The Mercedes 300 SL was technically superb, the Jeep is the mother of all SUVs, and the Citroën DS was and still is simply wonderful. Such vehicles are icons of the zeitgeist that prevailed when they were built.
The Mercedes 300 SL was technically superb, the Jeep is the mother of all SUVs, and the Citroën DS was and still is simply wonderful. Such vehicles are icons of the zeitgeist that prevailed when they were built. They also exert an influence on contemporary design – because they stand out from the crowd, have character and a story to tell. Some are admired or even adored by all – designers, engineers, vintage car fans and neutral observers alike – as vehicles of legendary status.
01 Mercedes 300 SL – The Gullwing
The Mercedes 300 SL was way ahead of its time in terms of both design and technology. The powerful grand tourer was introduced in 1954 and was an instant hit with the wealthy.
But not many units were produced, and now they’re worth more than a million euros each.
02 NSU Ro 80 – The Wankel Car
The Ro 80 was arguably one of the most innovative vehicles of its time. It was introduced in 1967, boasting clean, modern, airy and aerodynamic design and a Wankel engine. Though it proved to be a financial disaster for its manufacturer, it influenced the design of later generations of cars.
03 Jeep – Pioneer of the 4WD Car
The Jeep began life as a small four-wheel-drive US military vehicle in 1941, built by Willys-Overland and Ford. It went on to become a legend, and it’s the forebear of all contemporary
off-road vehicles and SUVs.
04 Opel Kapitän – The Status Symbol
A cooler grille that looks like a shark’s mouth, panoramic windows, six cylinders: The Opel Kapitän was a symbol of burgeoning European wealth after World War Two. A motorists’
dream in the 1950s and 1960s, it was on a par with Mercedes models during this period.
05 Citroën DS – The Floating Goddess
The heavenly Déesse doesn’t travel, it glides. Its unique blend of harmonious design and innovative engineering didn’t just captivate car fans in the 1950s and 1960s. To this day, it’s considered a technology and style icon, the embodiment of Modernism, one of the greatest design objects of the century.
06 VW Bus – The Versatile
Originally designed for use within Volkswagen factories, the VW Bus became a huge success story, like the VW Beetle. It has been built in innumerable variations for every possible
purpose; it also developed a reputation as the legendary wheels for hippies. So far, six generations have been introduced; and more than 11 million vans have rolled off the
production line – with no end in sight.
07 Opel Manta – The Stereotype
In the 1980s, few cars were the butt of so many jokes in Germany as the Opel Manta. Dismissed as a car for posers and a pretend sports car, the Manta was born as a mid-market
family coupé and ended up in the car tuner’s shed, where it was often subjected to tasteless modifications.