Iconic post WWII-era compacts, ragged tops considered ‘most lovable’ vehicles in online collector-car venture’s survey

The classic Porsche 356 convertible placed second in the most lovable car survey from ClassicCars.com (Provided).

In a popular movie last year, a man fell in love with his smart computer-phone gadget and her sultry voice.

Maybe more tried-and-true in the world of infatuation and inanimate objects involves car buffs who adore their engine-powered four wheelers.

While that’s a private matter between car and collector, certain models project such a cute and cuddly personality that untold numbers of motorists find them lovable.

ClassicCars.com earlier this year sought to quantify the interest. The online company said it asked its 100,000 blog followers to select cars they thought are most lovable. The winner was the original Volkswagen Beetle, model for “the Love Bug” of movie fame, with 30 percent of the votes.

Still, it wasn’t a runaway. Editions such as the Porsche 356 convertible, Nash Metropolitan and Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite were chosen by one in 10 motorists or more.

ClassicCars.com said it conducted the survey in recognition of Valentine’s Day.

According to the online company, “Endearing looks, fond memories, a quirky personality — and a string of movies helped make the Love Bug, the most lovable car.”

The sporty Porsche 356 convertible, built from 1948 to 1965, placed second with 18 percent. “With its clean lines, convertible top and two seats, the 356 is perfect for a weekend drive or a picnic for two,” the online venture said.

ClassicCars.com said the “adorably cute” Nash Metropolitan, a subcompact from 1954 to 1962, captured 13 percent of the vote.

“We are of course not surprised that the car immortalized as Disney’s #53, Herbie the Love Bug, came in first as the most lovable car,” said Roger Falcione, chief executive of Phoenix-based ClassicCars.com.

“But we are excited to see the Porsche 356 convertible right up there, along with the Nash Metropolitan — all compact in size, with curved design features and large headlights,” he said.

Rounding out the top five were the Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite, a roadster built 1958-61 and known for its headlamps protruding from the top of the hood; and the

first generation ’60s era Mini Cooper. The Austin-Healey took 9 percent and the Mini Cooper, 8 percent.

Also in the top 10 were the Studebaker Lark, 7 percent; BMW Isetta “bubble car,” 5 percent; Fiat 500, 4 percent; and Citroen 2CV “deux chevaux” and first generation American Rambler, each 3 percent.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.