18th April 2019
Four of the most influential cars ever made
Time Magazine revealed its highly anticipated list of the 100 most influential pioneers, leaders, titans, artists and icons of 2019 this week, and it got us to thinking; what are the most influential cars that have hit the roads over the years?
While Time Magazine’s list celebrates those who are accelerated and have particularly excelled in their field over the past 365 days, we’re more interested in cars over the years that have stood the test of time and still remain iconic to this date.
So sit back and enjoy the ride, as we go on a journey to discover the cars that helped shape generations, as well as a car that still has a story of its own to write.
Ford Model T
Widely regarded as the ‘world’s first affordable car’ the Ford Model T served as a reliable, sturdy car for road-users across America.
Production of the Model T ran from 1908 all the way through to 1927, with Ford making 15 million models in this period. It held the record for the longest production run of any vehicle until it was broken by the Volkswagen Beetle in 1972. The now legendary car boasted a 22-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and weighed 1,200 pounds.
As the roaring 20s got underway, however, tastes in car models developed, and consumers began wanting more than just a reliable vehicle in one colour (the Model T was only available in black), and Ford ceased to produce the model in May 1927.
Sad times lie ahead for fans of the Volkswagen Beetle, as it was announced late last year that the German automaker would stop producing the classic car in 2019, ending a history of more than 80 years.
In an effort to deliver a car ‘for the people’, Adolf Hitler commissioned engineer Ferdinand Porsche to design an economical vehicle for the masses. Despite production being halted during World War II, the Beetle went on to live a long life, shaping popular culture along the way.
In 1968, Disney released the first of six films on “Herbie”, the racing Beetle car with the number 53 on its hood. The car resonated with film fans across the world, grossing over $200m at the Box Office.
Despite several models entering the market over the following years, sales of the Beetle have declined each year since 2013, meaning that Volkswagen has decided to officially end production. For further details on the story of the Beetle, check out our blog ‘The History of the Volkswagen Beetle’.
Following a need for a more fuel-efficient car in the UK, the Mini was built and designed by the British Motor Company. Originally named the Austin Seven and the Morris Mini-Minor, the car was built with cost-saving initiatives such as external door and boot hinges and sliding side windows.
Following the release and success of the two-door saloon, a three-door version and sporty Mini Cooper were both released in 1960 and 1961 respectively.
Several years and models later, the Mini still remains a cornerstone of British automobile construction, with its iconic shape instantly recognisable. This, of course, is helped by its appearances over the years in British cult comedy Mr Bean.
Tesla Model S
While the electric car has been around for many years now, Elon Musk’s Tesla changed the game in 2012 with the release of the Tesla Model S.
Currently available in two models, the Model S became the first electric car to top the monthly new car sales in any country; leading the way in Norway twice in 2013, and Denmark in 2015. The all-electric, five-door liftback car can reach 60mph in just 2.4 seconds and has a mile range of 335 miles.
What makes the Model S so influential is that it has set the benchmark for other electric automakers. With a design that lends itself to the “smart” car of the future, it’ll be interesting to see how competitors can match this innovation.
Spanning over 100 years, the cars mentioned above have managed to keep their vintage qualities, remaining firm in our memories to this day. The new age appears to have been conceived however, with electric vehicles leading the way in the market. But will it last? We’ll have to see…