10. Buick LeSabre (1951)
To modern eyes, the slick, powerful-looking 1951 Buick LeSabre concept car may resemble a prop from Kerry Conran’s 2004 dieselpunk movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. However, when it was originally unveiled it was the height of automotive design innovation. Taking his cue from the emergence of jet airplanes, General Motors’ lead designer Harley Earl envisaged a car that employed their aerodynamic aesthetics – namely a shiny metallic finish, sprawling rear fins and an aluminum, fiberglass and magnesium body that looked take-off ready. The prototype, produced in collaboration between Earl and Buick engineering chief Charles Chayne, also featured then-novel 12-volt electrics and a wraparound cockpit-like windshield. The LeSabre became something of an icon for General Motors, going on to inspire countless other designs.