Not to say we can’t love them for both those reasons, we just all have our bias one way or the other. If we err on the side that loves the way they go, then little else matters aside from the actual driving experience, some cars can be pretty slow but feel fast and planted on the road.
Others can be faster than anything but devoid of feeling, especially more modern cars that often lose their connection to the driver in favor of features that protect us from ourselves and our inherent lack of driving talent.
10 Mazda RX7
Few Japanese cars have captured the imagination like this Wankel-powered sports car; few cars can match the intoxicating linear power delivery and unusual soundtrack.
Some attention can be credited to video-games/Hollywood, the tuner car culture of the late 90s also gave the car some press too. In their prime, they were affordable, fun, and with the right tune, seriously fast.
9 Dodge Viper GTS
It is, without doubt, one of the most iconic cars from the '90s, blowing away the competition with raw, naturally aspirated V10 muscle.
You won't find anything like this today, with no driver aids or safety features of any kind. It will bite you very hard when you run out of talent, really living up to its name.
8 Lancia Stratos
It is one of those special cars that have the looks and the go, regarded as one of the best rally cars of all time.
The road car wasn’t just an afterthought though, it was just as good. It also got the Ferrari V6 Dino engine which was good for 190 horsepower. That was enough to really get the little two-door Stratos moving; coupled with an unusually short wheelbase, it demands a lot of talent from the driver. Rewarding those who have it, biting those who don’t.
7 Citroën DS
This was the car of the future back in the 50s. It had a design that looked like nothing else on the road, it was the first car to use disc brakes all around, and its hydropneumatic suspension made you feel like you were driving on a cloud.
When it was unveiled everyone knew it would be something truly special, setting sales records that stood until very recently. It is very French, everything is a little different, but with a ride and handling that is comparable to modern cars, it will go down as one of their greatest hits.
6 Shelby Cobra
More lightness, plus more horsepower doesn’t always equate to more fun. However, in the Shelby Cobra that is exactly what it equates to.
It is simple, fun, fast, and with the wind (or rain) in the hair, it is everything a hot-rod should be. Sadly today that simple fun comes at a premium, even the kit-cars are getting expensive.
5 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Although it isn’t the best at anything in particular, nor is it the first of anything, it has become one of the most collectible cars.
It is all about the experience, it is everything the aforementioned French car isn’t, it is simple, was once affordable, and anyone can work on it without running into serious difficulties.
4 Jaguar E-Type
According to Enzo Ferrari, “Jaguar's E-Type is the most beautiful car in the world.” It wasn’t necessarily the best at anything else, but it certainly delivered on the experience.
It could get you to 150mph and although the brakes were better than most cars of the era, by modern standards they are terrifying, requiring much driver participation to drive on the limit.
3 Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce
With its dual headlights and sweeping lines, it is very hard to fault aesthetically. Subtle, timeless beauty is only one part of this Alfa Romeo’s story.
It is one of those cars that once you are behind the wheel, all logic goes out the window, and you just feel so connected to the willing little sports car that urges you to give it more.
2 Ferrari F40
If you want something from the analog era, nothing beats the F40. It was a limited edition Ferrari, but at least it was the least limited of the limited edition Ferraris, and based on production numbers the most accessible.
Ferrari said it would make 470 horsepower, for a car that weighed less than 3,000 lbs. As it happens they were a bit conservative, when it hit the road it was packing around 500 hp. It had no driver aids, no features, no creature comforts whatsoever, it was all about pure driver engagement.
1 Porsche 911
Although the F40 was one of the more accessible limited-edition supercars, it is by no stretch of the imagination accessible. An older, less special 911 was, and still is.
It wasn’t necessarily one of the best cars, it was raw and powerful though. It had more than enough power to put a smile on anyone’s face but if the driver even got it slightly wrong that smile would quickly transcend to a scream of terror as the tail comes out at the worst possible moment.