Pivotal vehicles in your countries history

What are some pivotal vehicles in your countries history?

Vehicles that changed vehicle history.

What vehicle and how?

Here in the US, one pivotal vehicle was/is the original Ford Taurus.

I can remember being a pre-teen looking at Tauruses back in the day…especially the wagon versions…thinking that they looked so damn cool, space aged almost. This is from a Ford hater by the way.

In MY world at the time, every other car design was full of angles and sharp edges. The Taurus was different, totally different, it introduced curve after curve after curve…and then you had the WAGON, which looked super cool…IMO at least.

It took about 2 years after that before the rest of the auto industry in the US started to play catch up, design-wise.



Volvo PV444, the first Swedish car to reach some kind of mass production and that put mr Average on wheels in this country.

SAAB 99 Turbo, not the first turbo car but still the one that spawned the turbo revolution.


Each of these cars was (or still sorta is, for the last one) massively popular in Poland.

FSC Żuk - powered the Polish economy for decades. Sometimes humorously called “Żuk krul druk” (intentionally incorrect spelling) - “Żuk king of the roads”.

Fiat 125p - brought a lot of western tech into the Polish car industry and served as the default platform for the next 30 years. “Kanciak” (boxy, angular one), “Kredens” (dresser, sideboard).

Fiat 126p - the first car that most of the people could get, it motorised Poland and served as a background in many vacation memories. “Maluch” (little one, kid), “Kaszlak” (cougher).

VW Passat B5 1.9 TDI - cemented the Polish love for diesels and might be one of the sources of VW’s popularity to this day here. The stereotypical car of a Polish driver. “Pasek” (meaning unimportant), “Passerati”.

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Well, would you look at that. I’m the proud owner of such a vehicle. There was once a time where brazil was forced by both manufacturer matrixes and the government to produce vehicles coming from the matrix design centers. Mind you, that was a time where Brazil was under a military curfew, and the only manufacturers allowed to be here were VW, GM, Fiat and Ford. All the others were “brought” (threatened to leave) and new ones couldn’t enter the country. This all changed when Marcio Piancastelli was able to convince VW of Brazil to release their first GT, and the first brazilian designed VW, the SP1/SP2

But that was still a low production volume car, the majority of the people only ever saw it on ads. Until he used the recognition he gathered to design and release the first popular, mass produced brazilian VW, and being a designer at heart, it was a piece of modern art on wheels

The Brasilia was designed to receive both a longitudinal front engine FWD drivetrain from the Passat, or the floorpan and engine from the Karmann Ghia in RR configuration. In the end, the FWD approach was never released. It had more internal space than any popular car at the time, while being 17 cm shorter than the Beetle, all on the overhangs, the wheelbase is still the 240mm one from all aircooled VWs. Big windows mean great visibility and natural light, and the ease of maintenance of the Beetle. It sold like hot cakes, going against Ford’s Corcel, witch grow in it’s second generation and was not a popular car anymore, Fiat’s 147, wich was released in the middle of Brasilia’s life and was less spacious, but better at fuel, and Chevrolet’s Chevette, witch sold more than it mainly because it had several versions, while the Brasilia was only a hatchback. It also was cheaper than the Chevette because it had a rear door that opened to the inside of the car, so it was considered by law as a wagon, and thrus, received a work vehicle subside from the government. Because of that, it is called in the feminine pronoum, a Brasilia, instead of o Brasilia, because wagons use the feminine in portuguese. It was for Brazil what the Golf MK1 was for the rest of the world, the start of the modern era of the hatchback. Even today’s VW language can be traced from it, excluding the very last cars, that use VW’s global design language. And it still foundly remembered by most of Brazil’s society as a cultural icon, specially if it is yellow, as in the 90’s, the nationwide popular music band Mamonas Assassinas used one as their mascot. Unfortunally they all died on a plane crash.

btw that’s a Fiat Uno bumper forced on it, and it’s the least weird part on that car.

All of this has no relation on why I own an yellow Brasilia, as you usually don’t get to choose your hand-me-down first car. I was lucky I guess.

Fun fact: (Fact? no, not a fact). I’m pretty sure Piancastelli saw a VW 412 in germany, and said something like: Let’s rearrange this trainwreck of a car’s design elements into something actually harmonic and boom the Brasilia was born. Though he never said anything about the 412.


Probably the most pivotal vehicle of British motoring history, is the original 1959 Austin Mini. Designed by Alec Issigonis, it was one of the first mass produced vehicles to use a transverse front-engine, front-wheel-drive drivetrain.

Even though it had the ~50hp Austin A-series naturally aspirated inline-4 powering it, the four wheels placed at the extreme corners of the car, made it extremely nimble, coining the phrase “go-kart like handling”. The first person to see the potential of it for motorsport was one John Cooper. He tuned the A-series engine and sent it on a jaunt into the world of rallying and the British Touring Car Championship. Racing against larger, RWD opponents, the small, plucky little FWD box would monster them through the corners due to that “go-kart like” handling, and in the snowy hills of Monte Carlo, took first place three times: 1964, '65 and '67. This cemented it as a British motorsport icon.

However, back on the public road, the success of the Mini kept on coming. The small size of the car menat that it was incredibly easy to park, and the configuration of the driveline and wheel placement, meant that there was still enough room inside for a family and all their luggage. The cheap price also made it very affordable for most families at the time, and the British public gobbled them up, with BMC having produced 5,387,862 original shape Minis, until BMW took over the nameplate in the new millenium.

The Mini was also immortalised in cinema. the 1969 film The Italian Job, saw 3 minis in red, white and blue play a starring role in the climax car chase at the end of the film. They darted through the alleyways, streets and tunnels of Turin, in ways no other car could’ve accomplished, once again thanks to their small size and nimble handling.



The Yugo might not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking about pivotal vehicles in history. But, in its home country of Yugoslavia, the Yugo brought access to personal transportation and a useful machine to go to the market and return home. Even though the Yugo wasn’t considered immensely reliable in other countries, The little 70s Fiat engine was not the most economical but was very simple to repair which allowed the car to be fixed at home rather than at the local mechanic shop. Yes, The Yugo will always be considered bad by Americans for being too simple, but in Yugoslavia, the Yugo provided a simple and effective transport solution for Yugoslavian citizens and continues to fulfill that role today. The Yugo has appeared in media too, most notably in Die Hard 3 where a brown GV model was used for a short time, and in the film Cars 2 (Where it was spoofed as a “Hugo”) and in Cars 3 as a background car.


Seat 600, the most common “family” car from about the 60s, almost every car you saw on the streets and roads of Spain, it’d be either this or some kind of Pegaso/Avia truck.

Then, if we move a bit further on the timeline, around the 70s, the almight Fiat/Seat 124. This would continue to be used as a family car, although this started to get used more in racing and motorsport in general due to the improvement in economical situation of the country at the time and the driving dynamics of the car itself.


Alright, France… Which one do I start with?

Citroën Traction Avant


The one that shown what a modern car will technicaly be.


Front drive, independent suspension all around, monocoque body, 2 liter 4cyl engine.
Not the first to do that but the one that had it all!

Citroën DS 1955/1976


What do I start with?

First, this car was ferouciously spied by the Auto-Journal magazine and its secrets were drop-fed and Citroën did legal actions to fight the publication and to find who leaked in the company.

Link to this story : ENGLISH – Citroën DS Archives: the text of the 1955 Auto-Journal scoop – Design – actualité – archives

In 1955 this situation was unheard of, car journalism was rather courtesan back then

The styling was on a another planet compared the Ponton looking Peugeots and Mercedeses.


And see the equipment: Automated manual transmission, Active suspension, Power discs brakes, Power steering, Crumple zone,The motor goes under the car if crashing and Plastic windows!


Even the car, being a machine, was human! It raised, lowered, ticked and hissed! It was alive!! So alive that an old woman called the preist because she thought the car was possessed by the devil!!

When it was working it was alive, when it broke down ( which it did quite a lot at the beginning) it still was sort of human because of cost cutting measures! Citroën got rid of the O-ring on the fittings of the hydraulic system and on top of that you add the corrossiveness of the synthetic liquid (LHS) used at first.

So, walking to your car for your morning commute, you find your car has sliced its veins, a blood pool under the car has formed. No more hydraulics,suspension, brakes, gearbox… No more life…

It came in an era when France was skyrocketing, unstopable! Nuclear power, France boat, Concorde (did with UK). So everything was possible! It was the 30 glorious afterall

We’ll pass all that’s been added before and after the facelift (engine and equipment)

Renault 16


This is the car defined what the european car would be forever!


It got rid of the gutters on its roof, it had a hatchback ( something new for such a “high end” car back then), it had modularity with foldable rear seats for example!


This car was everywhere and started the hatchback trend for all the non-premium brand, any brand that didn’t have a hatchback sedan would be out of fashion!

Simca 1100 Spécial


This is the first hotted-up compact car, before the term GTi was even created.


With 75hp ( yes 75!) it started the warmhatch war!

This is where it all started, all the other french manufacturers followed with R5 Alpine for example.

The hothatch started with that and it’s a trend we’re proud of even if french cars weren’t always the best it’s a “tradition” ( Megane, 306, Clio, 205 etc…) having an exciting FWD hatch in the range even if it’s not the fastest.

Citroën 2cv

Do I need to present it?


They built their design brief over a survey that defined a strong direction to follow!

All the R&D has been turned toward this car to make it as succesfull as possible which means durable, economical, light and cheap!


Everything has been tried, magnesium frame,aluminium body, acrylic windows, single light, fuel level stick and because they didn’t want to have an electric system they tried to use the back end of a firefly to make it as a light!


This car went on to become one of the most popular car of the country, starting with a 7 year waiting list!


It went through all the difficulties, all the trends all the cultural revolutions of the 20th century and kept its popularity until the end!


Renault 4


Dethroned by the 206 for most sold french car ever, the 4 has motorised the whole country from fireman, gendarmerie, farmers, wine makers… It was the workhorse!


Overloaded when it was new, undermaintained when it was 10 and now it is 30+, young people thrash it now in a Trophy Paris-dakar-esque! That’s quite a life!



Pontiac GTO. It didn’t quite start the muscle car revolution, but it perfected the formula- take a midsized car, firm up the suspension, give it a cool name, and throw in an engine from a fullsizer with a bigger carb.


France is OP, we can’t compete with that!


Just wait for someone Italian :wink:

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A couple of runner ups maybe…

The Volvo PV544, in itself only a facelift of the PV444 and the wannabe 1942 Ford styling was pretty dated when it arrived in 1958, but…

…it introduced the 3 point seatbelt to the market, which one could say have been a somewhat successful invention.

Volvo 240. Yet again, just a facelift (though so very extensive that it could be seen as more or less a new car), this time of the 140 series, but the most produced Swedish vehicle ever, in many export markets the vehicle that formed the whole idea of what Volvo was, and safety features that took some other manufacturers decades to catch up to.

Volvo 850. The first time Volvo released a completely new car since the PV444 was shown in 1944. The most expensive industry project in Sweden ever. The first car with a transversely mounted 5 cylinder. It also had some other interesting inventions like SIPS and the “Delta link” rear axle. By no means a revolutionary car but still important. Also, paved the way for about every new model until the first generation XC90 (the last one before the use of Ford platforms)

Koenigsegg CC8S. The first Swedish supercar. I guess words are not very necessary here.


Wait, there’s more!

I haven’t done the prewar stuff!!

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Prewar french cars is disqualified since they aren’t classified as transportation, but as art! :heart_eyes:


What?? Lol

Edit: I just googled…

@Knugcab bruh if you don’t stop playin lol, those are far from disqualified.

Hard for me to disagree on this one, especially with Volvo having the audacity to enter the estate version into the 1994 BTCC season:

OK, so they didn’t start winning races until they switched to the saloon body style the following season, but it still added some variety to what was already a diverse field at the time.


Given that so many modern sporty cars are coming out now with squared off steering wheels, and the obvious one has already been done with the Mini, I’m gonna have to go with the true British engineering masterpiece that is the Austin Allegro:

Speaks for itself really. Definitely pivotal for the British motor industry.

For steering wheel context:


I’ve never seen one of those but I would definitely love to drive it!!

Always thought they were pretty.

Here in Argentina we got quite an automotive history, filled with “iconic” cars, so I’ll mention just a few of them to keep it short.

I.A.M.E. Rastrojero:

First pickup built in the country, it was the result of the desire of the government to provide a light cargo truck to the lower class to transport agricultural goods. It was produced from 1952 up until 1979 in 2 different generations (get used to this amount of years, it was pretty common here that production runs lasted forever)

Fun Fact: Rastrojero was a coloquial term for something that moves around harvesting waste (“rastrojo”).

Ford Falcon:

The car that moved the middle class of the country. It it a social icon here, and it represents very different things depending who you ask. The first cars were built according to US specs, with many components being imported direclty from there. A few years later a new factory was built to accommodate bigger production lines, integrating more nationally built components. It was produced from 1962 up to 1991. With a ton of different trims and bodies, it filled various roles. From taxi and police car, to pickup and ambulance, to even racecars. Even the military used them (and for that, it also stands for the vehicle that represented the later dictatorships in our country).

Fun fact: there were plans to extend even more the production years with one more generation, but it wasn’t able to deal with modern safety regulations. Who would’ve thought…

I.K.A. /Renault Torino.

This is a special one for national automotive history fans. This is possibly the most iconic car of our country. It was the first car produced entirely in the country that was able to get over 200 km/h. It was built from 1966 to 1981 in two generations. Although the car itself is based on the Rambler American, it was redesigned by pininfarina and completely reengineered in Argentina. The engine itself was also quite a novelty for the country, as it was an HEMI SOHC I6 (either 2.9L or 3.8L). The car had a fairly successful racing history, with many national titles.

Fun fact: Although the car was designed by Pininfarina, his signature doesn’t stand on the side of the car. According to some myths, the manufacturing brand I.K.A. never reached an agreement with Pininfarina about the payment for the redesign, but a copy of the drawings was kept by I.K.A. and later used for production without permission from Pininfarina.