It is a question which fuels car lover’s conversations for hours – when did the industry produce the best-looking cars, and what model sets the bench-mark?
Sadly science does not agree. More specifically, the formula of Italian mathematician Fibonacci of Pisa. Nearly 800 years ago he was the first Westerner to describe the mathematical symmetry ratio that influences perceived attractiveness – now known as the Fibonacci sequence or Golden Ratio.
In what has been branded as the Fibonacci sequence, each number is the sum of the previous two numbers. It appears in nature in the form of the number of petals on a flower, rabbit breeding cycles and the spiral of a snail shell and pretty much everything else.
As an aside, it is claimed that Indian mathematician Virahṅka (between a.d. 600 and 800) was the first to identify the sequence.
Confused.com decided to apply the ratio to the design of cars over the decades.
Their number crunching identified the 2010s ass the decade which produced the most statistically beautiful vehicles.
Cars released in this decade averaged a 90.18% match to the golden ratio.
Leader of the pack is the 2017 McLaren 720s 4.0 V8 (pictured above), with an almost perfect 99.73% match to the golden ratio – the highest score of the cars analyzed.
Other notable designs of the decade include the 2017 McLaren 570s Coupe (99.24% match) and the 2012 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Coupe (99.20% match), which finished second and third in the decade, respectively.
The next most beautiful decade (for cars) was the 2000s, with cars averaging an 87.83% match to the golden ratio.
Pushing up the average is the 2003 Lamborghini Gallardo Coupe, with a 99.20% score.
It is followed in the good looks stakes by the 2000 Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge Stradale F1 (99.07% match), followed by the 2008 Aston Martin One -77 in third (98.85% match).
Of the 17 Aston Martins analyzed, the One -77 is the most beautiful according to the mathematical formula, beating iconic models such as the 1963 Aston Martin DB5 (76.96% match).
The 1970s produced the statistically third most beautiful cars, with an average 85.37% match to golden ratio.
In pole position is the 1970 Mercedes-Benz C111 – 11 D, with a 99.33% match. This places the Mercedes as the third most beautiful car overall, and the oldest car to make it into the top 10.
In fourth place is the 1990s, with car releases averaging an 84.94% match to the golden ratio. Scoring 99.20%, the 1994 Ferrari F355 GTS is the most stunning car to come out of the 90s, and the second most beautiful car overall. This is followed by the 1996 Lotus Esprit V8 32V Turbo as the second-best car of the decade (98.96% match), and the 1994 McLaren F1 in third (98.67% match).
The F1 is also the second-best of all McLarens analyzed.
40s and 50s: the least beautiful decades for cars
Proving perhaps that beauty is more in the eye of the beholder than in a mathematical formula, the 1940s scored lowest, with a 74.48% match to the golden ratio on average for the decade.
Top scorer was the 1949 Ferrari 166 MM Zagato Panoramica with an 88.27% match to the golden ratio.
Despite being the most statistically beautiful of the decade, the Ferrari is only placed 112th out of the 372 cars analyzed, and 22nd out of the 29 Ferrari models included in the research.
The 1950s produced the second least statistically beautiful cars, with a 76.34% match to the golden ratio on average.
With a percentage difference of 95.30%, the best car to come out of the 50s was the 1957 Chrysler Plymouth Fury (KP31).
Of the five Chryslers analyzed in the study, the Plymouth Fury takes first place. This beats younger models such as the 1997 Plymouth Prowler (92.11% match) by 3.19%, and the 1970 Plymouth Superbird (89.27% match) by 6.03%.
- 50 cars were identified from each decade
- The width and height dimensions of each vehicle within the dataset was extracted from each vehicle’s manufacturer’s official website or other verifiable sources
- Following the collection of data, the ratio of width to height was used to calculate the difference against the golden ratio dimensions (1.61803398875). In total, 372 cars were analyzed.
- Percentages were calculated to express the difference from each car to the golden ratio
- All vehicles were ranked in ascending order, deeming the most beautiful cars as the ones closest to the golden ratio proportions; therefore, determining the most statistically beautiful cars from each decade.
For the record, the E-type Series 1 scored a miserable 84.01%, and the Ferrari F8 Tributo did not make it onto the list.