Morning Qualifying – Beauty Contest edition

Sure, they're pretty……but none of 'em won a Targa Florio.

I think it was Smokey Yunick who said, “a thing of beauty is a joy forever”. And while we all enjoy two-fisted tales of motor sport glory, there is no denying that old race cars are pretty.   To my eye, the sports racing cars from the 1950’s were particularly lovely.   Most cars of the era were front engined, open topped, and wore hand formed alloy bodies.  While they were made to be fast on the Mulsanne Straight, these cars had a certain human touch in their design that spoke as more from the heart than the wind tunnel.
So today, I thought we’d have ourselves a beauty contest.  Rather than consider these cars on technical merits or race victories (which, in the interest of thoroughness, will be included in their C.V.), we’re going to judge them solely based on their good looks….like the objectifying pigs we are!  Italy, Great Britain, Germany and the good old U.S.A. will all be represented.  Let’s meet the contestants.

Tony Brooks at the wheel of his Aston Martin DBR1 during the 1958 RAC Tourist Trophy race at Goodwood.

#1)  From Newport-Pagnell, the 1956-1959 Aston Martin DBR1, designed by David Cutting; Number built: 5; Powered by a 2922cc, twin cam straight 6 making 254 hp@6250 rpms.  Major victories: 1957 Spa 200km, 1957 Spa 3hrs, 1957-1959 ADAC-Nurburgring 1000km, 1958-1959 RAC Tourist Trophy, 1959 24 Hours of LeMans.
Ivor Beub at the wheel of his Jaguar D-type during the 1955 24 Hours of LeMans

#2) From Coventry, the 1954-1958 Jaguar D-type, designed by Malcolm Sayer; Number built: 42; Powered by a 3422cc, twin cam straight 6 making 254 hp@5750 rpm.  Major victories:  1955-1957 24 Hours of LeMans, 1955 Sebring 12hrs.
The Maserati 300S, driven by Doug Whitehead, at Fisherman's Bend in Australia

#3) From Modena, the 1955-1958 Maserati 300S, designed by Fantuzzi.  Number built: 28; Powered by a 2911cc, twin cam straight 6 making 260 hp@6000 rpm.  Major victories:  1956 Buenos Aires 1000km, 1956 ADAC-Nurburgring 1000km.
A Ferrari 250 TR/58

#4) From Marinello, the 1957-1958 Ferrari 250 TR, designed by Scaglietti.  Number built: 19; Powered by a 2953cc, SOHC V-12 making 300 hp@7200 rpm.  Major victories:  1958 Buenos Aires 1000km, 1958 Sebring 12hrs, 1958 Targa Florio, 1958 24 Hours of LeMans.
Karl Kling at the wheel of the mighty Mercedes-Benz 300SLR during the 1955 Eifelrennen at the Nurburgring

#5) From Stuttgart, the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR, designed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut.  Number built: 8; Powered by a 2982cc, twin-cam, straight 8 making 310 hp@7400 rpm.  Major victories:  1955 Mille Miglia, 1955 Targa Florio, 1955 RAC Tourist Trophy.
The Scarab Mk1, driven by Harry Heuer, at the 1960 Watkins Glen Sports Car Grand Prix

#6)  From North Hollywood, the Scarab Mk1/2, designed by Dick Trautman and Tom Barnes.  Number built: 4; Powered by a 5555cc, overhead valve, Chevrolet V-8 with Hilborn fuel injection, making 385 hp@6000 rpm.  Major victories:  48 victories in 112 SCCA/USRRC races between 1958 and 1965.
So, which one strikes your fancy?  Vote below in the comments.

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  1. SSurfer321 Avatar

    [polldaddy 5102517 polldaddy]
    Apologies to the Scarab Mk 1

    1. SSurfer321 Avatar

      Dammit Hoonibles!
      Stop eating the polls!

    2. SSurfer321 Avatar

      My vote goes to the Aston.

  2. IronBallsMcG Avatar

    Hail the Aston!
    Those front and rear fenders do it for me.

  3. Gio Avatar

    I had the opportunity to see almost all those beauties gathered together a few weeks ago at the mille miglia.
    They are all masterpieces obiouvsly, but the one which really gave me the greatest emotions was the SLR (which was driven by Mika Hakkinen, btw): it still seems something out of this world, and manages to be, more than 50 years after it has been built, quite futuristic.
    The Ferrari, which I would prefer in any case, is so small and low you almost can't appreciate his design standing near it, at least not as well as in your pic.

    1. skitter Avatar

      The SLR is the easy choice tech-wise, as well as the most conventionally pretty.
      But the Jaguar is the one I can't stop staring at.

    2. Froggmann_ Avatar

      I'm with you on the SLR. I just like it's no nonsense approach to saying, "I'm going to beat your ass red.".

  4. Dutch Avatar

    Styling-wise, I like the Jag. But, I'll bet the Ferrari sounded the best.

  5. tonyola Avatar

    The D-type gets my vote for sheer voluptuousness.

  6. engineerd Avatar

    This is not an easy choice. All of these competitors are beautiful, and choosing the most beautiful seems a daunting task that will ultimately be unfair to the others.
    Besides, in the spirit of true beauty contests, I can't make a decision until I take each one for a ride.

  7. SeanKHotay Avatar

    As I was reading down the list, I was hoping you didn't add the Scarab to the list 'cause I knew I'd be torn btwn it and the D-Type.
    Can I vote for a threesome?

    1. Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr. Avatar
      Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr.

      Vote, no. Fantasize, absolutely.

      1. SeanKHotay Avatar

        So, I guess I end up torn and not shoehorned* btwn the two…
        *Except in my dreams

  8. Aaron Richardson Avatar
    Aaron Richardson

    Gotta be the D Type

  9. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    Unfortunately the beauty winner is missing from the list. It wins since it looks significantly different than the others to my eyes.
    <img src="; width="500" height="428" alt="Tatra 602 Tatraplan Sport (1951)">
    I think three of these were made, they won pretty much every race they were entered in their class from '49-53, and were air cooled rear engined hemi v8.

  10. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    D-Type. Chosen for pegging the meter on the patented Smells-Homeless "Fits in Speed Racer" scale.

  11. facelvega Avatar

    Easy win for the D-type. After that it's the Ferrari, Aston, Scarab, Maser, and Merc in that order. It's a question of the evocativeness of the massing and the resolution of the lines. Only the first three really look finished in the way a great road car is finished as a design, but of the three the Jag is most eloquent, most touches on something that seems a little unreal.

  12. Armand4 Avatar

    They're all beautiful, but I think I've got to go with the Scarab. I think it appeals to me as an American– not because of the Chevy 327, but because it's loud, flamboyant and vaguely trashy. The European cars are just as shapely, but they seem a little more reserved. A lot of it is the paint: The British cars were British Racing Green (except when the Jag was Ecurie Ecosse Blue), the Italians were Rosso Corsa and the Merc was a Silver Arrow. Lance Reventlow wasn't going to settle for a normal paint job, though, and the Scarab looks like the California hot rod it really is: Deep, sparkling metallic blue, gleaming white, magnesium Halibrand wheels and a little bit of carefully polished chrome. I saw one in person once, and it was drop-dead gorgeous.

    1. Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr. Avatar
      Jennings R. Scroggs, Jr.

      If I'm not mistaken, none other than Von Dutch did the paint job for the Scarabs.

    2. SeanKHotay Avatar

      The deep blue with white stripes (or vice versa) is the standard national auto racing colors for the USA (see Gurney's AAR Eagles too)

  13. Alff Avatar

    They're all purposefully beautiful but the Jag strkes my fancy most.
    Likewise the ladies. Odds are Miss I-da-ho would be the most fun.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Not mis-silli-nois? Oh the most fun not funNY.

  14. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Jag, hands down.
    Although the Scarab is the one I'd prefer to own and drive.

  15. Eastaboga Avatar

    Purely on looks…Miss Kentucky and the D-Type
    In terms of speed. I'll go with the Maser & Sir Stirling Moss who said, "this was my favourite front-engined sports Maserati, one of the easiest, nicest, best-balanced sports racing cars ever made."

  16. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    They are all undeniably cool, but the D-Type, oh dear god the D-Type…
    In fact, when I first got started racing, Armand4 and I joined a team run by Lou Brerro Jr, the infamous old hippy who once owned the 1st production D-type – XKD 509, and according to legend used to cruise it down to the beach.
    An iconic car… pure beauty.

  17. tiberiusẅisë Avatar

    Jag you are the car of my dreams.

  18. joshuman Avatar

    Were I the judge at the dog show, I'd send the D-Type, the SLR, and the Maser around for one more lap. Then I would start pinning ribbons in that order. The fun part is poking and prodding them before the walk.
    /never actually judged dogs but just watched it on TV.

  19. PFG Avatar

    Why is Miss Arkansas wearing shorts?
    Also: D-Type.

    1. Alff Avatar

      Since it's Arkansas, I'd guess it's because Daddy has a habit of sneaking up from behind.

  20. nofrillls Avatar

    D-Type, D-Type…although the E-Type was just as pretty on a slightly different level.

  21. Rockford_Brodie Avatar

    Gotta be the Jaaaaag. Offset fin for the win!

  22. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    <img src="; width="500">At home yesterday I looked for the Polish magazine article I had from '99 I think, I must have thrown i away. It had some B/W photos of the originals. So I'm going on memory here, but I think all the originals were lost in racing and testing. This one is a recreation with some original parts. I think it did not get the front right in particular, it's way too many 90 degree angles and the headlights look to small compared to this image which was the only one I could find online.
    I guess it's more a matter of pride and just looking different though really. I'd have picked the Jag from the list for the same reason myself. But yeah now looking at the picture you replied to, pig eyed is a good term.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq