Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the classic car lover in your life? Or just want to brighten up your own coffee table? We'd highly recommend picking up a copy of Beautiful Machines: The Era of the Elegant Sports Car. Released by Germany's Gestalten and available to order from Amazon, this is one of the best-designed classic car books ever published, period.
"Evoking an era when elegance, romance, and outright performance defined the automobile," the 330-page book is replete with the gorgeous photography we expect from Gestalten's design team. The selected cars date from a time when automobiles "represented humanity’s finest ambitions, technology, style, and taste."
From the shark-inspired Maserati Ghibli to the wicked Lamborghini Miura, and the eye-popping Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale to the well-bred Aston Martin DB4 GT, "these cars are less transportation and more testaments to beauty, freedom, ambition, innovation, and speed," the publisher notes.
The story of each iconic set of wheels is written by automotive expert Blake Z. Rong with a preface by Classic Driver’s Jan Baedeker and Gestalten’s Robert Klanten. "No other machine or technology has made such a global triumph in the last century, has as significantly changed the world, or has been able to give its users such a sensual and intense overall experience—neither the plane nor the cinema nor the internet," they proclaim.
"It opened new expanses of possibility, broke through the boundaries of space and time, promised unlimited freedom and individuality," they note. "Sports cars were avant-garde, carved in sheet steel and aluminum, and they were mobile sculptures of progress at the forefront of technological development."
That's why major brands such as Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati and Mercedes-Benz "primarily owe their present-day appeal to their classic sports cars, which brought engineering innovations and motorsport experience into a desirable form tamed for civilian life on the streets." Quite simply, "no other object shaped the aesthetics of this time as much as the automobile."