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Media post: Five Iconic Automobiles

AC Cobra

In 1953, Chevrolet introduced a two-seater sportscar with a fiberglass body and a triple-carbureted, six-cylinder engine. Called the Corvette (after small WWII attack ships of the same name), sales were slow at first but picked up quickly. This, of course, did not go unnoticed by the folks at Ford who released their own 2-seater, the Thunderbird, in 1955. The T-Bird also sold well but Ford wanted more than just a pretty sports car, they wanted a sports car that promoted itself by winning races – races such as Lemans.

In order to quickly build a world-class racing car, Ford approached racer Carroll Shelby and signed him up. The first thing Shelby did was shop around for a race worthy body/chassis and he quickly settled on a chassis he liked at AC Cars of Britain. As for engines, Ford had just released the 427, a lightweight, thin-wall cast big-block V8. Shelby popped these engines in the AC body and called the completed car the “Cobra.” And what a racecar it was. In 1963 and 1964 AC Cobras swept the top winners at Lemans and the rest is now history.

Volvo P1800

In the 1900s, Volvo was a serious-minded Swedish manufacturer of boxy-styled cars that were considered some of the best built in the World. Many people don’t know that besides Volvo’s list of family haulers, they made a sportscar too. Released in 1961, the P1800 and was a two-seater, front-engine, rear-drive coupe that looked like nothing else. The P1800 became highly popular starting in 1962 as it was the main car driven by Roger Moore in the hit television series The Saint. Like the rest of the Volvo line at that time, it also was ultra-reliable. In 1998, an 1800S was certified as the highest mileage private vehicle driven by the original owner in the world having exceeded three million miles (as of 2013).

Jaguar E-Type

The E-type evolved from the earlier XK150, XK140 and XK120 series. Released in 1961, it was considered a very good-looking car. Discarding the styling of the 1950s, the E-type was a sleek, long sports car with a triple carbureted, dual-cam, six cylinder engine and independent rear suspension. In 2004, Sports Car International magazine placed the E-Type at number one on their list of the World’s Top Sports Cars and in March of 2008, The Daily Telegraph ranked it number one on its list of the world’s “100 most beautiful cars.” Jaguar Motorcars made the E-Type from 1960 until 1971.

Aston Martin DB5

Released in 1963, the Aston Martin DB5 is a British luxury grand tourer car made by Aston Martin, LTD. We learned from our source at that, believe it or not, the DB5 body was designed by the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria and the DB series was named in honor of the owner of Aston Martin from 1947 to 1972, Sir David Brown. The DB5 is a famous, highly sought-after model because it played a central role in the James Bond movie franchise. It first appeared in Goldfinger in 1964. The same car (registration BMT 216A) was used again in the following film, Thunderball, a year later.

Buick Riviera

The Riviera is a luxury car produced by Buick and was highly praised by automotive journalists when it debuted in 1949. The name Riviera (latin for coastline,) was chosen to evoke the affluence of the French Rivera. Buick offered a Roadmaster Riviera coupe which was to become extremely popular over the next 30 years. While early models stayed close to the original form, the styling of subsequent generations varied substantially over the Riviera’s thirty-year lifespan. In all, 1,127,263 Buick Rivieras were produced before being discontinued in 1999.

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