Some cars hit on a winning formula and become huge successes. They inspire imitators, knock-offs, and tributes. We asked Jalopnik readers for their favorite inspirational car designs, and here are the top ten most influential car designs.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our Jalopnik summer 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!
Photo Credit:Ham Hock, flickr
10.) Ford Mustang
Suggested By: 2Clutch
Why It Inspired Others: When the Mustang hit the market in 1964, it changed the way the American car buying public looked at sports cars. Sure, it was based on Ford's Fairlane and Falcon, but the Mustang added something else to the mix of parts, and became a huge hit. It spawned the "pony car" class, with other legendary competitors like Chevy's Camaro, AMC's Javelin, Plymouth's Barracuda, and eventually Toyota's Celica.
Photo credit: RUD66, flickr
9.) AMC Eagle
Suggested By: The Big Cone
Why It Inspired Others: We're now practically overrun with SUVs based on car chassis, but back in 1979 the Eagle was a revolutionary idea. Today's crossover owes its existence to AMC's Eagle: the vehicle that offered car-like ride and luxury with four-wheel drive stability and the capability for light off-road use. Unfortunately, while the Eagle is cool, most crossovers now seem to have lost its quirky sensibility and are mostly soulless and boring.
Photo credit: Andrew Ciscel, flickr
8.) Mercedes-Benz CLS
Suggested By: LastActionZero
Why It Inspired Others: A few years ago, if you said you wanted to buy a car that had four doors like a sedan, but looked like a coupe, you'd be pretty much out of luck. Luckily for you, Mercedes heard your cries, and rolled out the CLS. Its swoopy styling was a hit, and gave birth to other luxury four-door fastbacks like the Volkswagen Passat CC, Audi A7, and the new BMW Gran Coupe.
Photo credit: FotoSleuth, flickr
7.) Pontiac GTO
Suggested By: Jeb_Hoge
Why It Inspired Others: The Mustang may have whetted the appetites of speed-hungry kids buying sporty American cars, but some wanted more power. Pontiac's Tempest became the unlikely home for the GTO option package, and the Muscle Car was born.
Photo credit: Chad Horwedel, flickr
6.) Audi Quattro
Suggested By: Swine
Why It Inspired Others: When you look at your WRX, Evo, or your Audi S4, you have the Quattro to thank. There were cars before the Quattro with four-wheel drive, but they weren't as fast or as all-conquering on the rally circuit. The Quattro brought four-wheel drive sports cars to the public roads.
Photo credit: The Car Spy, flickr
5.) Jeep Wagoneer
Suggested By: pauljones
Why It Inspired Others: At a time when trucks were rough and rugged machines, meant to haul things or cross unfriendly terrain, the idea of one with creature comforts and luxurious appointments was odd. Now, it's practically a requirement. The Wagoneer could bring the whole family off-roading, comfortably, and then get them back home safe and sound by the end of the day. Today, there are dozens of SUVs that can get the kids to the mall comfortably, but would probably get lost off-road.
Photo credit: Mikael T, flickr
4.) Volkswagen Golf GTI
Suggested By: Avenkay
Why It Inspired Others: The Golf GTI is the most legendary early hot hatch. Take a hot engine, shove it in the front of a cheap city car, stiffen the suspension and add a garish interior, and you've got a formula to sell millions of peppy little cars to teenagers and young speed freaks the world over. The number of other models the GTI inspired is too long to list, but take a look outside for anything with a farty exhaust and five doors and you've probably seen something inspired by the GTI.
Photo credit: Tim In Sydney, flickr
3.) MG B
Suggested By: nst101
Why It Inspired Others: Again, the MG B wasn't the first small, British two-seat sports car, but it was the most popular one. Its influence can be seen every time a Miata rolls by. Or an S2000. Or a Z3. The list goes on and on. These little front-engined, two-seat convertibles bring driving fun to the masses, at obtainable prices.
Photo credit: kenjonbro, flickr
2.) Shelby Cobra
Suggested By: E34IsAnUnderratedE30...ExceptBetter
Why It Inspired Others: Little car, big engine. Who wouldn't want a piece of that? Both automakers and backyard mechanics have been following that formula for years, but the Cobra is the legendary standard-bearer for the bunch. From direct clones of the car's shape and design to completely new designs inspired by it, the Cobra's influence can be seen in dozens of cars the world over.
Photo credit: Me-Here, flickr
Suggested By: Maymar
Why It Inspired Others: It's been said a million times, but the Mini really did revolutionize driving. Its tiny layout, transversely-mounted engine and ability to seat four adults changed the game. Honda Civics, Ford Fiestas, Volkswagen Golfs, they all owe their creation to the Mini. Any way you slice it, it the Mini is incredibly inspirational, and continues to influence cars to this day.
Photo credit: skeggy, flickr