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The most beautiful cars of the 40s and 50s

Close up shot of a vintage car in sepia color tone

The next stop in our series on the most beautiful cars ever made is the post-war years. WWII meant that the first half of the 40s was a relatively lean period for car design – although it did give us the classic Willys Jeep, but nobody could accuse that of being beautiful.

As the war came to an end, however, there was a feeling of optimism on both sides of the Atlantic and we saw some of the finest automobiles ever made roll off the production lines. Here are our favourite cars of the 40s and 50s…

1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible

The Series 62 began life in 1940 as a replacement for the Series 61, but it was the second generation in production between ‘42 and ‘47 that we love the most. One of the first vehicles to be produced after the war, the enormous chrome grill and sweeping wheel arches made the brash convertible a car that screamed status throughout the 40s and 50s.

Jaguar XK120 Roadster

The iconic XK120 is one of the happiest ‘accidents’ in automotive history. Designed as a concept car to showcase Jaguar’s XK engine, this beast of a motorcar was such a hit at the 1948 London Motor Show that Jaguar felt compelled to put it into production. Everything about it said ‘fast’, and with a top speed of 120mph in the late 40s it certainly delivered on that promise!

Mercedes 300SL Gullwing

If there has ever been a more beautiful car built than the Gullwing we’ve yet to see it! Since its introduction in 1954, this 3.0-litre coupé has been thrilling owners and passers-by alike with its race car performance and angelic looks. The 300SL would have made this list without its famous gullwing doors, but because of them it’s the only car ever made that’s as good-looking with the doors open as closed!

Aston Martin DB4

A star of the 1958 London Motor Show and still considered the most beautiful Aston Martin amongst many aficionados, the DB4 combined understated and elegant design with raw power and solid engineering. The 3.0-litre engine pushed 240bhp through the rear wheels making it a driver’s car as much as a status symbol.

There are, of course, plenty of other beautiful classic cars from this period, such as the Ferrari 250 GT and the Jaguar XK-SS, but these four are the favourite in the office at Trafalgar Street car park. So if you own one of these and use our 24-hour manned car park when you visit Leeds we’re pretty likely to come and say hi!