The Game-Changing Supercars Of The 40s

Aerodynamics... pshh who needs that?

7w ago

Don't you guys think we are at the peak of supercars? I mean if you just think about it, we have the most advanced cars in the world, the current Holy Trinity consists of the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918. Cars such as Koenigsegg and Bugatti break records almost every day. These cars are indeed at their peak, it’s time to look back down at the originals, the ones that started it all, and see how far we’ve come in time. The car world has changed a lot, and it keeps changing day by day! This article and series I am doing will take a look at the supercars that defined an era, one decade at a time, now continuing with the supercars in the ’40s.

The definition of an automobile is "a road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal combustion engine or electric motor and able to carry a few people". Yet, that's not the correct definition of what an automobile is. To us car enthusiasts and petrol heads, automobiles are much more than that. Cars are art, passion, emotion, and total beasts. In addition to also being one of the most revolutionary and iconic things in the world, cars have truly changed our world for the better, and they keep changing and taking the world by surprise. We look back in the past and cherish all the stunning analog cars that have shaped the way for cars and supercars today. Obviously, the term supercar was not invented till the late nineties, but I like to think these were the supercars of their time period.

1. Jaguar XK120

We're starting off strong with this list. This car needs no presentation... the Jaguar XK120 is one of the most celebrated and famed Jaguar cars of all time. As you can see in the picture above, it has a very particular style that resembles the 40s era a lot. The Jaguar XK120 is an English sports car produced and manufactured by Jaguar between 1948 and 1954. The XK120 was shown as an open two-seater or 'roadster' at the 1948 London Motor Show, it was deemed a very "new" innovation at the time. With a whopping top speed of 120mph, this iconic car got its well-known name from its vast power output. Even though 120mph might not sound like a lot now, back then it was huge, not only huge, but it was revolutionary. Yes... I did write that 120mph is revolutionary.

Although, you have to realize the certain time period. Cars and automobiles were just starting to become a common thing in many people's lives. Before the 40s, automobiles were just a "toy" for the rich. Yet, this car paved the way for many more cars in the future, and It changed people's view of the car community. The XK120 was upgraded over the years to be made much more efficient and quicker. Jaguar removed the windshield, and they created a more daring look, which made the 3.4L car the world's fastest production car ever at the time. Designed by the founder of Jaguar, Sir William's Lyons, this car amended the car game forever. With a classy and elegant design that is desired by all petrol heads, who wouldn't want this car? It is a stunning and sensational quick car, especially for a car that was built in the 40s

With some minor changes and all the new upgrades, the XK120 was able to reach top speeds of 133mph, this was one remarkable and extraordinary car.

2. The Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports

The Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports or especially known as the DB1, was a sports car sold and produced by Aston Martin from 1948 to 1950. It was the first production car of the company under the new owner, David Brown. Sir David Brown was a massive part of Aston Martin, as he willingly saved the company. Once David Brown bought Aston Martin, he changed and constructed the whole company from head to toe. The Aston Martin DB1 is one of the rarest Aston Martins, after the Bulldog of course. The 2-seat roadster was mostly overshadowed by the ever so famous XK120. It was a lost legend, a very underrated car, not much is known about this model.

Aston Martin was not even set to exist before this car, but David Brown stepped up to the challenge to create this. The very, low-slung full-width aluminum 1.07L sports car that has full-sized front-hinged doors and a flowing tail. Very 40s indeed, I have to say I am not the biggest fan of 40s styled cars. But, this is very classy indeed. Let us put a name to this lost legend...

3. 1948 Porsche 356 No. 1

You thought I would have made a list without including the first 356? Well, you guessed wrong. We have to include one of the most iconic and staggering cars and speedsters of all time. The 1948 Porsche 356 No. 1 was the first real car created by Ferdinand Porsche. Chassis 356-001, was produced with many VW parts, as a two-seat roadster. Porsche had many Volkswagen parts to rely on during the time. The pop-out door handles, integrated bumpers, steering, brakes, suspension, transmission, clutch, and headlights were all parts of the automaker company, Volkswagen.

Why not? If you had a German neighbor, you would let them borrow as well. The Porsche No. 1 was the first prototype of the 356 roadsters and generations. In the 1950s the 356 models went into production and went on sale, yet this first prototype started it all for those specific models we all love and cherish today. The 1948 Porsche 356 No. 1 now sits in the Porsche museum, a fitting place for a one of a kind car.

Engine: 1.1 L Type VW369 B4

Body style: Roadster

Designer: Erwin Komenda

Production: 1948, only 1 made

4. The Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta

The Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta is known as one of the most important Ferraris in Ferrari history. This racing icon put Ferrari on the map, the Barchetta is very important to the Italian brand. In 1948 Ferrari’s first Barchetta debuted, and people were very excited about this new and 'fresh' racing car. Motorsport was now starting to get more hype and publicity during the 1940s, motorsport helped many brands become what they are now. Although, this car has saved the now prominent Ferrari company. In the 1940s, Ferrari was not in a good financial and stable position due to the bombings caused by World War 2. They knew they had to get money, and the only way was to succeed in racing and motorsport. This was their only chance. Ferrari had to give themselves a name, pretty unbelievable compared to who they are now.

In 1949, the Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta won and finished first in the Mille Miglia. While the second 166 finished second, giving Ferrari one of their first 1-2 lockouts. At the 24 hours of Le Mans, Ferrari won by a lap and the Ferrari name finally became a household name. They also claimed wins at the 24 Hours of Spa and the well-known Targa Florio. I think we should all appreciate the Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta, since this car truly put Ferrari on the map...

Engine: 1.5 L Colombo V12 engine

5. Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 ‘Villa D’Este

The Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 ‘Villa D’Este... what more could I say? It is just an overall stunning car. Introduced in 1949, no one expected the Alfa Romeo 'Villa D'Este to be a truly successful and game-changing car. Out of all of these cars on this list, this has one of the most timeless and classic designs. With a beautiful smooth shaped body, 110bhp, and caressed with the iconic Alfa Romeo grill, this car has made a name for its self. This six-cylinder engine has triple Weber carburetors, and it is a Superleggera, which means it has an extra lightweight body, giving it a great power to ratio. Want me to go on? Well, it was also able to hit a top speed of 102mph. Not faster than the XK120, but still incredibly fast for its time. Besides, it is even fast for this time period as well, if you cruise down Milan in this car you will turn many heads, trust me. Sadly, only 36 were built, so if your name isn't Jeff Bezos or Jay Leno, I don't expect you to purchase this car anytime soon...

Engine: 2.5 L, Straight 6

Wheelbase: 3,250 mm

Production: 1938–1952

Transmission: 4-speed manual

Horsepower: 110bhp

Top Speed: 102mph


Join In

Comments (44)

  • My favourite has gotta be that Alfa I think😊

      1 month ago
  • One of my personal favorites is the Allard L-Type. It is the perfect marriage in the car world. A European sports car with an American engine and drivetrain. Wonderful article by the way!

      1 month ago
    • Thank you! And wow, that is a stunning car, never heard of it! Thank you for bringing it to my attention

        1 month ago
    • Sure. Sydney Allard took the flathead V8 and three speed from a Ford Coupe and added the body from a Bugatti Grand Prix car. So it basically started out as a junkyard dog. But it was as competitive as the Jaguars and Aston Martins. Carroll...

      Read more
        1 month ago
  • The Barchetta is definitely my favorite. But the 1.5 liter 12 cylinder is ridiculous. Cute little pistons. 😍😂

      1 month ago
  • Wow great article! It’s crazy to see how far these amazing companies have come with their cars! I think my favorite is the Aston it looks amazing!

      1 month ago
    • Thanks Nolan! It is pretty crazy not going to lie, they have improved a lot! The Aston is a stunner!

        1 month ago
    • Imagine how trash the world would be without these cars

        1 month ago
  • That Alfa sure is pretty. Not a word I use to describe cars usually but this one is such.

      1 month ago