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Airflow, Viper, Jeep make top 100 list

by Bill Cawthon on

Edmunds.com’s Inside Line has prepared its own list of the 100 greatest cars of all time. With no attempt at false modesty, Inside Line’s self-styled Listmaster, John Perley Huffman, wrote: “This is the definitive list to end all 100 Greatest Cars lists. You’ll never have to read another list, and this list is absolutely, scientifically, precisely and transcendently correct. That is until we have a few more PBRs.”

Inclusion on the Inside Line list signifies the car (or truck) had a memorable effect on America’s automotive culture, even though a few entries were never officially sold in the United States. With the 1932 Ford Deuce at the top of the chart, Huffman says the list has a definite bias towards performance vehicles but if that’s so, it’s difficult to understand how it missed the 1978 Dodge Little Red Express.

Allpar presents Inside Line’s 100 Greatest Cars of All Time. The author’s comments have been edited for space.

Rank Vehicle Edited Comments
1 1932 Ford V8 It has defined American car culture for nearly 80 years.
2 1959 Austin Mini The blueprint for virtually all mainstream modern cars.
3 1955 Chevrolet The greatest Chevy ever.
4 1938 Volkswagen Beetle May be the most beloved car ever.
5 1964 Porsche 911 The greatest Porsche of all time.
6 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” The greatest Mercedes ever.
7 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO The original GTO is the greatest Ferrari of them all.
8 1928 Duesenberg Model J The car other cars aspired to be.
9 1908 Ford Model T It was the first car most people could afford.
10 1968 BMW 2002 The first modern sport sedan.
11 1966 Lamborghini Miura The first hypercar.
12 1908 Cadillac Named the “Standard of the World.”
13 1938 Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic The car as pure art: the essential automotive aesthetic.
14 1949 Oldsmobile 88 The 88 was the prototype for American performance.
15 1964 Ford Mustang It created the automotive youth market; made Iacocca an icon.
16 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray The pinnacle of Corvette styling.
17 1964 Pontiac GTO It was the first of the muscle cars.
18 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Maybe the most raced American car ever.
19 1973 Pontiac Trans Am Super Duty The last muscle car of the classic era.
20 1987 Buick Grand National/GNX The first American muscle cars not powered by a big V8.
21 1987 Porsche 959 Porsche’s look into the near future – where we are today.
22 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R Its legend couldn’t be confined to Japan.
23 1969 Porsche 917 The 917 still holds the Le Mans fastest lap record.
24 1949 Ford A true postwar design that every other car would follow.
25 1957 Fiat 500 The 500 proved a small car could be a performance car.
26 1975 Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit GTI The prototype for hot hatchbacks.
27 1990 Acura NSX So good it forced Ferrari to build better Ferraris.
28 1990 Mazda Miata MX-5 The best-selling British sports car in history.
29 1970 Datsun 240Z It made Japanese sports cars respectable.
30 1961 Jaguar E-Type Sex on wheels; possibly the best-looking car ever made.
31 1995 BMW M3 The six-cylinder E36 M3 made the M3 legend stick.
32 1968 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 A German muscle sedan long before they became common.
33 1973 Lamborghini Countach Defines “supercar,” then and now.
34 1984 Honda Civic CRX The first fun economy car.
35 2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class The CLS pioneered the “four-door coupe” styling.
36 1973 Lancia Stratos A Ferrari-powered rally car disguised as an alien starship.
37 1957 Lotus 7 Colin Chapman’s physics lesson in the virtues of low mass.
38 2004 Toyota Prius The second-generation Prius proved hybrids can be good cars.
39 1992 Dodge Viper RT/10 Dodge introduced the V10 Viper and the world was saved.
40 1993 Honda Civic Coupe Fast, cheap, good-looking, rugged and easy to modify.
41 1955 Ford Thunderbird An icon of design, style and statement.
42 1961 Lincoln Continental Defined 1960s American luxury.
43 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda The poster car for the muscle car era.
44 1987 Ferrari F40 An instant 200-mph legend that redefined Ferrari.
45 1976 Honda Accord The Accord changed the perception of Japanese cars.
46 1992 Toyota Camry The Camry set a new standard for the family sedan.
47 1984 Jeep Cherokee This downsized Jeep started the compact SUV craze.
48 1996 Audi A4 The first true rival of the BMW 3 Series.
49 1990 Lexus LS 400 It invented a brand and reinvented a genre.
50 1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 The first Corvette to really take on Europe’s best.
51 1975 Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS The mid-engine, V8-powered 308 saved Ferrari.
52 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 It’s still one of the quickest cars ever built.
53 1962 Shelby Cobra Carroll Shelby created a legend.
54 1977 Lotus Esprit It was Lotus’ first mid-engine GT.
55 2002 Subaru WRX The WRX made Subaru cool
56 2005 Bugatti Veyron Top speed 253.52 mph. Or try the Super Sports at 267.85 mph.
57 1982 Ford Mustang 5.0 Would hot-rodding have survived the 1990s without it?
58 2011 Nissan Leaf The first mass-produced electric car from a major manufacturer.
59 1976 Porsche 930 The icon of 1970s performance.
60 1984 Chrysler Minivans Chrysler reinvented family transportation.
61 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Roadster An exotic car before there was such a thing.
62 1963 Aston Martin DB5 The most famous car of all time, thanks to James Bond.
63 1934 Chrysler Airflow Today virtually all cars are built how it was built.
64 1955 Chrysler 300 The prototype for the muscle cars that came a decade later.
65 1941 Jeep MB It is the 4×4 that made four-wheel drive acceptable.
66 1970 Range Rover The epitome of luxurious SUVs.
67 2010 Porsche Panamera A game-changer.
68 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost It was the best car in the world.
69 1948 Jaguar XK120 The Bugatti Veyron of its day.
70 1968 Jaguar XJ6 Maybe the only good British car of the ’70s and ’80s.
71 1964 Ford GT40 It’s the Ford that defeated Ferrari.
72 1955 Chevrolet Corvette V8 America’s sports car hit its stride with a small-block V8.
73 1951 Ford Country Squire The definitive family car of the ’50s through the ’80s.
74 1946 MG TC It started the British sports car invasion.
75 1953 Ford F-100 The first truly stylish truck.
76 1936 Cord 810/812 The “coffin nose” Cord set automotive style for 75 years.
77 1986 Ford Taurus The car that saved Ford.
78 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 It’s the best Corvette ever.
79 1950 Volkswagen Type 2 The official vehicle of hippies and surfers.
80 2003 Bentley Continental GT Bentley roars back under VW’s care.
81 1979 Mazda RX-7 This rotary rocket that reignited the sports car passion.
82 1930 Cadillac V16 When Cadillac was the standard, this car set the standard.
83 1968 Toyota Corolla The best-selling automotive nameplate arrives in America.
84 1939 Lincoln Continental Edsel Ford’s concept of the American “personal luxury” car.
85 1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z The most underappreciated muscle machine ever built.
86 1988 BMW M5 The best sport sedan of its time.
87 1991 Mercedes-Benz 500E/E500 Mercedes starts one of the great performance wars.
88 2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG A 604-hp V12 elevates it into the realm of exotic cars.
89 1995 BMW 7 Series The sedans that proved a full-size car can be a driver’s car.
90 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo Nissan reclaimed sports car supremacy with the 300-hp turbo.
91 1963 Jeep Wagoneer It invented the family SUV category.
92 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII The high-tech rally car for the common man.
93 1986 Acura Legend It proved the Japanese could build a true luxury machine.
94 1986 Lamborghini LM002 It was the first luxurious high-performance SUV.
95 1992 Hummer H1 It’s still the ultimate SUV.
96 1984 Toyota Corolla AE86 The Toyota that taught the world how to drift.
97 1968 Datsun 510 A Japanese car that could beat Porsches in SCCA races.
98 1993 Toyota Supra Twin Turbo The first import you could modify to make 1,000 horsepower.
99 1991 Ford Explorer It made the SUV the standard family hauler.
100 1997 Acura Integra Type-R It’s still the ultimate sport compact.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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