The evolution of cars or automobiles started as early as 1769, by invention of steam-powered cars capable for human transport. In early 1800s – 1806 to be exact, the first cars powered by internal combustion engines running on fuel gas appeared, which in turn directed to the introduction in 1885 of the ubiquitous modern gasoline – or petrol-fueled internal combustion engine.
Cars powered by electricity briefly appeared at the turn of the 20th century but largely disappeared from commonality until the turn of the 21st century, when interest in low- and zero-emissions transportation was reignited. As such, the early history of the automobile can be divided into a number of eras based on the prevalent method of automotive propulsion during that time. Later periods were defined by trends in exterior styling and size and utility preferences.
It can be said that the future of automobiles will focus on those with low and zero emission, which is a return to the beginnings of transportation (e.g. horse powered chariots), only this time with much (many) more horse power.
|Era||Year||Example of Brands and Models initiated|
|Classic / Antique||1890s||Veteran||1889||Panhard et Levassor (France)|
|1893||Duryea Motor Wagon Co. (USA)|
|1900s||1900||Vincke, Germain, Linon and Nagant (Belgium); Fritz Henriod, Rudolf Egg, Saurer, Johann Weber, and Lorenz Popp (Swiss); Vagnfabrik AB, Hammel (Sweden)|
|1902||Olds Motor Vehicle Company / Oldsmobile (USA)|
|1903||Cadillac, Winton, and Ford (USA)|
|Brass or Edwardian|
|1908||Ford Model T|
|1910s||1910||Bugatti Type 13|
|1920s||1922||Austin 7, Lancia Lambda|
|1924||Bugatti Type 35|
|1925||Hanomag 2 / 10 PS|
|1927||Ford Model A|
|1930s||Pre – World War II||1932||Alvis Speed 20 and Speed 25, Ford V-8|
|1934||Bugatti Type 57, Citroën Traction Avant|
|1936||MG T Series, Rolls-Royce Phantom III|
|1950s||Post – World War II||1948||Morris Minor|
|1967||NSU Ro 80|
|1975||BMW 3 Series|
|1980s||1981||Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant|
1. Georgano, G.N. (1985). Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. London: Grange-Universal.