1. LOTUS 49 (1967)

The 49 became the backbone for the Lotus team’s first tentative steps into the world of wings and served them through until 1970 when it was replaced with the Lotus 72.

It was the apparent simplicity of design, without the electronics, wind tunnels, wings and other aids that makes these cars so special.

They were still complex by the standards of the day, but by modern standards they were almost horse-and-buggy technology.

But, with the distinctive green and gold livery, it was the most beautiful horse and buggy to ever take to a race track.


The hand of former Lotus designer Len Terry was very evident in this gem from the golden-era of F1. It was built by Dan Gurney and the legendary Carroll Shelby as an “All American” tilt at the world of Formula One.

In those days, before the advent of wings, the elegant simplicity of design, form and function was what it was all about. The design focused on creating mechanical grip and a platform for drivers to show off real driving skills.

Again, it wasn’t a particularly brilliant race car—it was hamstrung by reliability problems—but from the eagle’s beak nose, to the exotic alloy tailpipes, it was a stunningly beautiful car.

3. LOTUS 97T (1985)

4. McLAREN MP4/5 (1989)

In the now universally recognized Marlboro livery, the MP4/5 absolutely dominated the 1989 season, despite the simmering feud between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost that threatened to derail their progress towards the driver’s and constructor’s championships.

The MP4/5 took pole position in 15 of the 16 races and won 10. The Prost-Senna rivalry drove development of the car at a ridiculous pace and left their competitors in their wake.

It also resulted in some bitter battles that inevitably ended up in a tangle at the side of the Suzuka track.

The car itself was a work of art. The smooth flowing lines, clear of the ticks, twitches and protuberances that mark the modern cars. The simple red and white paint scheme, which television never adequately captured, is iconic.

The car—unforgettable.

5. BRABHAM BT52 (1983)

6. MASERATI 250 F (1957)

Any car driven by Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio, and Alberto Ascari has some serious credibility in the F1 world. Add to that the name Maserati and you have an instant classic—or you did in 1957, anyway.

With the silver Mercedes W196, these were the product of a simpler, but infinitely more elegant, times. They bring back memories of grainy footage of the legends of the sport, drifting the cars through corners. They don’t drive like that any more.

The front engined rocket took the 1957 world championship with Fangio at the helm and cemented its place in history.

While it was soon out-evolved, as is the way in F1, by Ferrari and the nimble Cooper Climax (is there a better name for a race car?), it had stamped its name indelibly into the history books.

7. BRM 160 (1971)

8. WILLIAMS FW16 (1994)

9. ARROWS A2 (1979)

10. FERRARI F2007

photo credit: © 2010
edited text: Craig Chistopher
The photos are of the cars I like the best of the top 10. These cars got my interest and kept my interest over the years. Interestingly the top two for are my top two also.