Don’t Forget about the Trail Blazers
No, not the Chevy SUV, but the cars that paved the way. The cars that were deemed the first of their kind and spawned a huge following. While we look at new cars and the amazing things that they can do, let’s take a quick look back a few of the trailblazers that have opened doors:
Datsun 240Z: Prior to the release of the Datsun 240Z, Japanese cars were small, compact, and somewhat ugly. The Datsun 240Z was the first speedy Japanese car to hit American shores. These cars were sexy and fast and drivers loved them. The Datsun 240Z paved the way for other gorgeous Asian cars like the Scion FRS, the Nissan Skyline, and the Toyota Celica.
Oldsmobile Rocket 88: There may be some discussion about the original muscle car, the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 pops up on a number of lists (along with the Hudson Hornet). This car was produced in 1949, many years before the muscle car phenomena of the 1960s and 70s, but it was the first car to be loaded with a big V-8 engine. Thanks to the Rocket 88, we have the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, and all of the other tough beauties that are happy to be called muscle cars.
Willy’s Jeep Wagon: This heavy duty transportation vehicle is responsible for the SUV craze. Back in the 1940s, the Willy’s Jeep Wagon was actually advertised as a utility vehicle. While this original SUV was more industrial in design than the SUVs we love today, it led the way for the Jeep Wagoneer, which was the first luxurious SUV – remember the wood paneling – that debuted in the 1960s. The size, convenience, and luxury of the Wagoneer did not reach its peak until the model was transformed into the Cherokee. Now we have Expeditions, Excursions, RAV4, Blazers, Suburbans, and so many more huge options to carry our kids, their gear, our pets, and more.
Porsche 928: This sexy little car is one of the first cars to be given the designation of a “hot hatch” which is the short form of hot hatchback. While hatchback cars have been around since the 1930s, the hot hatchback is a relatively new style dating to the 1980s. The term “hot hatch” began in the UK, so most hot hatches were European in descent. Models that followed include favorites like the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Mini Cooper, the Audi A1 Quattro, the Honda Civic Si, and the Mazda 3.