Hooniverse Asks: What Would Be Your Collection of The Top 10 World's Most Important Cars?

We all know that cars are important, I mean if it weren’t for them, how would we get around places, public transportation? I don’t think so. The thing is, some cars are more important than others, and I’m sure that tehre are at least 10 that could be considered the most important in history.
What’s even more sure is that I’ll bet that not everybody would agree on what cars would comprise that top 10 list. That’s why, to close out the week, I want to know each of your lists of what has been the top 10 most important cars. Let us know which of those you’d actually like to own too.

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41 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What Would Be Your Collection of The Top 10 World's Most Important Cars?”

  1. GTXcellent Avatar

    (ranked by year, not importance)
    • Benz Patent-Motorwagen
    • 1912 Cadillac Touring (first electric starter)
    • Ford Model T
    • Citroen Traction Avant
    • Volkswagen Beetle
    • Willys Jeep
    • 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88
    • Mini
    • Porsche 911
    • 1964.5 Ford Mustang

    1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
      Wayne Moyer

      It depends on what the list is for. I mean for vehicles that moved the world. Like GTX here
      The Ford Model T is a given
      The Jeep (by Bantam thank you very much) won a war and changed how things were done at home when the war was over
      The Beetle became a peoples car in more ways than one
      The lowly Trabant should be on the list for opening up the USSR to four wheels as well as giving it’s people motivation to work
      The 64 1/2 Mustang forced Detroit to change how it made cars for a decade and we are seeing the fruits of it’s labors once again now with new horsepower races
      I need to think over the rest of my most significant. I look forward to hearing the hate over the choice the Trabby.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Except for the Beetle and Trabant, a GDR product not too easily available in the USSR, this is a very US-centric list.
        What about the Citroën 2CV? Iconic cars like the Silver Ghost or E type?
        A hard task at hand…

      2. crank_case Avatar

        The Trabi is cutesy fun now, if you don’t actually need to use it as transport, but even by eastern bloc standards, it’s got very little to redeem it, give me a Skoda MB1000, Lada Riva or Polski-Fiat 126 over one any day. http://bright-cars.com/uploads/skoda/skoda-1000-mb/skoda-1000-mb-05.jpg

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          A Škoda MB1000 on snow…a pretty way to die.

          1. crank_case Avatar

            I dunno, the engines over the driven wheels which are skinny pizza cutters, I reckon it’d be pretty decent.

          2. Sjalabais Avatar

            I just figured the weight distribution might be very much skewed towards oversteering behaviour. On the other hand, it’s a 1 litre engine in a 800kg car…sliding around in it by brute force might only and exclusively be a thing on ice.

          3. crank_case Avatar

            Only if you let it get away from you and you get that pendulum snap oversteer effect like a 911, a rear engined car would be more likely to understeer first, but driven well youd actually be able to use the traction out of the corners. Rear engined skodas have been incredibly successful in rallying given the tiny budgets the works teams used to have to play with.

    2. Fred Talmadge Avatar
      Fred Talmadge

      Pretty good list except for the last two. I think today we might want add something like the Baker electric.

  2. Mister Sterling Avatar
    Mister Sterling

    I think we are all on the right track. My dad’s a historian and he is very good at boiling down what the world should remember. I strive to cook timelines like he does. I am leaning towards cars that are obvious, but also a few influencers thrown in. I’m not as big a gear head as most of you, but here goes in no particular order:
    Ford Model T
    Audi Quattro
    Willys Jeep
    VW Beetle
    Olds Rocket 88
    Honda Civic
    BMC Mini
    Tatra 77
    International Harvester Scout
    Saab GT750? I wanted to put down 1940 Plymouth Coupe. But the first production car with standard seat belts somehow makes it on my list.

  3. Kiefmo Avatar

    Here’s my oddball list:
    1. 1932 Ford Model B V8 — Hey, we really like this engine layout! Sounds badass, and it’s pretty power-dense for its size. Let’s put it in everything! See also: Deuce Coupe
    2. 1960 Chevrolet Corvair — See, this is what happens when we try something different! Back to FR layouts and big V8s.
    3.1962 Olds Turbo Jetfire — See, small V8 with turbos are awful — maybe the Brits will want this miserable lump. Back to big V8s.
    4. 1964 Ford Mustang — See what can happen when you take the frumpy girl and dress her up? Cheap stylish cars are awesome!
    5.1967 Chevrolet Camaro — We’re cashing in on this thing. Competition improves the breed.
    6. 1974 Ford Mustang — Things are getting shitty, but we’re not giving up on this idea. Just keep swimming.
    6. 1984 Dodge Caravan — This is so much better for moving people and stuff around than a station wagon.
    7. 1990 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 — Overhead cams are awesome! Don’t tell Ed Cole. In fact, let’s forget we ever tried this — we can make the same power with pushrods.
    8. 1998 Toyota Sienna — You’re going down, Caravan!
    9. 2006 Honda Ridgeline — This is all the truck most of you will ever really need. Hello? Is this thing on?
    10. 2011 Ford Focus — America can build a decent small car, too! (With help from the rest of the world.)

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      2011 Ford Focus — America can build a decent small car,
      Köln of America?

      1. Kiefmo Avatar

        Well, it’s an American brand.
        Just like “Japanese” brands can build USDM-only trucks in Tennessee, Texas, and Alabama.

        1. crank_case Avatar

          Sort of… but those trucks do make a big deal out of being “American” right? Plus the JDM makes usually offer their existing cars alongside these market specific models. On the other hand British/German Fords developed independently of the US for many years, before the “one Ford” thing or Global Cars became buzzwords. The two markets were incompatible for many years, despite many attempts to cross pollinate. e.g. Americans never really took to the MK1 Fiesta/Lotus Cortina/Merkur XR4ti/Mercury Capri in a big way while Europe didn’t really take to the likes of the Probe.
          Postwar you had affordable cars like the Popular which is the Focus great granddaddy if you chase the lineage back via Escorts -> Anglia (commonly known as the Harry Potter car) -> Popular. Arguably things finally properly split when the Ford Pilot V8 was replaced by the Zephyr/Zodiac but I digress. These Focus and ancestor cars owed nothing to the US, and were developed with local conditions in mind, the european and US escorts shared nothing but a badge for example. The Focus MK1 was designed with the euro market in mind first and foremost to be good with a weedy 1.4 or a misery diesel and to offer a similar driving experience to a Peugeot 306 with Golf quality (which it’s proven to be more reliable than), so when a US model was created with a 2.0/2.3 engine as standard, it was bound to be a brilliant. The US didn’t even get the 2nd Gen car, but your not missing much to be honest, lost a lot of the magic.
          On balance though, if it helps, I regard the MX5/Miata as more a Californian creation than a Japanese one. 😉

        2. Sjalabais Avatar

          Yeah, I was thinking along the lines of “the Chinese make nice XC90”, which I figure they don’t. They finance it. From what I’ve read, precious little of the Focus’ development happened in the US. That’s neither good nor bad, but more of a reason for me to be surprised by its success.

        3. Krautwursten Avatar

          Ford of Europe is as much an American brand as the Dodge Viper is an Italian car now.

      2. crank_case Avatar

        Sure Germanys practically still occupied territory. 😀

      3. JayP Avatar

        The Mk3 was also built at the Michigan Assembly Plant.

  4. Sjalabais Avatar

    Hard to approach this right, and easy to criticize choices…is it better to proclaim ideas the winner (Tatra) – or execution/luck/marketing (Beetle)? Big sellers and stayers (Lada Nova) or quality cars (MB W123)? My collection personally would be so skewed, I don’t even attempt a list.
    Trying to get a somewhat balanced Top 10 here:
    – T
    – Beetle
    – RR Silver Ghost
    – Mini
    – Volvo 240
    – Lada Nova
    – Citroën 2CV
    – Cadillac Eldorado
    – Tesla S
    – Corolla

  5. Citric Avatar

    I’m going to go with cars that directly influenced the cars on my street.
    Benz Patent-Motorwagen – it was first.
    1912 Cadillac Touring – electric starter which everyone does now
    Ford Model T – Got everyone driving, made Ford a thing.
    Cadillac Type 53 – First car that had the modern three pedal setup we still use
    Citroen Traction Avant – I’m going to go with this making FWD a thing.
    Chevrolet Advance Design – I’m going to go with this as the first example of trucks being cool, though arguments could probably be made for Ford F-1 and F-100s. Now trucks are everywhere
    VW Golf – Not the first compact hatch, but it defined it.
    Dodge Grand Caravan – established minivans as a thing, keeps going strong
    Jeep Cherokee XJ – I’m using this as the thing that made SUVs a thing, four doors being the important bit.
    Lexus RX – And this is what made crossovers a thing, still kind of the template

  6. crank_case Avatar

    Benz Patent-Morwagen – obvious
    Cadillac Type 53 – First car with conventional modern control layout in placement of wheel, transmission, pedals
    Austin 7 – the backbone of British grassroots motorsport in terms of “specials” but also, without this car being made under license or people building cars on it’s chassis, there would be no BMW, no Nissan, no Lotus, no American Austin, which became American Bantam, which created the original Jeep design, so there would be no Jeep either.
    Volvo PV544 – First car with three point seat belts
    VW Beetle – not simply for the usual people car thing, but it made Porsche sports cars possible and formed the basis of one of the most successful single seater series – Formula Vee
    Fiat 127 – Yes, the Mini was important in establishing the compact FWD european car blueprint and it took a year to get a hatchback, but I’d argue this, in both execution and size realy crystalized the idea of the “Supermini” class that is still the most popular european format that begat the Fiat Uno/Punto, VW Golf/Polo, Fiesta, Renault 5/Clio, Rover Metro, Opel corsa, etc.
    Mazda MX5 – did absolutely nothing revolutionary, but that’s not the point, it was very late in the day of automotive history to do something mechanically radical, but without this, what would enthusiasts do now? The idea of an affordable sports car might well have disappeared altogether having been decimated the previous decade by hot hatchbacks like the Golf GTI, plus the more time you spend round one, the more you realize just how well thought out it is in the little details.
    Audi UR Quattro – Yes, various cars like the Jensen FF and other Ferguson equipped stuff came first, but this was the first time 4WD in a road car was seen as genuinely convincing
    Toyota Prius, second generation – I think its too early to call time on Tesla or any other modern EV but this was the first time the idea of hybrid was really convincing.
    Jeep Jeepster – Introduced the idea that off road vehicles could be recreational civilan vehicles and not pure military/utility workhorses. The granddaddy of the modern SUV.

  7. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

    1. Benz Patent Motorwagen- The first car.
    2. Ford Model T- the first car as we know it today; i.e. the standardized product of mass production, intended for the mobilization of the masses.
    3. 1948 Morris Minor- set the mold for all post-war European family cars until SUVs came along.
    4. 1955 Bel Air- all hail the SBC.
    5. 1962 Oldsmobile Cutlass- like it or not, turbocharging will soon be virtually universal.
    6. 1967 VW 1600- the first car to use Bosch’s Jetronic injection system, possibly the most important post-war powertrain innovation..
    6. (TIE) 1948 Buick Roadmaster- the first car to use a planetary-geared, torque converter equipped automatic transmission, also possibly the most important post-war powertrain innovation.
    7. 1993 Toyota Supra- not necessarily great in any objective sense, but an icon to a generation. Long may it rice.
    8. 2005 TVR Sagaris- the high-water mark for bats**t crazy production cars; we’ll never see the like again.
    9. 2008 Dodge Viper- the last car in which technology only made the car faster, not safer or easier to drive.
    10. 2012 Tesla Model S- proved that the electric car can be both practical and desirable (and that the US can still be a thought leader in the automotive industry).
    I realize 8 and 9 have little technological significance and no impact on the industry going forward, but to my mind they represent the end of the “Era of Personal Responsibility”. Whether that’s a good thing or not is subject to debate, but I, for one, will mourn its passing.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Like that you’ve got a TVR in there, but I think the Sagaris was the beginning of the end, the styling the wrong side of “Max Power” magazine OTT compared to the lovely Tuscan. I’ve known a few TVR owners and the only one who really didn’t get with theirs was a Sagaris owner, who had a lot of issues, even by TVR standards. I think the Cerbera is modern TVRs high point in many ways.

      1. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

        TVR did make many beautiful cars (I personally would pick the later Tamoras and the T350 as hightlights), but so did almost every other sports car manufacturer (exceptions include but are not limited to Marcos and Jensen). TVR got more and more experimental without losing the basic proportions and aesthetic of the classic British coupe. The Sagaris is the logical conclusion of that process- every panel is bordered in outrageous details that nonetheless flow with the overall lines of the car. I think it avoids being OTT by virtue of somehow forming a harmonious whole.

        1. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

          (I’d thumbs up your comment but I keep forgetting to set up an account when not at the office…)

        2. crank_case Avatar

          Aesthetics are subjective so not going to argue taste, but it sort of looks like one of those mad drift cars where its got zany aero and they’ve grafted on the nose of another car and it doesnt look entirely cohesive which is odd considering they succesfully integrated bits off of cavaliers and fords before and this actually was more bespoke, but maybe that craziness is what they were going for.
          Maybe its down to the character of the owner, i just know that every other TVR owner got a little misty eyed about theirs and this was the only person who wasnt entirely enamoured.

          1. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

            I mean, we ARE talking about the marque that looked at door handles and went “…nahhh.”

  8. engineerd Avatar

    Since everyone else is taking a broad view and starting with the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, I’m going to limit my list to the 10 Most Important Cars to Racing
    1. Peugeot Type 5 3HP: Winner of the first official motor race, the Paris-Rouan, in 1894. DeDion, in a steam car, actually came in first. However, he required a stoker which was against the rules so he was disqualified and the win handed to Albert Lemaître in his Peugeot.
    2. Bugatti T35: Quite possibly the most successful race car ever with over 1000 wins.
    3. Mercedes Benz W125: This Silver Arrow came out of the box with up to 640 supercharged horsepower under its unpainted bonnet. That power level was not seen again until the 1960s CanAm racers and not seen until the 1980s in Grand Prix racing.
    4. Plymouth Superbird: One of the most well-known attempts by a manufacturer to cheat the air and create a more aerodynamic “stock car”. It’s also one of the most recognizable cars…ever.
    5. AC/Shelby Cobra: Take a light British roadster and put in a huge American powerplant and go racing…and winning. While not necessarily the first with this formula, the Cobra is arguably the most significant.
    6. Ford GT40: Don’t piss off Ford. They’ll take their fight to you and beat you on your home turf and prove that Americans can win in Europe.
    7. Lancia Stratos: The first car purpose-designed for rally racing.
    8. Audi Ur-Quattro: It brought 4WD to the WRC and dominated. Oh yeah, and Michele Mouton became the first woman to win a world championship rally event in one.
    9. Aerobird Ford Thunderbird: Bill Elliot’s record at Talladega Superspeedway still stands. After NASCAR wised up to the modifying of stock cars for racing with the Superbird, the ’80s Thunderbird represents the first real attempt by auto manufacturers to build an aerodynamic car for stock car racing.
    10. Mercedes 300 SLR: This is the car that crashed at Le Mans in 1955. Following that fateful day, safety in motorsports started to be taken seriously. It was the impetus for rules requiring roll cages, helmets not made of cow hide, and protections for spectators. Switzerland’s ban on motorsports within its borders still stands today.

    1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
      The Real Number_Six

      Instead of Cobra I’d choose Cooper-Climax, which kicked off the rear-engine revolution in F1 with its inaugural win at the 1958 Argentine GP. Open-wheel racing was literally never the same after that.

    2. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

      I like this methodology, even if the results would make Enzo irritable. And don’t forget the Chapparal 2E- every modern racecar can trace its basic aero package back to that.

      1. engineerd Avatar

        Haha! Yeah, I got done and realized Ferrari didn’t even make the list. Same with others like Porsche, Aston Martin, etc. They would definitely make the list of manufacturers, but they don’t seem to have a single significant model.

  9. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Rightoh. This’ll be hard.
    1885 Benz Patent Motorwagen: Genesis.
    Ford Model T: Cars for everybody.
    Rolls Royce Silver Ghost: Widely regarded as the best car in the world for a while.
    Cord 810 or Auburn Speedster: Haven’t decided yet but went a long way to advance styling
    Austin Mini: Revolutionised vehicle interior packaging
    Ford Mustang: Car marketing would never be the same again
    Lamborghini Muira: The Supercar, as we know it, was born.
    Ford Sierra: Popularised true aero-styling for the family car
    McLaren F1: The purpose-built, no expense spared hypercar had arrived.
    Ford Focus: Realigned the shape of the small hatchback, and a revolution in handling.
    That’ll do me.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      McLaren F1 is a good choice, its not ubiquitous, but is the absolute pinnacle. I think in a few hundred years, should internal combustion go the way of the steam engine, historians will write a footnote under it that says “downhill from here”

      1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        Yup, as Concorde was to aviation.

  10. Tanshanomi Avatar

    I can’t argue with much of what’s been said, so I am going to do my usual Tuesday schtick and list 10 bikes. Because shut up.
    NOTE: By “important” I mean they somehow influenced what bikes and riding would come to be today. This means they were both groundbreaking in features or configuration for the time, and were successful in the marketplace. Bikes like the Vincent Black Shadow and Manx Norton were awe-inspriing bikes, but they were simply the best at the time; not huge influences on future designs. Also, I limited this to production bikes. Otherwise, works racers like the Honda 250 Six and Gilera Rodine supercharged four would definitely had made this list.
    – 1937 Triumph T5 Speed Twin (blueprint for a half-century of big British twins)
    – 1958 Honda C100 Super Cub (would sell by the millions, for…ever, and ushered in the ubiquity of Japanese bikes around the world)
    – 1968 Yamaha DT-1 (defined the dual-sport segment)
    – 1969 Honda CB750 (redefined standards of reliability, performance and value for money overnight)
    – 1970 Harley-Davidson XR750 (the winningest competition motorcycle ever built)
    – 1975 Yamaha YZ250 (the first long-travel, monoshock motocross bike)
    – 1976 Kawasaki KZ900 LTD (started the cruiser genre, 1 year before the Harley Lowrider)
    – 1980 Honda GL1100 Gold Wing Interstate (first factory full-dresser touring bike)
    – 1981 BMW R80G/S (started the adventure touring segment)
    – 1984 Suzuki GSX-R750 (the first showroom race-replica for the street)

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Whatever about the rest, the various versions of the Honda cub have probably carried more people/stuff/chickens in more countries than any single model of car.

    2. The Real Number_Six Avatar
      The Real Number_Six

      Where do these things sit in historical context? They’ve taken all the utility of the Super Cub and added total reliability and a dash of actual fun. Every city in SE Asia must have 100s of 1000s of them. I’ve ridden dozens of examples but have no idea what they’re called (125cc, manual transmissions…) https://www.expatads.com/adpics1/2015/10/Honda-Wave-125561f191624c76dc84d8c.JPG

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        True, but all underbone bikes are just incremental evolution from the original Super Cub. The two-strokes, such as this Honda Nova Dash RS, are probably the furthest from the original concept, but I would still lump them all together, just as all British twins owe their existence to Edward Turner’s original 500 Speed Twin.

  11. nanoop Avatar

    My personal list, to add a narcissistic touch to the definition of “important”:
    – CV2 is the car my father had when he met my mother.
    – My first automotive memory (Hi AJ!) is my father and a good friend summoned around a blue 504Ti, pointing at the rusty bits.
    – A brown BMW 320 took me to the hospital, the first time after my birth. (Just a deep scratch, but the upholstery was beige, plus my blood. I remember my father’s sporty driving vividly. )
    – My childhood consisted of a white W123 on blue velour.
    – Coming of age happened in a dark grey W124.
    – I got my driving licence in a Golf 3 diesel.
    – My grandfather’s Lada wagon taught me that I could fix a car beyond changing the tire. It also taught me to release the e-brake before driving off. It also taught me that grandfathers cover grandsons when repair bills are questioned by grandmothers.
    – The scariest ride was an overloaded Opel Blitz, then (and still) older than me, as a volunteer fireman under deployment conditions.
    – My first own car was a Focus mk.1 wagon, good memories. Moving, camping, road trips, freedom.
    – My project car is teaching me a lot of things several self improvement books couldn’t. (a 944 but that’s not important).

  12. Kyle Allen Avatar

    Ferrari F40 x1 .

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