10 Most Influential Cars of All Time

Ok. To appease the masses. It’s time. We all have to acknowledge it; especially when you live somewhere where the temperature gets to be 40 below MINUS the windchill factor. However, it has to be said

Ok. To appease the masses. It’s time. We all have to acknowledge it; especially when you live somewhere where the temperature gets to be 40 below MINUS the windchill factor. However, it has to be said. There are so many mixed emotions about it. For some, it brings about extreme joy, especially when it’s your first one or the one you have been dreaming of your whole life. It can bring you great happiness, relaxation, and moments of deep thought and self-reflection when everything goes according to plan. Heck, there are times when you sound like a freakin’ genius with it. There are times when it can bring you great despair as well though. It can bring such anger and frustration that it can be hard to believe that it can take the abuse you give it sometimes. It can also bring a grown human being to tears when it dies, or gets hurt expectantly. Such feelings of hatred can be brought forth when talking about it and our world where it stands because of it today. That being said, a lot of us would absolutely HATE IT if we lived in a world without one. We give them names based on what we think their personality would be, which also reflects a part of us. There are also those individuals who take their love too far and verge on the edge of downright creepy. The memories we have with them, whether they are our own, borrowed or even a friend’s, they can bring out the strength in our characters as a human race, and haunt us for our shortcomings and misjudgments. Some of us have only had one, or two, perhaps three in their lifetime. Others have topped out at hundreds, perhaps maybe even thousands of them. It’s time. It’s time… to talk cars.

Here’s the list of the 10 Most Influential Cars of All Time.


10 Dodge Caravan


I know what you are thinking as you are screaming and cursing at your screen as to how this could have possibly made a top ten list (or some snide remark about a girl writing this post), but TRUST ME! Valid argument and definitely influential on our lives as we know it.

Intorduced: 1984 (along with the Plymouth Voyager)

Who was behind it: Lee Iacocca and Hal Sperlich

Why it’s important: Have you seen how many people drive a caravan? More importantly, have you seen how much stuff you can shove into a caravan? Especially a Dodge Grand Caravan?! Those things are huge! And it only has one of the best sayings ever associated with it: What’s in the van, man? See, you can’t say that with a Ferrari; just sounds stupid.

9 Ferrari F40

You’re welcome. Told you to stick around.

Introduced: 1987 (ahh the ‘80s)

Who was behind it: Enzo Ferrari (and it was the last Ferrari that was personally approved by Enzo)

Why it’s important: Uhhhhh…, it’s a Ferrari??? *blink blink*

If you need me to go into detail though…,

This was Ferrari’s 40th Anniversary car. But this car had one need. The need, for speed. The F40 was the fastest and most powerful car when it came onto the market. Part of how that was achieved was:

-they made it a mid engine car; it helps in terms of weight balance and speed

- it came from a bigger version of a 2.9L version of the GTO’s twin IHI turbocharged V8. This allowed it to develop 471hp under 16psi of boost.

-suspension similar to the GTO’s wishbone

-flanking exhaust pipes that guide exhaust from each bank of cylinders while central pipe focuses on gases from the turbochargers (yes, it’s meant to be plural)

-body was made of kevlar, carbon fiber and aluminium with the windshield and windows being made of plastic.

8 Willys MB

For those of you who don’t know what that is, you will see.

Introduced: 1941

Who was behind it: Karl Probst for the American Bantam Car Company along with Willys Overland Motors and Ford, but John Willys gets the credit.

Why it’s important: Dude, it’s the first Jeep!

7 BMC Mini

How can anyone hate this car?

Introduced: 1959

Who was behind it: Leonard Lord started it but Sir Alex Issigonis, Jack Daniels, Chris Kingham and 6 others get the credit.

Why it’s important: And so marks the start of the macro and micro car love obsession.

The Mini was created for a very practical reason and it’s the reason why a lot of people nowadays buy a smaller car. The Mini came about because of the 1956 Suez Crisis, and gas was being rationed to people in the UK and hence large car sales slumped so everyone could buy German “bubble cars”. But if you look at them like the BMW Isetta and the Peel Tirdent, they’re so cute…, and NOW they were considered economical. However, Lord said in laments terms, “Screw that noise!” and in proper British form he vowed to rid the streets of them so that people could buy a “proper miniature car.”

The basic design requirements:

-the car should be contained in box 10x4x4 feet and the passengers should occupy 6 feet of the 10 foot length

-bring in experts to build car of awesomeness (hence Issigonis and others)

-brakes: compact rubber cones instead of springs (makes it feel like a go-cart)

-4-cylinder, water-cooled engine BUT mount it transversely

-front wheel drive

-Hydrolastic suspension (smooth ride but stiffness when you need it)

-other fancy things done to doors and body to make it cool

6 Audi Quattro

In case you didn’t know, quattro means four in Italian.

Intorduced: 1980

Who was beind it: Jorg Bensinger started it with Walter Treser, Ferdinand Piech, Franz Tengler, and Martin Smith. In case you couldn’t tell, definitely a German car.

5 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Introduction: 1974

Who was behind it: Volkswagen (it doesn’t state who specifically was responsible for the original concept and design, but it’s the brand people, right?)

Why it’s important: The reason behind even building this compact car in the first place was that VW wanted to have a long range replacement for the Beetle that was a more modern car. Since this car has been brought into the world, it has gone through a few name changes depending on region, hence comment earlier (Rabbit for US and Canada; Caribe for Mexico). But also it has been the foundation design for many of VW’s other cars such as the Variant (5-door hatchback, estate/wagon), the Cabriolet or Cabrio (a convertible), the Caddy (a truck?) and a notch-back saloon/sedan that goes by three names on its’ own (the Jetta, Vento and Bora). On top of that, the Golf has gone through a minimum of seven different types of Golf’s (ranging from A1-A7). With this car, it laid one of the most important foundations for cars today. Without this car, we probably wouldn’t have cars such as the Smart Car, Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, or possibly even the Toyota Prius (although odds are the Japanese would’ve figured that out long before anyone else would have if given the opportunity).

4 Citroen DS

It’s definitely a car that stands out at any car show just for its’ unique design alone (no one has a car that was made after the ‘70s that looks like that).

Introduced: 1955

Who was behind it: Flaminio Bertoni and Andre Lefebvre

Why it’s important: Does the term “disc brakes” mean anything to you?

This DS was a mass produced car that hydropneumatic suspension including a variable ground clearance and automatic leveling system (so meaning that you can clear the majority of those pesky Wal-Mart speed bumps without scraping the crap out of the undercarriage). It had power steering, a semi-auto transmission, fiberglass roof (makes the car lighter), and was built for rallying! Bonus points!

3 Chrysler Airflow

Stay with it…,

Introduction: 1934

Who was behind it: Carl Breer, Fred Zeder and Owen Skelton

Why it’s important: The car itself is actually not that important. The Airflow was considered to be the equivalent of a box office bomb in that sales stunk on this car. Which is a huge pity cause it’s a GREAT looking car. The headlights being semi-flush to areas by the grille, the front fenders covering the wheels, and it was a steel body (which at the time, makers like GM, Ford and even some Chrysler cars were still being made with wooden frames), which made it stronger than most models of the day. These guys had the BEST advertising campaign though for the day: they took an Airflow and reversed the axles and steering gear so that they could drive the car BACKWARDS through all of Detroit, which caused people to panic, but would definitely stick out in peoples’ minds when they would see it officially launch.

However, when the first Airflows came out of production, they had MAJOR problems…, as in the engine breaking loose from its’ mountings if you drove it over 80mph. That’s never good.

2 Ford Model T

If you have a list of influential cars and don’t have this car on your list, you are crazy and shall be forever shamed in every Car Enthusiast household you will ever come across (and Car-aholic's homes as well).

Introduced: 1908 (an oldie, but a goodie)

Who was behind it: Henry Ford and designed by Childe Harold Willis, Joseph A. Galamb, and Eugene Farkas

Why was it important: Uhhhh, I don’t feel I should have to explain the first affordable car that was responsible for the start of the modern assembly line…, but if you insist.

Ford was an innovator no doubt about it, but with this quote, it should explain his reasonings behind the car:

"I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces."

1 Benz Patent Motorwagon

Introduced: 1886

Who was behind it: Karl Benz

Why it’s important: It’s the beginning of all beginnings. This is the birth of the automobile.

Karl Benz was always on the verge of something great as he was also the first person to invent the gasoline powered two cylinder engine, but now he wanted more. He wanted to develop a fully motorized vehicle.

And hence the Motorwagon was born. It was the first automobile to be self sufficient; generating its’ own power. It had a lot of other firsts as well:

-had three wheels on it (that were designed by Benz)

-four stroke single cylinder engine was mounted at the rear of the vehicle (so you could have more leg room…, at least, that reason makes the most logic as ladies dresses were quite big then)

-electric ignition

-water cooled internal combustion engine

-tubular steel frame with wooden areas where needed (like the bench that you sat on)

Back in 1886, this was it baby! However, this baby also was indeed for the wealthy as it cost a cool grand. In modern times, you are looking around $24,000, which to be honest, although cool, you would probably spend on a Fiat.

Give TheRichest a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheRichest?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in Most Influential

10 Most Influential Cars of All Time