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
54 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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LanceCrunchcog
LanceCrunchcog
2 years ago

How could you miss the 250 GTO? Recently sold for 70 million. Money isn’t everything, but it’s a reliable indicator of how much people value this car.

George Panouts
George Panouts
2 years ago

Hard to choose one but this is Ferrari 250 GTO . Miura would be the most beautifull, Lancia 037 the most genius, Diablo the most impressive, Maranello the most classy, Ferrari F40 the most raw .

Juha Kaijalainen
Juha Kaijalainen
2 years ago

For me it’s got to be Ferrari 512BB, Lamborghini Miura or Maserati Ghibli SS. Those are dream cars from top of the list althought there are so many contenders like F40, Stratos, 250GTO, Alfa 155 Ti DTM and so many others. I love Italy and their cars! 😄

iancwilkinson@hotmail.com
iancwilkinson@hotmail.com
3 years ago

Miura or 250 GT SWB for me

Mark Wright
Mark Wright
3 years ago

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

sylvain bougie
sylvain bougie
3 years ago

Ferrari GTO250, Maserati A6 GCS, Alfa Mille Miglia.

Alessandro Spanu
Alessandro Spanu
3 years ago

Ferrari Testarossa 1984 and 288 GTO

Alex Habr
Alex Habr
4 years ago

Lancia Delta HF Integrale

Alessandro Bruno
Alessandro Bruno
4 years ago

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 of Italy’s best automotive achievements, including the practicality and appeal to not only appeal but to be enjoyed by lesser mortals without the assets of the Visconti, Agnelli or Marcello Mastroiannis. There can only be one contender. The first series Alfa Romeo Giulia – particularly in the 1969-1970 Super denomination. There’s a reason why Marchionne revived the Giulia name to launch the Alfa Romeo renaissance, doing it so brilliantly. Many Italian families have enjoyed a Giulia. They’ve seen it defend them from criminals as a police car (loved by the police officers who drove them). They’ve seen it race and win against much bigger cars (look at the record of the Giulia Ti Super). The Giulia had an engine that Ferrari could not have offered in a better or more sophisticated version. It had a five speed transmission and four wheel disc brakes, when much more expensive sports cars offered neither. It was a car whose driver could take the entire family out for a ling vacation trip from Italy to the northernmost tip of Europe (Nordkapp in Norway) and back (I know something about it, my father had three Giulias), still allowing for the occasional performance rode around a mountain or coastal road (Amalfi coast in a Giulia, been there done that). It was unbelievably aerodynamic – CX 0.33 or less. In short, as an Italian, the Giulia is the car that expressed the best of Italian technology, art and knowhow. It was a symbol of Italy’s post war optimism and unbelievable emergence from disaster. It told the world that we’re as good as the best. It gave me and give me pride. It’s as much as symbol of what Italy has done for the world as the Sistine Chapel, the Roman Forum or the Aqueducts that line the Roman roads that connected Rome to the World. Leonardo da Vinci, had he been alive at the time, would have driven a Giulia.

Ddutch
Ddutch
3 years ago

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 affordable form. If cars could have a soul, the classic Giulia certainly has a beautiful one.

Luc Woolderink
Luc Woolderink
4 years ago

Very easy question for me, the Fiat 126p 😀

gianluca
gianluca
8 years ago

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

Reginald Warlop
Reginald Warlop
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

Pictures failed:(

Willam Giltzow
Willam Giltzow
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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 SWB. This was a car that some owners drove to races, raced and won with, then drove home. It’s also a car that a man of any age can drive without his friends wondering when he’s going to grow up. Sorry to be so anti Lambo but Italian cars are most famous for what they’ve done in racing. Has Lambo ever won a championship in anything? Tractor pulls don’t count.

Stephen Licursi
Stephen Licursi
8 years ago

Alfa 33 Stradale

mtdrift
mtdrift
8 years ago

Typo 33 Stradale for sure.

Niels Jacobs
Niels Jacobs
8 years ago

without a doubt the Fiat 8V Supersonic.

Nick
Nick
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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 that would be…

Wim De Pril
Wim De Pril
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

8c 2900 Touring Superleggera Berlinetta.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
8 years ago

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 could go on but you get the point.

JB21
JB21
8 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Lange

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
8 years ago
Reply to  JB21

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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 Breinholt
Johnny Breinholt
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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

Jake Williams
Jake Williams
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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

Chris Franceschini
Chris Franceschini
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

…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
8 years ago

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

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

ACFowles
ACFowles
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

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

samir shirazi
samir shirazi
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

May not be everyones first choice,

Nikola Velkovski
Nikola Velkovski
8 years ago

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
8 years ago

I don’t really need to answer this 🙂

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
8 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Lange

With the pic intended for above

Louis Emelina
Louis Emelina
8 years ago

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 comes to italian cars?
But if I had to choose one that I didn’t own, I couldn’t possibly make up my mind.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
8 years ago

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.