, it’ll be the most powerful production car when builds begin this year. Sign us up to the silent revolution, if this is what it looks like.