Car Design History: Styles Through the Decades

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Car Stuff, Cool Driving, Defensive Driving Online, My Kind of Driving

 
For most of us these days, all we have to do is look outside of our window, and we can see a multitude of different kinds of cars, trucks, and other road vehicles. But where did it all begin? What were people driving 100, 80, 60 years ago? What follows is a brief history of car design through the decades.
 

The Benz Patent-Moterwagen

The Benz Patent-Moterwagen


 
For a few centuries there were different variations of steam powered vehicles that were early prototypes for the modern car, but the first official automobile–as we know it today–was the 1885 Benz patent motorwagen. As such, Karl Benz is generally accepted to be the inventor of the modern car.

By 1908 we had the first Ford Model T, the most widely produced car of the era. It was a four seater, and has an iconic look that is still recognizable today.
 

The original Ford T Model

The original Ford T Model


 
This takes us into the vintage era of the 1920s This is when the front engine was popularized, and we got a style that looks something like this Bugatti or Lancia.
 
1926 Bugatti Type 35

1926 Bugatti Type 35


 
1923 Lancia Lambda

1923 Lancia Lambda


 
Moving into the pre-war era, we started to see a similar shape of vehicle, but with the edges softened, and the look classed up a bit. From the more simple Ford V-8, as the country pulled itself out of the depression, we saw more vehicles like the Rolls Royce Phantom III.
 
Rolls-Royce Phantom III

Rolls-Royce Phantom III


 
The year 1938 also marked the first Volkswagen Beetle.

The post-war era, after World War II, marked a dramatic change in car fashion, and we saw perhaps the biggest change in body style for American automobiles. From the ‘40s through to the ‘70s the roads were dominated by the iconic style that defines ‘50s America.
 

1950 Buick Riviera

1950 Buick Riviera


 
In 1959 we also saw the first Mini.

After this post-war period, the modern era began. Cars have developed a lot in the past few decades, and now we have more variety in body style and car design than ever before. Designers and engineers take inspiration from anything from space to aerodynamics, to current fashion and functionality. Cars like the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic have come to define recent decades.
 

2014 Honda Civic

2014 Honda Civic


 
For the past few years, and looking to the future, it is clear to see that we are at the start of a new era. One that will undoubtedly be marked by electric vehicles, and eventually fully autonomous cars.
 
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S


 
What exactly will the future hold for cars? Who knows, but it is our privilege to find out!
 

 
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