Journal: What Car Hits You Like a Punch to the Gut?

What Car Hits You Like a Punch to the Gut?

Avatar By Josh Clason
January 23, 2014
32 comments

You know that feeling? The one you get seeing that certain car parked along the street or driving by in a blur? The feeling so jarring, like you just got punched in the gut by something so elegant, striking, or foreign? At that moment you just can’t help but stop, collect yourself, and stare.

This happened to me recently while shooting the beautiful Lancia Flaminia Super Sport.  When I first laid eyes on it sitting in the owner’s garage, I got that feeling and even let out an audible “oomph” as I absorbed its beauty. I am a fan of Zagato’s styling and embrace their subtle and simple design philosophy embodied by the Flaminia. I found it hard to take my eyes off it as we filmed throughout the day.

It also happened on another shoot when a garage door opened and I found myself face to face, staring at a blue Lancia Stratos. The Stratos’ design is so wild and foreign that it looks completely inappropriate in a garage, more like you wandered into NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and are looking at the next Martian rover. Judging by bystanders’ reaction upon witnessing the Stratos casually rolling around New Jersey’s streets, I know I wasn’t the only who felt like this car was about to blast off. At moments like these the only thing you can do is stop, collect yourself, and stare.

What car hits you like a punch to the gut?

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Art Harvey
Art Harvey

Unquestionably the 1967 Plymouth GTX hardtop. The very first one I ever saw at 12 years of age stopped me dead in my tracks. Those razor sharp creases, scalloped sides and crisp reverse C-pillar have never left me.

Deep
Deep

Surprised nobody’s mentioned the 300SL…

Steely
Steely

Jensen 541r, early 911’s, 250GT, MG midget Ashley, E type low drag coupe, anything Eagle E type, Triumph GT6, mk1 Mini Cooper, Giulietta SZ.. Too many to list them all.

BJ Barker
BJ Barker

When I was nine or ten, I was lucky enough to see Mk I GT40 pulling onto the freeway. That was the moment I fell in love with cars. Every time I see any sort of Ford GT, it hits me in the stomach like it did that first time.

Mattia Franchin
Mattia Franchin

Among several utterly beautiful cars I must admit Lancias are my favorites by far. I pick up Delta S4 and 037 from the group. I wish I can drive both before I die.

Sanjit Deepalam
Sanjit Deepalam

Jaguar E-Type. The most beautiful car ever made. I saw one coming out of an IHOP once and I stared at it for a few minutes. I’ve never seen anything so perfect my entire life.

Niels Jacobs
Niels Jacobs

The first time I saw a delorean I was so excited.. since then it still amazes me.

Darin Spyderdog
Darin Spyderdog

MKI/MKII MGB GT … i need to quit screwing around and just go get one already

Brett Evans
Brett Evans

I remember walking into The Allure of the Automobile at the Portland Art Museum and being absolutely floored by the Talbot-Lago T-150 SS in this striking navy blue. I don’t really like interwar cars, but this one was just gorgeous. It deserved every square foot of space it took up in that art museum, and I wanted to run my hands along its curves and get in the bespoke interior and pretend I was a prince. And opposite the Talbot’s grace is the Bugatti Royale at the Henry Ford museum. It’s a pretty intimidating beauty, all blocky and imposing and… Read more »

Rik
Rik

Ferrari 250 GT SWB.

Brett Evans
Brett Evans

I saw one of those in a museum and I giggled like I was a teenage girl meeting a movie star. It was so lovely and compact. Just a good, spare design.

Vianney Lalain
Vianney Lalain

Definitely, probably the best looking car ever made.

Yoav Gilad
Yoav Gilad

Countach!

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa

Well, just to be different, I still feel a punch when I remember my dad’s 1983 Toyota Corolla DX, with its horrible dark blood/wine colour. The truth is that it was the first car my sister, my brother and finally me drove.

Chester Drawers
Chester Drawers

Same as Wim De Pril, the Ferrari 308 GTB. I remember seeing one regularly on the way to school when I was 7 or 8 and the shape and design blew me away. It’s not the most glamorous and I know it’s filled with Fiat parts, but it has the same effect on me now.l

Levan Inadze
Levan Inadze

I have to say it was Lancia 037. I feel lucky that I came across it.

Serge Francois
Serge Francois

1970 Nissan Skyline GTR. One of the most beautiful cars ever built. IMO.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams

Whenever I see an old or interesting car on the road, I usually stop and think about it, but one struck me so hard that I literally hung out the window of my dad’s car just to take it in: The Datsun 240Z. Going down a freeway in northeast Ohio, you don’t expect to see many sportscars, but this thing blew past us and I was just awe struck. “WHAT WAS THAT?!” So, dad floored it and we caught up to them. The 240Z might not seem special, but if you really look at it, it embodies everything right about… Read more »

Future Doc
Future Doc

Jaguar XK 120

and the Dacia Sandero

My wife thought I was going to have an aneurysm each time I have seen them on the road.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

I remember seeing an Alfa Tipo 33 Stradale at an exhibition in the Science museum in London years ago. I must have stood for half an hour just staring at it.

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia

I saw one at the Pirelli store in Milan. It’s already sick how beautiful it is in photos, but the presence it has in person is something else!

Rik
Rik

Matthew, I was at the same exhibition, remember it well. The 33 Stradale is such a stunning shape, I had to tear myself away to look at the other cars on display. I must have wandered back to the 33 at least half dozen times. It surprises me that there isn’t a replica/kit car available, as per the Stratos.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Here is I think the the same Stradale at the Goodwood FoS 2010. Oddly the effect wasn’t as strong there, possibly as it was parked on the lawn next to the likes of a Ferrari 250GTO.

JB21
JB21

Like many here, a lot of cars do this. I take it if you don’t have it with Stratos, for instance, you might as well be made of wood. The biggest kick to me so far has been Ferrari F40.

Brett Evans
Brett Evans

Call me a blockhead then; I don’t really get the Stratos. I bet it’s a hoot to drive and I really dig the fenders, but as a whole, I am lukewarm toward it. Guess I’ll have to see one in person.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams

Anybody who’s heard of the Stratos can tell you what it is, but I can see why you wouldn’t get it. There really is no point of the Stratos, other than that Lancia wanted to win WRC rallies. The wheelbase is uncontrollably short, the engine is an unreliable Ferrari engine designed by Dino, the Bertone body (although unforgettable and stunning) doesn’t really follow any form, flow, or function, and anyone who’s been in the cockpit of a Stratos can tell you that they should’ve seen a chiropractor afterward. What makes the Stratos so incredible, is that it’s not only one… Read more »

JB21
JB21

Oh I won’t call you a blockhead, but you gotta see one in person, because it still looks like nothing else before or after. Then as Jake said, you know all its achievement, you know all the fear and loathing stories about it, and you’d see that it’s got more presence than smiling Joe Pesci with a baseball bat all ready for action – speaking of which, Stratos is also just about the size of Joe Pesci, it’s so incredibly compact. Beautiful it isn’t but it sure is beautifully poetic.

Per Kringberg
Per Kringberg

I was driving home on the highway a couple of years ago in my Alfa GTV6 that then was my current summer car. I saw a red flash in the mirror and passing me was a Ferrari F40. I was struck. It looked like a jet fighter that just had landed on the road. I raised my speed to keep up with the pace of the red car but I had no chance. Never seen a car with that presence sins then. What a remarkable car!

Ryan Weaver
Ryan Weaver

Aston Martin DB5. Timelessly classic & my personal favorite. They got it right when it showed in [i]Skyfall[/i].

Esteban Morales
Esteban Morales

Late 90s-early 00s Reynard Champcar. Damn!

Wim De Pril
Wim De Pril

I clearly remember seeing the Ferrari 308 GTS for the first time as an eight year old and being completely blown away by it. My love of cars and Ferraris in particular was born there and then.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

While i do agree a Lancia Stratos would be a nice punch in the gut 😀 I have always felt the 1967 big block Corvettes where a nice punch in the gut as well. Not only is a visual punch to the eyes you get the stop in your tracks moment as well. Also its a literal punch when you step on the gas..its like a double whammy!!..The Jag E types are another car that will stop you in your tracks as well. Plus you cant forget the lamborghini countach with its outrageous styling and bellow of its v12