evolution of cars
Apr 2016

The Evolution of Cars

Before the first car was built in 1885, the primary means of transportation people relied on was either horseback or a horse-drawn carriage. At that time, the thought of traveling at a speed of a mile per minute seemed unimaginable, even with the advent of the first motor-powered vehicles.

The first cars, referred to by many as horseless carriages, closely resembled those that were pulled by horses. That’s basically what these 19th century cars were. Take a carriage or a wagon, add a motor and a steering mechanism to it and you had a car.

Mile Per Minute Barrier
As the popularity of cars began to increase, people began to find ways to make them faster and more comfortable. The first pneumatic tires came about just 10 years later in 1895 and were introduced by Michelin.

A significant event in the evolution of cars came about in 1899 with the first car to break the mile per minute barrier. It was an electric car with a round body and a cone-shaped nose that resembled a giant bullet on four wheels.

Mass Production
One of the biggest moments that affected the history of cars in America was when Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company in 1903; the ability to mass-produce cars was introduced. During the first year of production, 1700 vehicles were produced. By 1908, cars had begun to increase in size with the introduction of the Ford Model-T, often referred to as the Tin Lizzie.

While it was nothing fancy by today’s standards, it was very innovative by early 20th century standards. With an enclosed motor compartment in front of the vehicle and an enclosed passenger section behind, it had doors, a top, a windshield and headlights. These vehicles had come to look less like a horseless carriage and had begun to take on an appearance of their own.

Cars To Enjoy
In 1933, another item became available in passenger cars for the first time. It was the in-car radio produced by brothers, Paul and Joseph Galvin. This was a significant addition, because cars were beginning to become something to enjoy and were more than just a means of getting from point A to point B.

By the 1940s and 50s, cars were larger and more powerful, with V8 engines becoming widespread. Ten years later, things like power steering and power brakes began to be standard, as well as air conditioning. While these old cars are valuable as collector’s items, you will be glad for some of the more modern conveniences the next time you get into a car operated by LA City Cab.

Cars Throughout Time
Cars have evolved to where they are today as new technology became available and people’s preferences changed. Here are some examples:

  • 1885 Benz – Designed by Karl Benz. This car had three wheels and its appearance resembled a modified horse carriage.
  • 1902-1924 – Stanley Steamer. The early models of these cars had wooden bodies with steel frames and were powered by steam engines. One of them set a record of 127 mph in 1906 for the fastest mile in an automobile.
  • 1940s – By the 1940s, cars tad taken on a more massive look. Cars that were popular during that time that are no longer made today include Hudsons and Packards.
  • 1950s-1960s – Sport cars became popular during this time, beginning with the introduction of the Corvette and Thunderbird in the 1950s. Both of these cars were two-seaters, and the Corvette continues to be that way today.
  • 1980s – As fuel economy began to be a priority, the size of many large cars began to be scaled back. One example is the Chevrolet Caprice. Compare the size of the mid-70s models with that of the early 80’s.
  • 2000s – Cars are more aerodynamic in appearance and often incorporate alternate energy sources. For example, the Toyota Prius hybrid and the Nissan Leaf electric.


We’ve come a long way since the first car was introduced to the world. Who knows what the future holds?

27 Apr, 2016    |  0 Comments

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