The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and what better way to commemorate this patriotic event than exploring a little American history? Even better is exploring a little American automotive history! In celebration of July 4, here’s a look (in no particular order!) at 10 of the Most American Cars in American History:
Dodge Little Red Wagon: Introduced to the world in 1965, the Dodge Little Red Wagon was a drag racing vehicle known as the first wheelstanding truck. At the time it debuted, it was also the world’s fastest truck! The Little Red Wagon toured throughout the United States, performing at dragstrips and advertising for Dodge. The truck’s operator, Bill Golden, wheelied his way into the Guinness’s Book of World Records in 1977, when he drove the Little Red Wagon for a 4,230-foot wheel stand!
Willys MB Jeep: This U.S. Army truck makes many a list of the “Most Patriotic Cars.” Originally manufactured from 1941 to 1945, this four-wheel drive utility vehicle transported American soldiers during World War II and served as a key piece of military equipment. It’s also the predecessor to the civilian Jeep CJ, recreational four-wheel-drives, and military light utility vehicles. In 2004 and 2005, 1,000 Willy’s Special Edition Jeep Wranglers were produced and released by Chrysler.
Pontiac Firebird: This American automobile was manufactured by Pontiac from 1967 to 2002. Embodying many different versions in its lifetime, the Firebird is still an American classic that’s even been featured in classic American cinema, including Smokey and the Bandit, Starsky and Hutch, MacGyver, and ChiPS. Taking a cue from another American classic, the original Firebird model featured a “Coke bottle” body design.
Ford Mustang: Often a competitor of the Pontiac Firebird, the original Ford Mustang was so groundbreaking that it generated the then-brand-new term “pony car.” With ever-increasing power with each new revision, this American treasure originally cost $2,368 in 1964! The Mustang’s iconic galloping horse badge can be recognized all over the world.
Cadillac Eldorado: The Cadillac Eldorado is another auto that has been featured on “Most Patriotic Cars” lists. Assembled in Michigan from 1952 to 2002, it’s a personal luxury car that spent a lot of time at the top of the Cadillac line in its early years. In 1976, Cadillac produced a special edition of just 200 cars known as “Bicentennial Eldorados.” This patriotic line was white with red accents and blue pin striping.
Dodge Charger: Originating as a roadster-style show car in 1964, the Dodge Charger is a muscle car with a name that matches its reputation. Though many models and generations of the Charger have been created, the early generations were known for speed and racing. Two iconic embodiments of the Dodge Charger in popular American culture are The General Lee, the stunt-crazy car from The Dukes of Hazzard, and Richard Petty’s red, white, and blue #43 racing car.
Bigfoot Monster Truck: Though technically not a car, this massive automobile has become an icon of the great American pastime: monster truck rallies! Debuting in 1979, the original Bigfoot was based on a 1974 Ford F250. The Bigfoot Monster Truck brought us an innovation in automotive technology with its 4x4x4 design, as well as awesome entertainment as it crushed countless cars beneath its enormous wheels.
Chevrolet Corvette: Who doesn’t love a Vette? An iconic sports car, the Corvette has been in production since 1953, having first been manufactured in Flint, Michigan and St. Louis, Missouri before relocating to Kentucky. Vettes are both civilized domestic cars and powerful performers, making them a unique blend of automobile. The Corvette Stingray model has been named one of the most “Made in America” cars.
Chapparal race cars are famous for introducing inventive aerodynamic solutions to racing, including a manually-operated aerodynamic wing, spoilers, and ground effects. These autos revolutionized race car driving as we know it today. Chapparal Cars was an American automobile racing team founded by Formula One racers Hap Sharp and Jim Hall. With the help of Chevrolet and Firestone, innovator Jim Hall turned racing into an empirical science.
Ford Model T: Nothing beats an American original! The Ford Model T is a car that is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, and made driving cars a common form of transportation for the middle class in America. Manufactured in Michigan from 1908 to 1927, the Ford Model T was named the most influential car of the 20th Century in the 1999 Car of the Century Competition, and has become a symbol of America’s early age of modernization.
What patriotic American car would you add to the list?