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#1 of 40 Class Leaders For their Time
Apr 25, 2010 (10:46 am)
Definitions can vary widely, but my definition of a class leader is a model that, while not best in every area, stands out from its competitors from an overall perspective of performance, driving dynamics, styling, quality, reliability and value. They may even be below average in one category, if they excell in the others. A few of many examples, in automotive history, would be the Models T and A Fords, the Buick Century of the '30s and mid-'50s, the '49 Ford and Mercury, '49 Chevy, Olds and Cadillac, the Hudson Hornet of the late '40s through about '51, the '53 Studebaker, the VW Beetle, the '55 Chevy, '55 Chrysler New Yorker and 300, the late '50s - early '60s Rambler, the '65 Mustang, the down sized '77 GM large bodies, the Camrys and Accords of the '80s - mid '90s, the '88 - around '96 Maxima, the '99 - '08 Acura TL, the second and third generation Preludes, and first through third generation Integras, the '86 - late '80s Mercedes E-Class, the various BMW 2002 and various 3-Series. I'll stop there, acknowledging that I probably missed a lot of great examples.
You may agree or disagree with my definition and examples of class-leading. Please share your knowledge and opinions.
#2 of 40 Re: Class Leaders For their Time [hpmctorque]
by steve_ HOST
Apr 25, 2010 (11:02 am)
1980s-90s Dodge Caravans. Did what VW couldn't with their Bus and created a new class of vehicle.
#3 of 40 Re: Class Leaders For their Time [steve_]
Apr 25, 2010 (11:35 am)
How about the '84-96 Jeep Cherokee and Ford Explorer of the '90s, then? They were far from perfect vehicles, but were real trend setters, nevertheless. Millions loved their attributes, and overlooked or put up with their shortcomings.
#4 of 40 Re: Class Leaders For their Time [hpmctorque]
by steve_ HOST
Apr 25, 2010 (11:49 am)
Ya, with a nod just to Jeep in general for their civilian Jeeps (since I owned a CJ-5 and a Voyager, maybe my choices are a bit egocentric )
#5 of 40 Re: Class Leaders For their Time [steve_]
Apr 25, 2010 (12:03 pm)
Just off the top of my head...
Second Generation GM F Body
1973 Monte Carlo S
First Generation GTI
First-Third Generation RX-7
1984 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe
#6 of 40 Re: Class Leaders For their Time [hpmctorque]
Apr 25, 2010 (1:42 pm)
I will add to that 1902 Mercedes Simplex, 1912 Cadillac, MB W126 and W140, MB R107 and R129 (probably have to consider W123 for its durability and versatility as well), 1930s Ford V8s
#7 of 40 Re: Class Leaders For their Time [fintail]
Apr 25, 2010 (2:54 pm)
How about the 1989 Lexus LS game changer !!
#8 of 40 Re: Class Leaders For their Time [deltheking]
Apr 25, 2010 (4:22 pm)
I don't know if the LS led its class - purely a derivative product from a design standpoint...but is low maintenance quality certainly changed the luxoboat world indeed.
Apr 25, 2010 (4:42 pm)
Add the 1934 Citroen Traction Avant (CV 11 and 15) and 1955 DS. These were really advanced designs in their day. Also, the Chrysler (and DeSoto) Airflows of the '30s. While these cars flopped in the marketplace, they did influence automotive designs, and drew unprecedented attention to aerodynamics in passenger cars.
Must include the original Mini. It featured phenomenal space efficiency, with its then new combination of FWD and transversely mounted engine. It made rear mounted engines obsolete.
How about the pre-war Fiat Topolino, and its post-war successor, the Fiat 500? Might as well add the Fiat 600, which set a new standard for space efficiency by packing as much interior room as the Beetle in a car that was considerably smaller. These Fiats put Italy on wheels. Of course, while not a car, the Vespa made motorized personal transportation available to people of very modest means. Further, these Fiats and the Vespa enjoyed good export sales.
#10 of 40 Re: More... [hpmctorque]
Apr 25, 2010 (6:24 pm)
Good call on the Citroens and the Airflow...they certainly left a mark.
I think the 300SL gullwing with its tubular frame and direct injection also set a new standard.
Something like a 1929 Buick also has significance, for being among the first to carry the ideal of intentional styling and color choices, and putting forward the idea of yearly styling changes simply for the sake of being new.