The 8 best Italian sports cars of all time

Just as no one but the most devout Italophile would defend some of Italy's more mundane cars (the Fiat... Punto?), no one but an Anglophile or the most blindly enthusiastic German car fan would deny that the Italians have designed some of the best sports cars the world has seen in the past 50 years.Here are the eight best that they've made.

8. Lancia Stratos
The Stratos was the ultimate example of a "homologation special" — just under 500 road-going versions were built so that it's big, bad brother could conquer some of the most insane roads in the World Rally Championship. The street version had just under 200 horsepower, but also only weighed 2100lbs, making it incredibly quick, an awesome handler, and impossible to mistake for Marlon Brando.

7. Maserati Ghibli Spyder
The first thing you need to know about the Maserati Ghibli Spyder is this: Joe Walsh was did not lose his license doing 185 in this car. The car "only" did just over 150mph, which for the late '60s and early '70s was pretty solid, but this car's not on the list because of the numbers like that. It's here because this is possibly the single greatest car you could possibly pick to whip around the Alpine switchbacks with the top down.

6. Lamborghini Miura
The Miura basically redefined what it meant to be a supercar. The folks at Lamborghini had the crazy notion that they should stuff a hopped-up V-12 in the middle of the car, behind the driver, and it not only worked from a performance standpoint and revolutionized thoughts on where engines belong in the best, most expensive cars, it resulted in one of the most beautiful cars in the 20th century. The car was driven by everyone from Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to Rod Stewart, who actually didn't buy it just so he could roll down the window and ask "Da ya think I'm sexy?"

5. Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
As with the Lancia Stratos, the 33 Stradale was the road-going version of a much faster pure-bred race car, but unlike the Lancia, they only made 18 examples of the Alfa. It's entirely possible that you will never come closer to owning a street-legal classic Italian racer, and one could certainly make an argument for placing this higher up on the list, but it's so rare that you're unlikely to ever see one in person, let alone driving on the roads. It loses points for being the prettiest girl without a prom date.

4. Ferrari 250 GTO
Back in 1962, if you wanted to buy this car, you were pretty much out of luck unless you were a) willing to be homeless pay more for it than many paid for their house, and b) personally approved by Enzo Ferrari himself. The car had a proven history of success both on the track and at the auction block — one has even sold for over $30 million — and it's undeniably stellar looks rivaled any other set of curves you could find in the world at the time.

3. Lamborghini Countach
In all likelihood, the Lamborghini Countach probably only has a name because it would be difficult to trademark a catcall — it's actually named for the slang Italian men say when they come across a beautiful woman. Anyone that grew up in the 70s and 80s either had this proudly displayed on their wall or had it proudly displayed in between pictures of beautiful women.

2. Ferrari F40
The favorite Ferrari of an entire generation, the F40 -- built in honor of the marque's 40th anniversary — was the last car that Enzo oversaw before his death. A small, twin-turbocharged V8 combined with a super-slick aerodynamcally-designed carbon-kevlar body to reach a top speed of over 200mph, which in the mid 1980s, was even faster than the speed of greed.

1. Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
The name Testa Rossa conjures up all sorts of images, most notably Don Johnson wearing white and busting people on Miami Vice, but there can only be one first, and this was it. The car won the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans back in the 50s, and today can go for upwards of $16mil; plus, Ralph Lauren owns one, so you know it's gotta smell great.

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