Cars have served as the Modern Era’s main mode transportation.
The earliest form of the automobile can be traced back to the very first steam powered transportation that was first built in during the 16th century. As time progressed, mechanical breakthroughs soon emerged that introduced several technological advancements like the internal combustion and the gasoline powered engines that gave birth to the modern day car.
Unlike other man made marvels that have a definite set of chronological development, the car’s rich history is structured on eras that were defined by the design and development of that time. To get the low down on what defined the automobile as one of the world’s most sought after mode of transportation, here are the top 15 game changers that redefined the industry.
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The First Car Ever Designed – BENZ’S PATENT-MOTORWAGEN (1885)
The Benz Paten Motorwagen is considered to be the world’s first car. It is the first ever self propelled car that replaced the buggy and the horse as the people’s main mode of transportation. This is a two-seater car that has a single cylinder engine and a four stroke motor that is fitted at the rear part. The car is also known for its three wire spoke wheels and a tubular steel frame with wooden inserts.
Benz’ wife, Bertha and their two children proved the car’s worth buying by taking it on a 120 mile road trip. They family eventually came back. One fun fact from this experience is that Bertha only had to use her garter and pin to solve any mechanical problems.
The car that initiated the use of assembly lines to mass-produce-FORD’S MODEL T (1908)
The concept of the assembly line is credited to car mogul Henry Ford when he first manufactured the Ford Model T. This assembly line made the car affordable for middle class people and broadened the worldwide car market. The Ford Model T is the very first car to be made in this way and was recognized as the very first car to be sold globally.
The first car to have an electric starter- CADILLAC’S TOURING EDITION (1912)
Ford founder Henry Ford first founded the automobile brand Cadillac only to leave after a dispute. Shortly after his departure, Cadillac released its first model known as the Touring Edition in 1912. This model cemented Cadillac as the maker of the luxury car with the very first electric starter as people back then had to make use of their hand by cranking the engine for the car to start.
The first mass-production car that was fully enclosed- ESSEX’S CLOSED COACH (1918)
The Essex was first made by the Hudson Motor company in 1918. This particular model was the first ever car to be sold fully enclosed as open tops were the norm back then for cars. Thanks to Essex, cars like these became affordable.
The first car with the V8 – FORD’S MODEL 18 (1932)
The Ford Model 18 is credited to be the very car model that placed the speed that can be found in today’s modern car. This model was equipped the first ever V8 engine or the four cylinder engine, car.
The first concept car- BUICK’S Y-JOB (1938)
The first concept car was the brainchild of the car company General Motors. The Buick is the first ever car that introduced new designs by installing power electric windows, pop-up headlights, flush door handles, wraparound bumpers, and other styling characteristics. It is also known for introducing the vertical waterfall grille design.
The world’s best selling car ever- VOLKSWAGEN’S BEETLE (1938)
It was the German automobile company Volkswagen that introduced the Beetle, the world’s best selling car. It is simple, reliable and a very inexpensive car. The Beetle is also the world’s longest running car model of all time as the model has been produced for a total of 65 years. It remains as the most manufactured in history with over 21 million units sold worldwide.
Unknown to many, the Beetle was designed by Ferdinand Porsche.
The vehicle that revolutionized military transport during World War II then became very popular to civilians- BANTAM’S JEEP (1940)
World War II vehicle known as the Jeep came from the American Bantam Car Company in Butler, Pennsylvania. This was originally created for the purpose of helping the military win the World War II. This sturdy vehicle was taken from the desserts before being the first true American sports vehicle ever made. The Jeep still continues to do well until today.
The car whose layout would define front-engine and FWD cars – BMC’S MINI (1959)
This adorable BCM Mini is the first car that introduced the traverse front engine which is used by small cars today. This model also boasts an innovative suspension that used space saving rubber cones. This car has a FWD layout and lightweight design that helped it win the Monte Carlo rally all thanks to its great traction on slippery surfaces.
A race car’s layout that has lasted over fifty years – COOPER’S T43 (1957)
The Cooper T43 was first built in 1957. It is also the very first race car to win in a world championship race in the 1958 Grand Prix. The most impressive feat about this particular model is that it has defeated cars that have a 2.5 liter engine against its 2.0 liter engine. It is also the first car to establish the open wheel racing that we love to watch today.
A car that was made for America’s youth with its sporty style – FORD’S MUSTANG (1964)
The 1964 Ford Mustang is based on Ford Falcon’s compact sized economy car platform. It was designed with a longer hood and a shorter deck giving it a more powerful and attractive look. This model came with many customization options. This became Ford’s best seller since Model A was first released in 1931. It still remains as one of the most popular sports cars on the market.
The super fast car with a bed – CHEVY’S EL CAMINO SS 454 LS6 (1970)
The El Camino was first released to the market in 1970 but it was not until 1970 that the SS 454 LS6 model that revolutionized the world. This model is complete with a pickup bed. The car is equipped with 450 horsepower with a big block V8 that made this car the quickest Chevy production truck.
The El Camino has a f41 special suspension, dual exhaust and a power front disc brakes.
The rally car that proved the value of having AWD – AUDI’S SPORT QUATTRO (1980)
This rally car first debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1980. It is the very first rally car that took advantage of the new rules permitted the use of AWD in rally competitions. Its design marked the beginning of the AWD era in rallying by grabbing many championships. It is the first ever race car that proved the effectiveness of a sports car using AWD.
The official family vehicle – CHRYSLER’S MINIVAN – 1984
The Chrysler’s minivan is the very first family van that debuted in 1984. It replaced the station wagon and became the car of choice for the family. The model utilizes the transverse mounted engine and FWD. It provided better traction and had better driving characteristics along with a better construction of a one box design.
The first mass-produced hybrid and cleanest car ever – TOYOTA’S PRIUS – (1997)
The first generation Prius model became the world’s first mass produced gasoline electric hybrid car. It is considered to be one of the cleanest vehicles ever sold. It boasts a v style which is an extended hatchback wagon and the c style which is a sub compact hatchback. As of September 2014, the Prius models has reached a worldwide sales of about 5 million cars. The Prius model is designed to deliver a significantly improved fuel economy in a more compact package.
Some of its notable models are the Prius C, which the a fuel efficient model, the Prius liftback, a fuel efficient midsize car and the Prius V, the most fuel efficient midsize station wagon.
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