Automobiles and Classic Cars

Updated: February 27, 2024
From Karl Benz in 1885 to Elon Musk's Tesla, cars have always been a passion for some. See the evolution of car technology and the types of cars that caught our fancy in the past.

In the 1880's, in an effort to invent an automobile that could be used every day - rather than just a fire pumper or a locomotive for special use - inventors tried steam, gasoline, or electricity as a means of power. We all know that gasoline, or sometimes diesel, eventually became the most common use of fuel. Now we are trying to use other types of fuel but the vintage cars that you find on these pages are mainly gasoline powered so you can find photos of gas stations in this collection as well.

Vintage cars can still be found on the road because many people still have a passion for them - and it's always a thrill when you see a well-restored old car driving by. From an early Mercedes-Benz to a model T to a Corvair, classic cars have varied sizes, shapes, and capabilities. Wealthy people mainly had cars before 1910 but when Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1908, every middle class home could afford a car due to the assembly line and mass production. The "automobile age" was born!

Did you know?

- Ford's widely available 1908 Model T is often misidentified as the first automobile. However, Karl Benz created the modern automobile many years earlier in 1886 with the Benz Patent-Motorwagen.

- The Model T was created before the Model A - the "T" or "tin lizzy" cost $825 in 1908, the equivalent of $21,123.52 today, and came only in black. But by 1916, the price had dropped to $360 - $8,616.37. The last model year of the Model T was 1927, when the Model A was introduced.

- The Smithsonian Museum has a car collection of about 80 automobiles. The museum began collecting cars in 1899.

- More VW Beetles have been made than any other car. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930's, the car went on sale in 1945 - production was delayed because of WW2. 21 million "Bugs" were made.
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