When we reach either 16, 18 or 21 (depending on the laws of the country we are in), there is a certain rite of passage a person goes through. That is getting one’s own driving license. Like it or not, cars are an essential part of life. According to studies, there are 289.5 million registered vehicles in the US 2021. As with everything, there are so many types of cars with different brands and different purposes. Automobiles range from everyday cars, vans, convertibles, mobile homes, luxury supercars and more. To top it off, there are over 1000 different car brands. Cars have improved all throughout history. From having air-conditioning, radio, and safety features such as seatbelts and more, cars have become easier to navigate. Test your knowledge on the history of the automobile and how the cars of today came to be from 100 years ago.
The industrial revolution (1760 to 1820 and 1840) brought many modern technological advantages we see today. Conveyer belts, Spinning Jenny to spin wool or cotton on a large scale, wet steam engine, the locomotive, and the typewriter, just to name a few. Form this, a new form of workforce began forming, with factory locations, industrials cities and towns, and automotive machinery. The automobile as it was called back then is often credited to being created by Henry Ford in 1906 for a mass audience. However, he was not the first inventor. The first recorded automobile is the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, created by Ransom E. Olds. This automobile was the first man produced gasoline powered automobile. By the end of production, about 19,000 units were sold. However, this pales in comparison to Henry Fords Model T. The Model T was extremely popular to the audience due to its simple mechanics to drive and cheap price tag. By 1918, at least half of the cars driven in the USA where the Model T. Ford would also find the car company Ford.
However, Ford today is a single entity. Most car brands are part of a group or are a subsidiary of a larger car company. Such is the case with Volkswagen Group. This group consists of Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, ŠKODA, SEAT, CUPRA, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche, and Ducati. This means ŠKODA, SEAT, CUPRA, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche, and Ducati are a subsidiary of Volkswagen. These car companies originate all over Europe. Audi is a German car company. Lamborghini is based in Sant ‘Agata Bolognese, northern Italy. Whilst these brands are part of the group, they each have their own designs and uses. Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini are known as the premium brands. Audi is recognisable as the brand with 4 rings overlapping one another. Lamborghini is recognisable by a gold bull on a black background.
Another European Car that is not part of the Volkswagen group is BMW. BMW (which stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke) is a German car manufacture Known for luxury cars and motorcycles. Most recognisable from logo – used as a symbol of German pride and heritage. Blue and white represents Bavaria, Germany where their HQ is located. One of the most famous cars to ever come out of BMW was the BMW M5. At the BMW Performance Centre in Greer, South Carolina, instructor Johan Schwartz performed a sustained drift for 232.5 miles on a skid pad for a period of 8 hours. This was a Guinness World Record in Dec 11th, 2017. BMW also holds their own BMW group. Car brands under the BMW group are Mini and Rolls-Royce. Fun fact: The British Royal Family have used Rolls-Royces!
One of the biggest competitors to these luxury brands is Ferrari. Even if you are not a car enthusiastic, you have probably heard of the brand Ferrari. Ferrari is another Italian luxury sports car manufacturer.
Known for using red as their default colour, Ferrari was founded by Enzo Ferrari out of the Alfa Romeo race division in 1939. It was not until 1947 when they built their first car, the 127 S. Ferrari soon found its name on the Grand Prix, where in the 50’s there was a huge history. Scuderia Ferrari became the most successful team in Formula 1. Now, the company has offices and dealerships all over the world. Currently, Ferrari holds 15 driver world titles and 16 consumer world titles. They are the only constructor to have taken part in every single edition of the Formula 1 World Championship since its launch.
So far, we have talked about European cars (except for Ford). Let’s now look at another international car brands. Japanese cars are quite popular. If you’ve heard of Toyota, Suzuki, Acura, and Mitsubishi, you’ve heard of a Japanese car brand. Toyota is named after the city of Aichi Prefecture, Japan. After the head offices of Toyota Motor Company was moved here, large factories for manufacturing passenger parts and autocrats. Toyota is possibly one of the simplest logos, with a T in an oval shape. Overall, there are many cars. Electric or hybrid? Automatic or manual? 9-seater or 2-seater convertible? If your lifetime, you will have plenty of different types of cars. Even now, more technology that could make cars auto-driving.