39 cars that changed the world

Nothing has changed in the world as the car. A car is not just a convenience, a means of carrying people and things over long distances in short periods of time.

For more people in more places around the world than any other thing, the car is freedom. It is the most extraordinary device, the greatest man of creation to the date.

But there are cars and there are cars. The majority of simply trying to improve what’s gone before. But few have tried to not merelyto be better, but to be different. Sometimes it does not work, interestingly enough, Subaru’s idea of a four-wheel-drive system activated by the windshield wipers could not, ahem, the increase of the traction – but only a small number of people have altered the course of automotive history for the better.

If the car has changed the world, because in truth he did, then, then, are those that changed the automotive world.

And this year, for the Coach of the Prizes, we are asking you to choose your favorite from the list of 39. The winner will be rewarded with the Coach of the Readers Champion Award. To vote, please click here.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost – 1907

Why have this as the first on our list, in place of the Benz Patent Motorwagen, the first in the automotive world? Pedantically, you can’t change a world that did not exist before his arrival, but perhaps more compelling, the Benz was so improper to do distances that Carl Benz is not even convenient to equip it with a fuel tank

The Silver Ghost, on the contrary, it was the first car with modern car reliability. It was officially called the 40/50 hp model, but one was painted silver, and given a name that could happen in motorsport, the folklore and sent to the drive from London to Glasgow 27 times. It was 15,000 miles and, apart from a fuel tap of agitation was shut in itself, is not a thing that went wrong. The reputation of what came to be regarded as the world’s largest car company was started here.

Ford Model T – 1908

It took 22 years from the birth of the car until the Model T brought driving to the masses. The car was very difficult to handle even by the standards of the time, but the revolution was the way in which it was built: the mass production on an assembly line of a single model in a single color.

It went on sale in 1908, at a cost equivalent to around $20,000 today, a price that fell and fell as the efficiency of the new method of production became apparent. Soon, half of all vehicles sold in the united states were Model Ts, and by 1923 it cost less than $300 – around $4200 in modern money. Built in 12 countries on four continents in record numbers, this was the car that did more than any other to put the world on wheels.

Cadillac Type 53 – 1916

Outwardly, the Type 53 does not deserve a special mention. But this was the first car to land on the peculiar intuitive arrangement of the control surfaces that we now consider to be conventional. Previously, the car had been operated by levers and handles and the pedals on (what now seems) strange configurations, but the Cadillac had a gearlever and hand brake between the front seats and three pedals for the clutch, brake and accelerator. Millions of people followed the trick.

Austin 7 – 1922

The Austin 7 enjoyed a young man of 17 years of production by a total of nearly 300,000 vehicles, and that could be enough to justify its inclusion here on its own. But the ‘baby Austin really found his place in this list, because of what was done. It was a packaging template, and it shows how it is possible to make a car with so few materials that was small and inexpensive like never before.

That’s why BMW with license to make your first car, and although Nissan is not the license was used 7 as an example, when the production of its first vehicle. Who sells Austin in the united states, although the American Austin company, it is more important to make the first prototype of the Jeep.

Matt Prior: “One more thing on the Austin 7: after the war, resources are scarce and aerodromes are functionless. Guys like Colin Chapman, of the who want to start running, so what do they do? They take a Austin 7 chassis, remove the body and start to modify. The 7 generated the birth of the post-war British motor sport.”

Lancia Lambda In 1922

We tend to think of the independent suspension and monocoque construction among the novelties of the second half of the car’s life to date. It is not so: this brilliant Lancia had so much when almost every other car bolted to a body on a ladder chassis and steel sheets as an emerging medium, the same technology used by the horse cart. The Lambda also had a V-engine training. At the fair, the Lambda will not change the world, but it damn well should have done.

BMW 328 – 1936

Proof, if it exists, that it is not the ingredients that matters, but the chef put them together. The attention to detail was the 328 specialty, which is like a pretty but seemingly conventional roadster became one of the most revered pre-war cars of all. Smart cylinder head work, world-class aerodynamics and the rigorous attention to weight savings created a car that was light, fun and capable of reaching 100 mph in just 2.0 liters of displacement. BMW has built its reputation on the back of the same and the dinner on this day.

Volkswagen Type 1 – 1938

You know it better as the Beetle. Was ordered by Adolf Hitler, designed by Ferdinand Porsche, and sneered at of late in life for being slow, uncomfortable and terrible to drive. But it was the Model T of the post-war era, and when the latter was built in the year 2003, 65 years after the first, more than 21 million has been made. If we stick to the cars that remained directly related through their production cycles and not just use the same name (such as the VW Golf or Toyota Corolla), is the best-selling cars of all time.

Willys MB – 1941

The Willys Military model B, which may have been produced for only four years, and others assisted in the trail blazing of the large segment that followed, but the ‘Jeep’ was world famous in its own right and a icon in front of the other embellished. He owned both the spartan purpose of a machine of war and the unrest of a car of the qualities of cheeriness and freedom of expression. As the soldiers who rode into battle, only america could have produced – and together they can with justice claim a leading role in making the world in which we live.

Land Rover – 1948

A car of the most pure convenience, built with an aluminum body because there was so much scrap after the war and the way to have as few curves as possible to save on the costs of the tools, it was a stop-gap designed to last a couple of years. In fact, and as we all know, light and rot-free of bodies, and the iconic shape would help to achieve a service life of nearly 70 years. This is not the first, but the definitive off-road and one that, by the way, did more to save lives in far-off and inaccessible places around the globe than any other car.

Jaguar XK120 – 1948

It is 1948 and Britain is broke, its people mired in the post-war austerity. Rationing still exists. Then, out of nowhere, comes a new car from a company with a new name. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It has a new twin-cam straight-six and promises 120mph when most cars struggle to reach half that. What is more, it is almost affordable. That was the XK120 of the proposition in 1948 and was, possibly, the most desirable car, or in any country had not yet occurred.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL of 1954

The people refuse for ever the identity of the first supercar, but the 300SL with its gullwing doors, it has a good claim. It was light, and beautiful, and their aerodynamics and a direct injection 220bhp 3.0-litre engine were literally decades ahead of its time, its 140 mph top speed seemingly straight of science fiction. How fast was the time? Well, put it this way: a near-showroom-standard car was entered in the Mille Miglia of 1955, and, among all, the purpose-built prototypes, he came home fifth…

Citroën DS – 1955

What if the DS was garbage? With a name that phonetically sounded like its creators thought that it was a god, it is doubtful that the Citroën reputation would have survived to the arrogance and ignominy. But it was not the garbage. It was great, with its revolutionary hydropneumatic suspension, and pretty enough to be considered a work of art in its own right. It was so good, in fact, that 60 years after it was born, Citroën turned the name into a brand itself. Time alone will tell how that one works.

Trabant – 1957

The Trabant, for all its wonderful warts, provides concrete evidence that personal mobility was not less valued beyond the Iron Curtain, which was in Milan, London, Paris or New York. The ‘spark of the spark plug with a roof’ was dirty, turgid, ugly and notoriously uncomfortable. But it was very difficult to-use – the Duroplast body parts fact a recycling of the earth-in circuit breaker and highly sought after by the East Germans. Around 3.7 million were built enough proof that the car was going to be, without a doubt, the 20th century, definitive of the mode of transport chosen.

Toyota Toyopet Crown 1957

The Toyopet Crown fame is that it was the first Japanese car to be sold in the united states. Sell well in Japan, but it turned out to be too small, slow and unreliable to the united states, where Toyota sold only a couple of thousand before the suspension of sales of passenger cars in 1960. But the detection of compact cars such as the Crown were part of the future of America, US auto manufacturers began producing their own, with those who, having learned their lesson, Toyota compete again in 1964. In 1966 there were 600 traders, and today, the Camry is often the best-selling cars in the US.

Fiat 500 of 1957

If the Mini that followed was a small-car revolution, the 500 was the ultimate evolution of accepted small cars and the wisdom of the day. Small and cheap that it may have been, but had Italy’s best brains behind it: that iconic shape was the work of Dante Giacosa and his small two-cylinder engine of Ferrari Formula 1 engine designer Aurelio Lampredi. Today, for the pure center of the city chic plus park-andturn-in any place of the effectiveness, we have not seen its equal.

Morris Mini Minor – 1959

Constant velocity joints. It is strange to think that he had his engineers do not adapt to these joints to eliminate the unwanted of the direction of the interference, Alec Issigonis could have canned the car completely. In the event, he came up with a packaging solution that made better use of the limited space of any car in history. It was not the first front-wheel-drive car, but it was the first to perfect the technology, starting a revolution that changed the way in which almost all the affordable cars would be designed.

Lotus Seven – 1959

It was so simple that we could build in your garden shed, but ultimately, so fast that it was banned from several racing series, so that the others stand a chance. Even more than the Elan (see below), this is the apotheosis of Colin Chapman’s minimalist philosophy and the automobile in which two companies – first flower of the Lotus and then (since 1973) Caterham – built its reputation.

Jaguar E-Type – 1961

Oh, it has been at the Geneva show when the wraps came off this. It would have been virtually impossible for a car this beautiful could be all ready for production, let’s say as fast as it appeared. However, it was all of this and one of the most crucial thing besides: it was affordable. For the people shopping in the real world, is probably the greatest advancement of the sports car art has not been.

Lotus Elan – 1963

The Elan was light, beautiful and fast it was almost incidental. It was the fact that no road car up to that moment was handled so well that ensured that the Elan its place in history. The surprise of today is how some of them have even close to it since then.

Ford Mustang 1964

The original Pony Car and a greater influence on the American muscle car scene that even the Corvette. He was painfully cool, better to drive than any car built up to that time and, above all, very cheap. A proper legend.

Mark Tisshaw: “making cheap cars go fast not start with the Mustang, but it was the genesis of the whole package. It was a car that brought not only the speed of the masses, but also the unique look of style and presence.”

Lamborghini Miura – 1966

Because the matter is so subjective, no one can categorically state that the Lamborghini Miura is the best looking car ever to go into production. But perhaps we can agree that no other party has a much better claim. It was more than just a pretty face, too. Through the placement of its 4.0-litre V12 engine behind the driver, began a revolution that has transformed the way of supercars would be designed.

Range Rover – 1970

Pedants will tell you that the Range Rover was not the first true luxury SUV – the Jeep Wagoneer – and therefore may not have invented the category. Ignore them. In terms of influence, there was an SUV of greater importance as the original Land Rover. Until the Range Rover, the simple ability to go off road it is considered that any SUV they had to exhibit. The Range Rover showed that not only was it possible to be extremely effective in snow, mud and sand, but also that its occupants might be friendly.

Porsche 911 Turbo – 1974

Even in 1974, a turbocharger was an old and dark art. The aircraft had been used, the racing cars had used (more unlikely, Cummins turbo diesel engine had powered a car to the pole position at the 1952 Indy 500) and even the odd American street cars had been used. But it was Porsche who first perfected as a continuous path of technology. How? Through years of racing turbocharged cars in the Can-Am series in North America, which culminated in the 1100bhp Porsche 917/30 that, in 1973, he won all the races is contested. The 911 Turbo was seen that the fall and put on sale the following year, pioneer of a technology whose relevance, more than 40 years after, is greater than ever.

Volkswagen Golf GTI – 1975

No, it was not the first hot hatch, more that the Range Rover was the first luxury SUV or the Renault Espace, the first MPV. But like these others, it was the Golf course that caught the imagination of the population and it became an interesting showcase, in a class, and then all of a movement within the automotive industry. And it was so simple: a little bigger engine, some of the best of the suspension and a slightly tweaked appearance. All the clarity of thought necessary to give birth to a true legend.

Audi Quattro – 1980

The first car to demonstrate that the four-wheel drive could be used for something more than to go out on the road. The Quattro showed that it could also expand the capacity of the car only intended to stay on the road by providing levels of traction on a high-performance vehicle that not even Porsche 911 drivers could imagine. To put it simply, it became more the performance of the car available most of the time and, at the same time, a legend has been created about the Audi offices to this day.

Renault Espace – 1984

One of the most clearly realized in cars, but designed. It was light and mechanically without complications, however, so broad and full of common-sense storage and packaging of the ideas that immediately seemed extraordinary that the car had been in existence for almost 100 years, without anything that is invented. If a car’s place in the annals of the history of the automobile can be defined by their ability to do the job for which it was designed, then, few have done better in your own time.

Ferrari F40 1987

Today, there are journalists who say that, by pure emotion visceral, the F40 remains the same, at least among production cars, and I am one of them. Everything that has happened in the 30 years since the F40 was revealed – everything except the emotion. One more thing: this was Enzo Ferrari’s last car, and its street machines, without doubt, his greatest success.

What did the sick and the old Enzo think of it? Happily, we know the answer, thanks to a response he gave to precisely this question in 1987. With undisguised joy, he simply said: “This car is so fast that it makes you shit your pants.” And although I am happy to report that he was not literally correct, he was, in a figurative sense, to the right on the money.

Mazda MX-5 – 1989

You could argue the MX-5, also known as the world’s most successful sports car, in reality it is too good for inclusion here. You might suggest that a car so good that it dissuaded nearly all manufacturers make a rival can, by definition, have barely changed the world. Then again, if you are close to when the MX-5 came out and I thought I knew what a fun and affordable sports car was like, I would have jumped his mind into a thousand pieces. The game changed so much that it has played quite well for himself ever since.

Lexus LS-400 – 1989

When Toyota sent a group of engineers and managers from the united states in 1984 to learn about the luxury cars, they discovered many things, most of them not surprising even that when people upgraded from a Toyota, you bought a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz. If you want to join them, beat them, Toyota decided. The Lexus LS-400 that appeared in 1989 to establish high standards that the engineers of the industry were still calling for a NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) of reference seven years later.

Honda NSX – 1990

You have to remember the context. Mazda MX-5 had appeared out of nowhere and become the best affordable sports car in the world. The Lexus LS-400 had done something similar in the luxury car arena. Nissan new Micra was a good car as small as could be built. And then Honda pulled the NSX out of the hat. Was better car than a Ferrari 348 (a lot), like the good live as a Porsche 911 and as easy to drive as a Ford Fiesta. Japan’s ascent seemed unstoppable. And the NSX did change things, not only for Honda, or Japan. His influence has been felt in another place: Ferrari, in particular, has not built a complacent car already.

Toyota Prius – 1999


You may like the Toyota Prius, or you may think that it is an abomination on wheels, but you can’t deny your assertion that they have changed the automotive world. And remember that your influence is felt most strongly not in Europe, where the proliferation of diesel has been held back, but in his native Japan and, in particular, the united states. However, see the perspective of our increasingly hybridized future, it all started here.

BMW X5 – 1999

BMW called it an ‘SAV’, or sports activity vehicle, but it really was the first off-road any person can choose to drive for fun. And when he is equipped with a 4.8-liter V8, and it was really fun. With Porsche Cayennes, the Jaguar F-Steps, Bentley Bentaygas, Maserati Lift and, suddenly, Aston Martin and Lamborghini Suv, the idea of entertaining SUV is now well established. In the 20th century, it was a revolution.

Rolls-Royce Phantom – 2003

After their disaster with a Rover, many feared that a BMW-engineered Rolls-Royce could mean the end of our most blue-blooded of the brand. In the end, nothing could be further from the truth: the Ghost was the best horse in the car yet built and offers one of the most tasteful yet opulent interiors that anyone could imagine. Is redefined luxury travel and retrieved the Rolls-Royce and its reputation.

Audi R8 – 2006

You could have the copy of BMW for being the first to finally produce a viable alternative to a Porsche 911. Or even Mercedes-Benz. But Audi, the creator of sports cars renowned throughout the world for their aversion to the cusp? None of the others. The R8 was a sweet sound, fine-handling, great-looking thunderbolt from the blue, and the most accessible mid-engined supercar since the NSX.

Tesla Model S – 2012

Probably the most influential grand salon of the decade. If it had been made for Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Audi, it would have been hailed as an all-electric revolution. In fact, it was the work of a company that, five years before the birth of the Model S, even it does not exist. If you want the biggest reason why all the major premium car manufacturers, including Jaguar, now regarding allelectric cars as an integral part of their plans for the future, you are looking at the right.

BMW i3 – 2013

Maybe this should be the Nissan Leaf, the first affordable, purposebuilt, fully-electric car from a major manufacturer, but BMW, commitment and innovation, we are on a different level, resulting in a carbonfibre-constructed, lightweight, fun and fast electric car that in no way betrayed the promise of the BMW propeller on its nose.

Porsche 918 Spyder – 2013

This could have been a Ferrari LaFerrari or the McLaren P1, but, as the first to be announced, and shown, Porsche claim to have marked the beginning of the era of the hybrid hypercar is indisputable. Even now, it is probably the most sophisticated car of its kind to reach the market, providing an envelope of performance, technology and ease-of-use never before conceived, much less achieved.

Matt Saunders: “The Porsche 918 Spyder mashed our dry handling track lap record at MIRA when we do the road test — and that was even enough to forgive and easy to drive to do it with me behind the wheel. It is my favorite hypercar, and I’d bet that it always will be.”

Ariel Nomad – 2015

It is not every day that an entirely new kind of car is invented, but that is what Nomad is: a sports car that works in all environments, on the way to the track, from the sand dune to the forest track. This may be the first example of a car, but emphatically not be the last.

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