From the Jaguar F-Type to the Cadillac CTC and the the SRT Viper, we've driven some cars this year that could live in our garages with pride for decades to come. These vehicles are on the short list for the best of 2014, but what will push them over the edge into collector's items — coveted enough to be parked in the garages of aficionados like Jay Leno? We looked back at the undisputed classics — the iconic Corvette, the sleek Lamborghini, and the art deco style of the Bugatti 57sc — to get a sense of what it takes for a car to look even better at the ripe age of 50 than it did in the new car lot.
Lamborghini Miura [1966-72]
Number made: 760 (est.)
What one will cost you: $45,000-$79,000 (P400), $85,000- $125,000 (400S), $150,000-$200,000 (400SV)
Engine: 4.0 liter, twin-cam V-12
Top speed: 163 mph
0-60 mph: 6.7 seconds
History: The Miura is the car that put Lamborghini on the map. As automotive historian Pete Lyons put it, "[At the time] Lamborghini was in danger of becoming just another purveyor of GT cars." Then the Miura swooped in. It was a tour de force of styling, technology, and performance whose impact was due in part to its radical, ground-hugging bodywork, and also to the fact that it was midengined. Car enthusiasts had been seeing midengined racing cars dominate in grand prix races and at the Indianapolis 500 for the past decade, and were ready for a big road car with that winning layout. And the Miura was the first.
Design: The Miura was all liquid motion, with fenders that looked as if high-speed airflow was pulling them taut. It sat low – barely waist-high – and ready to pounce. Indeed, from some angles the Miura looks like a smiling jungle cat, even though it derives its name from a line of fighting bulls. But perhaps the best view of the car is up its skirts: The front hood and rear engine cover open like clamshells, laying the Miura's innards bare. It might not have been much of a grocery-getter – if you went out to pick up eggs, they'd be fried by the time you got home – but its performance was searingly hot.
Credit: Arnaldo Magnani / Getty Images