Messerschmitt KR200 – 1955

Messerschmitt KR200 - 1955

The ‘KR’ stands for Kabinenroller (Cabin Scooter). After World War II, the German Messerschmitt company was forbidden to manufacture aircraft. Instead, it sought to stay in business by making auto parts for others, and its own economy vehicles for a mass market.

MG MGA – 1955

MG MGA - 1955

After 20 years of the highly traditional T series sports car, MG appeared to break with its usual modus operandi’. The MGA came to its public as an unknown Adonis, the first MG with a full-width body and streamlined curves. In fact, though the styling was indeed radically new, it had (as always with MG) … [Read more…]

Mercedes Benz 300 SL – 1955

Mercedes Benz 300 SL - 1955

At least one major poll declared the Mercedes 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ to be ‘Sports Car of the Twentieth Century’. And it’s true: more than fifty years after its introduction, its aerodynamic finesse has the undimmed, futuristic beauty of a timeless thoroughbred; and its original ergonomic brilliance still makes it one of the most pleasing cars … [Read more…]

MG TD – 1950

MG TD - 1950

The traditions that dominate the evolution of MG sports cars include the company’s reluctance to introduce radically new styling while its existing models still have a steady market. All kinds of technological developments might take place under the hood or in and around the chassis, but visible changes suggest annual tweaking rituals rather than re-styling … [Read more…]

Lotus Seven – 1957

Lotus Seven - 1957

The maverick automotive genius of Britain’s Colin Chapman was in overdrive in 1957. For nearly ten years (including his RAF service) the engineering visionary had been refining increasingly successful versions of his super-lightweight sports race cars.

Lotus Elite – 1957

Lotus Elite - 1957

Its streamlined elegance flabbergasted the motoring world when it was unveiled at the London Earls Court Motor Show of 1957. The Lotus Elite’s fiberglass monocoque engineering was the very first combination of its kind. It was also the first ‘regular’, road going, production sports car created by the maverick engineering genius, Colin Chapman and his … [Read more…]

Lancia Aurelia B20 GT – 1951

Lancia Aurelia B20 GT - 1951

Before and after World War II, Lancia never introduced a new car without an accompanying strategy to develop a series. The company was expert at demographic subdivision, and ultra-sensitive to the sudden shifts in public taste. The Aurelia series as a whole, and the Aurelia B20 GT in particular, typified the success of their vision.

Lagonda 3.0 Litre – 1953

Lagonda 3.0 Litre - 1953

The Lagonda was a marque of automotive aristocracy more than equal to its luxury sports car competitors, Bentley, Invicta and Railton. When Rolls-Royce bought him out, W.O. Bentley in fact chose to move to Lagonda, which was acquired in 1947 by the industrialist David Brown at much the same time as Aston Martin, for whose … [Read more…]

Jaguar Mark II – 1959

Jaguar Mark II - 1959

Jaguar hit the jackpot in 1959 when it redesigned the company’s fast, monocoque (body and chassis as single unit) four-door saloon. The Mark IIs bigger windows created an impression of airy brightness, and minor changes to the trim, instrument panel and external styling all added up to a handsome car that drivers felt to be … [Read more…]

Jaguar XK150 – 1957

Jaguar XK150 - 1957

Though Jaguar is now a subsidiary of Ford, the marque is still esteemed for its pre- and post-World War II reputation for luxury saloons and competitive sports cars. In 1948, Jaguar had thrilled the motoring world with its XK 120, still sought after and enjoyed for its mean, lean, sporting lines. Nine years and the … [Read more…]