History Of Cars 1920’s To World War Ii

By Christopher P Clark

The vintage or classic era of automobiles is generally recognized to be the period between World War I and the beginning of World War II. By the 1920s, cars were widely driven by average people, not just hobbyists. The first luxury cars were made by the 1920s. These highly styled designs were indented for comfortable rides, yet sometimes sacrificed space and other practical matters for style.

The modern car, with a front internal combustion engine and geared transmission, had already been developed by the 1920s. During this era, fully-closed bodies began to dominate automobile sales, and more cars began to incorporate a storage trunk behind the passenger compartment. By the 1930s most of the mechanics used in today’s cars had already been invented by one of the hundreds of new automobile manufacturers entering the industry, although some were phased out and then ‘re-invented’ in later decades despite use in this early era of automobiles. Examples include air conditioning and power steering, both of which were first invented in the late 1920s but not used widely until the 1950s.

By the 1930s, the auto industry began to consolidate, and many modern automakers appeared. Chrysler came into existence in 1925, and mergers were rampant, including Bentley and Rolls Royce in 1931.


During the 1920s, The Ford Model T was the most widely seen car on the road, selling 15 million from 1908 to 1927. The next car in Ford’s lineup, the Model A, sold more than 4 million cars starting in 1927; it was the best-selling car of that era by far. The Austin 7, with a production run of 1922 to 1939, was one of the most widely copied body styles ever. The Bugatti Type 35, produced from 1924 to 1929, was the most successful racing car of its era, with over a thousand victories in just five years. The most popular vehicle in the 1930s and 1940s was the 1932-1948 Ford V-8, which set a new standard for high-performance mainstream vehicles and dominated the market during its production run.

Many are surprised to learn that the Volkswagen company started producing the Beetle back in 1938. Volkswagen was developed by the Nazi regime as the Company for the Development of the German People’s Car. Perhaps surprisingly, it outlasted the Nazi regime in Germany. This car was known for its efficient design and low price, and the model persisted until 2003, an amazing production run, with very minimal design change.

Just before World War II, General Motors released its Oldsmobile with the first fully automatic transmission, a feature that was an instant hit. In fact, by the end of a decade nearly all major manufacturers offered automatics.

During the War, the Jeep was designed as a lightweight all-terrain vehicle for the U.S. Army. Over 700,000 of these Jeeps were made from 1941 to 1945. Built by Ford and Willys-Overland, the Jeep went on to experience continued success in the civilian market. In fact, it would be the first of what became the highly popular SUV vehicle type.

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Source: isnare.com

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