The adjective “striking” cuts a fine line between gorgeous and simply arresting. While the cars on our list might in some cases be among the most beautiful (in a conventionally pretty way) more often, they combine an attention-grabbing and unconventional aspect to their beauty. Here are five jaw-droppers:
1961-67 Jaguar E-type- Seeing an E-type in 2015 is still an experience that makes onlookers pause or look twice. So imagine the response in 1961 at the Geneva Motor Show. The E-type was like a UFO. Almost other-worldly, particularly at its price of around £2,000. Legend has it that the E-type made Enzo Ferrari weep and exclaim that it was the most beautiful car that he’d ever seen.
1976-77 Lotus Esprit S1- Throughout its history, Lotus has produced some striking cars as well as some strikingly odd ones. The original Elite was striking, the 1974 car of the same name, strikingly odd. But the Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed Esprit was a jaw-dropping, cor blimey sort of thing. Maybe the best expression of the wedge theme then in vogue. The fact that James Bond famously drove one off a pier and into screen legend as it converted to a submarine cemented the car’s place on this list.
1967-71 Jensen FF- An “ordinary” Interceptor is a striking enough sight with its massive glass rear hatch and equally massive 6.3 litre Chrysler V8, but the very special FF added an extra set of front wing vents and Ferguson four-wheel drive. A bright period colour like Pistachio Green gives the FF a near unbeatable striking quotient.
1974-89 Lamborghini Countach- Lamborghini and designer Macello Gandini knew exactly what they were doing with the Countach. Exactly ten years after the Jaguar E-type, they created the same Ferrari-baiting sensation at the Geneva Motor Show. Even the name was striking—In the Piedmontese Northern Italian dialect, it is roughly the equivalent of the exclamation “holy crap!”
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray coupe- Although it bowed over a year after the Jaguar E-type, its American rival, the Corvette Sting Ray was just about as arresting. Perfectly proportioned, with hidden headlamps and striking finned knock-off aluminium wheels as an option, the one year only split-back light of the coupe put the car over-the-top.