Art Wheels
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20 Classic Italian Sports Cars We Wish Were in Our Driveway

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Art Wheels
Sjo/istockphoto

Art Wheels

With a new Ferrari unveiled — the SF90 Stradale, a stunningly sleek hybrid that proves motoring mastery can exist alongside mindfulness — auto envy is in high gear. Yes, most of us drive our reliable, efficient models, but that doesn't prevent daydreams of classic Italian motorcars. Fuel some fervent daydreams with this walk (or is that high-speed drive?) through some of the most coveted Italian sports cars of all time.

Related: 22 Vintage Convertibles That Will Blow Your Hair Back

Cisitalia "202" GT
Cisitalia "202" GT by Colin Howley (CC BY-ND)

Cisitalia 202 GT

This 1946 gem of Italian design is considered the showpiece of the Italian sports and racing car brand that resulted from a business conglomerate led by industrialist/sportsman Piero Dusio. This groundbreaking model of high design, one that's been called a "rolling sculpture," was, in fact, recognized by the Museum of Modern Art in 1951 in its first exhibition on automotive design.

1972 - 1974 Lancia Stratos HF (01)
1972 - 1974 Lancia Stratos HF (01) by Georg Sander (CC BY-NC)

Lancia Stratos HF

This model that captured the World Rally Championship three years running (1974-76) was a Bertone-designed model introduced as a prototype at the Turin Motor Show. With fewer than 500 produced from 1973-76, it featured a 190-horsepower motor with a transverse mid-engine configuration, and it looked pretty sleek to boot, garnering well over a half-million at auction estimates if/when one comes up.

LAMBORGHINI MIURA S
LAMBORGHINI MIURA S by Eddy Clio (CC BY-ND)

Lamborghini Miura

Produced between 1966 and 1973, the Miura was the first supercar with a revolutionary rear mid-engine design — plus a two-seat layout — which would go on to become routine for future high-performance cars. Upon its release, it was the fastest production road car in existence and though fewer than 800 models were made, one was particularly memorable for its star turn in the 1969 film "The Italian Job."

1962 - 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO
1962 - 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO by Georg Sander (CC BY-NC)

Ferrari 250 GTO

When one of these rare models — a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti — came up for auction by RM Sotheby's in 2018, it sold for … $48 million, making it the most expensive car ever sold at auction. Also last year, a 1963 Tour de France-winning model went for $70 million, believed to be the world's most expensive car. There were only 36 produced between 1962 and 1964, with the models becoming the company's most successful racing cars ever.

Ghibli Spyder
Ghibli Spyder by GTHO (CC BY-SA)

Maserati Ghibli Spyder

This sexy two-seater made its production debut in 1969, complete with a convertible top, sleek body noted for its low nose (said to resemble a shark) — and an engine that reached speeds of up to 250 mph.

Lamborghini Countach 5000QV
Lamborghini Countach 5000QV by Brian Nelson (CC BY)

Lamborghini Countach

This is one Italian wedge that has nothing to do with cold cuts or shoes. The Lamborghini Countach, produced from 1974 to 1990, was considered to be exotic, its design from the house of Bertone, a pioneer in the "Italian Wedge" style of sharply angled roadsters. This model popularized the "cab-forward" design, which brings the passenger compartment to the fore to accommodate a larger engine in the rear. It was considered the worthy successor to the Miura, as well.

ISO GRIFO Le Mans classic
ISO GRIFO Le Mans classic by Sottotono (CC BY-SA)

Iso Grifo

Wanna compete with the big boys? Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A. did, manufacturing its limited-production two-door coupe from 1965-74 in hopes of rivaling Ferrari and Maserati. It relied on American-supplied power trains and components but was destined for failure with bankruptcy and a ceasing of all productions by 1974 ending this tale.

Early version side profile. (Alfa Romeo Museum replica).
Early version side profile. (Alfa Romeo Museum replica). by Brian Snelson (CC BY)

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale

Talk about eye-catching! From its butterfly doors to being the fastest commercially available car when introduced, this Alfa Romeo had a 1967-69 run as a daring mid-engine sports car, also considered one of the world's first supercars. Stradale means "road-going," a nod to this being a street-legal version of a race car prototype.

Ferrari F40
Ferrari F40 by Alexandre Prevot (CC BY-SA)

Ferrari F40

If you're focused on performance, this may be your model. Manufactured between 1987-92, this Pininfarina-designed model, a two-door Berlinetta had a light curb weight and high-power output that allowed it to reach a top speed of 199 mph — a speed that earned it the reputation as the fastest production car for its time.

Lamborghini Diablo SV
Lamborghini Diablo SV by <p&p>photo (CC BY-NC-ND)

Lamborghini Diablo

That Ferrari F40 speed title was eclipsed by the Diablo (1990-2001), a high-performance sports car said to be capable of top speeds in excess of 200 mph. Devilish indeed!

De Tomaso Pantera Seitenansicht
De Tomaso Pantera Seitenansicht by (None)

De Tomaso Pantera

A 20-year production run (1971-92) proved the viability of the cutting-edge design of the Italian firm Ghia (though it was an American-born designer Tom Tjaarda who gets the credit) for this model conceived as a rival to the Corvette, especially for the American market.

Alfa Romeo 6C 2500
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 by genossegerd (CC BY-SA)

Alfa Romeo 6C 2500

There's a decidedly retro look to this model, which traces its roots back to the 1930s. It became one of the first Italian sports cars to be produced after World War II and, in production from 1938-1952, embodies the definition of elegance.

Maserati Khamsin 1975 (AM120160, front)
Maserati Khamsin 1975 (AM120160, front) by Maskham (CC BY-SA)

Maserati Khamsin

This grand touring car (1974-82) was a V8, Bertone-designed (its first for Maserati) star with a front mid-engine and rear-wheel drive layout. Of note was its edgy, angular shape — and "floating" tail lights. Khamsin, if you're wondering, is a hot wind that sometimes blows through the Egyptian desert.

Alfa Romeo 1900
Alfa Romeo 1900 by Cloverleaf II (CC BY-SA)

Alfa Romeo 1900

We just love a sleek bubble of a car — and the Alfa Romeo 1900 (1950-59) fits the bill. It was designed by Orazio Satta, notable as the company's first car built entirely on a production line. It's said to be spacious yet sporty, with the company offering it as "The family car that wins races" — which it did.

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso
Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso by Brian Snelson (CC BY)

Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso

Introduced at the 1962 Paris Motor Show, this car's design was 10 years in the making, streamlined after various competitions. Though it would only be produced from 1963-64 (with some 350 models), the grand tourer would reflect the market's taste for a luxurious look along with its all-out power.

1953 Siata 208 S Roadster fvl2

Siata 208 Spider Sport

Not even three dozen of these quirky little autos were produced from 1953-55, each featuring a lightweight sports spider aluminum body. Designed by Giovanni Michelotti and built by Rocco Motto, the striking model followed two Bertone-designed prototypes. Its major claim to fame: A model purchased by actor/auto enthusiast Steve McQueen raised its profile immensely.

1954 Maserati A6GCS Berlinetta
1954 Maserati A6GCS Berlinetta by Brian Snelson (CC BY)

Maserati A6GCS Berlinetta

The Gentleman's Journal called the A6GCS Berlinetta "undoubtedly the best-looking Maserati of all time." The 1953-55 model by designer Pininfarina was not produced on a grand scale but its racing-inspired engineering and sleek looks ensure its place in the rarest of collecting circles.

1947 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa
1947 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa by Eric Shea (CC BY)

Ferrari 166S

This evolution of the Ferrari 125S sports racing car turned out this snazzy model (1948-53) that was a sports car for the street, earning Ferrari many a victory on the racing circuit. Its tube-style frame is perhaps its most memorable attribute, a feature designed by Aurelio Lampredi.

1968 Lancia Fulvia Coupe Rallye 1.3
1968 Lancia Fulvia Coupe Rallye 1.3 by Vinylone (CC BY-NC-ND)

Lancia Fulvia Coupe

In production from 1963-76, this little model gave a lot. It was a popular car for the "everyman" as a workmanlike family car — but gave drivers that sense of adventure as it also was a racing champion, most notably winning the International Rally Championship in 1972.

Fiat Dino Coupe, 1969 - SE-FD 72H - DSC_0924_Balancer
Fiat Dino Coupe, 1969 - SE-FD 72H - DSC_0924_Balancer by Lav Ulv (CC BY)

Fiat Dino Coupe

This front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car was produced from 1966-73, its name a nod to the Ferrari Dino V6 engine the cars shared. This Ferrari link raised the profile — and the collectible quality — of this stylish little Fiat.