Journal: What Is the Greatest Italian Car of All Time?

What Is the Greatest Italian Car of All Time?

By Yoav Gilad
February 28, 2014
51 comments

Famous for works such as the Sistine Chapel and countless renaissance masterpieces, I’d argue that Italy has also produced more automotive masterpieces than any other nation. Sure, England, France, Germany, Japan, and the US have also had their fair share but no other country has consistently produced such striking forms as “the boot.” But this question isn’t just about design–it’s about greatness.

Alfa’s long and illustrious history includes coachbuilt fantasy cars like the pre-war 6Cs, Formula One cars, the Bertone-designed Giulia SS and lovely Duetto. Lancia produced the sublime Aurelia and rallying legends like the Delta Integrale and 037B. Maserati’s Birdcage deserves a look as does the entire Ferrari lineup. Even Fiat and, relative newcomer, Lamborghini’s Miura and Countach could easily be considered. Perhaps brands like Iso and Bizzarini are also worth considering?

So which one is it? Make your case below… I think you already know my opinion.

Photography by David Marvier, Josh Clason, Alvise Seno, and Andrew Schneider for Petrolicious

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Ddutchiancwilkinson@hotmail.comMark Wrightsylvain bougieAlessandro Spanu Recent comment authors
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iancwilkinson@hotmail.com
iancwilkinson@hotmail.com

Miura or 250 GT SWB for me

Mark Wright
Mark Wright

Can you tell me what is the Alfa Romeo featured in the photo, please.

sylvain bougie
sylvain bougie

Ferrari GTO250, Maserati A6 GCS, Alfa Mille Miglia.

Alessandro Spanu
Alessandro Spanu

Ferrari Testarossa 1984 and 288 GTO

Alex Habr

Lancia Delta HF Integrale

Alessandro Bruno
Alessandro Bruno

Great is a difficult concept; greatest is so difficult as to be futile. But, I could not hold back from such a truly great question. I have thought about it at length. By choosing ‘greatest’, my choice is not the most beautiful (the Miura , the Ghibli SS, 33 stradale, or the 250 GTL). In fact, choosing the most beautiful would be an even harder exercise. It’s not the fastest. It’s no the most successful in racing. But, it has elements of all these things to achieve a conceptual whole that represents everything that Italian motoring has been. A composite… Read more »

Ddutch
Ddutch

Alessandro, I agree with you on everything you’ve said. Talking about the greatest Italian car for me, is talking about great ideas, great concepts. Italy produced an uncountable amount of beautiful, exotic sportscars during the past century. A lot of them being great cars. But they are exotic and only produced in small numbers. They excel only in certain aspects and let down in all other, when its comes to day to day motoring. The classic Giulia has a lot of the qualities of those exotic cars and a whole lot more and manifests them in a stylish, practical and… Read more »

Luc Woolderink

Very easy question for me, the Fiat 126p 😀

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gianluca de gennaro
gianluca de gennaro

has to be…..alfa romeo 33 stradale,by far,in fact the best in the world

Reginald Warlop
Reginald Warlop

I propose to give Alfa Romeo some credit for providing such a fertile ground for the great drivers and designers that would now come to mind as the greatest classic car manufacturers – hence why I’m submitting this ultra rare Sportivo for consideration.

Brooks Lester
Brooks Lester

In terms of beauty, I’d have to say either the Ferrari 250GT Lusso, so well-rendered in video on this very site, or the 250GT California Spiders.

Jonas Sjostrom
Jonas Sjostrom
Jonas Sjostrom
Jonas Sjostrom

I like the Ferrari 275 gtb/4 and the n.a.r.t spider. beautiful GT’s with 4 cams v12 🙂

Marcos Alvarenga
Marcos Alvarenga

Difficult question. Big the One italian car, I think it should be the Ferrari F40: awesome performance,unusual design and no electronics at all.

Willam Giltzow
Willam Giltzow

Pictures failed:(

Willam Giltzow
Willam Giltzow

The greatest must be the Fiat 500 Topolino. It put Italy on wheels, and it provided so much material for the artisans of the etceterini. Topolino parts are so much of the two most beautiful shown below, a Stanguelini, and a Bandin Saponetta

Alec DeJovani
Alec DeJovani

What a hard question. Lamborghini Miura, Maserati 3500 GT, Alfa Romeo Veloce Spider, and even the Pagani Zonda 7.3 S comes to mind (not a classic yet, but in time…). For me though, it can only be one car–1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso. It doesn’t get more tasteful than that. It is the essence of the proper Ferrari sports car and therefore is the best Italian classic out there.

David Wiles
David Wiles

Greatest Italian car of all time? Depends on one’s criteria. If the criteria involves cars a teen-age boy might have had posters of on his wall, then Lambos have to be considered. If the criteria involves cars that have had successful racing heritages, Lambos don’t enter the conversation but Alfa’s, Masers, Ferrari’s and Lancia’s do. The same marques are in the picture if the car is something one could imagine racing or using as daily driver (meaning you can see out of it) and canyon carver. For me the car that meets all these criteria is a Ferrari 250 GT… Read more »

Stephen Licursi
Stephen Licursi

Alfa 33 Stradale

mtdrift
mtdrift

Typo 33 Stradale for sure.

Niels Jacobs
Niels Jacobs

without a doubt the Fiat 8V Supersonic.

Nick
Nick

definitely an difficult one to answer. I would have to say the Fiat 500. Fun, cute affordable and an ingenious design.
It makes people smile.

Eddie Relvas
Eddie Relvas

Oh, this is a tough one… how do you pick among so much brilliance? I think something truly superlative from the glamorous 50’s/60’s is top of the pack, but surrely there’s no single answer. For those suave afternoons on the Riviera, a Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider is the one to have. For some spirited driving, maybe a Maserati A6 Coupé (not sure which to pick, they’re all gorgeous!). For the ultimate style and performance combo, maybe the Ferrari 250 GT Zagato. And if you’re set on a true road-legal monster, nothing tops the 250 Testa Rossa. Period. What a garage… Read more »

Wim De Pril
Wim De Pril

Although I have enourmous respect and appreciation for all Italian car makers, the one that stands out for me is Ferrari. And if I have to pick just one of their models, it would have to be the 288 GTO. It’s so beautiful yet agressive at the same time. Pitty they made so few of them.

Gianni Burrows
Gianni Burrows

8c 2900 Touring Superleggera Berlinetta.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Side question – what makes an Itallian car? All the responses here relate to cars from Italian brands but what about the cars from other countries that were designed by the great Italian carrozzeria? The Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato is an obvious example but all of Aston’s sixties output were styled in Italy by Touring. Peugeot used Pininfarina right up to the 90s to style their cars and BMC also turned to Pininfarina for many of their cars (notably turning the MGB into the MGB GT). The Lotus Esprit and the Volkswagen Golf Mk1 were the responsibility of Giugiaro. I… Read more »

JB21
JB21

An interesting question. I guess, what not makes an Italian car, may actually kind of answer it in a way. Peugeot 205GTi is very French, there’s absolutely nothing Italian about DB5, or Daewoo Lanos, or Shogun Pinin. Is there “Italian” car that’s not really Italian, or other way around?

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Point taken on the Daewoo and the Mitsubishi. He’s one that is confusing though , the De Tomaso Pantera. A car built in Italy but designed by an American working for an Italian Carrozzeria, using an American engine and the company was owned by an Argentinian. Is it an Italian car?

Alexander Edwin Angus MacAllister
Alexander Edwin Angus MacAllister

How could anyone not say the 250 GTO, no other italian road car holds a candle to it. Not even a competition. For race cars I would have to say the 1969 Ferrari 312P or a P3/4.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson

There’s only one for me the Lancia Aurelia B20GT. Great sporting pedigree, inspired engineering, minimalist beauty and the greatest dashboard ever made.

As endorsed by Tintin.

JB21
JB21

Can we make this into a poll? Maybe we can nominate 5 cars each (you know there will be a lot of overlaps), then vote for the best Italian can ever according to Petrolicious readers. Heck, we can do that for every car making country (Denmark has a very short list!).

Johnny B
Johnny B

Difficult question indeed, but having one in the garage, I will have to say the classic FIAT 500 (made from 1957 to 1975).
In my dream garage, however, there would definitely have to be a[b] Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato[/b], in blue.

Hugo SANNER
Hugo SANNER

With an unlimited budget, all things considered, I think the most beautifull italian cars are one of theese two:

Jake Williams
Jake Williams

Lets start by stating the 5 best Italian companies: Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Fiat.

Now, let’s go down their best car:
-Lamborghini: Miura
-Alfa Romeo: 33 Stradale
-Ferrari: 250 GT California
-Lancia: Stratos
-Fiat: 500

Now, which one is the most evocative, bewitching, sensational, beautiful, passionate, purposeful, and memorable reflection of why Italian cars are so fantastic?

For me… Lancia Stratos

Brompty
Brompty

JB21 is absolutely spot on: it’s the Fiat 500. It’s not the performance, 0-60 time, or engine, but what this car did and represents.

Jono51
Jono51

The greatest Italian car I’ve ever owned was an old Fiat 500 – but I’ve never owned a Ferrari and I just have this sneaking suspicion that a 275GTB might actually be even greater than the little Fiat. On the other hand, you can argue that it’s impossible to call a car great unless it won at Le Mans, so my choice would have to be the grand daddy of all Italian Le Mans winners, the 1931 2.3 litre Alfa Romeo.

Savyon Saw
Savyon Saw

The Ferrari 288 GTO was one of the most memorable vehicles from my early days of gaming a few years ago. It was love at first sight when I first spotted it on the video game Test Drive Unlimited. I played that game for hours until I got the cash to buy it. It was worth every penny.

Rudy
Rudy

In my point of view, the greatest italian car is the Alfa Romeo 33 stradale.

motonerd14
motonerd14

This is an incredibly subjective question, but I suppose if I had to choose just one, it’d be this: 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta. Simply stunning.

Damian Solorzano
Damian Solorzano

…Oof. Of all time? I’m going to go out on a limb and nominate the Fiat 124. I’ve driven several spiders and owned a couple of coupes The coupes are my favorite, being a very interesting mix of utility and performance, as well as ravishing good looks. It’s also eminently hot roddable, my example being powered by the 1600 rather than the 1400 twin cam engine…which was penned by Lampredi….Anyway, it’s a car I wish I had, and despite being a mere Fiat 124, it’s in my mind, the best Italian car…

Hayden
Hayden

[b]Best modern Italian:[/b]
– Alfa Romeo Disco Volante by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera

[b]Best classic Italian:[/b]
– Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale

ACFowles
ACFowles

Miura

No doubt in my mind. Ever since I was very young the Miura has always been, for me, the greatest Italian car ever made.

JB21
JB21

The greatest Italian car ever made? I tell you what, it’s a Fiat 500. No, not the new FWD one, but you already knew that. The next greatest Italian car ever made? It’s the second generation Fiat Panda 1.2. And I love the Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider the best, just because I still think that’s the most romantic car ever made (and you know, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with the movie).

Umberto Sconfienza
Umberto Sconfienza

Lancia Stratos, Lancia Fulvia HF Fanalone, Lancia Delta Integrale, Lamborghini Miura.

Samir Shirazi
Samir Shirazi

I have been writing my comment for maybe 10 times. I have written my first choice,understood there is something better, and deleted the whole comment, I prefer not to answer hence it would not be fair.

BillamJunior
BillamJunior

May not be everyones first choice,

Nikola Velkovski
Nikola Velkovski

The Lancia Delta Integrale, and the Lamborghini miura were revolutionary for their time, and trendsetters. Have tons of presence and charachter…

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

I don’t really need to answer this 🙂

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

With the pic intended for above

Louis Emelina
Louis Emelina

I suppose some people could answer right away, as I imagine many people struggle to find an answer to this question: so many great Ferrari’s (250 GTO, 275 GTB4, the Daytona, F40, the Enzo …), so many outrageous Lambos too (pretty much all of them, with the LM002 sitting on top, proudly) and more than enough soul and passion from Alfa Romeo (the early 105/115 spiders, the GTVs etc.). Myself, I find it difficult not to have a preference for your own car (in my case, a 1974 Alfa Spider Veloce), but then again, who wouldn’t be biased when it… Read more »

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

I know this is most likely a obvious choice but i have to go with Ferrari 250 GTO. The GTO just has it all stunning good looks, outrageous performance( for its time), very low production. The GTO basically defined style, speed, excitement and passion all wrapped up in one car. Also a runner up nod should go to the Lancia Lambda for building a very modern car but in the 1920;s with its monocoque style chassis and front independent suspension laid the foundation for most modern cars.