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The Most Important Automotive Designs in History


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#1 rdrcr

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 23:52

Spawned by antonvrs suggestion in the ugly cars thread, I thought this subject deserved its own.

Many publications have done a "list" about the most important automotive designs in history. I'm curious to know what this collective body has to say. Judging from the other lists generated from 'critics' over the years, I'd say this place has a better opinion...

"Important" in this case, could mean styling, performance and relevance to future trends in automotive design.

I've included the racing cars under a separate heading from the production cars... though sometimes those tend to blur a bit in certain cases.

Here are (just) a few of mine:

European
1937 Talbot Lago T150 SS
1937 Bugatti Atalante Type 57
1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
1938 Jaguar SS100 Roadster
1949 Volkswagen Beetle
1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
1961 Jaguar E type 3.1 Series 1
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB
1967 Lamborghini Mura
1992 Jaguar XJ220
1995 McLaren F1
2000 Aston Martin Vantage

American
1914 Ford Model T
1932 Duesenberg Model SJ Roadster
1933 Pierce-Arrow V12 Silver Arrow Sedan
1934 V12 Auburn Boattail Speedster
1934 V12 Packard Lebaron Sedan
1936 Cord 812 Supercharged Beverly Sedan or Roadster
1953 Chevrolet Corvette
1957 Cadillac Eldorado Seville
19641/2 Mustang Coupe
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
1986 Ford Taurus

Racing Cars
1936 Auto-Union Type C Grand Prix Car
1961 Ferrari 156 (Sharknose)
1963 Cobra Daytona Coupe
1964 Gran Sport Corvette
1965 Chaparral 2C - '66 2D
1967 Gurney-Eagle Weslake F1
1967 Ferrari 330 P3/4
1971 Porsche 917K

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#2 diego

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 00:16

BMW 2002 -- it defined what is now the most hotly contested segment of the automotive market.


Ford Explorer -- helped ignite the SUV craze

#3 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 00:17

A great list Richard. I would argue that you need to include also the Mercede Benz 300 SL and the Ford GT40. As you say the categories tend to blur. The GT40 could fit easily in to all three of your categories!

#4 Uwe

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 00:21

Two cars shouldn't be missing in that list:

1953 Lotus Seven
1963 Porsche 911

Both cars are still built today and I would rate them as big commercial success.

Uwe

#5 Viss1

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 00:36

1971 Lamborghini Countach - created a new definition of "exotic supercar"
1990 Lexus LS400 - forced Mercedes and BMW to rethink their entire business plans

#6 rdrcr

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 02:57

Fine additions all, gentlemen...

The 2002 was the forerunner of all of the performance sedans to come and should be in there... Good point about the Explorer too.

The 300SL was most defiantly an excellent combination of style and engineering that was the benchmark for sports cars in its day... The GT40 no doubt, marked Ford's authority in international endurance racing. Once committed, they saw it through to a victorious end.

I'd go along with the 911 as well... the lineage of road and track success is undeniable.

Viss1, I selected the Mura because it was the forerunner to every "exotic" that was to follow, and true the Countach set yet another benchmark for direction of that exclusive market... it was probably what could be termed the first exotic supercar, just as you say. And another good point about the civil and ultra quiet Lexus. It did send quite a few companies back to their drawing boards - and the competition was better for it.

I have some others - from Ferraris to Chryslers to Lotus 49s... but I'll wait for more opinions from the TNF crowd...

#7 MarkWill

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 03:34

Hi Richard,

I have to ask you to consider the following for significance:

Austin Mini (or Mini Cooper) - lead the small car trend

VW Golf - defined the hot-hatch

Porsche 924/944 (a design that spawned many lookalikes)

Lotus Elite (perennial wedge)

Plus that Austin Seven based BMW that I can't quite remember the number of now, but which put BMW on the map.

Am I allowed to question the Jag XJ220 choice? I suppose its the ultimate fast cat, but I'm not too sure how it fits into the list (I need some education, here).

In terms of racecars, there's the Lotus 78 (first successful wing car in F1), and there's the Jaguar XJC, Group C car, which is my favourite of all time, and is significant for that fact alone :lol: (sorry, plus it also marked Jags return to sports car racing, and was quite beautiful).

#8 Don Capps

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 03:41

The 1955 Chevrolet Bel Aire with the Turbo-Fire V-8 -- the birth of the modern V-8 and the engine that finally replaced the Flathead Ford V-8 as the basic tool for hotrodders....

#9 MPea3

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 03:41

racing cars, i'd say the 1912 Peugeot grand prix car from the brain of ernest henry. dual overhead cams, 16 valve 4 cylinder car, and inspired many future race engines, including the miller and offenhauser engines which dominated US open wheel racing for decades.

european cars, don't forget the mini. transverse mounted engien with front wheel drive, it began a trend which continues to this day.

#10 diego

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 03:54

Surely you need a Cooper on your racing car list.

Which one, I don't know. I'll leave that up to one of our many resident Cooper experts!

#11 Geza Sury

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 07:32

Originally posted by rdrcr
1995 McLaren F1

Actually the McLaren was built in 1992. Its designer, Gordon Murray had started on working on the car as early as 1989.

#12 Vrba

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 07:50

Fiat 500 - mass motoring
Mini - compact packaging
Fiat 128 - ancestor of today's cars in concept
Renault 4 - concept of station wagon in small car class

Hrvoje

#13 schuy

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 08:07

Originally posted by Uwe
Two cars shouldn't be missing in that list:

1953 Lotus Seven
1963 Porsche 911

Both cars are still built today and I would rate them as big commercial success.

Uwe


Certainly.

My list:

1)Lotus Super-Seven-The perfect formula for a track-performer.
2)Ferrari 250(on all it's variants)-A design which gave inspiration to many young designers.
3)Mini and Fiat 500-Compactness at it's best-Inspirational designs.
4)Ferrari F50-Bring a Formula1 car for the road.
5)Audi TT-One of the most striking designs ever(However dangerous it might be).
6)Lancia Delta Integrale Evo-One of the best(ever) chassis in terms of balance.
7)Ferrari 288 GTO-The perfect wannabe-racer's car. If anyone has ever seen one, I'm sure you'll have been amazed by it's agression.
8)Ferrari Enzo-Willing to dare and endanger a lot of reputation, by bringing a design not ever seen on a road car. Incorporating racing-world techniques in order to create a package which would demolish all other 'competitors'.
9)Ferrari 456 GT-A striking design, a striking idea- A genuine 4-seater with the added bonus of being a Ferrari. A design immitated by many today.

Here is my tally in terms of countries of origin:
Italy-7.
Britain-2.
Germany-1.

Liran.

#14 Vincenzo Lancia

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 08:30

just a quick reply here... :)

I miss -

European:

Bugatti type 55
Alfa Romeo Giulietta 195(5?)
Citroen DS/ID 1956 (and 1968 - the new headlights)
Citroen 2cv 1948
Cisitalia 1948
Renault 16 1965

American:

Mercer Runabaout 1915 ( you must be nuts to drive a Stutz )
Lincoln 1941 (40?)

Racing cars:

Bugatti type 35/51
Bugatti type 59

:wave:

#15 Garagiste

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 11:20

Mark Will beat me to it - the Mini and the Golf are certainly worthy of inclusion.
Also worth considering is the Audi Quatro, or as mentioned in another thread, the way ahead of its time and always forgotten Jensen FF?
Was it the Jaguar C or D type that was first to run at Le Mans with disc brakes?
Oh, and the Lancia Stratos, just because it's lovely. :)

#16 Ed Kooij

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 12:33

A very biased answer because I drive one myself: the Opel Calibra.
A real 4-person sports coupe with decent trunk. Quite unique when it hit the markets, with ultra-low air resistence. The brand new Astra GTS still has the exact same roof that was designed a decade and a half ago!

I'm not so sure the Golf belongs in the list, as its only a (very succesfull) attempt to prolong the success of the Beetle. It didn't really open new markets for itself, though the fact that it was a great succes is something worth noticing.

the Ferrari Dino 246 sprung forth a series of models that continues even today (246, 308 (288 GTO), 328, 348, 355, 360), and probably has had more influence on the car industry as a whole than the limited edition F40, F50 and Enzo.

#17 Tim Murray

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 13:08

Originally posted by MarkWill
Plus that Austin Seven based BMW that I can't quite remember the number of now, but which put BMW on the map.

Dixi?

#18 Yves

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 13:09

Originally posted by Vrba
Fiat 500 - mass motoring
Mini - compact packaging
Fiat 128 - ancestor of today's cars in concept
Renault 4 - concept of station wagon in small car class

Hrvoje


I would oppose :

VW beetle to the Fiat 500 ... but car industrie was much more national as today ...
Citroën 2CV to Renault 4 : R4 was a marketing copy of the much older 2CV

It seems that everybody forget about the Citroën Traction Avant : probably the most innovative car in the industry :

- First front wheel driven in mass production : today, 80% of the production is
- First "carrosserie autoporteuse" in mass production (sorry, don't remember the english word) and today all production cars are build like this.
- First hydraulic brakes in mass production : today, you cannot imagine a car without ...

I really think the DS19 was not as innovative : the hydro-pneumatic suspension has never been really applied in the industry.

Y.

#19 Yves

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 13:13

Originally posted by Ed Kooij
A very biased answer because I drive one myself: the Opel Calibra.
A real 4-person sports coupe with decent trunk. Quite unique when it hit the markets, with ultra-low air resistence. The brand new Astra GTS still has the exact same roof that was designed a decade and a half ago!

I'm not so sure the Golf belongs in the list, as its only a (very succesfull) attempt to prolong the success of the Beetle. It didn't really open new markets for itself, though the fact that it was a great succes is something worth noticing.

the Ferrari Dino 246 sprung forth a series of models that continues even today (246, 308 (288 GTO), 328, 348, 355, 360), and probably has had more influence on the car industry as a whole than the limited edition F40, F50 and Enzo.


I will oppose the Opel GT (the european version of the Corvette, do you remember ?) to the Calibra.

The Golf GTI was a fisrt in marketing and a hudge commerial success in this class but I agree with you, the base Golf was not very sexy.

Y.

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#20 byrkus

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 13:15

When I saw the title of the thread, one particular car came into my mind:

1967 NSU Ro80 :up:

Its design looks modern even after 35 years... plus its Wankel rotary engine... But sadly it seems as though it is (unfairly) forgotten.

#21 stuartbrs

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 13:36

I will , of course, back the Mini, the most pure design of motor car there is, maybe other than a Lotus 7. No compromise, it is what it is.

And the Audi Quattro as well, I love Audi, they made parts bin cars, at least in the 80`s, and make them work like no other...the Quattro spurned , 15 years later, a whole rash of imitators.

But for automotive simplicity and influence on racing design, perhaps the humble Kart has no peer...

#22 josh.lintz

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 13:40

I think you have to consider a couple of Japanese cars:

1969 Datsun/Nissan 240Z
1972 Honda Civic/CVCC

#23 ray b

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 16:12

cooper F-1 cars 58-62 mid eng wizzard showed the way to the future
cuttinghams" C's" american V8 enduro cars in the 50's at le monz
alllards too both led to shelbys cobras
renailts turbo F-1 cars

my personal street ride the fiero, mid eng, balanced 2 seater
eazy eng swaps from GM twin cam v6 v8 and Q4
make this a cheap eazy hotrodable base to play with
yes the cars suck stock but a good cheap hotrod for the 21st century
with many bolt on upgrades from junkyards parts cheap!!!!
super car numbers for 10k US$ and some time and sweat total
many guys are run 11 or 12 sec 1/4 mile times in streetable Fieros
and winning autoX times tooo on the twisties

sad to say but HONDA belongs on this list too
after the kids get to them now

#24 rdrcr

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 16:40

So many for the Mini... I must admit I forgot about it, I was thinking about beauty of design, and forgot about beauty of space. The Mini was the epitome of space engineering. I don't know enough about the Fiat 500 to speak about it, but it is quite small and cute. I'm sure it was a big hit in Italy with all those narrow streets. I guess it was a huge seller in Europe?

The VW Golf, it did bring forth a new package if not a new concept - the "econobox" for a mass market.

Mark, you can question all you want, my choices are based upon my many feelings and observations... My pick of the 220 was out of pure emotion. When I first saw the car, I thought, "man, what a sensuous piece of sculpture... even though she is a bit rubenesque through the flanks, and with a 220mph top speed... wow". I dunno, the car just struck me as a personal favorite.

Don, true... a very important car for the engine alone... right after the the '49 Ford saved FMC, they had to contend with Chevy's oneupsmanship five years later. But wasn't the Cadillac the first domestic with an OHV in 1949? Though I'll go along with ascertations that the small block Chevy found its way into everything from 29 'T' Buckets to Corvairs for the hot-rodding set...

Interesting pick MP, I would have never thought of that one... even though I've had a real up-close and personal experience with a '09 Buick.

diego, how about the Kimberly Cooper - the first rear engined car at Indy? It was on that Memorial Day weekend that saw the new face of racing - and it would be changed forever.

Some other interesting and worthy choices... like the Traction Avant, NSU, the 240 Z and the Quattro.

Keep them coming...

:cool:

#25 bobbo

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 17:38

How about the original Lotus Elan: That backbone frame seems rather innovative to me,

And I suspect that a few of the American In Line 6 cyl engines were pushrod overhead valve designs even before WWII.

Bobbo

#26 rdrcr

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 18:31

Originally posted by Geza Sury
Actually the McLaren was built in 1992. Its designer, Gordon Murray had started on working on the car as early as 1989.


Geza,

I have the production builds for the F1 as starting in 1993 (around the end of the year) with chassis # 002 as the first one produced, # 003 was in 1994 along with # 001.

There were several examples built as prototypes prior to that. I stand corrected. I don't know why I selected '95, perhaps it was because I first thought of their racing successes in endurance events that year... Where do you find the history of the development of the car being started in '89? I know that it was a logical choice to try to get a Honda engine, but developments changed early on.

Source

#27 917

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 20:58

My lists:

TEN MOST IMPORTANT VEHICLES:

Benz Patent-Motorwagen (three-wheeler, 1886)
Daimler Motorwagen (1886) - in both cases: without whom etc. etc.
Mercedes 35 HP (1901) - front engine, steering wheel, "first modern car" (no longer in coach form)
Ford Model T - begin of mass motorisation
Lancia Lambda - first car with monocoque
Citroen Traction Avant - front wheel drive, low center of gravity, no carriage-steps...
Volkswagen Beetle - more cars built than of any other single type
Willys Jeep - father of all four wheel drive vehicles
Citroen DS - pioneer of aerodynamic shape, hydraulics, plastic roof (to reduce weight)...
BMC Mini - father of all econoboxes and (in Cooper form) of Golf GTI etc.

TWENTY ALSO IMPORTANT CARS:

Benz Velo - first car in series production
Cadillac Runabout - pioneer of interchangeable parts
Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP "Silver Ghost" - from London to Edinburgh in the direct gear
Mercer Raceabout - first modern sports car
Austin Seven - begin of mass motorisation in Europe
Bugatti 35 - then you could buy a "Grand Prix Imitation" car!
MG Midget - small car, lively engine, much fun (see Lotus Elise today)
Fiat 500 "Topolino" - small, but modern
BMW 328 - there are enough threads where this car is discussed
Citroen 2CV - frugal and comfortable
Chevrolet Corvette - mass-produced fiberglass body
Panhard Dyna 54 - aerodynamic lightweight body
Lancia Aurelia GT - the first true "Grand Tourisme"
Fiat Multipla (1956) - first minivan
Oldsmobile F-85 Jetfire - first turbocharged car
Autobianchi Primula - first car combining front wheel drive, transverse engine and hatchback with rear door
Lamborghini Miura - first of the mid-engined supercars
Jensen FF - fist with four wheel drive on-road
BMW 2002 - compact car with big engine
Range Rover - father of all Cayennes, X5s, and, and, and...

TEN MOST INTERESTING FAILURES:

Lanchester 12 HP? (1903) - disc brake and other revolutionary features
Spyker Six Cylinder (1903) - first car with six cylinders and four wheel drive!
Rumpler Tropfenwagen ("drop car") - pioneer of aerodynamics
Cord L-29 - the concept of the Oldsmobile Toronado 36 years earlier
Cord 810/812 - classic design
Chrysler Airflow - a big step towards an aerodynamic shape
Tatra 77 - chassis, aerodynamics, but rear engine was not the future (despite Beetle!)
Trippel SG 6 - amphibious car
Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100) - many features which are now standard even in lower classes
NSU Ro 80 - design ahead of its time, Wankel engine

Kind regards
Michael

#28 rdrcr

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 21:22

Excellent list Michael! :up:

#29 ensign14

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 09:27

Originally posted by diego
Ford Explorer -- helped ignite the SUV craze

Literally...

#30 jmp85

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 18:47

i nominate the lancia D50 in the race-car category. low polar moment of inertia with the fuel tanks grouped on the sides, stressed engine block, and very good looking. plus it was good enough to be campaigned by ferrari the year later and win the championship....;)

#31 Roger Clark

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 19:43

Originally posted by jmp85
i nominate the lancia D50 in the race-car category. low polar moment of inertia with the fuel tanks grouped on the sides, stressed engine block, and very good looking. plus it was good enough to be campaigned by ferrari the year later and win the championship....;)



...although it won the championship with those design characteristics removed.

#32 Mark A

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 19:58

Another road car to add, Lotus Elise which borrowed greatly for the designs of the 60's but with futuristic construction techniques (bonded aluminium chassis) it reignited the light weight sports car concept. (Yes I am slightly biased on this one;))

The Mini obviously, this one covers road and race, how many other cars have been so successful in racing and rallying.




Race cars .

Lotus 25 first monocoque

McLaren MP4/1 first carbon monocoque

Benetton B188 still think this is the best looking F1 car in the last 30 years.

#33 Geza Sury

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 20:12

Originally posted by rdrcr


Geza,

I have the production builds for the F1 as starting in 1993 (around the end of the year) with chassis # 002 as the first one produced, # 003 was in 1994 along with # 001.

There were several examples built as prototypes prior to that. I stand corrected. I don't know why I selected '95, perhaps it was because I first thought of their racing successes in endurance events that year... Where do you find the history of the development of the car being started in '89? I know that it was a logical choice to try to get a Honda engine, but developments changed early on.

Source

My source was German magazine 'Rally Racing'. (Issue Nr. 7, July 1992) The magazine says the following:

Vor mehr als drei Jahren kündigte McLaren-Chef Ron Dennis im Fahrerlager der Grand Prix-Piste von Rio de Janeiro an: "Wir werden einen Sportwagen der Extraklasse konstruieren, bauen und in den Handel bringen"

I'll leave the exact translation to our German members, but it says the idea of the car had been more than three years old in 1992. The car in the magazine should be the XP3. (Silver, McLaren promotional car) The magazine also says that Gordon Murray had worked 25 months on the car. I'll type the full text here if someone liked to translate it, unfortunately my German is even worse than my English :)

#34 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 10:20

Originally posted by MPea3
.....European cars, don't forget the Mini. transverse mounted engine with front wheel drive, it began a trend which continues to this day.


Didn't Peugeot sue BMC for transgressing several of their patents when the Mini came out?

While the 204 wasn't to emerge for several years, the basic transverse engine with gearbox in the sump was a Peugeot patent.

#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 10:25

Originally posted by bobbo
.....And I suspect that a few of the American In Line 6 cyl engines were pushrod overhead valve designs even before WWII.


Indeed they were... Chevrolet and Buick, for instance, never had a side valve engine.

But I suspect the question was about OHV V8s, in which case Chevrolet beat Cadillac by... err... 33 years.

#36 Roger Clark

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 14:33

Originally posted by Ray Bell


Didn't Peugeot sue BMC for transgressing several of their patents when the Mini came out?

While the 204 wasn't to emerge for several years, the basic transverse engine with gearbox in the sump was a Peugeot patent.


I don't think I've heard that before.

#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 14:42

You heard it here first?

I believe it was settled out of court...

#38 Uwe

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 15:17

Originally posted by Mark A
Another road car to add, Lotus Elise which borrowed greatly for the designs of the 60's but with futuristic construction techniques (bonded aluminium chassis) it reignited the light weight sports car concept. (Yes I am slightly biased on this one;))

Hm. In my view there never was a reignition necessary. The Super Seven as the ultra light weight sports car was always alive and still is. And yes, I am biased on this one too and probably for the same reason like you.;) :lol:

Uwe

#39 mp4

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 22:00

Originally posted by ensign14
Literally...


Ensign14, you beat me to it... ):

:up: :up: :up:

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#40 rdrcr

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 22:02

Originally posted by Ray Bell
"... But I suspect the question was about OHV V8s, in which case Chevrolet beat Cadillac by... err... 33 years."



:confused:

#41 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 22:14

Chevrolet sold a small number of OHV V8-engined cars in 1916.

#42 Roger Clark

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 22:45

Originally posted by Ray Bell


Didn't Peugeot sue BMC for transgressing several of their patents when the Mini came out?

While the 204 wasn't to emerge for several years, the basic transverse engine with gearbox in the sump was a Peugeot patent.


Can anybody confirm Ray's story?

#43 Wolf

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 22:48

I don't know whether first racing car with monocoque warrants inclusion of Lavoisin Laboratoire into most innovative designs, but it is one of more innovative (or should one politely say 'interesting') looks...

#44 BS Levy

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 22:56

A discussion like this really requires a barroom and a running tab with the battender to get rolling in earnest, but I have a few sadly sober comments anyway:
1. How does the 250 Testa Rossa not get qualified as a race car? And when it comes to Ferraris, I think my favorite has to be the 250 SWB Berlinetta, which was probably the last TRULY dual-purpose sportscar available from anybody. They dominated the GT class everywhere and are very easy and forgiving to drive. Wonderful car!
2. While we're on the Italians, what about Maserati. In my opinion, often more beautifully machined and crafted than Ferraris, the 250F was competitive over many seasons in F1 (and won Fangio his last championship) and really should have won the World Sportscar Championship in 57 if everything hadn't gone to hell in a handbasket in Caracas at the last race of the season. The 300S-450S range were beautiful and successful, the Type 61 Bircage was clever, brilliant, fast (if a bit fragile in the transaxle department!) and the last of the truly competitive front-engined sportscars.
3. While we're on the Italians pt. II: Lamborghini Countach??? What race did it ever win??? A poseur's car if there ever was one (especially with all that aerodynamic laundry hanging out in the breeze. Pure automotive jewelry for the wax, polish and trophy wife (with implants!) set!
4. Italians pt. III: Where are the Alfas? Geez, they dominated both GPs and Le Mans for quite a spell between the wars (until the silver tidal wave, anyway), won the first couple postwar world championships, and I believe the lovely and rapid (if a bit rust-prone) Giulia Sprint GT (later GTV 1750 and 2000) pre-dated and generally out-preformed the BMW 1600 and 2002 (although the Bimmers were indeed more conscientiously built and engineered). Mind you, I love a LOT of different cars, but I'm especially soft in the head (and heart!) where Alfas are concerned. Got to track test a TZ1 Tubolare a few weeks back and it brought to mind all over again what sweet-driving cars they are. While most comprable British sportscars tend to be canine or masculine in personality, the Alfa is more feline and feminine to the touch. Lovely! Just don't leave one out in the rain. If you do and listen closely, you'll hear it gently fizz. Like an Alka-Seltzer....
5: British cars. Well, the subject is just enormous, isn't it. MGs, Astons, McLarens, C-Types, D-Types, Loti, Lola, AC, Healey, Lister, Reynard...the list goes on and on, doesn't it? But I can save myself having to write you about it. Just buy a Brit enthusiast a few pints at the pub and he'll fill you in until the bar closes....
6: Great postwar French sportscars. Hmm. There's the marvelous little Alpine (like a 911 with warmth and charm) and then...hmmm....say, how did those guys ever get in charge of world motorsports in the first place??? (With apologies to the excellent single-purpose racing cars--open-wheeled and otherwise--from Matra, Renault and Ligier)
7. You have to give great credit to Porsche (especially for the way they have supported and sustained motorsports as part of their company policy and heritage) but I think I liked them better as giant-killer underdogs with the marvelous RSKs and such than when they became the 200-pound gorillas of motorsports. Still, you've got to hand it to them. Although hanging around non-racer Porsche types (the stuck-up, wine expert waxer weenies who never use the car for anything more than impressing high school girls and spoiled divorcees) can make liking them emotionally difficult at times. Like poodles, the thing that's wrong with Porsches is some of the people who own them. And I'd wager we've got the worst of the lot here in the states....
8. There's more (volumes, in fact!) but my fingers are growing calloused from typing and I promised I'd take my wife to dinner about a half-hour ago....
9. Oh, and how about the All-American, Chevy-engined Scarab sportscar from right here in the ol' USA, which was absolutely beautiful, well-engineered, and beat the crap out of all those little sit-down-to-pee British and Italian sportscars here in the states and would have done the same in Europe (I think) if the FIA hadn't set a three-liter limit.
10. Coming, dear.....

#45 Wolf

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 23:06

BS Levy, I think it's about inovative mechanical constructions of both road and race cars... From Your examples, I'd say Scarab and 250F didn't feature many inovative features (Maser was 'conservative' and Scarab mildly outdated). Although few have also expanded to purpose/similar... :)

#46 rdrcr

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 23:42

Probably true Wolf... but I think Burt, like myself are going on a bit of passion mixed in with our logic.

Though your inclusion of the Lavoisin is most worthy because of its pioneering role, same for some of the other "firsts" that have been included here.

On the other hand... perhaps "most important engineering features" would be a better title for those.

Burt, the Countach is quite the "man's trinket" for the gold-chain set, but the first cars weren't like that, nor the most recent. IMHO, the cleaner lines portray a much different impression. Though I'll agree the winged, scooped and bulged fendered cars may have ruined that for all time.

And regarding the 250 TR, I thought that it was a sports car first, that went racing... homologated for the purpose no doubt. Like I said, many can be pegged in more than one categories. I liked some of your other inclusions too.

#47 Wolf

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 02:51

Yes, Richard; mind You, I wasn't complaining...;) On second thought how do You know whar rcrdr meant when he posted the question? :p

I always had soft-spot for ordinary cars with eccentrities (like, Citroën 2CV, and its front suspension), 'or right' approach to power source (air cooled engine in the rear, RWD; Beetle, 911, Fiat 126, never was too fond of Tatras tho).

Maybe we should at leat mention, if not nominate, Costin styled Vanwalls, just because they showed that big, in GP terms, doesn't exclude fast. Just an example of smart aerodynamic thinking outweighing cumbersome dimensions. And similar design appeared allmost 15 years later (although not so 'formidable' in appearance) in form of March 711 (mini-Vanwalls, as I call them).

#48 rdrcr

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 07:35

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Chevrolet sold a small number of OHV V8-engined cars in 1916.


True... I finally found a reference. According to the reference, they were actually developed in 1916 and then released in the 1917 through 1919 model years. Not exactly mass-produced, but you're right, they beat Cadillac by 33 years...

#49 lustigson

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 13:23

Originally posted by 917
Ford Model T[/B]

I was afraid we were forgetting about this. In my honest opinion this car is the single most important car of all times. It brought the motorcar/automobile to the normal guy in the street. Wasn't it recently elected as the car of the century somewhere?

#50 ray b

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 14:10

Originally posted by rdrcr


True... I finally found a reference. According to the reference, they were actually developed in 1916 and then released in the 1917 through 1919 model years. Not exactly mass-produced, but you're right, they beat Cadillac by 33 years...


olds rocket 88 V8 was the car in 49 as few kids wanted the big heavy caddys
and others were selling strait 6 or 8s or flatheads then

bugeye over the sprigets in responce to a miget supporter

two TRUCKS OF WAR deserve a line ww1 mack and ww2 duce and a half