History of Cars

The History of cars is centered mainly around five extraordinary persons who all played a pivotal role in the development of cars in the last 130 years. They were:

Benz Motorwagen – 1885 – The world’s first Automobile

In 1886, a man named Karl Benz of Germany invented the first ever Benz Motorwagen(Motor Car) which was patented and is the birth certificate of the automobile.


  • The first horseless carriage
  • A little bit less than one Horsepower, it changed the concept of mobility forever
  • First car with iron spoked wheels with hard rubber
  • It had an unique Evaporative Carburetor which was patented

Ford T – 1908 – The First Mass car produced – 15 Million sold

In 1908, Henry Ford of America introduced the Ford T colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie, which was generally regarded as the first affordable automobile.


  • The first automobile mass produced on moving assembly lines, with completely interchangeable parts. One car made every 27 seconds
  • It had a unique suspension system using transversely mounted leaf springs
  • The first global car built by various countries simultaneously. It was assembled in US, Germany, Argentina, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico and Japan
  • It was available in any color as long as it was black

Volkswagen Beetle – 1939 – The people’s car – 21 Million sold

In 1933, Adolf Hitler of Germany, assigned Ferdinand Porsche to design a basic vehicle; capable of transporting two adults and two children at 100 km/hr and the “People’s Car” should be available for the German Citizen for 1000 Marks(or Rs. 935) about the price of a Motorcycle. The Volkswagen Beetle was built and presented to Hitler in 1938.


  • The first car, with an engine in the rear above the driving wheel, to increase traction, so as to easily go on desert sand and ice
  • The car was designed as simple as possible mechanically and had a cute and friendly face
  • Engine was air-cooled, so no costly radiator required and also no antifreeze needed
  • It has unique low cost torsion bar front suspension, patented by Porsche
  • It was the only car built over many years and still in production

Citroen 2 CV – 1948 – Umbrella on wheels – 5.1 Million sold

In 1936, Pierre-Jules Boulanger of France the Vice President of Citroen set a brief of his team, to design a car that can carry four people and 50kg of potatoes at 60km/hr, while consuming just 3 liters of fuel for 100km and travel with comfort over rough rural roads, so as to carry a basket of eggs without breakage, across a ploughed field and the Citroen 2 CV was born.


  • The first car, to be known as the cheapest car on the planet
  • Known as the best engineered car-masterpiece of design
  • Only car which remained relevant and productive for many decades almost 42 years since World War II
  • Air cooled, flat twin four stroke engine, a motor less powerful than a mundane lawn mower
  • Front wheel drive with the engine in the front for better traction
  • Citroen 2 CV had a waiting period of 6 years in 1950

Mini – 1959 – The Minimus (smallest) car – 5 Million(5387862) sold

In 1956, the Suez Canal problems led to an international fuel crisis, Britain had to introduce petrol rationing, car sales plummeted. Lord Leornad, Chairman of Morris Motors, Britain identified a remarkably creative engineer, Alec Issigonis, who was handed over the project to develop a low cost, low fuel consumption car, which was small and light weight and the Mini was born.


  • The first transverse engine car ever made(now Maruti, Hyundai, Honda etc. have transverse engines)
  • The first car where eighty percent of the area of the car’s space utilize for passenger and luggage
  • The first car to have gear box and differential in one housing in the crank case and using same grade oil for all
  • Turning radius of the car was 20 feet only

Each of these genius had some common traits : They were

  • Did not have formal education.
  • Were highly motivated.
  • Were stubborn and were not satisfied till they achieved their objectives.
  • Thought differently.
  • Enjoyed finding solutions.