How the past disruptive auto led to some of today’s most innovative vehicles

National Motor Museum / Heritage Pictures; Porsche; Steve Petrovich/Schuterz LLC; Ford Motor Company; Volkswagen; Daniel Byrne; General Motors 2

Change in the auto industry comes at a slow pace and sometimes at a rapid pace. Here’s to four times in recent days when established manufacturers made dramatic changes—as well as new models that happen to break the rules again.


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National Motor Museum / Heritage Pictures

1986: 959
a race car for the streets

Originally designed for racing, at the time it was introduced, the 959 was the fastest and most technologically advanced road-legal production car in the world, with some versions capable of speeds up to 211 mph. were. It was one of the first high-performance sports cars to be equipped with all-wheel drive, which eventually led Porsche to offer the feature on some of its other models. In the 959s, other manufacturers scrambled to come up with their own high-tech production supercars.

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2022: taikan
An electric sedan with sports car pedigree

Electric cars have been primarily marketed as environmentally friendly vehicles, with performance considered after all. Porsche is meant to change that with its first all-electric sedan, the Taycan, which can travel 225 miles on a single charge. But it’s still a sports car at heart: The fastest version can hit a top speed of 162 mph, and accelerate to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds—compared to almost everything else in Porsche’s lineup. Quick.


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Steve Petrovich/Schuterz LLC

2015: Ford F-150
An iconic pickup cuts down on weight

For the thirteenth generation of America’s most popular pickup, Ford replaced nearly every steel body panel for aluminum, saving 750 pounds and increasing the F-150’s mileage by 12 percent. At first, Ford had to create an advertising campaign to convince buyers of the hardness of the lightweight metal, but it eventually won them over. Sales grew and remained so. The rest of the Big Three, GM and Fiat Chrysler, followed suit, emphasizing efficiency in their own pickups.

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Ford Motor Company

2023: F-150 Lightning
An iconic pickup goes electric

In 2021, Ford revealed the electric F-150 Lightning pickup, becoming the first of the Big Three American automakers to sell an EV truck. Trucks can and do carry as much stuff as their gas-powered brethren, but can also do something they can’t: power your home and job site tools with their own battery power. Both General Motors and Ram have announced new electric pickups to counter this. Meanwhile, Ford is working to double production to meet growing customer demand.


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1997: new Beetle

going back to the future

In 1997, VW boldly redesigned its iconic Beetle, a model whose look had barely changed since it was introduced in 1938. The rear-mounted engine moved forward and the car got a new streamlined body that looked vintage and futuristic. same time. To compete, other carmakers produced their own retro-modern models, such as Chrysler’s PT Cruiser with the 1930s Vibe and Dodge Challenger, harking back to the muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s.

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Daniel Byrne

2022: ID.4
An Electric SUV for Central America

In the German auto maker’s quest to take the EV to the masses, the cross-over ID.4 is the company’s first electric vehicle to arrive in the state.
It’s also one of the first EVs to be widely available nationwide at a price point that a large number of Americans can afford ($40,760, before federal and state tax credits that knock thousands off the cost). Huh. After that a new ID will come. The Buzz Van, a retro redesign, is also aimed at the middle class consumer.

General Motors

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General Motors

1999: Hummer H1
a war machine you can drive in the supermarket

A civilian version of the military Humvee, the Hummer was originally built by military vehicle manufacturer AM General. GM bought the brand name in 1999 and put its manufacturing and marketing muscle on the back of the vehicle. GM renamed the vehicle the H1 and rolled out two companion models, the H2 and H3. Spacious, inefficient and expensive, they became the ultimate SUV-a-status-symbol, before the brand was eventually retired in 2010.

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General Motors

2022: Hummer EV Pickup
An Electrified Behemoth

General Motors has revived the Hummer brand, but with one major change: Unlike its fuel-hungry ancestor, the new Hummer EV will use exactly zero gallons of gas. However, it will take most of a day to charge over a 220-volt outlet. And he is still as much an animal as his ancestors. The Hummer EV Launch Edition pickup weighs in at over 9,000 pounds, which is heavier than the original H1. The fastest version comes with 1,000 horsepower and the ability to rocket to 60 mph in about three seconds.

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