When the first Navigator rolled off the assembly line in 1998, nobody expected that it would be such a successful, influential model. It wasn’t the first full-size luxury SUV, and it wasn’t the biggest, but its combination of luxury, style, power, and performance was so captivating, it influenced the industry.
Unfortunately, Ford concentrated on the luxury aspects instead of off-road characteristics. Despite the fact that the Navigator has a capable chassis and engine, it was too heavy for off-road driving. But that is perfectly fine since the Navigator has lots of other qualities.
The original Viper in the early ’90s was what happens when talented individuals with a clear goal want to make the perfect car. Bob Lutz, then president of Chrysler Corporation; chief engineer, Francois Castaing; chief designer, Tom Gale and the legendary Carroll Shelby wanted a model to celebrate their success. However, it had to connect with those muscle cars from the ’60s and early ’70s. Castaing, Lutz and Gale were fans of Shelby`s original Cobra, one of the most exciting American sports/muscle cars they ever built. But the team wanted a modern-day Cobra with more power, refinement and performance to show that the concept of a light, but immensely powerful roadster was still attractive. And thanks to their influence, the team gathered over 80 engineers and designers, officially launching Project Viper.
In 1989, they revealed the Dodge Viper Concept at the Detroit Motor Show. The crowd went crazy over its aggressive, yet elegant lines with a V10 engine. So, Lee Iacocca, Chrysler chairman, ordered the start of production. And the team rushed into building the car for its 1992 release and for pace car duty at the Indianapolis 500 races. Under the hood was an 8.0-liter fully aluminum V10 delivering 400 HP and 465 lb-ft of torque. That was unheard of, so it secured the Viper`s place as one of the most powerful new models on the market. However, the design was like the other prototypes, but the long hood, short rear, and roll bar made the Viper visually dramatic. With a price tag of over $50,000 and 0 to 60 mph times of 4.6 seconds, the Viper beat many European exotic machines. Its performance established the Viper as one of the best-looking, fastest cars of the early ’90s. And thus, the legend of America`s deadliest snake began.
The story of the Ford GT40 is a saga of enormous effort and incredible support. It took a meeting involving several talented people in one place to create automotive history. After a failed attempt to buy Ferrari in the early ’60s, Ford was angry at Enzo for his childish behavior. They decided to beat him on the race track to prove who the real boss was. But at the moment, Ford didn’t have a racing program or even someone to manage it. So, the company looked for outsourcers who could make things happen. They found the base for the Ferrari-beating race car in England. It was the Lola Mk6 that they re-engineered and redesigned. They gave it a new racing 289 V8 engine, turning it into the first Ford GT40 in 1964.
The car didn’t look promising at the beginning, but meticulous work and money transformed the GT40 into a world-conquering machine in several months. Ferrari was humiliated between 1966 and 1969 when the GT40 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times in a row. It was an amazing success and an incredible achievement for a company that never appeared in Le Mans before the mid-60s. The GT40 became an outright legend and a symbol of an American race car by dominating the European racing scene.
The most controversial Mustang introduced in recent years and maybe ever is definitely the Mustang Mach E. Some claim that this isn’t the Mustang at all, and Ford calls it “Mustang-inspired.” But it is painfully apparent that it is a Mustang but a very different one. For those who don’t know, Mustang Mach E is an all-electric, performance-oriented, four-door SUV. The Mach E is all that the regular Mustang isn’t, and that makes it so controversial. However, looking at the interest and pre-orders Ford has collected, the general market seems to be crazy about the electric Mustang-inspired SUV. This is probably the first proper Tesla Model 3 fighter there is, and that alone is impressive.
The Mach E is fast, just like Mustang needs to be. The base version can get to 60 mph in low six seconds, and the top-of-the-line model can do the same in about 3.7 seconds, as fast as the 2020 Shelby GT500. Power is ranging from 266 hp to 459 hp, and prices start at around $40,000.
The Suburban is the longest-serving nameplate in car history with the first model under this name emerging in 1935. But right from the start, the Suburban defined itself as a people carrier in a body style closer to a minivan than to a regular wagon or SUV. During the â50s and â60s, the Suburban moved to a truck platform, benefiting from its advanced construction, tough suspension, and a long list of engines and options.
At the same time, Chevrolet started introducing the all-wheel-drive option for its truck line, so the Suburban could come with AWD, as well. This was the moment when the Suburban became an off-road model. The all-wheel-drive option proved popular during later generations. In fact, it became an almost mandatory option for the famous, long-serving seventh generation, which they introduced in 1973 and discontinued in 1991.
Introduced in 1984, the Cherokee XJ generation was an enormous success for Jeep. It had boxy yet elegant looks, great build quality and lots of useful features. In fact, the second-generation Cherokee was the SUV of the â80s as well as a globally-successful model.
Despite being a modern, comfortable vehicle, the Cherokee XJ retained all the Jeep characteristics like rugged mechanics and a dependable AWD drive train. Also, the engines were great, which helped it claim the title of one of the best SUVs of all time. In some foreign markets, they produced the Cherokee XJ until 2014. And that just shows how good of a car this Jeep was. The XJ is the next big thing since decent examples are hard to find yet people fondly remember this great vehicle.