Playboy Magazine may not be the foremost authority when it comes to discussing classic vehicles, but one thing we know for sure: these people understand the business of classics more than anyone gives them credit for.
The adult magazine that became famous not for their features on stripped-down cars but for, well, you get the picture, has recently unveiled a list of their favorite classic rides, all of which have earned resident status in the magazine’s fantasy Vintage Thunder car garage.
Of the list, Playboy divided their choices to three American models and three European models - representing one and all, so they say - with most models being priced in the same range with the exception of one particular German bad boy - the BMW 507 Roadster.
That hot piece of classic German engineering costs almost three-quarters-of-a-million dollars, which means that the only way we can get our hands on one - or a sketch of it, at least - is if we buy the April issue of Playboy magazine.
At the very least, we’ll be getting our money’s worth on that purchase.
Details of all six Vintage Thunder classics after the jump.
1956-1959 BMW 507 Roadster
Designed by Count Albrecht Goertz, the same man that put pen on paper on the Datsun 240Z, the BMW 507 Roadster is arguably one of the most iconic Beamers the German automaker has ever built. The only thing that held it back was the sad fact that it was only built in limited numbers over three years with the actual figure amounting to just 254 units. Despite that, BMW’s answer to the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing remains a classic today both for its elegant and sleek styling and its 3.2-liter V8 engine, the very first production V8 to come with an aluminum block and heads. Back then, the $9,000 price tag of the 507 Roadster was considered a luxurious splurge, but that’s peanuts compared to what it costs now: $720,000.
1961-1968 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Coupe
Of all the models that British automaker Jaguar has released in its illustrious history, one particular type still stands out from the rest: the E-Type. It’s pretty much safe to say that the E-Type was the model that launched the Jaguar name into mainstream consciousness, having once been described by Car and Driver as "the car we’d most like to own of any we’ve tested". On top of its slender and classic long-nose appearance, the E-Type had the performance capabilities to match any car of its time. Under its hood, you’ll find a three-carburetor, twin-cam 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine that produced an output of well over 265 horsepower and was mated to a four-speed manual transmission. For a brand that struggled to gain traction amidst the increasing number of competitors, the E-Type became Jaguar’s watershed model, the car that turned the Big Cat into a world-class automotive company.
1964 Pontiac Tempest Le Mans GTO
A lot of people will stake claim on building one of the very first muscle cars in history, but of all those people, only a handful have a serious claim to that title. One of them is John DeLorean. Back in 1964 - coincidentally, the same year the Ford Mustang was born - DeLorean and Pontiac introduced the Tempest Le Mans GTO, a snarling piece of muscle that came with a 389-cid V8 engine and an output of 325 horsepower. People will tell you that the muscle car was born in 1964. But whether it’s the Mustang or the Tempest Le Mans GTO, the important thing was that it ushered in a new generation of vehicles, one that placed a premium on metal-twisting power more than anything else.
1955-1957 Chevy Bel-Air Nomad
If there was one car model that made a pretty good name for itself in a number of movies dating back from the 60’s to the 70’s, it was the hulking Chevrolet Bel-Air Nomad. First introduced in 1954 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, the Nomad became a cultural hit, not only because of its timeless styling, but as far as auto enthusiasts of the time were concerned, it had one of most impressive powertrains of any American car. The car’s 283-cid fuel-injected V8 engine produced 283 horsepower, becoming one of the first American cars to be offered with a powertrain that had one horsepower per cubic inch. Due to its enormous popularity, the brass over at Chevy decided to come out with a four-door version in 1958, but even if that rubbed some enthusiasts the wrong way, the Bel-Air Nomad was still as popular as it ever was.
1969-1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GT
A lot of people may not know this but the Ferrari Dino 246 GT was one of the few Ferraris that was never sold with a Ferrari badge. Strange as that sounds, the car that was named after Enzo Ferrari’s son, Dino, was even tagged by Ferrari dealers as "almost a Ferrari". While they probably left out the "not quite" part as way of being nice, there’s still no denying the classic nature of the car. In its heyday, the Dino 246 GT came with a mighty impressive powertrain in the form of a four-cam 2.4-liter V6 engine that produced 195 horsepower and mated to a five-speed all-synchromesh gearbox. The car became popular enough that it even spawned two versions: a GT Coupe and a GTS convertible. Whatever your preferences were at that time, if you had a Ferrari Dino 246 GT in your garage, that by itself was good enough for millions of cool points.
1963 Corvette Sting Ray
Another classic car that became the fantasy of many a man back in the 60’s is the Corvette Sting Ray. Notable for its unique styling cues and a powerful powertrain that featured a 327-cid engine with 300 horsepower, the Sting Ray was Corvette’s answer to the Shelby Cobra. Together, the two iconic sports cars would have one of the most influential rivalries in American racing history. Whatever your allegiances are towards either the Sting Ray or the Cobra, one thing remains abundantly clear and has lasted the test of time: you can’t go wrong with either one ’em.