Classic sports cars provide us with a link to the past. Although all classic cars are part of a story ingrained in the collective memory of the motorsport world, the rarest classic sports cars often have stories all their own. There are dozens of specific vehicles that could contend for the title of “Rarest Classic Sports Car”. Here are a few examples of some of the most desired classic cars on the road and a look at the stories that make them unique.
Europe in the wake of World War II was a dismal place. The entire continent had been ravaged by the Nazi war machine. Entire cities were in ruins from Nazi and Allied bombing campaigns. One of the countries most profoundly affected by the war’s devastation was Great Britain. It may have seemed as if it could take decades before life would return to normal. However surprisingly in 1948, just 3 years after the war ended Jaguar took the motorsport world by storm with the remarkable XK120. The XK120 was so named in reference to its 120mph top speed which at the time made it the fastest production car in the world. The XK120 was truly a unique car, with early models sporting an ash (wood) frame and a full aluminum body. Only around 250 of the wood frame cars were built, which makes them among the rarest classic sports cars in history.
Ford Mustang Boss 429
In the late 1960’s Chrysler’s 426 “Hemi” (Hemispherical Head) V8 engine was dominating the racing world. In 1968, in an effort to reclaim a share of NASCAR gold Ford created the Boss 429 hemispherical head engine. However in order to enter the technology into NASCAR competition, Homologation rules dictated that at least 500 cars equipped with the engine platform had to be built. It was eventually decided that the engine would be shoehorned under the hood of the Ford Mustang. Interestingly, the Boss 429 is not actually (in a technical sense) a Ford car. The vehicle bodies and engines were actually shipped to an outside production facility separately where final assembly was performed by Kar Kraft, a well known manufacturer of custom vehicles. With a total of less than 2000 Boss 429’s built over 2 model years and an unknown number of surviving vehicles on the road, this is one of the most coveted muscle cars (or American car of any type) ever built.
Shelby AC Cobra
Carroll Shelby was a chicken farmer turned racer whose influence in the automotive world is legendary. He had a hand in the design of the Shelby Mustangs, as well as the Dodge Viper, and many other vehicles. However the most recognizable (and arguably most significant) design of his career was the AC Cobra roadster. The AC Cobra was a limited production vehicle spawned from the mating of the body from an AC roadster (AC was a minor manufacturer of sports cars in Great Britain) with Ford’s 427 “Sideoiler” Cobra V8. The Shelby AC Cobra is a legendary performer, displaying capabilities that weren’t matched in a road car for many years. In fact, the AC roadster held the title for fastest time 0-100-0 for any production car for decades. The AC roadster is arguably the most common kit and reproduction car in the world. However, originals are extremely rare and routinely sell at auction for prices in excess of $250,000.