Meet the Hottest Wheels on the Road

Iconic cars from the Beetle to the Jaguar are brought together in a new tome



The Space Age-y Theme Building at LAX is the perfect backdrop to park the aerodynamic 1963 Chevrolet Corvette-C2 Sting Ray. PHOTO: General Motors.


Last year, at the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, the famed auto haus auctioned off one of its two legendary 955 300 SLR Uhlenhaut coupes for $143 million. The vehicle became not only the most expensive car ever sold, but also one of Sotheby’s priciest lots of all time. This month, the iconic roadster resurfaces on the pages of a luxurious new tome, The Atlas of Car Design: The World’s Most Iconic Cars (Phaidon, $150), in which author Jason Barlow offers a vast, encyclopedic survey of the evolution of car design throughout history.

Featuring more than 650 rides from over 190 manufacturers and 30-plus countries, the meaty compendium celebrates the good, the bad, and the ugly (recall the Pontiac Aztec from Breaking Bad). Here cars are presented and celebrated as works of art, from the Volkswagen Beetle (the best-selling car of all time) to Elon Musk’s much-hyped Tesla Cybertruck and the Jaguar E-Type, which is an actual piece of art now residing in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

In the land where car culture is always thrust into high gear, leafing through these pages may be the next best thing to actually buying a new machine.


Inspired by Lockheed Martin’s P-38 Lightning, the head-turning Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz measured 19 feet long and was adorned with theatrical tail fins that stood 45 inches tall on either side. PHOTO: General Motors.



Feature image: In 1961, holed up in a rental house just outside Palm Springs, Raymond Loewy and his team redesigned the Studebaker Avanti with an unusual grille-less nose panel. PHOTO: From the Collection of Studebaker National Museum, South Bend, Indiana.


This story originally appeared in the Fall Men’s Edition 2023 issue of C Magazine.

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