The cars that changed the world - Part 1
In a world most of which was still run on horses and carts until World War II, these were the cars that completely changed the world on wheels
Friday, 14 January 2022, 10:20 Updated: 10:27
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No one can imagine our world today without the car. Alongside the computer, the toilet and the zipper is probably one of the inventions that has most fundamentally changed the way we live today, from New Delhi to New York, from the Sahara to SoHo. They allowed humans to cross distances, freedom, provided transportation for the common man and pushed engineering to new frontiers.
In the first series of articles of its kind, we take you on a journey through the most important cars in the world. In the first chapter to the one from which it all began until the period of World War II. The division stems from the fact that World War II in its historical-industrial dimension, had the greatest impact on every aspect of the car. Starting from their design following the learning curve and engineering experience accumulated in it, the design, the various uses for which they were intended, techniques and production volumes, and even their marketing or the nature in which the consumer culture, popular culture and motor sport influenced the cars.
In those early decades there were more unusual cars and big names that became the assets of gasoline - but those that were most influential.
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At the premiere: the first cars of the manufacturers
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Benz Patented Motor Wagon - The First Car (Photo: Manufacturer's Website)
1885 - Benz patents a motor vehicle
No, it does not look like a car.
In fact it is more like a stool with an espresso machine in the back on three bicycle wheels.
But in 1885 when Carl Benz rolled on this thing in the streets it was the biggest revolution the world knew in the field of transportation until then.
The numbers today are remarkably ridiculous with 0.9 hp from a 954
cc engine and a top speed of about 16 mph.
Who believed in his invention and set out without his knowledge for a 60 km journey with the couple's children.
Ford Model T - Car for the Masses (Photo: Manufacturer's Website)
1908 - Ford Model T
Many attribute to the Ford Model T the invention of the production line, but the truth is that it is not really accurate.
Production lines have been used in other industries before, and even in the car industry it was Ransom Island Olds who started building his cars that way.
But it was Henry Ford who raised the business to unprecedented levels of production.
The efficiency, sophistication of the method and even the fact that for years it was only available in black because its drying time was the shortest - are just some of what made this car one of the most important.
The speed with which it was created and this efficiency were the ones that allowed it not only to be built quickly, but also to be very cheap with its introduction and even cheaper over the years, in 1923 the price was only $ 300, equivalent to about $ 4,200 in today's terms.
By 2018 about half of the cars in the United States were Model Ts and by the time it was replaced in 1928 by Model A no less than 15 million units were built from it.
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Cadillac Model 30, No More Broken Hands (Photo: Manufacturer's Website)
1912 - Model 30 Cadillac
Long before the glorious wings of the 1950s, even before it became the American manufacturer that is still synonymous with luxury and splendor - the Cadillac Model 30 was largely the car that decided the favor in favor of petrol cars in the previous era when electric cars were an alternative to petrol cars.
And she did it using a component that today we take for granted in our cars - the electric starter. Thanks to inventor Charles Kettering, customers were able to say goodbye to kneeling in front of the radiator and turning the manual to start the car - an action that anyone unskilled could end the morning propulsion with a broken hand when the engine came to life and "threw" the manual lever powerfully.
Four years later with the Type 53 it was also the first to incorporate a V8 engine in a serial car and more importantly - to design the architecture of the car's operation in the way we know it today - the gear lever, the handbrake between the seats, the gas pedal, the brakes and the clutch.
Austin 7, simple and excellent (Photo: Manufacturer's website)
1922 - Austin 7
Austin's 7 was largely for the British what was the Ford Model T for Americans.
A simple, reliable, durable and very cheap car that allowed the middle class to move to the car and get around in it at an affordable price.
Its simple base and fundamentally superior engineering have made it not only a versatile and excellent car, but even one that has successfully competed in races and a base for small and cheap sports cars.
This was the basis from which Jaguar began its incarnation before moving on to producing luxury sports cars.
This is where Colin Chapman of Lotus took his first steps in understanding the construction of race cars.
It was the design that BMW acquired its production rights when it wanted to enter the world of cars and on its basis built the Dixie.
And also the one that Nissan took, disassembled into basics and used it to build its first car (just without buying the copyright ...).
Eventually and with the upheavals of the British car industry, Austin was swallowed up by the person who became the Rover - the manufacturer whose name BMW bought about 70 years after their first contract.
Lancia Lameda, innovative, revolutionary and forgotten (Photo: Manufacturer's website)
1922 - Lancia Lameda
If you are not in a van, truck or rugged SUV - you are driving a car that has the basic foundations of its structure owed to this car.
The Italian Lancia throughout its life has been a maker of innovation and the implementation of early and brilliant developments in its cars.
In the case of the Lemda it is the arrangement of a unified body and separate suspensions.
Until its appearance and in fact even years later, all the cars were built as a vehicle mounted on an iron chassis - not fundamentally different from the way horse-drawn carriages were built.
The structure of a unified body in which the propulsion assemblies and wheels are attached to the body of the car gave it a low center of gravity, lightness, demeanor and comfort not seen before.
To these also contributed its front independent suspensions with shock absorber and spring, in contrast to the leaf springs which were a compromise between production cost and damping.
And it also had V-shaped motors that it used extensively to provide it with performance that allowed it to take advantage of its dynamic capabilities.
Citroen Taxion Avent, as usual, ahead of its time (Photo: Manufacturer's website)
1934 - Citroen Traction Avent
Although its exterior appearance does not betray it, what the Avent traction offered in 1934 was a tremendous revolution in the way cars are driven to this day.
The use of front-wheel drive allows it to be more efficient without the need to transmit the power through a propulsion shaft and is more spacious when all the paddle assemblies are concentrated in front.
And it was advanced not only in the field of propulsion, but also in the field of braking - with very innovative hydraulic brakes for its time.
But it did not end there, like the Lancia Lameda, it also made use of independent suspensions and a unified body that made it light, low and fairly fast compared to its parallel cars.
These advantages made her a favorite of members of the French underground during the Nazi occupation and the Vichy government in World War II.
If you're watching a movie about World War II in France and there's a traction event there - these are the good guys who will drive it.
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Volkswagen Beetle, Hitler's vision has become a symbol of hippies (Photo: Manufacturer's website)
1938 - Volkswagen Beetle
If the Americans had the Model T and the British the Austin 7 - for the Germans it was supposed to be the Beetle.
It is said that this car, which Adolf Hitler instructed Ferdinand Porsche to design to get the German nation on wheels, came into mass production precisely after the war and thanks to the insistence of a British officer in general.
The original directive and the guidelines according to which Hitler ordered the design of the car were vehicles that could transport 5 people, would have a maximum speed of 100 km / h, had a fuel consumption of 15 km per liter and its price would not exceed 1,000 Reichsmarks.
All in order to make it affordable so that it can be used as a "people's car", hence the name of the company "Folk" - with "Wagen" - a car.
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One of the prototypes of the beetle (Photo: manufacturer's website)
Opinions are still divided as to whether the Beetle was originally designed by Porsche, or copied from the Czech Tetra or the Jewish engineer Josef Ganz, but there is no debate about two things - the first is that it is still the car with the longest production time and the most copies of the same model.
It was built over 65 years when the last of its kind went off the production line in Mexico in 2003 and during that time was assembled in dozens of factories on four different continents.
The second is that precisely the car that was born from the mind of one of the most murderous dictators in history has become a symbol of hippies and peace movements around the world.
The Big Robbery: Willis MB (Photo: Manufacturer's Website)
1941 - Willis MB
Even in the years before World War II, the U.S. military began exploring a number of options for a lightweight, portable, portable combat vehicle that could be used for a wide variety of tasks.
Starting with patrol, administration, mobilization of small forces, rescue and more.
However, only in the period before its entry into the war did the army accelerate the center by demanding that the candidates present their candidates.
Behind the scenes of this confrontation were passions, industrial espionage and lots of money.
But the bottom line was it was little Willis who introduced a vehicle that just did everything better than everyone else - the MB (acronym for Military and Model B).
But winning the military tender put her in a completely different problem - she had the planning - but she was really unable to meet the required production volumes.
And so the U.S. government forced Willis to team up with Ford to make use of its production platform.
Which spawned the vehicles dubbed the Ford GPW.
The acronym has several versions, the accepted and the list is that the G is Government i.e. - production for government purposes, the P the distance between the axles, in his case 80 inches and the W that the engine and vehicle is a Willis design.
The Willis, which became a "jeep" really changed the world (Photo: Rami Gilboa)
But no matter what they called him and why, in the end he had one name that everyone agreed on - they called him Jeep!
And also about the origin and meaning of this name there are debates from here to a new post.
Only one thing is undisputed - this vehicle, which was produced in its original version for only four years, really changed the world - not only in that it spawned an entire concept and brand, not only was it the inspiration for Land Rover, Nissan Patrol, Toyota FJ and many others.
He changed the world in the crucial role he had in World War II on every front on which the fighting took place.
From the rural roads of Europe, the jungles in front of the Pacific Ocean and the deserts of Africa fighting against the African Corps of the Nazis.
Or as General George Marshall called it: "the greatest American contribution to modern warfare."