Car Specifications

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Car Specifications

Abadal Specifications
Abadal was a Spanish car manufactured between 1912 and 1923, and was named after Francisco Abadal. Considered a fast luxury car, it was closely patterned on the Hispano Carrocera and offered in two models. One had a 3104cc four-cylinder engine while the other had a 4521 cc six-cylinder engine. Abadal Specifications >>
Abarth Specifications
Successful in hillclimbing and sports car racing, mainly in classes from 850cc up to 2000cc, competing with Porsche 904 and Ferrari Dino. Hans Herrmann was a factory driver from 1962 until 1965, winning the 500km Nürburgring in 1963 with Teddy Pilette. Abarth Specifications >>
AC Specifications
AC Cars Ltd was originally a Company formed for the manufacture of a three-wheeled delivery van, the 'Auto-Carrier’ - hence the enterprise's initials. The original Company was formed in 1904, and until the outbreak of WW1 the tricyles were built as "motorised rickshaws" for Far Eastern markets, as military vehicles, and also as the two-seater "AC Sociable" for private motoring. AC Specifications >>
Alfa Romeo Specifications
Born from a factory built by Alexandre Darracq near Milan to build cars out of French supplied parts, the struggling concern was taken over by Anomima Lombardo Fabbrica Automobil in 1909. It quickly established itself as a major sports car manufacturer when Nicolà Romeo joined in 1915. Alfa Romeo Specifications >>
Allard Specifications
Founded by Sydney Allard who, before World War II, had spent much of his time building highly powered sports cars using Ford V8 engines. Best known for the 1949 J2 which used a 3.2 litre Mercury derived engine, the company was not able to compete with the cheaper sports cars being manufactured by Jaguar, and from 1960 became the manufacturer of Shorrock supercharges. Allard Specifications >>
Alvis Specifications
Founded in 1919 by T. G. John, and started out making the rather mundane side-valve 10/30. Alvis enjoyed a successful period between 1920 and the outbreak of war, and was considered at the time a worthy competitor to the likes of more famous marques such as Bentley. Alvis Specifications >>
AMC Specifications
Formed from the merger of Nash and Hudson, using the Nash Rambler as its platform to regain market share. The marque would follow up with some suprisingly good models, such as the 1959 V8 Ambassador and sporty Javelin. AMC Specifications >>
Amphicar Specifications
Short lived German manufacturer that thought outside the square, manufacturing around 4500 of the rather odd amphibious vehicles. The majority (some 3700) were exported to the USA, the remainder being sold in Europe. The marque now has a strong following given the rather peculiar nature of the car, and of course it's scarcity today. Amphicar Specifications >>
Aston Martin Specifications

Prestigous British marque plagued by financial mis-management. Built its first road going car in 1923, then went into receivership in 1924. Rescued by engineers Renwick and Bertilli, the cost of their racing programme would see the company founder again in the early 1930's. Two more ownership changes did not progress things much, until David Brown took control in 1947. Aston Martin Specifications >>

Auburn Specifications
Established by brothers Frank and Morris Eckhardt in 1900, their new company took its name from the town of Auburn, Indiana, USA. The company started out making horse drawn carriages; three years later they decided to try their hand at the manufacture of a single-cylinder chain-driven car, known as the Runabout. Auburn Specifications >>
Audi Specifications
Founded by August Horch following his fall out with partners at the company already bearing his name, Audi being the literal German translation of his own name. Manufactured some successful competition cars before concentrating on trucks during World War 1. DKW would take a controlling share 1928, Audi then manufacturing small cars. Audi Specifications >>
Austin Specifications
Formed by Herbert Austin and Frederick Wolseley who joined togther as partners, the company began making largish and popular cars such as the Ten and Twenty. Rose to prominance with the cheap and cheerful but very robust Seven, following up with the ingenious Mini. Went into a slow but unstoppable decline after the takeover by British Leyland. Austin Specifications >>
Austin Healey Specifications
Donald and son Geoffrey Healey partnered to build a sports car based on Austin components, having experience building such cars with components from Riley, Nash and Alvis. Austin agreed to provide components from the A90 Atlantic, however the Healey design could not have looked more different. Austin-Healey Specifications >>
Auto Union Specifications
Founded by Jorgen Skafte Rasmussen in Saxony after studying Engineering in Mittweida. By 1904 he had set up an apparatus engineering company, and in 1916 began experimenting with steam-driven motor vehicles. Although these experiments did not lead to any specific product, they yielded the company name and trademark DKW, derived from the German words for "steam-driven vehicle" (Dampf Kraft Wagen). Auto-Union Specifications >>
AWZ Trabant Specifications
East German car-maker made up from an ensemble of manufacturers that found themselves on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain following the war. Started out producing cheap (but not so cheerful) two cylinder air-cooled iterations based on pre-war DKW designs under the brand "IFA", a national group that featured all the automotive and motorcycle brands in the German Democratic Republic. AWZ-Trabant Specifications >>
Bentley Specifications
Founded by Walter Owen "WO" Bentley who started out modifying the French DFP cars before deciding he could do much better. For a decade Bentley was responsible for manufacturing large, exotic, fast and very expensive motor cars. The company collapsed in 1925, recovered for a time and then collapsed again in 1931. Bentley Specifications >>
BMW Specifications
BMW started with the manufacture of Aero Engines, then turned to car manufacture, and then motorcycles. Took over the Dixi concern, who were manufacturing Austin Sevens under licence, slowly expanding its range, the majority featuring a glorious 6 cylinder engine. Concentrated on motorcycle construction during the war, then from the ruins choose to manufacture exclusive and expensive limousines. BMW Specifications >>
Bolwell Specifications
Founded by Campbell, Winston and Graeme Bolwell, with the idea of building low volume high performance sports cars. Each brother developed their own design through the 1960's, in the main using parts salvaged from pre and post World War II wrecks. Bolwell Specifications >>
Bond Specifications
Founded in 1948 by Lawrie Bond, the company was originally known as Sharps Commercials Ltd, until it changed its name to the more familiar Bond Cars Limited in 1965. The company is best known these days for the manufacture of cheap utalitarian 3 wheel iterations, the first of which was to roll off the production line in 1949. Bond Specifications >>
Borgward Specifications
Founded by Dr. Carl F.W. Borgward - a fitter and turner who, after surviving World War 1, would purchase a small manufacturing business and transform it into an automotive component manufacturer of both radiators and fenders. The company’s first true automobile would be the 1924 200cc 2-stroke “Blitzkarren” delivery vehicles, which led to the more successful “Goliath” light commercials. Borgward Specifications >>
Bristol Specifications
Bristol Cars Ltd have an esteemed reputation as low volume manufacturers of superbly made, prestigious cars. It is a reputation that was justly earned in the company's very early days and is one that has remained with them ever since. The Car Division of the Bristol Aeroplane company was formed in 1945 after a link up with the company AFN (Archie Frazer Nash) who were before the war, the importers of BMW cars. Bristol Specifications >>
Bugatti Specifications
Founded by Ettore Bugatti, a gifted engineer who had manufactured his own 4 cylinder engine by the age of 20. The Milanese Bugatti would work for an array of leading European manufacturers, including Benz, before starting the manufacture of his own cars in France. His first car was a design carried over from his time at Benz, and it was not long before Bugatti's began to win races, such as Ernst Freidrich winning his class. Bugatti Specifications >>
Buick Specifications
Founded by David Dunbar Buick in 1903, it only survived one year of independence before financial problems would see the need to bring William C Durant into the company. Durants capital injection was put to good use, the new Buick factory turning the fledgling company into a success story that survives to this day. From that factory was born the "Model C" - almost the most popular car around, 2nd only to Henrys Model T. Buick Specifications >>
Cadillac Specifications
Founded by Henry Leland in 1902, who named the company after the seventeenth-century French explorer who founded Detroit. Quickly established a reputation for innovation, even after being absorbed into the GM conglomerate in 1909. In 1912 the company introduced the Delco electric ignition and lighting system, and the powerful V8 engine was also a Cadillac first. Cadillac Specifications >>
Chevrolet Specifications
Brothers Louis, Arthur and Gaston Chevrolet migrated to the US from their native Switzerland as young men. Having worked for Mors, Louis was able to find plenty of work in the automotive industry, at the same time garnering a reputation as one of the countries leading race drivers. Building his own racer based on Buick running gear, the car would catch the attention of William Durant, founder of General Motors. Chevrolet Specifications >>
Chrysler Specifications
Founded by Walter Percy Chrysler in 1925 by using what was left from the Maxwell Motor Company. Chrysler wanted to compete with General Motors, and so needed to create a range of product lines in sync – thus in 1928 a multi-tiered range would be introduced, Plymouth at the lower end, DeSoto in the lower-middle, then Dodge and Imperial at the upper end with Chrysler being the flagship. Chrysler Specifications >>
Chrysler Australia Specifications
Chrysler was the last of the Big 3 in Australia, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Chrysler distributors had been finding it increasingly difficult to offload the large and more expensive US sedans in the face of competition from the all-conquering Holden, even sales of the Simca were in decline. Chrysler Australia Specifications >>
Citroen Specifications
Founded by André-Gustave Citroen, who possessed the genius for organising mass-production, arguably second only to Henry Ford. Educated at Ecole Polytechnique, France's top technical university, Citroen then had a spell in the French army as an engineering officer and then landed a job as chief engineer at Mors. Citroen Specifications >>
Cord Specifications
Founded by Erret Lobban Cord, a successful salesman who, as a teenager, had traded Model T Ford's around his native Los Angeles. He went on to sell Victory cars at a Moon dealership in Chicago, but his big break came when he was asked to restructure the moribund Auburn company, then in the hands of a receiver. Cord Specifications >>
Crosley Specifications
Founded by Powel Crosley, who had already made his fortune as a radio and appliance manufacturer, owner of WLW the "Nation's Station" and the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. Crosley set up an engineering facility in Cincinnati Ohio, with assembly of the cars taking place in Richmond Indiana (Crosley Corporation) from 1939 to 1942, and then Marion Indiana (Crosley Motors) from 1946 to 1952. Crosley Specifications >>
Crossley Specifications
The Crossley brothers were the first engineers in Britain to build four-stroke internal combustion units, under licence from Otto & Langen of Deutz in the early 1860s. The Crossley brothers engineering reputation was so high that, when the motor agents Charles Jarrott and William Letts were looking for a company to produce a quality British car that they could sell alongside imported Oldsmobiles. Crossley Specifications >>
DAF Specifications
DAF started out building trailers as a family business, however after World War 2 the company commenced production of trucks and later cars, each considered very innovative even by today's standards. For example, at a time when auto transmissions were both complex and expensive, DAF was a pioneer in bringing a simplified auto to the cheaper end cars. DAF Specifications >>
Daihatsu Specifications
Founded to manufacture the combustion engine, by 1930 the company was manufacturing three-wheeled vans. It was not until the early 1950's that Daihatsu began the manufacture of passenger cars, it owing much of its design to the earlier vans, even carrying over the three-wheeled layout and rear mounted 540cc air-cooled engine. Daihatsu Specifications >>
Daimler Specifications
Daimler was formed in 1896 by Fredrick Simms, he acquiring the patent rights to sell Gottlieb Daimler’s 1 horsepower motorboat engines; more importantly Simms was also able to retain the Daimler name. The same year the Daimler Motor Syndicate would enter into car production at their newly established facility in Coventry, soon after garnering Royal patronage when the Prince of Wales. Daimler Specifications >>
Datsun Specifications
Masujiro Hashimoto's prototype was funded by K. Den, R. Aoyama and A. Takeuchi (the first letter from each last name making the acronym DAT). Went into production as a DAT 31 in 1915, powered by a 122ci 2 litre 4 cylinder engine. Concentrated on truck manufacture from 1926, although the Lila light car became increasingly popular, particularly with cab drivers. Datsun Specifications >>
DeLorean Specifications
Founded by John DeLorean in 1973, who was able to persuade the British government to invest more than $140 million in the venture in hopes of stimulating the economy in Belfast. American investors put up another $31 million, among them entertainers Johnny Carson who contributed $500,000, and Sammy Davis Jr., who coughed up $150,000. The rear-engine, gull-winged, stainless-steel car that emerged in 1981 was well received at first and developed a cult following which helped propel it into the "Back to the Future" films. DeLorean Specifications >>
De Tomaso Specifications
Founded by Argentinian Alejandro de Tomaso, son of a former Prime Minister. Was to take over the family estate but political pressure saw him flee to Italy. Passionate about motor sports, he met with the Maserati brothers and raced their OSCA cars until founding his own company in 1959, dedicated to building race cars powered by OSCA engines. DeTomaso Specifications >>
Dodge Specifications
Founded by brothers John and Horace Dodge; the duo began as bicycle machinists working in their fathers Michigan (USA) shop, then moving to Windsor, Ontario (Canada) where they adapted their skills to meet the needs of the fledgling automotive industry. They were particularly adept at the manufacture of intricate automotive parts, their products soon coming to the attention of Henry Ford. Dodge Specifications >>
Duesenberg Specifications
Founded by Fred Duesenberg, an aspiring car designer who had played a big part in the design of the “Mason” automobile in 1906, after which he set up his own racing engine business with brother August. Together, the pair built and supplied their race engines to Mason in 1912, and then established the Duesenberg Motor Co. the following year. Duesenberg Specifications >>
Edsel Specifications
Ford was committed to the Lincoln remaining as the flagship make, and so a decision was made to introduce a suitable competitor for the Oldsmobile. Dubbed the “E Car” (experimental car), the new division set about creating an advanced and highly desirable car that would be readily identifiable and individualistic. Edsel Specifications >>
Ferrari Specifications
Founded by Enzo Ferrari who, from an early age, became entranced with the idea of car racing. After World War 1 he managed to get a job with a small car maker converting war surplus, enough to fund his first foray onto the racetrack at the 1919 Targa Florio. Ferrari would land a job with Alfa Romeo the following year, once again competing in the Targa Florio. Ferrari Specifications >>
Fiat Specifications
Founded as the Societa Anonima Fabrica Italiana di Automobili Torino, the management were quick to decide that Fiat should join other marques on the race track, knowing that success would result in car sales. Success came quickly when, in 1907, Felice Nazzaro won the Targa Florio, the Kaiserpreis and the French GP! Fiat’s first sports-car was the Balilla, a car derived from the small saloon design of the same name. Fiat Specifications >>
Ford Australia Specifications
Australian’s can thank Charles Smith for ensuring the country had a worthy competitor to the ever popular Holden’s of the 1960’s. Prior to 1955, Ford Australia had been assembling British made Zephyr’s, but in 1955 the decision was made to manufacture the Zephyr entirely in Australia. Ford Australia Specifications >>
Ford Europe Specifications
The Ford UK operation began in 1903 with the import of Model A’s, then in 1909 the Ford Motor Company (England) was officially established, an office being opened at 55 Shaftsbury Avenue, London under the chairmanship of Percival Perry. The following year Ford’s first dealership was opened in Southampton, and then in 1911 Ford acquired an old tram factory in Trafford, Manchester, which they converted into an assembly plant. Ford Europe Specifications >>
Ford USA Specifications
Using a converted Detroit factory and $28,000 from twelve investors (among them the Dodge brothers John and Horace), 40 year old Henry Ford began what would become one of the worlds largest and most influential automobile empires in 1903. The original car was the Model A, which morphed into the Model S by 1908, the same year that Henry Ford released the most famous of them all, the Model T. Ford USA Specifications >>
GAZ Specifications
Founded in 1929 as NNAZ when a joint venture between the Soviet Union government and Ford was established. The name changed to GAZ (short for Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod) when the city was renamed after Maxim Gorky. The first car to roll off the production line in 1932 was the Ford Model A. GAZ Specifications >>
Ginetta Specifications
Founded by the Walklett brothers Douglas, Trevor, Ivor and Bob, who built their first sports car based on a Wolseley Hornet. Encouraged by friends who wanted their own replicas, Ginetta went into production in 1958 with the Ford engined G2. Typical of low production British sports cars of the time, it consisted of an open fibreglass body mounted on a steel spaceframe chassis. Ginetta Specifications >>
Glas Goggomobil Specifications
Founded by Hans Glas of Dingolfing, Germany in 1883 to produce farm machinery, it was not until well after World War 2 that the company would commence automobile manufacture. Following the war cheap and cheerful cars were borne through necessity rather than desire, and Glas turned their hand to the manufacture of a scooter that proved very successful. Glas Specifications >>
Gordon Keeble Specifications
Founded by John Gordon and Jim Keeble. The pair developed the Gordon GT in 1959, and like the Monterverdi and DeTomaso, they formula was to fit a large American V8 into a European sports saloon. The original engine chosen was the Buick 215 c.i. (3.5 litre) V8 engine (the engine which would later be developed and used by Rover), a Peerless chassis being used. Gordon Keeble Specifications >>
Heinkel Specifications
Established in Warnemende, Germany by Ernst Heinkel in 1922 for the production of airplanes, at the time being restricted in what it could manufacture by the Treaty of Versailles. Heinkel managed to obtain the services of 3 leading aeronautical engineers, Heinrich Hertel and brothers Siegfried and Walter Genter. Heinkel Specifications >>
Hillman Specifications
Founded by William Hillman in Coventry for the manufacture of bicycles, he enlisted the help of John Kemp Starley (who would go on to found Rover) to help get the fledgling operation off the ground. Such was the demand for bicycles at that time that Starley would soon leave to set up his own business. Hillman Specifications >>
Hindustan Specifications
Set up during World War 2 to manufacture motor vehicles for the burgeoning Indian middle-classes. As part of the British Empire, it was inevitable that ambitious industrialists based in India would look back to the homeland to provide the manufacturing technology and facilities. Successfully established, the company's first product was the Landmaster. Hindustan Specifications >>
Hispano Suiza Specifications
Founded in 1904 by a group of Spanish businessmen, which took over the establishment of a Barcelona car constructor, a certain J. Castro. But why 'Suiza'? Because the designer of the Castro car, produced from 1901 to 1904, was none othher than a young Swiss engineer, Marc Birkigt. Hispano-Suiza Specifications >>
Holden Specifications
Founded by British immigrant James Alexander Holden in 1852 as a leather works and saddler, by 1910 the company would be trimming motor vehicles and, in 1914, they manufactured their first one-off car body fitted to an imported Lancia chassis. The company would go from strength to strength when, in 1917, the Australian government placed an embargo on fully assembled vehicles. Holden Specifications >>
Honda Specifications
The world's largest motorcycle manufacturer did not make its first car until 1963, and even then it owed much of its mechanical underpinnings to the two wheeled variety. Founded by Soichiro Honda, one of nine children from a poor family, he was a gifted engineer and astute businessman. Apprenticed in a car repair shop, got his first chance to actually drive a car during the Toyko earthquake of 1923, then ferrying people and supplies around the devastated city. Honda Specifications >>
Humber Specifications
One of the pioneering British automobile manufacturers. Started out making bicycles in 1867, amoung them the Pennington 3-wheeler. Released their own single cylinder car in 1899, then experimented with front-wheel-drive and shaft-driven DeDion powered cars. Took control of truck manufacturer Commer in 1926 and Hillman two years later. Introduced the larger 6 cylinder Humbers in 1930, but was taken over by the Rootes Group in 1932. Humber Specifications >>
International Harvester and International Scout Specifications
International Harvester was founded in Chicago, at first concerned with the manufacture of agricultural machinery and construction equipment. It came about as the result of a 1902 merger between the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company, along with three smaller agricultural equipment firms: Milwaukee; Plano; and Warder, Bushnell, and Glessner (manufacturers of Champion brand). International Specifications >>
ISO Specifications
Iso was founded in 1939 in Genoa, and was originally concerned with the manufacture of refrigeration units. Dubbed "Isothermos" by its founder Renzo Rivolta, the company moved to Bresso in 1942, and following the war was able to again re-open its doors. ISO Specifications >>
Isuzu Specifications
Isuzu can be traced back to a merger between a heavy engineering company and Tokyo Gas and Electric back in 1918. After the merger, the company built and sold Wolseleys in the Far East. In 1929 they began building their own cars, using various trade names including that of a famous Japanese river, Isuzu. Isuzu Specifications >>
Jaguar Specifications
Founded by William Lyons, bringing new style to Swallow sidecars, then manufacturing a series of special bodies for more common vehicles such as the Austin Seven, the Fiat Tipo 509A, the Standard 9 and the Standard 16. William Lyons joined forces with William Walmsley, naming their new business SS Cars, the most famous being the 1935 SS90 and SS100. Used Jaguar as a model designation for its saloons and drop-head coupes. Jaguar Specifications >>
Jensen Specifications
Founded by Alan and Richard Jensen. It was common practice for would-be automotive engineers to tinker with the ubiquitous Austin 7, but Alan and Richard Jensen went one step further than most, removing the body entirely to fit their own race version to the chassis, at the time the brothers still mere apprentices in the Birmingham motor industry. Jensen Specifications >>
Jensen-Healey Specifications
The Jensen Healey promised so much, yet delivered so little. Disappointing when you consider that the car was born from such a fine pedigree. After all, the impressive Jensen FF was the world’s first production car to use a four-wheel-drive system, and was widely regarded as an engineering masterpiece. Jensen-Healey Specifications >>
Kaiser Specifications
Kaiser started operations in 1945, then known as the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation, being founded by Henry J. Kaiser, an industrialist, and Joseph W Frazer, president of the Graham-Paige Corporation. Both recognized that, following the end of World War 2, there would be a huge increase in the demand for automobiles. Kaiser Specifications >>
Lada Specifications
Lada was set up in 1970 with help from Fiat which was also instrumental in establishing FSO in Poland. A new factory was built at Togliattigrad, west of Moscow, and production commenced of a Soviet version of the ageing Fiat 124, although the Lada iteration did make some concessions to the harsh Russian conditions it would operate in, particularly with the use of thicker steel. Lada Specifications >>
Lamborghini Specifications
Founded by Ferruccio Lamborghini, born April 28, 1916 in a small Italian farming village, Renazzo di Cento, Ferrara. Even as a small child Lamborghini displayed a keen aptitude for anything mechanical. During World War 2 he was drafted into the Italian services where he repaired vehicles. Lamborghini Specifications >>
Lancia Specifications
Founded by Vincenzo Lancia who launched the popular Lambda at the Paris and London car shows of 1922. Lancia would pass in 1937, but not before overseeing the continued improvement of the Lambda, and leaving behind the wonderful Aprilia saloon. After World War 2 the company hired Vittoria Jano, an ex Alfa Romeo designer. Lancia Specifications >>
Land Rover Specifications
The Series I Land Rover was released at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show, a solid workhorse that would quickly garner a loyal following of devotees with its rugged no-nonsense style and ability. The original 80” wheelbase would be extended to 86” in 1954, later the 107” making it an attractive proposition as an agricultural workhorse. Land Rover Specifications >>
Lincoln Specifications
Lincoln was founded in 1917 by Henry M. Leland after his departure from Cadillac. Initially set up to manufacture Liberty aircraft engines for the war effort, after the war Leland set about re-tooling the factories to facilitate the manufacture of up-market vehicles. Lincoln Specifications >>
Lotus Specifications
Founded by the late Colin Chapman, one of the greatest innovators of motorcar design. Chapman started out designing and building specials based on the ubiquitous Austin Seven, however his motoring prowess would soon see him emerge to control a Grand-Prix racing team, among many other accomplishments. The first Lotus was manufactured in the English winter of 1947-1948, while Chapman was still studying for his engineering degree at London University. Lotus Specifications >>
Maserati Specifications
Founded by five Maserati brothers involved in the racing of both cars and motorcycles. Alfieri, Bindo, Ettore, Ernesto and Mario made up the Maserati dynasty, tragically sixth brother Carlo died in 1910 and there was even a seventh brother that died at birth. In 1926 the five brothers built their first 1.5 litre racer, and soon after Alfieri had a class win in the Targa Florio. Maserati Specifications >>
Matra Specifications
Matra started out as an aeronautical engineering contractor, which in 1964 took over the René Bonnet sports cars. The Djet would be sold as a Matra, and within 3 years the company would switch production to their new factory at Romorantin, where it launched the M530. This beautiful coupe was powered by the Ford V4 engine, but the lack of a proper dealer network with which to sell the M530 would deprive the car of the success it deserved. Matra Specifications >>
Mazda Specifications
Mazda is one of the great success stories of recent automotive history. While car manufacture did not begin until 1960, the Hiroshima based Toyo Cork Kogyo company had been in existence since 1920, concerned with the manufacture of motorcycles, machine tools and drilling equipment. Mazda Specifications >>
Mercedes-Benz Specifications
Karl Benz's created the world's first car in 1885. Benz was to start out working as a carriage builder and at a stationary engine manufacturer, where he quickly thought it a good idea to combine the two to make a better mode of transport. It would take him 5 years, and a couple of partners (allowing him to concentrate on his engineering) to see the first Benz tricycle reach limited production. Mercedes-Benz Specifications >>
Mercury Specifications
The initial success of the Ford empire was clearly due to Henry Ford’s decision to keep things simple, in design, application and model line-up. But by the 1930’s competition was forcing Ford to do a major re-think of this strategy, and a move to a more up-market offering would also require the establishment of a different division, a brand that offered clear differentiation from Ford. Lincoln catered to the top tier, but for the burgeoning middle ranks Mercury would take the lead. Mercury Specifications >>
MG Specifications
Cecil Kimber is credited as pioneer of the MG brand after he instigated the manufacture of the Morris Cowley. In 1924 the Morris Oxford would prove valuable as a donor car, used to form the basis of a small series of sporting four-seaters. Sanctioned by William Morris (owner of both Morris Motors and Morris Garages), Kimber's sporty new car would be dubbed the MG Super Sports. MG Specifications >>
Mini Specifications
An Alec Issigonis masterpiece, the original Mini was born into a time of rising fuel prices and austere mini cars that were far from desirable. Britain in particular had been hit hard by the 1956 Suez Crisis, and the resultant reduction in oil supply led eventually to petrol rationing, something the British motorist had not suffered since the end of the war. Mini Specifications >>
Mitsubishi Specifications
Mitsubishi is one of the largest companies in the world, and automobile manufacture makes up only one part of the conglomerates empire. It was originally established in 1870 as a shipping concern, then became one of the pioneering Japanese automotive manufacturers when it manufactured its first car in 1917 – only around 20 of the Fiat designed Model A would be manufactured before the company decided to concentrate on other endeavours in 1921, including the manufacture of trucks and buses. Mitsubishi Specifications >>
Morgan Specifications
Morgan started out setting up a car dealership in Malvern Link, Worcestershire. Here, and in his spare time, the young Morgan would build his own iterations, one such three wheeled version using a Peugeot engine and independent front suspension. Believing in the genius of his son, Morgan’s clergyman father would finance the establishment of the Morgan Motor company in 1910, then manufacturing the now famous 3 wheelers using JAP engines. Morgan Specifications >>
Morris Specifications
William Morris (later Lord Nuffield) believed firmly in the need to produce cheap cars for the masses. Morris himself started out manufacturing motorcycles, but his attention soon turned to automobiles, and he was determined to make his company a success. The first iteration was the 1912 Oxford, named after the nearby city of Oxford (the Morris factory being at Cowley). Morris Specifications >>
Nash Specifications
Founded by Charles W. Nash, a self made entrepreneur that started out as a farm labourer, then by 1912 had landed the job as president of none other than General Motors. But Nash wanted to be his own boss, and in 1916 he purchased the Jeffery Motor Company with the intention of building his own cars. In 1917 the very first Nash hit the roads, it being powered by a 244ci 4 litre six cylinder engine; this was soon followed by the release of both sports cars and roadsters. Nash Specifications >>
Nissan Specifications
The Datsun name was dropped by Nissan in 1983, timed to aid in an all out assault the company was determined to make on the European market. Nissan purchased a controlling interest in Motor Iberica of Spain, and soon had the company building Nissan Patrol 4x4’s. They then built a brand new factory in Sunderland, UK to build the Bluebird. Nissan Specifications >>
NSU Specifications
Founded by Heinrich Stoll and Christian Schmidt to manufacture knitting machines. Took the name NSU from the first letters in the names of the rivers surrounding the plant in which they operated, Neckar and Sulm. Following the increasing popularity of bicycles, devoted an ever increasing amount of production to their manufacture, first with the high wheelers, then to more modern, ballbearing equipped examples. NSU Specifications >>
Oldsmobile Specifications
Founded by Ransom E Olds in 1897 as the Olds Motor Vehicle Company of Lansing, Michigan, the company began the serious manufacture of cars in 1901, that year manufacturing 425 - not many by today’s standards but at the time it was enough to make Olds the first high-volume car manufacturer of the day. Oldsmobile Specifications >>
Opel Specifications
Opel has its origins in the sewing machine business, where in 1886, and encouraged by his five sons, Adam Opel diversified into cycle production. Adam Opel died in 1895, at a time when the cycle car industry was already suffering a downturn. Opel Specifications >>
Packard Specifications
Founded as the Ohio Automobile Company by brothers James Ward and William Dowd Packard in Warren (Ohio). Deciding not to compete at the lower mass-produced end of the market being then dominated by Henry Ford, the company instead concentrated on the manufacture of more up-market cars. Packard Specifications >>
Peugeot Specifications
Established by the Peugeot family in the early 19th century, then concerned with the manufacture of various industrial products, including the bicycle. In 1890, just 4 years after Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimlers invention of the motor car, Armand Peugeot used Daimlers engine to manufacture his own 4-wheel motor vehicle, based on his quadricycle. Peugeot Specifications >>
Plymouth Specifications
Plymouth was the low-end of the Chrysler range. The name was the brainchild of then Chrysler Sales Manager Joseph Frazier, he using Plymouth Rock for his inspiration – the place where the Pilgrim Fathers first set foot on American soil. Much like the competition, Plymouth borrowed heavily from the parts bin of its parent company, but where it was different was in how advanced those parts were. Plymouth Specifications >>
Pontiac Specifications
Arguably the 2nd most successful GM division, behind Chevrolet. The marque was “invented” by GM in 1926, the name being taken from the town of Pontiac, Michigan, where the cars were built. And as with the rival (Chrysler) Plymouth, the Pontiac’s had almost overnight success, some 200,000 being sold in 1929 alone. Pontiac Specifications >>
Porsche Specifications
The story of Porsche dates back to long before the establishment of the marque, Dr. Ferdinand Porsche playing pivotal roles in so many illustrious marques, such as Volkswagen, Austro-Daimler, Steyr and even Cistalia (the French authorities freeing him after the war with the Italian manufacturer paid them a million francs so that they could secure his services to design a new Grand Prix car). Porsche Specifications >>
Reliant Specifications
Founded in 1935 by T L Williams to take over making the Raleigh 3 wheeler delivery van, a vehicle that Williams himself had designed in 1933, and one that Raleigh no longer wished to make. Powered by a 750 cc V-twin engine driving the rear wheels through a 3 speed gearbox and shaft drive, in 1939 the engine was replaced by Reliant's version of the straight four cylinder 747cc Austin 7 side-valve engine. Reliant Specifications >>
Renault Specifications
Founded by Louis, Marcel and Fernaud Renault as the Société Renault Frères in 1898. Louis provided the engineering expertise, while the brothers concentrated on running the business. Their first car, the “Voiturette”, was sold to a friend of Louis after he took a test ride. Renault Specifications >>
Riley Specifications
Riley started out as a family concern, for many years working as master weavers. With a downturn in trade to both Germany and Austria William Riley, who had inherited the business from his father, decided he needed to diversify, and so in 1890 he acquired the Bonnick Cycle Company. Against Riley’s wishes, his five sons would experiment with engines, and in 1899 the company had manufactured their first powered tricycle. Riley Specifications >>
Rolls-Royce Specifications
Arguably the most famous partnership in automotive history belongs to Rolls Royce. Having acquired a Deauville car, Henry Royce was so dissatisfied that he decided to build his own; somewhat of a perfectionist his first car, the 10hp, ran with unsurpassed precision. It would impress many, none more so than one Charles Rolls, who offered to sell as many cars as Royce could manufacture. A partnership was formed, and Rolls Royce born. Rolls-Royce Specifications >>
Rover Specifications
Founded in 1877 in a partnership between John Kemp Starley and William Sutton, the Coventry based bicycle company would be at the forefront of modern bicycle design. Car manufacture would commence in 1904 with a range of single and twin cylinder sleeve-valve engines, one of their cars even taking out the 1907 Tourist Trophy race. Rover Specifications >>
SAAB Specifications
Saab has a relatively short automotive history. The company was founded in Trolhattan as Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget to manufacture high-performance aircraft before World War 2.  Only after the war would the company make its first foray into automobile manufacture. The first prototype vehicle, the 92001, would be hand built by 17 aeronautical engineers – amazingly only one having a driver’s license. SAAB Specifications >>
SEAT Specifications
The Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo (Spanish Corporation of Private Cars), or SEAT, is a relative newcomer to the automotive industry. Founded in 1950 as a subsidiary of Fiat, a significant share of the company was owned by the Spanish government under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. SEAT Specifications >>
Simca Specifications
Founded by Frenchman Henri-Theodore Pigozzi who had been importing Fiat’s for a time, and realised it would be even more lucrative to produce the Italian cars under license for the French market, thus in 1934 La Société Industrielle de Mécanique et de Carrosserie Automobile, or simply Simca for short. It would become an overnight success by building the Fiat 500 Topolino and 508 as the Cinq and Huit respectively. Simca Specifications >>
Singer Specifications
Founded by George Singer who began manufacturing cars under licence from Lea-Francis, namely the 8 and 12 hp underfloor engined models. The company would soon lose direction upon the death of Singer, finding itself at the mercy of receivers. But remarkably the company survived, and began the manufacture of small but high quality cars such as the three-cylinder Ten. Singer Specifications >>
Skoda Specifications
Started out in 1895 as Laurin and Klement, then manufacturing bicycles. In 1899 they began the manufacture of motorcycles, following in 1905 with the manufacture of the Voiturette automobile. After World War 1 the company concentrated on the manufacture of trucks, but fell on hard times in 1924 following a large fire that all but destroyed their manufacturing facility. Skoda Specifications >>
Standard Specifications
Standard would start out in 1903 producing single cylinder cars, and like most other manufacturers these would quickly evolve into two, three and four cylinder iterations. During World War 1 the company would manufacture a variety of planes, including the much lauded Sopwith Pup and Bristol F.2-B. After the war the company started the manufacture of small domestic cars, for a time locked in combat with Austin. Standard Specifications >>
Studebaker Specifications
Studebaker established a manufacturing facility in South Bend, Indiana (USA) to manufacture wagons. Incorporated in 1868 as the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company by the 5 Studebaker brothers, it would enter the automotive business in 1897, then to manufacture electric vehicles. Studebaker Specifications >>
Subaru Specifications
Started as a small concern for the giant Fuji Heavy Industries, manufacturing a moped named the 'Rabbit' in 1956, followed by its first real car, the 360, a few years later. During the 1960's manufactured the full-sized FE saloon followed by the updated FF Leone coupe. Entered the performance car segment in the 1980's with the turbocharged XT coupe. The 'Legacy' was released in 1989, Subaru once again raising the bar in terms of quality and performance. Subaru Specifications >>
Sunbeam Specifications
Founded by John Marston in 1901, a sheet metal worker who built up the company Sunbeamland to manufacture bicycles. Marston allowed his apprentice Thomas Cureton to tinker with prototype cars, the resulting Sunbeam Mabley of 1901 being a curious cross between car and motorcycle, the four wheels being set in a diamond formation. Sunbeam Specifications >>
Suzuki Specifications
Founded in 1955, Suzuki is better known for the manufacture of motorcycles, although there have been some worthy four-wheeled versions to come from the Japanese manufacturer. Their first iteration was the tiny Suzulite; designed to benefit from Japanese tax laws with its little 21.97ci 360cc engine, it would pave the way for larger, albeit still very small versions. The most significant of the early exports was the 4 stroke LJ80, later renamed Jimny. Suzuki Specifications >>
Talbot Specifications
Originally set up to import French Clément cars into England, Talbot soon began manufacture in its own right. Combined with Darracq and Sunbeam to form STD motors in 1920. Enjoyed success with designs by Swiss born Georges Roesch, credited with the 10/23 model in 1923. STD collapsed in 1935, Talbot and Sunbeam being purchased by the Rootes group. Talbot Specifications >>
Tatra Specifications
Tatra owes much of its success to Hans Ledwinka, an engineering genius who brought much innovation to the marque. His early Nesseldorf car introduced 4 wheel braking and an overhead-cam engine. After World War I the company was renamed Tatra and Ledwinka charged with designing a new small car. The 1923 Type-11 was simple yet extremely rugged, and became a huge success. Tatra Specifications >>
Toyota Specifications
Toyota is the largest car manufacturer in the world, and has been built on a reputation for building good quality cars. Reverse engineered US and British cars, then studied US production methods, the resultant Corolla of 1966 becoming an overnight success. There are, and have been, many models in the Toyota lineup, but it is the Corolla that built the success that the company enjoys today. Toyota Specifications >>
Triumph Specifications
Motorcycle manufacturer since 1902, Triumph diversified into the manufacture of automobiles from 1923. Became extremely popular after World War II with its Spitfire and TR series. Best known for the sporty open-top roadsters, notable saloon models included the Herald and Dolomite. Triumph Specifications >>
TVR Specifications
Founded by Trevor Wilkinson and Jack Pickard, going from the manufacture of one-off specials to series production models from 1953. The earliest examples used Austin mechanicals, but as the company became more and more successful, larger powerplants from other manufacturers were used. TVR Specifications >>
Vanden-Plas Specifications
Originated in Belgium in 1870 manufacturing wheels, then axle units for carriages. In 1884 moved from Brussels to Antwerp where horse drawn carriages were produced, some of their creations being exhibited at the World Trade Fairs. Manufactured components for De Dion Bouton, Berlier, Germain, Packard and others. Formed a company in England in 1913, building bodies under licence from Vanden Plas in Belgium. Vanden-Plas Specifications >>
Vauxhall Specifications
Derived from the Vauxhall Iron Works, which was founded by Alexander Wilson and located in Vauxhall, London. Vauxhall began the manufacture of marine engines in 1857, although Wilson would leave the company at the turn of the century, the encumbant board of directors then required to determine the future direction of the company. Like many, the horseless carriage captured their imaginatrion, and by 1903 the company had manufactured their first car, a single cylinder 5hp. model. Vauxhall Specifications >>
Volkswagen Specifications
Born from the KdF-Wagen, the Beetle would make Volkswagen the worlds most popular car. The 5 millionth Beetle was made in 1961, with over a million being manufactured each year after that. Slowly diversified, with the introduction of the Transporter in 1950 and Karmann Cabriolet in 1949. Volkswagen Specifications >>
Volvo Specifications
Founded by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson with the intention of building vehicles better able to handle the harsh Scandinavian climate. Both came from SKF bearings, this company funding the first production of 1000 cars in 1927. The P120 Amazon established its enviable global reputation for quality and safety. Volvo Specifications >>
Wartburg Specifications
Founded by Heinrich Ehrhardt in 1896, a successful German industrialist who, among other concerns, was responsible for the creation of the the 2nd largest cannon manufacturing facility in Germany (behind Krupp). His new company started out manufacturing bicycles, military transporters, taxi’s and even omnibuses, however the “Autocar” introduced at the 1898 Dusseldorf car exhibition was generally ignored by the public. Wartburg Specifications >>
Willys Specifications
Founded by John North Willys in 1907 after he purchased the Standard Wheel Company. Went from making small runabouts powered by single and twin cylinder engines, to development of the "Overland", the USA's best selling car of 1914 and even overtaking sales of Ford's Model T. Best known for the manufacture of the US military Jeep, for many years the companies only product. Willys Specifications >>
Wolseley Specifications
Established in 1896, Wolseley was one of England’s first carmakers, quickly garnering a reputation for building quality vehicles. The first iteration was actually built by Herbert Austin who was, at the time, the companies General Manager. This simple three-wheeler would quickly morph into a four-wheeler, as did so many at the time, and by 1901 there was even a four cylinder five speed racer in the modest 3 model lineup. Wolseley Specifications >>
Zastava Specifications
Zastava started life as a cannon-casting plant, founded in 1853. They entered vehicle production with the manufacture of Ford trucks, made exclusively for the Yugoslavian Army in the late 1930's. A small number of vehicles continued in production until the outbreak the World War 2. In the early 1950's Zastava would manufacture a small number of Jeeps, however the relationship with Willys-Overland (Chrysler) remained at length, and when the lawyers were called Zastava ceased production. Zastava Specifications >>
ZIS-ZIL Specifications
Zavod imeni Likhacheva, more commonly called ZIL - Likhachev Factory, literally "Factory named after Likhachev") is a major Russian truck and heavy equipment manufacturer, which also produced armored cars for most Soviet leaders, as well as buses, armored fighting vehicles, and aerosans. ZIS/ZIL Specifications >>
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