Please, Look Beauty Straight in the Headlights

This car makes the E-type look like a well-used mop.

Klemantaski Collection/Getty

Upon the coupe’s debut in 1963, the famously imperious Enzo Ferrari famously allowed that the Jaguar E-type was “the most beautiful car ever made.” The eponymous father, admitting his cars were not the swoopiest swans on the lake—like George Steinbrenner showing up to a game one day wearing a cap adorned with two little red socks. That unprecedented automotive microburst is a testament to the E-type’s lines which, of course, are some of the more beautiful in the world. Just not, perhaps, the most.

Enzo’s facade of superiority, one he wore like a second pair of dark sunglasses, was dropped needlessly. He’d already built the world’s most beautiful car the year before, a coupe muscular where the E-type was toned, indulgent where the E-Type was refined.

That car is the 1962 Ferrari GTO. Look at it in repose. Was the GTO made, or did it sublimate into solidity from a gas of Lambrusco burps, racecar exhaust and ambient Maranello libido? Regardless, this is the first ever, chassis number 3223GT. Sitting in the factory courtyard before its press conference, the GTO is perfect, a molten slick of magma against the ochres, creams and pale blues of Maranello in winter. Can you imagine trying to hold a reporter’s attention with this in the background?

As far as we know as we know, Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons never sent Enzo a laudatory note about the GTO. That’s a downright travesty; one should always acknowledge a deity.