This is not a list of the greatest cars ever made. No, it's a list of ten cars that are too historically important for any enthusiast not to know.
BMW's New Class sedans were really the first car that let buyers have their cake and eat it too with great performance and reliability. While it arguably wasn't the first sports sedan (that'd probably be the Alfa Romeo Giulietta), it did set the template, especially in 2002tii form.
Suggested By: Green Pig, Photo Credit: BMW
When this car debuted in 1955 there was nothing else like it, both technologically and stylistically. It had one of the first hydraulic suspension systems which set new standards for comfort, a streamlined body shell, four-wheel disc brakes, and a host of other innovations. In a way, it was one of the first truly modern cars.
You love your Miata? Thank the MG TC. I'll let Patrick Frawley explain why this car paved the way for the modern sports car:
"This spindly little wood-framed roadster introduced sports car culture and road racing to the United States. Most of the cars at the first postwar road race at Watkins Glen in 1948 were TCs. The generation of American drivers that dominated racing in the Fifties and Sixties - Phil Hill, Carroll Shelby, Richie Ginther - got their start in TCs.
On a twisty road it would simply run away from anything produced by an American company regardless of power output.
Much of what we hold dear as enthusiasts was defined by the TC. Its influence is simply immeasurable."
The '32 Ford was the first time an affordable car was sold with a V8, thereby creating the template for American cars that lasted for decades, and establishing hot rod culture.
Suggested By: reverberocket is nipping the apex..and gently blowing in it's ear./472CID, Photo Credit: Alden Jewell
Back in the 1960's the emerging Japanese car industry wasn't taken seriously, but the achingly gorgeous 2000GT changed that view. Toyota proved that they could make a car that could easily hang with the best of what Europe had to offer.
Suggested By: POD, Photo Credit: Toyota
The Miura isn't the quintessential Lamborghini the way the Countach is, but it did establish the supercar genre. It remains one of the most stunning cars ever produced.
What could I possibly say about the Beetle? It's the most-produced single car of all time, and all things to all people. An elegantly simple design that stood the test of time and formed the foundation for one of the greatest sports cars, the Porsche 356 and later, 911.
This humble WWII truck was the first 4x4 vehicle to be sold to the public en masse, paving the way for modern SUVs as well as copycats like Land Rover, and the Toyota Land Cruiser. Beyond being an excellent workhorse, the Jeep has become a cultural icon which Chrysler is still cashing in on to this day!
Let's put aside the fact that the Mini is a cultural icon for just a moment. Let's just consider it's technological importance. It was the first transverse-engined front wheel drive car, which makes it the template for just about every ordinary car you see on the road today. In a way, we've all driven Minis even if we haven't driven a Mini.
The Top Gear fans in the audience will no doubt know about this early Cadillac but for those who don't, allow me to explain – this is the first ever car with an electric starter, and a modern control layout, two massively important innovations.
The Type 53 wasn't popular itself, but the Austin Seven copied the Cadillac and cast the die for all cars to come. Every car you've ever driven owes much to this old Caddy.
Suggested By: reverberocket is nipping the apex..and gently blowing in it's ear., Photo Credit: That Hartford Guy
Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Top Photo Credit: RM Auctions