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Classic Cars

Vintage Paparazzi / Classic Cars

Superminis

Once the British-made Mini had shown how large the market was for compact four-seater cars with small engines, manufacturers worldwide stepped in to satisfy demand. With safety legislation becoming increasingly influential, the minis grew into superminis, which were larger, but still triumphs of packaging. Virtually...

U.S. Compacts

It took a long time for U.S. manufacturers to take much notice of the world trend toward small, fuel-efficient cars. Plentiful inexpensive fuel, wide open roads, and for the most part low traffic densities, encouraged the use of large cruising cars. But the 1980s saw...

Boosted Performance

The 1980s was the decade of the turbocharger, transforming the top echelons of motor sport both in racing and rallying: Reliability was heavily affected at first by the increased power output, but soon it became impossible to win without one (or more). As technology sent...

Hatchbacks

Italian designers were the first to introduce rear hatches to compact family sedans, realizing the huge benefits they had in terms of cargo capacity. Previously the style had only been seen on some exotic fastback coupes, but cars such as the Austin A40 Farina showed...

Racing Cars

In the 1970s it became clear that every category of motor racing needed restrictions to power outputs, to prevent cars from taking off at the speeds of over 200 mph (322 km/h)—which many were now capable of. Advances in turbocharging then kept legislators on their...

Muscle Cars

In the late 1960s, U.S. manufacturers were bitten by the high-performance bug. Sacrificing efficiency for brute force, they installed powerful V8 engines in otherwise humdrum coupes, hardtops, and convertibles. Fearsome competition cars, they were also thrilling to drive on the road. The “muscle cars” reached...

Stylish Coupes

The flamboyance of the 1950s and curvaceousness of the 1960s had gone: With the 1970s came wedge profiles, straight lines, and angular shapes. Some cars looked better than others; as so often, it was the Italian stylists who seemed to have the best eye for...

NSU Wankel Rotary

Felix Wankel, a German designer of torpedo motors, came closer than any other engineer to creating a successor to the reciprocating piston engine. His rotary design was small, light, and almost vibration-free. NSU, Curtiss-Wright Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce, and Citroën all experimented with it, but Mazda developed...

Sports Cars

North American safety laws impacted heavily on sports-car design in this decade, often spoiling pretty shapes with big bumpers, and peppy performance with detuned but low-emission engines. The sports car was declining as “hot hatchbacks,” typified by the Volkswagen Golf GTI, drew the attention of...