Home / Auto News / News article: Top 10 Most Important Cars of All Time - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Nov 12 2012, 12:02 PM

Volkswagen Beetle

With Hitler, Nazis and Ferdinand Porsche the Beetle’s back-story reads like the screenplay of a great thriller movie. Skipping the esoteric details, Volkswagen means “people’s car,” and from its inception it was meant to put a new generation on wheels, just like the Ford Model T had done two decades before.

Conceived of and constructed by Porsche under der Führer’s watchful eye, the first prototype debuted in February 1936. Despite its strange looks the littler car featured a number of innovations. It was rear-wheel drive, but the engine was mounted in the back as well, ostensibly to maximize interior space. The little horizontally opposed four-cylinder was also air cooled, which further simplified things. Additionally, passengers benefitted from a smoother ride courtesy of four-wheel independent suspension.

All of this was very impressive for the mid ‘30s, but the car’s true potential wasn’t realized for years to come. A little something called World War II got in the way.

Throughout the Beetle’s long lifespan it remained largely the same. Sure, more powerful engines and other improvements were added along the way but the basic structure was unchanged.

While the rest of the automotive world moved forward time sees to have forgotten the Beetle. Defying logic the original version of the car was produced in Mexico until 2003. All told more than 21 million were built, making it the most produced single version of a car in history. Not a bad run for a design conceived of in the 1930s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kostas.kritsilas.1 Kostas Kritsilas

    The Veyron was included as one of the 10 most important cars? I don’t understand that. It is such a limited production vehicle, and the technologies used in it are nowhere near usable on any other vehicle. If you want an important sports car that has had significant influence on the cars of today, how about the Lamborghini Muira, the first mid-engined volume production car? Its influence can be seen in cars from any number of manufacturers from Ferrari (many), Audi (R8), Pontiac (Fiero), Ford (Pantera and GT40), almost all Lamborghinis since the Muira), Maserati (Bora and Merak), and on and on. The Veyron itself uses the same layout.

    Kostas

  • Urbanwheelman

    How can the title have the most obvious of spelling errors. Importat?  Tsk. Tsk.

  • Rod

    “The Bugatti Veyron is none of this…”
    Yeah, and it’s damn ugly, too.

  • Guest

    Most disappointing list ever.

  • prius04

    The $250 price you quote for the Model T has no context.   In 1927 the average weekly wage was $30 a week or so.  Thus it took about 8 weeks to afford the car.  Today the average weekly wage is about $800 so after 8 weeks you would have about $6500.  This shows it would still be quite cheap but you would have better context.

  • Calvin_guest

    Worst list of anything that Ive ever seen ever. die. die slowly.

  • Op Industries_1

    How did the Volvo 240 “brick” not make this list??

  • Mick

    To add to the Airflow’s importance, the first car Toyota ever made was basically a copy of the Chrysler: the Toyota AA.