Birth Year

I was born in 1954, a rather unremarkable year wherein not much momentous happened other than the aforementioned (yeah, I know, “Enough of the damn solipsism, Kim” ).

I wish I could say that some great cars were also  born in 1954, but it seems like all the cool ones came either before (Mercedes Gullwing, 1952) or afterwards (Ferrari 250). So I can’t even say that.  Nevertheless, let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane and look at some spectacular sports cars which were around during that year.  In no specific order:

Aston Martin DB2-4 Spider (Bertone)

Bristol Model 403

…and its “near-twin”, the BMW 502 convertible

Daimler Conquest Drophead

Alfa Romeo 1900 Sport Spider

Fiat 8V Vignale

Ferrari 375 Mille Miglia

Jaguar XK120 Roadster

Austin Healey 100-4

Then there was the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing

But my favorite of all of them?

Lancia B24 Aurelia Spider (which, by the way, had the first-ever production V6 engine) and which was  introduced in 1954.  Here’s Jay Leno’s take on the later 1958 model.

Maybe I’m just prejudiced… but are these sports cars not stunningly beautiful?  Next week we’ll look at some passenger cars of the era — which were definitely not  the equal of the sports cars.

Update:  My  eyes aren’t what they used to be, either:  here’s the Morgan +4:


  1. Yup. That Jaguar XK120 roadster just looks gorgeous. Likewise the DB2-4 and the Conquest Drophead.

    It’s such a pity that we here in the UK don’t have the weather to enjoy them.

    BTW I’m meeting some guys who used to own Austin Healeys tomorrow; I’ll have to ask them!

  2. Ah, a time when cars were designed with style. Not all driven by .gov mandated MPG and wind tunnel data into mind numbing sameness. Not that fuel economy is a bad thing. It’s just that we should have a choice.

    1. There is not a single car in that lineup that wouldn’t give me the Warm & Fuzzies if I saw it parked in my driveway in the morning.

    2. MPG, but also festooned with bumpers, designed to toss pedestrians over the car, etc. Never underestimate the desire of a Leftist to suck every iota of pleasure from life.

  3. Did I miss the Morgan +4 in that line-up? My eyes aren’t what they used to be.

  4. All good looking cars. Hard to say one is best. But there are some guys taking old iron and putting new running gear under them. I could get behind of of those in a heartbeat.

    Good times.

  5. I brought back from Italy, an Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint, Superleggera by Touring. Bought it for $1000.00. 5 speed wire spoke wheels, cruised the autobahn taking it to Bremerhaven for shipment back to the US. Traded it for a fully restored Alfa Romeo Giuletta Spyder Veloce after I got back from southeast Asia.
    My Jaguar XK 120M Drop Head Coupe has had it’s photos sent to you in the past.
    Yes, there were some drop dead gorgeous auto designs back then. Hell, most of them are better than today’s efforts, that is except the Daimler SP250.

  6. On my eyes!!! I foolishly looked at a photo of the Daimler SP250 hardtop. Agahhhhh!

  7. I’m surprised that more of these aren’t the object of kit car enthusiasts’ lust and skills. The Aston Martin is so much better looking that the ubiquitous Shelby Cobra.

  8. I saw the Aston Martin and immediately the voice of Darren McGavin popped into my head: “It’s… it’s… it’s indescribably beautiful!”. I’d take the Austin Healey, too.

  9. Many, many years ago, when I worked seven days a week to spend my money on cars, motorbikes and women (not necessarily in that order), I had an Austin Healey 100/4 (2.6 litre engine if I recall) it had the most amazing exhaust note but was horribly unreliable, (electrics), so I sold it. I’m not sorry, I needed the money to buy the next car. In 1979 I had a Morgan +8, that was horribly unreliable too but beautiful! They were both MIGHTY COLD in the winter.

  10. The Austin Healy is a work of art, but the Jaguar is magnificent.

    My parents were both born in ‘54. Hi, dad…

    I’ve never been partial to Italian sports cars. Something about the staid elegance produced by British sensibility is more attractive. From an everyday middle class perspective, Renault and Volkswagen made fine cars. My dearest childhood friend drove her father’s 1982 Rabbit convertible until we were beyond college, and my uncle has a 1968 Karmann Ghia, in resto at the moment, after years of sitting under a tarp. A divorce, the death of a son, and he’s taken interest in it to soothe his soul.

    American Muscle Cars seemed to fall off the map by 1975/76 (I was born in late December, ‘75). The Buick Grand National surged minor interest in the phenomenon, but by the time it became affordable to the lower classes, Americans had moved on to emulating Euro style with Beemers, or faking the look with whatever Infinity and Lexus were offering.

    And if you were truly faking stock market exchange wealth, you got a Lotus and looked like an idiot.

    If I could resto a car right now, I’d go ‘77 Nova or Impala, for sentimental reasons, my dad owned both and we had such adventures in those cars!

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