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12 Cars That Made History, Each in its Own Way

A car, by now, is much much more than a device that takes you from point A to point B. It's a symbol of status, freedom, innovation, independence, and even luxury or ecological consciousness. For better or worse, it changed the world forever. But among the plethora of car models in existence, some stand out with their own contribution to changing the world. And we don't mean the motor world, we mean the entire world. Let's see them. 

VW Beetle

The bread and butter of cars for the masses, it is aptly called Volkswagen (a car for the folks in German). This cheap, rear-engined mass-produced car is considered to be an inspiration for Porsche's rear-engine model as well. The beetle was designed to answer the Germans' need for a people's car to occupy the country's new road network. It was designed in the 1930s but mass-production started only in the 1940s due to WW2. 

Audi R10 TDI

The Audi R10 is the first-ever diesel-powered racing cat to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. It was debuted in 2006, and up until 2015, when Porsche returned to the luxurious Le Mans car race, only diesel-powered cars have won it. The Audi R10 dominated the 24 hours of the Le Mans race for three consecutive years since its debut, from 2006 to 2008. It is not the first diesel-powered car to be qualified for the race, though. The first one, the Delettrez Diesel, lost the race in 1949 when it ran out of fuel before the finish line. 

Toyota Prius

The one that started the eco-conscious race. A Toyota Prius is synonymous with climate-conscious minds and it is the first-ever mass-produced hybrid car. This means that it combines the classic, widely used internal-combustion engine with an electric one. It was introduced worldwide in 2000, exactly 3 years after debuting in Japan. 

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

The one that started it all! Our very first car ride, and very first crash, the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe is the best-selling car in the world. The toy car's designer described it as a hybrid between the Flinstones walking car and another car on the list, the Volkswagen Beetle. It was first sold in 1979. Did you have one?

Thrust SSC

The only vehicle to this day that can surpass the speed of sound. In 1997 the Thrust reached an astonishing speed of 763mph (1,228 kph), thus breaking the sound barrier and the world record. It kept the record ever since. Calling it a car isn't 100% accurate, as it isn't powered by a classic internal-combustion engine, but by the two jet engines situated on either side. This video will teach you what makes the sound of a sonic boom:
Tesla Model S
The flagship of Tesla, the Model S is the first electric car that could leave town and come back without having to stop for charging. It was introduced in 2012 and underwent a refreshment in 2021. In 2013, Elon Musk introduced the Tesla Autopilot, which you can get in the 2021 model. 

Lunar Rover

The Lunar Rover vehicle, also known as the Moon Buggy, is a battery-powered vehicle that was used in 3 Apollo missions between 1971 and 1972. It was built by Boeing to weigh 460 pounds (210 kg) and to carry a maximum of 1,080 pounds (490 kg). It reached top speeds of 8 mph (13 kph).

1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen

The one that really started it all, the Benz Wagon is the first car ever made in history. It changed the world by getting us off the horses and on the highroads. The first petrol engine-powered vehicle had its first ride in 1888. You can read about it in-depth on this list of origins of 10 everyday items

Google Streetview Cars

The notion of a global village, or rather, the world at the palm of your hand, really manifests itself into reality thanks to Google Streetview Cars. The magnitude of this ongoing project allows you to travel to any remote corner of the world through the Google Maps app. Learn how to blur your own home on the Streetview platform here

Austin Mini

While the Austin Mini is far from being the first mini car, it is, much like the Jeep Cherokee, considered to be the "one the got it right". That is because thanks to elaborate and sophisticated internal mechanical design, the Mini manages to be much roomier than its peers: passengers take up 80% of the car's floorplan! 

Jeep Cherokee

This line of SUVs is manufactured and marketed by Jeep for over 5 generations now. While it isn't the first proper SUV, it is the first one that's considered to "do it right", innovating the consumer's idea of SUV to such extent, that the Jeep started replacing the widespread station wagons. 

Ford Mustang

In its first 6 months of marketing, it became the fastest-selling car in history. After a year and a half, it crossed the million-units-sold line. It has been in continuous production since 1964, making it the longest-produced Ford car. Here's a fun fact: in August 2018, Ford produced the 10-millionth Mustang.
H/T: TopGear
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