Top 10 Iconic Cars By Decade

Henry Ford started it all in the twentieth century with his Model T: it was the first car many people could afford, the first car that middle class Americans were driving and the first car that was built on an assembly line. But since then, there have been many other memorable cars on the market that speak to the eras in which they were built: from the Cadillac Eldorado, to Ford’s own Shelby Mustang, the Pontiac Trans Am or even the MINI Cooper, the automobile industry is full of unforgettable makes and models. In this video, WatchMojo.com takes a look at ten iconic cars from recent history that represent the decades in which they were made.
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Top 10 Iconic Cars by Decade


If you need to get from point-A to point-B, there’s a good chance you or someone you know has used one of these vehicles. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down 10 iconic and nostalgic cars.

#10 – The 1910s: Ford Model T (1916)

Kicking off our list is the car that finally gave horses a break. Henry Ford’s Model T was the first affordable car, the first mass-produced car and the car that made traveling longer distances possible for the middle class. It looks dated now, but the Model T was futuristic for the time – yes, even with its hand-powered starter crank and fairly ineffective brakes.

#9 – The 1920s: Ford 4 Door Sedan (1926)

By the start of the 1920s, the Ford Motor Company was producing over one million cars a year – way more than the competition. Ford’s 1926 line was labeled “The Improved Ford,” but the link to the Model T was obvious in this 4-door sedan. Aside from important changes under the hood, the ’26 models had thicker tires for more stability, a fully enclosed cab and – gasp! – windows.

#8 – The 1930s: Plymouth 4 Door Sedan (1936)

While the Great Depression raged on, Plymouths sold like hotcakes thanks to their reasonable prices. Referred to as a “value car,” the 1936 4-door Plymouth Sedan was an all-new design from the previous year, with a less boxy, more elegant and completely streamlined look. Available with or without a built-in trunk, the car had a number of unique and still luxurious details – including the characteristic 1930s tires.

#7 – The 1940s: Plymouth PT 105 (1940)

Everyone was starting to build trucks by the 1940s, and Chrysler’s Plymouth brand took their cues from similar looking Dodges to build their PT-105 pickup – in fact it was practically identical, save a few external details. Though Plymouth quickly got out of the pickup truck biz, the 105 stands as a prime example of the era’s pickups, complete with chrome detailing and side-mounted spare tire.

#6 – The 1950s: Cadillac Eldorado (1957)

Which car best represents the fabulous ‘50s? Gotta be a Cadillac. As suburban life blossomed, families needed a ride to go along with their newfound, post-war affluence, and the Caddy was a symbol of all that – with fins, grilles and futuristic details to match. Top-of-the-line, pricey and solid, the Eldorado is a classic.

#5 – The 1960s: Ford Shelby Mustang (1967)

Ain’t she a beaut? Chrome trim, racing stripes, plus a classic oversized grille, complete with center-mounted headlights, are just some examples of the ’67 Shelby Mustang’s showy styling. While most purists prefer the earlier models, it was the ’67 that gave drivers something special under the hood –if you ever find yourself in a ‘60s-style drag race, better hope you’re behind the wheel of a Shelby Mustang.

#4 – The 1970s: Pontiac Trans Am (1978)

Blending style, strength and the spirit of the ‘70s, this sexy muscle car was one of the few exciting models in an era of bland, bland, and more bland. While most carmakers reduced horsepower due to the gas crisis, Pontiac actually increased the power of the ’78 incarnation, making it a faster and better-handling ride than most of its competition. Plus, Burt Reynolds made this car even cooler.

#3 – The 1980s: Honda Accord (1982)

The polar opposite of a hot Trans Am? Probably a 1982 Honda Accord. A sensible family car, the ’82 Accord was a revamped version of an already successful model – roomier, more stylish, fuel efficient and smooth, the Accord was the car that confirmed the shortcomings of Detroit’s output and foreshadowed the popularity of Japanese designs. It’s not particularly glamorous, but it’s still popular decades later for a reason.

#2 – The 1990s: Mazda Miata (1996)

Who doesn’t love pop-up headlights? Though often labeled a “chick car,” this convertible started its days as one of the most accessible and affordable sports cars on the market. And, this sporty-as-hell, two-seater ride exemplified the flashy, self-centered ‘90s. Small, sexy and a scream to drive, it’s repeatedly described as a juiced-up go-kart, though it is surprisingly reliable.

#1 – The 2000s: MINI Cooper (2005)

Small but spacious, sporty but sensible, trendy but traditional, the MINI’s debut was ground-breaking thanks to its equally-MINI price tag. The price may have changed, but it still comes in just behind the Model T as one of the twentieth century’s most influential cars. Fun, funky and far from frivolous, the MINI made its splash in the 2000s by becoming a priceless part of pop culture.

These are just some of the most iconic cars in history – which is your favorite? For more great top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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