Alfa Romeo Duetto
A strange name for a car that was picked in a bizarre international competition. But there is no doubting the Pininfarina-styled beauty: the original had covered headlamps and a long boat tail
, while a 109hp, 1.5L engine and four disc brakes made it a lively performer. In 1967, Dustin Hoffman brought the Duetto to the attention of the US with the film The Graduate, where it was later sold under that name. The car continued, with various changes, as the Spyder until 1993, but the early ones were the prettiest.
To name any one Ferrari on a "most beautiful" list is dangerous, and this choice is sure to have some people up in arms. But the Daytona was an important car for the Italian marque. Arriving as an answer to the wild, mid-engined Lamborghini Miura, the Daytona, with a front-mounted V12, set a new, modern style, again penned by Pininfarina. Today it remains one of the most desirable Ferraris and commands upwards of Dh3 million at auction.
The hard-topped Aurelia was such a sensation when it was launched in 1951 that demand for an open-topped version was too much for Lancia. In 1955 the company debuted the Spider version, designed by Pininfarina (are you getting a sense of repetition here?) The car was advanced for its day, with unit-body construction and was also renowned for its handling. Today, they are some of the most highly regarded models in some of the most prestigious car shows in the world.
Lamborghini insists that it is the "bad boy" of the Italian car companies, and the Gallardo is proof positive of this. Where most Italian cars are famous for their swooping, graceful lines, this beast looks more like a stealth fighter plane, with its sharp angles and gaping air intakes. If you wear a toupé, I suggest not putting the top down - not if you're going to use the 500 or so horsepower (depending on the model) from its mid-mounted V10 to its fullest.
Strangely, it took Maserati almost 100 years to build its first four-seat convertible; it seems to have been worth the wait. Again, the Italian design house Pininfarina had a hand in this car, and it was unveiled at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. The soft-top GT is a ripper as well as a looker, too. If the 433hp of the base Cabrio isn't enough for you, opt for the Sport version's 444hp and enhanced suspension. Either way, you'll be looking good cruising the boulevard.