September 3, 2013 Leave a comment
MORGAN 4/4 SERIES 2, 1955-PRESENT
Morgan is a small, independent British carmaker that has improbably survived in an era of massive consolidation. Making things even quirkier, the design of the 4/4 Series 2 is unchanged from 1955 — it’s still made on a frame of ash wood. Engines and other components have gotten upgrades over the years, but the overall design and construction is the same.
VOLKSWAGEN KOMBI, 1950-2013
Introduced by Volkswagen in 1950, the vehicle has been called many names — the Bus in US, the Camper in UK and the Kombi in Brazil. The company has announced a final run of 600 VW Kombis. The Kombi moves on as Brazil institutes tougher safety regulations — which apparently look askance at vehicles that protect front-seat occupants with little more than thin sheets of steel and glass.
HINDUSTAN AMBASSADOR, 1958-Present
A quick trip to Hindustan Motor’s website should get you excited: The 2013 Ambassador is laying down nearly 36 horsepower! That’ll get the Ambassador from zero to 96 km/h in 55 seconds! One interesting sign of the times: power steering and air conditioning are still optional, but a mobile charging port is standard.
CITROËN 2CV, 1948-1990
France’s most famous car started with a very specific brief: Create “an umbrella on four wheels” that would be able to ferry four farmers and 45 kg of food at 50 km/h for 100 km on no more than three litres of petrol. Since much of France was rural and many roads were unpaved, the car would have to be able to carry eggs without any of them breaking.
BMC MINI, 1959-2000
The Suez Crisis of 1956, started in part by the nationalization of the Suez Canal, led to global fuel shortages. Fuel shortages led to demands for more fuel-efficient cars. The British Motor Corp. responded with the Mini, which remained a low-cost mode of basic transportation until it was remade by BMW in 2001 as a bigger, more expensive compact car.
MERCEDES-BENZ G-CLASS, 1979-Present
Back in the 1970s the Shah of Iran had some extra cash lying around. So he calls up the gang at Daimler-Benz, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz and says: “Listen, what if you made a killer 4×4 that my troops and I could use over here in Iran? I’ll even invest in your company to help you build it.” And Daimler-Benz said, “That sounds awesome, Shah. Let’s do it.” And the G-Class was born: a wildly over-engineered SUV that, 34 years later, is more commonly found in Bel Air and Bridgehampton than Tehran.
VOLKSWAGEN SANTANA, 1981-2013
The Santana soldiered on primarily in China, where it was sold for 32 years before production was shut down. Starting in 1982, the Santana was sold in the US as the “Quantum”, back in the heydays of Olivia Newton-John.
VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE, 1938-2003
The Beetle got its start in the mid-1930s, when Adolf Hitler decided that Germany needed a small, basic car. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche, the Beetle first rolled off the assembly line in 1938. About 65 years later, the last Beetle was made at VW’s plant in Puebla, Mexico.