Volkswagen Type 1
65 years (1938-2003)
The Beetle was built in Germany from 1938 through 1980, which would have put it in second place on our list, behind the Mini but just in front of the 2CV. However, production in Brazil (1950-1996) and Mexico (1955-2003) gives the little Ferdinand Porsche-designed ass-engine air-cooler a whopping 22-year-edge over the Mini.
Morris Oxford / Hindustan Ambassador
55 years (1954-present)
The case could be made that the previous generation of the Oxford, which debuted in 1948, was similar enough to the '54 that the Oxford/Ambassador deserves 61 years instead of 55. However, the Amby is still being made! That means the much-beloved little Indian car has a shot at catching the Beetle. Engines have come and gone (the '09 Amby has Isuzu power), but the essential Oxford-ness of the car remains.
43 years (1957-2000)
An Old Mini with airbags? Yes, the car that started the front-wheel-drive/hatchback revolution managed to stay relevant into the current century. Park one of these next to one of those BMW-built imitators and you'll see what a small car really looks like!
41 years (1949-1990)
How much power does a car really need? Ask a Citroën engineer in the late 40s and he'd tell you: nine horsepower! Later models had nearly four times that, with 33 horses being the max from the factory. Of course, some had a little more than that when they went racing. Nearly four million were made.
Fiat 128 / Zastava Skala / Nasr 128 / SEAT 128
40 years (1969-present)
How many versions of the groundbreaking front-driver 128 are out there? Why, even Enzo Ferrari drove one! In addition to being a huge hit in Europe, where it was built until 1985, Zastava continues to build 128s (branded as the Zastava 55) to this day; as of last year, you could still get an Egyptian-made Nasr 128.
39 years (1958-1997)
We can't include the Checker Marathon in this list without also including the most iconic of the old London Black Cabs. The FX4 was built by different manufacturers over the years and went through quite a few engines, but it remained essentially the same vehicle. Two Austins in the Top Ten!
Fiat 1100 / Premier Padmini
38 years (1962-2000)
Clearly, the key to getting your car built for a few extra decades is to make Indian buyers love it. As the Fiat 1100, this car was done in Italy by 1969, but India's Premier Automobiles Limited kept on making the 1100 (badged as the Padmini) until 2000.
Hillman Hunter / Iran Khodro Paykan
37 years (1967-2004)
Hey, Rootes Group machinery survived into the 21st century! The Paykan got Peugeot power eventually, but it remained a Hillman at heart. Paykan production equipment was sold to a Sudanese company a few years back, though we've had no news so far of any gleaming new Paykans being built there. Wait a couple of decades and we may see the Paykan hang in there to beat the Beetle's longevity record!
37 years (1968-2005)
The 504 was built for 15 years in France, then continued production in Argentina until 1999. Africans still loved the 504 after that, with production continuing in Kenya (2004) and Nigeria (2005). Don't be shocked if someone starts building the 504 once again.
Renault 12 / Dacia 1300
37 years (1969-2006)
The 12 was yet another Renault success story, with production on five continents and millions sold. The last Renault-branded 12 was built in Turkey in 1999, but Romanian automaker Dacia made the 12-clone Dacia 1300/1310 until just a few years ago.
Fiat 131 / SEAT 131 / Tofaş Murat 131
35 years (1974-present)
Also known as the Brava and Mirafiori, the 131 had ten years of Italian production, then lived on in Spain, Turkey, and now Ethiopia.
Volkswagen Golf Mk1
35 years (1974-present)
Yes, you can still buy the first version of the biggest-selling VW car since the air-cooled Beetle! South Africans love the Mk1 Golf so much that they've been making them since 1974.
33 years (1961-1994)
Usually, a Renault made for more than 30 years indicates that some Warsaw Pact nation built it under license for a couple of decades past the point of relevance in the home market. Not so with the 4! Intended as competition for the hugely successful Citroën 2CV, the Renault 4 outlived its rival by four years.
33 years (1964-1997)
You'll have to pick up the definitive guide to Soviet cars to get the whole Moskvitch 408 story, but here's one fun fact: when the hard-currency-strapped Soviet Union started importing Moskvitches to the UK, the price tag for this fairly substantial car was £22 less than the tiny Mini. Including cars made by the Izhevsk Mechanical Works, the 408/412 stayed in production until the late 1990s.
Ford Falcon (first generation)
31 years (1960-1991)
Imagine going to a Ford dealership and having a choice between a new Sierra XR4i and a new '62 Falcon. That's how it went down in Argentina, where facelifted but still recognizable first-generation Falcons were made until 1991. You could even get a diesel Falcon! We're just disappointed that Ford Of Argentina didn't keep building the '69 Fairlane fastback into the 1990s.
Fiat 124 / VAZ-2101 Lada / SEAT 124 / Tofaş Murat 124 / Premier 118NE
31 years (1966-1984, 1986-2001)
Renault 5 / SAIPA Sepand
30 years (1972-2000)
We North Americans knew the 5 as the Le Car; we missed out on the goofy European 5 ads but we did get some cheezy ones of our own. European production halted in 1996, when the last Slovenian 5 left the assembly line, but Iranian carmaker SAIPA made the 5 (badged as the Sepand) until 2000.
Vauxhall Victor FE / Hindustan Contessa
30 years (1972-2002)
We could probably stretch the ancestry of the Contessa back another couple of generations of Vauxhall Victors, but 30 years is pretty good. Do the owners of Contessas, with their early-70s British styling, look down on the Ambassador drivers stuck with 40s British design?
Fiat 126 / Polski Fiat 126p
28 years (1972-2000)
The original Italian-built 126 made it to 1980, but fortunate Polish buyers could get the Polski Fiat version for another 20 years.
Zastava Koral / Yugo
28 years (1980-2008)
Is this car really a Fiat 128? We think the Koral (aka Yugo) differs enough from its progenitor, and has sufficient history of its own, to merit its own entry in our all-time survivors' list.
Volkswagen Passat Mk2 / Santana
28 years (1981-present)
Is the Mk2 Passat close enough to the Mk1 to move the start date back to 1973? We say it's not. As long as the Chinese keep building Santanas, however, the second-gen Passat will keep moving up in the ranks.
Alfa Romeo Spider
27 years (1966-1993)
Will Alfa freaks be proud that this design stayed in front-line service for so long, or splutter about the changes that "modernized" their car over the years?
27 years (1982-present)