> The 20th-Century Car
> Symbols of an Era
> The Half-Century of the 600
dijous, 14 de juny de 2007
Although earlier versions date back to previous centuries, it can be said that the motor car originated at the end of the 19th century following engine designs by a number of inventors. During the 20th century the motor industry saw progressive growth, with motor cars soon becoming mass-produced items that were enormously helpful in terms of travel and communications.
It is no surprise, therefore, that some cars have become real cult objects, either because of their performance or on account of their popularity. This has led to collectors clubs being set up and vintage car rallies being held, many of which are quite well known with a great tradition behind them.
Two examples associated with our country are Volkswagen Friends of Catalonia (a club set up in 1983 for fans of the VW Beetle) and the International Barcelona-Sitges Vintage Car Rally which, next year, will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Before we turn our attention to some legendary motor cars, mention should be made of the Barcelona International Motor Show where visitors can see an exhibition of 22 Rolls Royce cars, a symbol of luxury for the last 100 years.
The 20th-Century Car
+ Model T Ford: the first mass-produced car in history.
In 1999, voting took place to choose the most influential car of the 20th century. The three-year process, which invited votes from Internet users, was organised by the Global Automotive Elections Foundation. The winner was the Model T Ford, the first mass-produced car in history. At a price that was within the reach of many, more than 15 million Model T Fords were sold between 1908 and 1927. The next most-influential cars chosen by voters were the Mini, the Citroën DS, the Volkswagen Beetle and the Porsche 911.
Symbols of an Era
The Mini, voted the second-most influential car of all time, was a small car that was to become an icon of the 1960s, characterised by a yearning for more freedom. The Mini was produced between 1959 and 2000 with a modern version being launched in 2001. There are parallels between the Mini and the VW Beetle (one of the best-selling cars ever); both have a pleasing design and both were associated with the hippie movement. Another popular car from the 1960s was the Citroën 2CV, eccentric, object of derision, but still much loved and a big seller.
The Half-Century of the 600
+ The 600 gave mobility to the incipient middle class.
In 1955 the Italian car company Fiat launched its 600. Two years later, in 1957, half a century ago, the first model left SEAT's Zona Franca factory in Barcelona. Tiny, and with the engine in the back, the SEAT 600 was a breath of fresh air offering freedom to Catalans and Spaniards living under the ferocious and oppressive Franco dictatorship. The 600, produced up until 1973, gave mobility to the incipient middle class who queued up to pay the not inconsiderable sum of 70,000 pesetas.
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