For the well-to-do there is really no shortage of luxury cars to choose from as ever more impressive technological wonders roll off production lines all across the globe. From stately sedans to speedy supercars, if you have the cash then the most gorgeous and luxurious vehicles ever designed can be yours.
However, the ever-expanding array of prestige cars means that there is only room for a handful of real classics to make their mark every generation. Let’s take a look at some of the all-conquering cars that captivated buyers from the moment that they were created.
Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow (1965 – 1980)
Regal, glamorous and beautifully constructed from bonnet to rear bumper, the various Rolls Royce Silver Shadow models made their mark on British car manufacturing as well as rewriting the rules on elegant car design.
Rolls-Royce were determined to remain to last word in luxury automobiles but they decided to play it smart with the Silver Shadow. They managed to square the circle by providing passengers with increased personal and luggage space while actually making the car narrower and shorter than its predecessor, the Silver Cloud. This was achieved using advanced unitary construction techniques and it made the Silver Shadow a more practical vehicle without sacrificing comfort or style.
E-Type Jaguar (1961 – 1975)
A true icon of 1960s style and elegance, the E-Type is still considered to be Jaguar’s greatest success story. Not only did it boast a beautiful sleek design and high performance, its highly competitive pricing ensured that the E-Type sold by the tens of thousands.
Uniquely engineered for speed as well as style, the E-Type’s famous shape hid either one of two inline-six engines, although the final Series 3 variant featured a 5.3-liter V-12 under the iconic hood.
Ferrari 250 GTO (1962-1964)
It’s not surprising to see a Ferrari featured in any top luxury cars list, regardless of the time frame. Only 39 of these stunning vehicles were produced during its two year cycle but each one was clamoured for by the likes of Hollywood stars, business magnates and European aristocracy.
Its value as a collector’s item has rocketed in recent years, to the point where in May 2012 a 250 GTO became the world’s most expensive car, selling in a private transaction for $35 million.
When you look at the stunning bodywork and perfectly tuned 3.0-liter V-12 engine then it’s not difficult to see why the world continues to go crazy for this prince of prestige cars.
Mercedes S-Class (1972-Present)
The ultimate in affordable luxury, there’s a reason why the Mercedes S-Class is the favoured vehicle of government officials the world over. Smart, safe, stylish, efficient and oozing comfort from every angle, this is the grandfather of luxury sedans.
S-Class is an anglicisation of the German abbreviation of Sonderklasse or ‘special class’ as in ‘a class of its own’. Not only has each successive model improved its luxurious interior and complement of extras, the high performance vehicles still retain an excellent rate of fuel efficiency (a fact that no doubt endears them to cost-cutting governments!)
BMW 7 Series (1977-Present)
The beautiful, timeless flagship of BMW, the 7-Series was introduced in 1977 as a full-sized sedan that handled and looked every bit as good as the smaller cars they produced. Successive models introduced cutting-edge security measures and other technologies to take the driving experience to the next level.
With reliable sales numbering tens of thousands year after year since its inception, the 7-Series stands as one of the most popular lines of luxury cars to grace the market, wowing buyers with effortlessly smooth rides while they recline in glorious comfort.