One hundred and thirty years is a long time.That’s the age, more or less, of the automotive industry and naturally, its history is steep. Thousands of makes and models have come and gone over the decades, but only a few have really revolutionized the way auto manufacturers do business.
These are the vehicles that made everyone sit up and take notice. The ones that reshaped the North American automotive landscape.
Narrowing the field down to just one vehicle per decade was not easy. We focused on cars, trucks and SUVs that changed the industry specifically in North America, although that doesn’t mean it had to specifically be a North American vehicle. So, here are the 14 vehicles that changed the world and a few honorable mentions as well.
1880s – Benz Patent MotorWagen
The dawn of the automotive industry saw people all over the world experimenting with horseless carriages. Although it may be hard to pinpoint who exactly did it first, the consensus is that Karl Benz created the first proper internal combustion automobile in 1886 called the Benz Patent MotorWagen.
Using a one-cylinder engine, the three-wheel vehicle could transport two passengers and thus, the automobile was born.
Honorable Mention: Daimler-powered Wilhelm Wafter stagecoach
That same year, another German, Gottlieb Daimler, installed his internal combustion engine into a Wilhelm Wafter stagecoach and made what’s regarded as the first four-wheel automobile.