The Top 10 Most Influential Cars

Good morning chaps and chapettes!

I cover a lot of historic vehicles on this blog which are of interest for a variety of reasons. These are the cars I consider to be the most influential though! They all brought something unique to the table to I am listing them in chronological order rather than order of importance

10. Benz Patent-Motorwagen

25 Patent-Motorwagens were built between 1886 and 1893. They are considered to be the worlds first car designed use a internal combustion engine as it’s means of power, obviously a huge step in the development of the automobile.


9. Ford Model T

The Ford Model T produced between 1908 to 1927 was the first ‘affordable’ car. They were built on assembly lines which brought the price and time of production down drastically in comparison to everything being hand built as seen on previous cars.

They were also fairly simple vehicles to maintain and run in comparison to earlier cars which meant that financially they could be brought and run by a typical middle class American family. In total 16.5 million were sold!


(Photo courtesy of

8. Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle or Volkswagen Type 1 was designed by Ferdinand Porsche on the orders of Adolf Hitler who wanted a simple, cheap to make, cheap to run car for the people of Germany (hence Volkswagen or People’s Car).

The Beetle was a huge success! They were spacious, cheap to run and easy to maintain. Officially over 21 million were produced between 1938 and 2003 making it the most manufactured car ever! They are hugely popular with classic car enthusiasts world wide!


(Photo courtesy of Liam Freeman & Bentley Jay Perkins)

7. Willys Jeep

The Willys MB Jeep was produced during World War 2 as an all terrain, all purpose vehicle for the US Army. They were simple, easy to maintain and could tackle most surfaces as they were four wheel drive and had quite a high ride height.

The success they saw in combat meant that they went on to become hugely popular in the civilian market. The Willys CJ Jeep became the first mass produced 4×4 vehicle for civilian use and opened up a whole new market segment for the likes of Land Rover.


(Photo courtesy of Hemmings)

6. BMC Mini

Alec Issigonis was tasked with designing a cheap to run and maintain car to compete with Volkswagen’s Beetle whilst the Suez Canal Crisis was strangling the British oil market and thus killing off the industry for typical saloon cars.

The product he came up with was the Mini. A car that most modern cars can trace their roots back too. It had a transverse mounted engine at the front powering the front wheels to allow for the maximum amount of space for the occupants, a layout used by the best selling cars of today including the Ford Fiesta and Honda Civic.

It was lightweight and small which made it easy for city use but also made it the car to beat on both rally stages and race tracks of the time. Sales of the ‘Cooper’ varieties of Mini were hugely bolstered by their success on the track whilst the simplicity of their design made them easy to modify for road or track use. To this day they remain a favourite of classic car enthusiasts and modified car enthusiasts.


5. Oldsmobile Rocket 88

The Rocket 88 was in essence a conservative GM ‘B’ platform chassis with a big V8 stuffed under it.

It is disputed whether the Rocket 88 can actually be considered the first muscle car but it was the first American car really built with performance in mind. Whether you think it can be considered the first muscle car or just a pre-cursor for a great era to come, it can’t be denied that it paved the way for the great horsepower wars and ignited America’s fascination with speed

4. Lamborghini Miura

The Lamborghini Miura was a side project designed by a group of young engineers without the approval of Ferruccio Lamborghini, the company’s founder. The little sports car’s mid engined two seat layout was an instant hit with journalists and potential customers alike though when debuted at 1965 Turin Autoshow and so it went to production. The Miura’s revolutionary layout actually became the ground work for nearly every modern super car and purpose built endurance race cars since from the Mazda 787B to the Pagani Zonda to the Bugatti Veyron.


3. Audi Quattro

The 1980 Audi Quattro was built as a joint road and rally project. It filled a hole in the road going market as there were no other fast four wheel drive cars at the time and was also built to take advantage of the fact that four wheel drive systems were now allowed in international rally competitions.

The car pretty much won everything until Group B was introduced in 1982 and other manufacturers brought 4WD car to the field. Cars like the MG Metro 6R4, Ford’s RS200 and Peugeot’s 205 T16 were in fierce competition with the Audi Quattro S1 which brought a new era of cars into rally competition. An era that would pinnacle with the rally and road rivalry between Mitsubishi’s legendary Evo series and Subaru’s Impreza STI.


(Photo courtesy of

2. Bugatti Veyron

Whether you love or hate the Bugatti Veyron it’s hard to deny that it is an engineering marvel. The standard production car can reach over 250mph, produces over 1000bhp from an 8.0L W16 with four turbo chargers, weighs only 1800kg and doesn’t have a footprint much larger than a Ford Focus whilst having a very comfortable full leather interior and creature comforts.

It set a new bench mark and coined the term ‘hyper car’. Because of it car manufacturers are pushing even more and more to create unbelievable fast but luxurious cars, the Koenigsegg Agera and Pagani Huayra spring to mind.


1. Tesla Roadster

Electric cars prior to the Tesla Roadster were boring, slow city cars that couldn’t go very far. Tesla totally changed that. 200 miles on a charge, 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds and a top speed limited to 125mph, which although not a lot on paper is more than enough in a road going car.

The Tesla Roadster has paved the way for other full electric super cars such as the BMW i8, Audi R8 E-Tron and AMG E-Cell.

(image from

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Thanks for Reading!


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