Exactly HOW many cars have been made since the day dot?? No, we have no idea either! BUT here are 20 cars that have changed the world… and a few may come as a surprise!
1. Land Rover Defender
For going anywhere
No matter where it goes, the Defender feels at home. On a farm, in the jungle, or outside a country pile with murdered pheasants in the back. It is – or rather, was – as advanced as a wellington boot, which is exactly what you’d wear while driving it.
2. Audi R10 TDI
For bringing diesel power to racing
When a top Audi exec first heard the R10 he thought something was terribly wrong. In fact its diesel engine was so quiet, the sound he heard was actually the tyres slapping the road. Like it or not, since its 2006 debut, only diesels have won Le Mans.
3. Toyota Prius
For starting the hybrid thing
Technically the Honda Insight came first, but it never caught on like the Prius did. From the moment Cameron Diaz – or was it DiCaprio? – was papped in one, it became the most fashionable way to save the world. Even though it actually won’t.
4. Little Tykes Cozy Coupe
For being everyone’s first wheels
You might think the world’s best-selling car is some bland Toyota or a hillbilly pickup truck. But nope, it’s actually the Cozy Coupe – the plastic contraption that gave a billion kids their first fix of driving, and most likely their very first crash.
5. Thrust SSC
For going faster than sound
It might look a bit shonky compared its successor, Bloodhound, but in 1997 it travelled at 763mph, becoming the first car to break the sound barrier. It’s held the record ever since, which tells you just how incredible that number actually was!
6. VW Beetle
For being Europe’s Model T
When Adolf Hitler asked – or rather, ordered – Ferdinand Porsche to design a simple, inexpensive car for the people, the Beetle was his answer. It put millions of ordinary citizens on the road, and inspired the rear-engine layout of Porsche’s later 911.
7. Bugatti Veyron
For being the Concorde of cars
Was a 253mph road car really necessary? Of course not. You could ask similar questions of the moon landings, or of the Taj Mahal. But this wasn’t about meeting a practical demand – it was about mankind showing off to the universe. And it worked.
8. Nissan Qashqai
For inventing crossovers
There was a much simpler time when a saloon was a saloon and a hatchback a hatchback. Then the Qashqai came along and suddenly everything borrowed a bit of everything else, and the global carscape changed forever. Probably for the better.
9. Audi Quattro
For bringing 4WD to rallying
Before this thing came along, rally cars had been joyously swinging their back-ends around every corner until the rear wheels found enough grip to push onwards. Back-ends still swayed when four-wheel-drive arrived, just at much higher speeds…
10. Toyota Hilux
For being indestructible
Car manufacturers spend millions of pounds making sure their cars don’t fall apart or break down. But all they really need is to take a good look at a Hilux, which – as TopGear proved on telly – is the toughest vehicle this side of a Chieftain.
11. Tesla Model S
For making electric cars good
Before the Model S arrived you’d have to fill you battery-powered car with fresh electricity every three miles or so. What the world needed was a plug-in machine that could do a proper journey of, say, 250 miles or more. The S is that thing.
12. Google Streetview Cars
For mapping Planet Earth
At the last count they’d covered over five million miles and collected 20 petabytes of imagery. They’ve revolutionised route planning and helped us find some of the best roads in the world. And yet traditionalists say you can’t beat a map. Nonsense.
13. Jeep Cherokee
For being the first proper SUV
The SUV had existed as a loose concept since the Thirties – then there was the Ford Bronco – but the 1984 Cherokee was the first to really nail the recipe of off-road toughness, pooch-in-the-back practicality plus an important dose of leathery poshness.
14. Austin Mini
For being tiny and good
Small cars were nothing new when the Mini came out, but none were as cleverly designed – think transversely mounted engine and front-wheel-drive for max cabin space – and none had the little Brit’s charisma. And it won the Monte Carlo Rally…
Because we must learn from our mistakes…
While the Mini demonstrated all that was good about small cars, the G-Wiz did precisely the opposite. Not only was it ugly, poorly made and badly designed, but it would almost certainly kill you in a crash. Unfortunately this was proven to be true.
16. Ford Mustang
For bringing power to the people
It brought style and performance to the people. In the first six months it became the fastest-selling car in history, and by 18 months over a million had been built. That was in 1964… and it’s only just coming to the UK in right-hand-drive.
17. Lunar Rover
For driving on the Moon
It changed the world by leaving it on a rocket. Some 250,000 miles later it landed on the Moon aboard the Lunar Module – on three separate missions – and began exploring the surface, helping astronauts cover more miles and collect more rocks.
18. Cooper T43
For shaping modern F1
When the T43 finished the 1958 Argentine GP – with Stirling Moss in charge – it became the first ever mid-engined car to win an F1 race. It might have had the physical presence of a housefly, but it was the inspiration for the cars we have today.
19. Ford GT40
For beating Ferrari with muscle
After Enzo blocked a deal for Ford to buy Ferrari, Henry Ford II ordered his racing division to build a car that could destroy the Italians at Le Mans. In 1966 he got his wish, when three GT40s crossed the line in flying formation… in first, second and third.
20. 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen
For getting us off our horses
It was little more than a carriage with three wheels and tiller. But it had an engine – a single-cylinder petrol – and its maker, Karl Benz, went on to run a fairly successful car company. If it weren’t for his invention we wouldn’t be making this list at all.
So there you have it, 20 cars that have changed the world – in one way or another!!
Source: Top Gear