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The 8 Oldest Surviving Model Names in the Automotive Industry



Some names for car models have endured over the years, with automotive brands reusing the model name for newer versions. See which car model names have lasted the longest!

Some car models were produced in very short period because the sales for them were so dismal that the car manufacturers pulled the plug never used model names again.

But then on the other hand, we still have automotive model names that endure for decades. Car manufacturers obviously had great success with them at the start, and they put the name in succeeding cars to piggyback on the model name’s popularity.

Here are some car model names that have lasted for a very long time.

Chevrolet Suburban

What’s the oldest car model name in the US that you can still find today? If you ever hear that question in a trivia contest, here’s the answer: it’s the Suburban. It’s been used here in the US since 1935. Chevrolet basically used truck frames to build the first Suburban station wagons.

Chevy did use the Suburban name for a GMC truck, though it was technically called the Suburban Carrier. Today’s Suburbans are pretty much everywhere in the US. You can hardly miss them, since they’re among the biggest passenger vehicles available these days.

Ford F-Series

The Ford F-Series is almost as old, since these pickups first appeared away back in 1948. It’s just that Ford only used this naming convention with the 2nd generation of the F-1, F2, and F-3. These pickup trucks are always among the bestsellers in the US auto industry, as they seem to epitomize the masculine American spirit. It’s Ford’s undoubted success, with almost 900,000 units sold in just 2019.

Toyota Land Cruiser

Like the modern Jeep Wrangler, the Land Cruiser from Toyota has its roots from a military vehicle. That’s why it’s known for its rugged reputation of being able to handle just about any sort of terrain. It was first known as the Toyota Jeep BJ, but its name was changed to the Land Cruiser in 1951 as to be more competitive with the Land Rover.

Chevrolet Corvette

The first generation of Corvette first appeared in 1953 with the C1. At the time, it was only available as a convertible, and people had to wait a full decade to get the coupe version. Now it’s 2020, and the Corvette is still going strong in its 8th generation.

For the first time, the Corvette (the C8) has a mid-engine layout. It’s actually almost an entirely different car from the C7 of the earlier generation. The C8 only shares 5% of its parts with its previous counterpart.

Mercedes-Benz SL

One year after the Corvette appeared, Mercedes-Benz came up with the SL. The 2 letters weren’t chosen at random. They stood for Sport Leicht (Sport Lightweight, as it featured a tubular space frame with aluminum in the body.

It may be a less imaginative name, but then the gullwing door in the 300SL coupe really amazed people back in 1954. Then they came out with a roadster version in 1957, and afterwards basically every SL was a convertible.

Porsche 911

Mention 911 and people might think of a terrorist attack or calling for an emergency. But for car fans, these iconic numbers denote Porsche’s iconic sports car. The 911 first appeared in 1963, and it has appeared in the dreams of so many teenage drivers ever since.

It basically offered the sportscar template which everybody else in the industry would follow. The engine is famously set at the rear, and it’s easy to understand the appeal of its compact, streamlined shape.

Ford Mustang

The Mustang has been in continuous production since 1964, and it’s now in its 6th generation. The Mustang name basically started the whole pony car segment of the industry. Ford had estimated that it would sell maybe 100,000 of these Mustangs each year. But that was actually a gross underestimation of its appeal, as it sold more than 400,000 in just its 1st year. Ford sold a million Mustangs even before 2 years passed after the launch.

In 2018, Ford sold its 10-millionth Mustang, and it’s still popular even now.

Toyota Corolla

Toyota launched the Corolla name in November, 1966, and it’s still around. After all, by 1974 it was the bestselling car in the whole world. It wasn’t just a fad either, as it remains as one of the most popular cars ever since. In fact, by 1997 it toppled the Volkswagen Beetle as the bestselling nameplate in the world.

Over its 12 generations, Toyota was able to sell 44 million of these Corollas by 2016.

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