These Are 10 Of The Most Gorgeous Sports Cars From The 1970s

The 1970s sports car world followed closely after the ‘swinging 60s’ in terms of design and engineering. After the beautiful models such as the Jaguar E-Type, Ferrari 250 GT California and Ford Mustang, the sports cars of the 1970s became even more intricate and awesome.

This decade saw the emergence of the supercar as we know it today in the form of the Lamborghini Miura, followed by the likes of the De Tomaso Pantera, Ferrari Dino, and Lotus Esprit. BMW even got its hands dirty and created the amazing M1 supercar. The 1970s was a fantastic time for European automakers in their pursuit of speed and desirability – all while the US struggled with its energy crisis and terrible V8s.

While the sports cars of the 1970s were striking and flamboyant, some of them simply transcended into the realm of being drop-dead gorgeous. Here are ten of the best-looking sports cars from the 1970s.

10/10 Nissan 240Z

Nissan 240Z - Front
Via Mecum Auctions

In the late 1960s, Nissan saw the declining sales of the big American V8s due to the energy crisis and so created a sports car to appeal to the performance crazed among the populace. The result was the 240Z, and it quickly rewrote the rule book of what a sports car could be.

Nissan 240Z - Rear
Via Mecum Auctions

The 240Z is a rather good-looking vehicle with a long hood hiding the 2.4-liter straight-6. US versions mostly featured 4-speed manuals, however, a 3-speed automatic was available. The 240Z is one of the most beautiful classic Japanese sports cars ever made.

9/10 Lotus Esprit

Lotus Esprit S1 - Front
Via Historics

The Lotus Esprit emerged from the era of the wedge – the same time which brought us the Alfa Romeo Carabo, Maserati Boomerang, and Lancia Stratos Zero. The Esprit, on the other hand, was actually purchasable.

Lotus Esprit S1 - Rear
Via Historics

The Esprit is most famous for its use in the James Bond film franchise, where it was a submarine in one movie and a rocket-powered sled in another. The Esprit is absolutely gorgeous in its proportions and interior, exuding the proper 1970s styling.

8/10 Alfa Romeo Montreal

Alfa Romeo Montreal

The Alfa Romeo Montreal was a design study that actually became a fully-fledged model. The concept was shown off at Expo 67 – a World’s Fair-type event – held in Montreal and got such a good reception that Alfa Romeo named it the Montreal.

Alfa Romeo Montreal

Amazingly, where the concept car was fitted with a 1.6-liter inline-4, the production version was sold with a 2.6-liter V8. It was meant to rival the Jaguar E-Type and Porsche 911 but was much more expensive to purchase than either of those, rising even higher in the mid-1970s. One thing is certain though, the Montreal is a beautiful sports car.

Related: 10 Reasons Why We Love The Alfa Romeo Montreal

7/10 BMW M1

RM Sotheby’s

The BMW M1 was another car that emerged from the field of wedge-shaped supercars of the era. Originally to be built in collaboration with Lamborghini, the deal fell through, and BMW continued alone. The Germans did the engineering and engine development while Italdesign was put in charge of the styling.

RM Sotheby’s

The 3.5-liter straight-6 used in the M1 was specifically designed for the car but was modified and repurposed in the 5 Series, 6 Series, and 7 Series. The M1 saw some success at the races and the first of BMW’s Art Cars involved an M1 painted on by none other than Andy Warhol.

6/10 Lancia Stratos

Lancia Stratos HF - Front
Via Sports Car Market

The Lancia Stratos is best known for its rallying career and the relentless way in which it bit the driver if they weren’t careful – due to the short wheelbase. The Stratos added around 18 WRC victories between 1974 and 1981 before the all-wheel-drive era obliterated it.

Lancia Stratos - Rear Quarter
Via Bring A Trailer

The Stratos was powered by the Ferrari Dino V6, displacing 2.4 liters and producing around 190 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque. The Stratos is a collector’s piece and for those who cannot afford a real one, various companies sell kit-car versions which just need a powertrain.

5/10 De Tomaso Pantera

De Tomaso Pantera - Front
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The De Tomaso Pantera was the successor to the Mangusta – a car specifically built to rival the Shelby Cobra. The Pantera remained in production for 21 years and over 7,200 units were produced. De Tomaso may be an Argentinian-Italian company, but their cars featured big ol’ American hearts.

De Tomaso Pantera - Side
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The Pantera had three different Ford V8s throughout production due to contract disputes and renegotiations. The Pantera features typical supercar styling for the era but is muscular and brutish – almost like a mid-engine muscle car. All-in-all, it is awesome.

4/10 Lamborghini Miura

Green Lamborghini Muira P400 On The road
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The Lamborghini Miura was the start of the supercar as we know it today. It was the first of the mainstream cars to feature the engine in the middle rather than the front, resulting in better weight distribution and on-road performance. This annoyed Ferrari a lot.

Green Lamborghini Miura P400 on the road
Via Bring A Trailer

The Miura’s engine was an upgraded version of the one found in the 350GT and stayed in production – with countless modifications – until the Murcielago was discontinued. The Miura remains one of the most desirable classic cars in existence. Interestingly, it featured wing mirrors as optional extras because ‘why would a Miura driver look behind them? They are faster than everyone else’. How Italian is that?

3/10 BMW 3.0 CSI


The BMW 3.0 CSI is, simply put, the most beautiful German coupe ever made. The proportions are near-perfect, the engines are punchy enough and the interior is swathed in wood and leather. Thanks to it being just below the 3.0 CSL, the CSI is also a proper driver’s car from one of the best automakers.

BMW 3.0 CSI - Side
Via Wikimedia

The 3.0 CSI – also known as the E9 internally – was built on the same platform used for the New Six sedans, featuring the same shark-nose front end and the characteristic Hofmeister kink. American muscle cars may be awesome, but the 3.0 CSI is just beautiful.

2/10 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Aston MArtin V8 Vantage
Via Pinterest

Like the BMW 3.0 CSI, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a stunning car. Built as a British alternative to the Ferrari GT cars, the V8 Vantage blends 1970s muscle car performance with beautiful British styling and exemplary interior comforts.

1977 Aston Martin V8 Vantage back

The V8 Vantage featured a 5.3-liter V8 producing 390 hp – increased to 6.3 liters and 450 hp with the X-Pack optional extra – with some aftermarket tuners upping the displacement to 7.0 liters in some cases. The V8 Vantage may have been a GT car, but it is often heralded as Britain’s first supercar, achieving 177 mph flat out.

Related: This Is What Makes The Original Aston Martin V8 Vantage So Special

1/10 Ferrari 356 GTB/4 Daytona

Ferrari 365 GTB
Via Mecum Auctions

The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona – or simply the Ferrari Daytona – was a grand tourer like no other. Not only did it have the next iteration of Ferrari’s amazing Colombo V12, but it looked like it was out of this world thanks to the long hood, the pop-up headlights, and the simplistic-yet-futuristic side profile.

1973 Ferrari 365 GTB4 Daytona Berlinetta Rosso Chiaro Shade On BaT Auction
Via: BringaTrailer

The interior featured beautiful wood inlays and soft leather upholstery – perfect to cross a continent in. Thanks to a larger central silencer and resonator, the V12 sang its way through the exhaust and resulted in a raspy, yet melodic sound. The Ferrari Daytona is quite a rare car and will forever be one of the most gorgeous sports cars from the 1970s.