Not many people know that Ford established its German operation back in the early ’30s. Those German Fords were smaller than their US counterparts but had similar styling and appearance. In 1939, Ford Germany introduced the Taunus, an extremely successful model that sold millions in Europe and other continents (via Auto Zine).
The Taunus was named after a river in Germany. It was a well-engineered mid-size family car sold in numerous versions and generations. Like American Fords, it was cheap and popular due to its various features and optional extras.
For decades, Chrysler used New Yorker as its top model for a full-size line. This Chrysler featured a new engineering achievement due to its unibody construction. In those days, most new cars featured body-on-frame construction, which was rugged and heavy due to its limited development potential (via Cars).
Chrysler was one of the first companies to introduce this, which eventually became the industry standard as a result. Prices started just above $3000 and topped $4500 for the top-of-the-line New Yorker models. Customers could get V8 engines with power between 305 and 350 HP.
The least expensive Ferrari is arguably the most fun to drive due to its comfortable interior and folding hardtop. Moreover, it had a turbo engine that delivers 552 HP. Also, the California T is something you can drive in regular traffic.
Prices started at $200,000. California was and still is the biggest Ferrari market, and the company wanted to show its dedication to the customers there as a result. The California T (T is for turbo) is best driven with the top down, but there is a folding metal top behind the passengers in case there of rain (via Evo).
The Yugo was the next big thing after Ford T or Volkswagen Beetle in the late ’80s. Despite the initial success, it was soon discovered that the car was slow, poorly assembled, and disappointing because of its lackluster build. However, the Crvena Zastava (Red Flag), Yugo’s parent company, introduced a model called Yugo Florida in 1987. So what was the problem?
Besides the fact that it wasn’t much better than the original Yugo, the car had a strange name of Florida. Customers wanting a piece of the American dream and getting a Russian five-door hatchback were disappointed as a result (via YouTube).
Dodge noticed that buyers of full-size trucks often don’t need a ton of power and space. Therefore, buyers of compact trucks often required more usability. What was their solution? A model that had smaller dimensions than a full-size Ram. Dodge was right, and in 1987, after the Dakota was introduced, the sales went up significantly (Via NADAguides).
It featured optional all-wheel drive, with good towing capacity and payload because of its new design. The Dakota was the first mid-size truck on the market and was named after the Dakota states. It really hit the spot because it was affordable and usable and had better fuel economy than the bigger models. The Dakota wasn’t the only model on the market, but it was the most successful. Dodge retired it in 2011 with no replacement so far.
This model was introduced in 1996 and named after the town where the Ferrari headquarters are located. As a result, the 550 Maranello marked the return to the formula Ferrari hadn’t used since the early ’70s with the Daytona. Because of this classic design, it had a front-mounted V12, a transaxle gearbox in the back, two seats, and an aluminum body (via Ferrari).
The model was produced for five years and was relatively successful as a result with just over 3000 examples sold. The 550 Maranello featured a new 5.5-liter V12 engine with 485 HP, and it was able to get to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. 20 years ago, those were impressive numbers, but the 550 Maranello is a seriously fast car even today.
The Malibu is one of those timeless cars that survived everything and stayed on the market for decades. It was introduced in 1964 as an entry-level compact model. The Malibu was named after an affluent LA suburb. Ironically, the only people who drove Malibus in Malibu were the help. Over the decades, it appeared and disappeared from the Chevrolet lineup (via Dan Cummins).
Malibu has changed significantly over time from straight-six and V8s to inline fours and hybrid engines. However, the only thing that stayed the same is the fact that this model was always great value for the money due to being an affordable, dependable machine.
This cool-looking Hyundai crossover has decently powered engines and a quick-shifting automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and AWD is optional. Moreover, there’s a big trunk but no third-row seating (via Auto Evolution).
Named after the city of Santa Fe in New Mexico, this is a cool name that is used on ordinary SUVs from Korea. The Santa Fe is not the most riveting SUV out there, however. It’s too bad that the car is not a bit more exciting or off-road capable because of this aspect.
Strangely, the Montreal was never officially sold in Canada. This sports car from Alfa had a significant impact on the early ’70s sports car market. The Montreal was fast, stylish, and exclusive, with a high-revving V8 engine up front. Production was low at just over 4000 copies, making it sought after today (via FCA Heritage).
Although Montreal was never as good as it could be due to the fact it was rushed into production. However, it’s still a great-looking and driving coupe. Its design was the influence for the Lamborghini Miura as a result, making it a true European fastback.
Ford was always a successful brand in the NASCAR championship. When Dodge started moving with specially prepared Chargers, Ford had to react with the Torino Talladega. The idea behind the Talladega (named after an Italian city and NASCAR track) was to take standard Torino and homologate it for the super speedway (via Hemmings).
A total of 754 Talladegas were built in such a short time and many of them were used for racing. In contrast to the extreme Charger Daytona, Ford decided to modify the front and the back of the regular Torino. This approach proved to be very successful and the Torino Talladega won many races.
The Amazon was the car that made the Volvo a world-class name. It was introduced in 1956 and produced for almost 14 years The Amazon was a very dependable and quality-built car and offered decent transportation for an affordable price (via Volvo Club).
It had elegant styling and proved very popular in North America and in Europe. The success of Amazon opened the doors for Volvo to the whole world.
The Tacoma is a mid-size truck that was introduced in 1995 and soon became a popular vehicle due to its compact size, strong engines, and durability. Now in its third generation, the Tacoma is currently sold as a single or double cab model with rear or four-wheel drive (via AutoTrader).
Under the hood are four-cylinder or V6 gasoline engines, and buyers have a long list of optional extras. The Tacoma is offered in several versions and is a dedicated off-road model named after the city in Washington.
The success of the Mustang was very influential and inspired most American brands into offering a pony car model of their own. The Mustang was popular in Europe but Ford wanted to explore the market further with a smaller, European version. This is how Capri came to be in 1969 (via Auto Express).
Designed in the UK, the Capri was a European Mustang named after the Italian island of Capri. The Capri looked great using the “long hood-short deck” formula and semi-fastback styling and had a great stance. However, most Capris were powered by diminutive four-cylinder engines and even the six-cylinder versions were not that fast.
Chevrolet scored big with the introduction of the Colorado line. This compact truck can match a full-size Silverado, minus the big weight and price. Chevrolet is leading the pack in mid-size trucks with its new Colorado. Its ZR2 version is the most influential because it’s a perfectly designed off-road vehicle (via The Newswheel).
ABetter yet, it has the economy of a diesel engine and the usability of a regular truck. Its diesel engine delivers just 181 HP but 365 lb.-ft of torque. That makes the Colorado ZR2 an astonishingly capable off-road machine with excellent fuel economy and towing capacity.
One of the coolest cars named after geographical location is the Maserati Mexico. Introduced in 1966, it was a four-seat GT model with a powerful engine. You can consider it a two-door version of the Quattroporte sedan with similar styling and technology (via Maserati).
The Mexico had 4.2 and 4.7-liter V8 engines. They sent power to rear wheels over five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmissions. Despite it being very fast and prestigious, only 475 cars were made and production ceased in 1972.