Muscle car is an American term for high-performance cars rear-wheel drive and fitted with a large and powerful V8 engine. The term originated for 1960s and early 1970s special editions of mass-production cars which were designed for drag racing; the definition of muscle car is subjective and debated. Muscle cars have many of the following characteristics: A large V8 engine in the most powerful configuration offered for a particular model Rear-wheel drive Being manufactured in the United States in the 1960s or early 1970s A lightweight two-door body An affordable price Being designed for straight-line drag racing, while remaining street legal. High-power pony cars are sometimes considered muscle cars, however personal luxury cars and grand tourer cars are too expensive to be considered muscle cars. Sports cars and sports sedans are not considered muscle cars, since they are associated with circuit racing rather than drag racing. Muscle cars are an extension of the hot rodding philosophy of taking a small car and putting a large-displacement engine in it, for the purpose of increased straight-line speed.
Muscle cars were referred to as "Supercars" in the United States spelled with a capital S." From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, "dragstrip bred" mid-size cars were equipped with large, powerful V8 engines and rear-wheel drive were referred to as Supercars more than muscle cars. An early example is the 1957 Rambler Rebel, described as a "potent mill turned the lightweight Rambler into a veritable supercar."In 1966, the supercar became an official industry trend" as the four domestic automakers "needed to cash in on the supercar market" with eye-catching, heart-stopping cars. Examples of the use of the supercar description for the early muscle models include the May 1965 Car Life road test of the Pontiac GTO along with how "Hurst puts American Motors into the Supercar club with the 390 Rogue" to fight in "the Supercar street racer gang" market segment, with the initials "SC" signifying SuperCar; the supercar market segment in the U. S. at the time included special versions of regular production models that were positioned in several sizes and market segments, as well as limited edition, documented dealer-converted vehicles.
However, the supercar term by that time "had been diluted and branded with a meaning that did not respect the unique qualities of the'muscle car'." Opinions on the origin of the muscle car vary, but the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, is cited as the first muscle car. The Rocket 88 was the first time a powerful V8 engine was available in a smaller and lighter body style; the Rocket 88 produced 135 hp at 3,600 rpm and 263 lb⋅ft at 1800 rpm and won eight out of ten races in the 1950 NASCAR season. The Rocket 88's Oldsmobile 303 V8 engine are stated to have "launched the modern era of the high-performance V-8."Another predecessor to the muscle car was the Hudson Hornet, introduced in 1951. The 1954 Hornet with the "Twin-H-Power" option of dual carburetors producing 170 hp from its 308 cu in six-cylinder engine. In 1955, the Chrysler C-300 was introduced, which produced 300 hp from its 331 cu in V8 engine, was advertised as "America's Most Powerful Car". Capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds and reaching 130 miles per hour, the 1955 Chrysler 300 is recognized as one of the best-handling cars of its era.
The Rambler Rebel, introduced in 1957, is the first intermediate-sized car to be available with a big-block V8 engine. It is therefore considered by some to be the first muscle car. With a 327 cu in V8 engine producing 255 hp, its 0-60 mph acceleration of 7.5 seconds made it the fastest stock American sedan at the time. The popularity and performance of muscle cars grew in the early 1960s, as Mopar and Ford battled for supremacy in drag racing; the 1961 Chevrolet Impala offered an SS package for $53.80, which consisted of a 409 cu in V8 engine producing 425 hp and upgraded brakes and suspension. The 1962 Dodge Dart 413 had a 413 cu in V8 which produced 420 hp and could cover the quarter mile in under 13 seconds. In 1963, two hundred Ford Galaxie "R-code" cars were factory built for drag racing, resulting in a full-size car which could cover the quarter mile in a little over 12 seconds. Upgrades included fiberglass panels, aluminum bumpers, traction bars and a 427 cu in racing engine conservatively rated at 425 hp.
The road legal version of the Galaxie 427 used the "Q-code" engine. The following year, Ford installed 427 engine in the smaller and lighter Fairlane body, creating the Ford Thunderbolt; the Thunderbolt included several weight-saving measures and a stock Thunderbolt could cover the quarter-mile in 11.76 seconds. The Thunderbolt was technically road legal, however it was considered unsuitable for "for driving to and from the strip, let alone on the street in everyday use". A total of 111 Thunderbolts were built; the General Motors competitor to the Thunderbolt was the Z-11 option package for the full-size Chevrolet Impala co
The Ford Mustang is an American car manufactured by Ford. It was based on the platform of the second generation North American Ford Falcon, a compact car; the original 1962 Ford Mustang I two-seater concept car had evolved into the 1963 Mustang II four-seater concept car which Ford used to pretest how the public would take interest in the first production Mustang. The 1963 Mustang II concept car was designed with a variation of the production model's front and rear ends with a roof, 2.7 inches shorter. Introduced early on April 17, 1964, thus dubbed as a "1964½" by Mustang fans, the 1965 Mustang was the automaker's most successful launch since the Model A; the Mustang has undergone several transformations to its current sixth generation. The Mustang created the "pony car" class of American muscle cars, affordable sporty coupes with long hoods and short rear decks, gave rise to competitors such as the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin, Chrysler's revamped Plymouth Barracuda, the second generation Dodge Challenger.
The Mustang is credited for inspiring the designs of coupés such as the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri, which were imported to the United States. As of August 2018, over 10 million Mustangs have been produced in the U. S; the Ford Mustang began production five months before the normal start of the 1965 production year. The early production versions are referred to as "1964½ models" but all Mustangs were advertised, VIN coded and titled by Ford as 1965 models, though minor design updates in August 1964 at the "formal" start of the 1965 production year contribute to tracking 1964½ production data separately from 1965 data. With production beginning in Dearborn, Michigan, on March 9, 1964. Executive stylist John Najjar, a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, is credited by Ford to have suggested the name. Najjar co-designed the first prototype of the Ford Mustang known as Ford Mustang I in 1961, working jointly with fellow Ford stylist Philip T. Clark; the Mustang I made its formal debut at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins Glen, New York, on October 7, 1962, where test driver and contemporary Formula One race driver Dan Gurney lapped the track in a demonstration using the second "race" prototype.
His lap times were only off the pace of the F1 race cars. An alternative view was that Robert J. Eggert, Ford Division market research manager, first suggested the Mustang name. Eggert, a breeder of quarterhorses, received a birthday present from his wife of the book, The Mustangs by J. Frank Dobie in 1960; the book's title gave him the idea of adding the "Mustang" name for Ford's new concept car. The designer preferred Cougar or Torino, while Henry Ford II wanted T-bird II; as the person responsible for Ford's research on potential names, Eggert added "Mustang" to the list to be tested by focus groups. The name could not be used in Germany, because it was owned by Krupp, which had manufactured trucks between 1951 and 1964 with the name Mustang. Ford refused to buy the name for about US$10,000 from Krupp at the time. Kreidler, a manufacturer of mopeds used the name, so Mustang was sold in Germany as the "T-5" until December 1978. Mustangs grew larger and heavier with each model year until, in response to the 1971–1973 models, Ford returned the car to its original size and concept for 1974.
It designs. Although some other pony cars have seen a revival, the Mustang is the only original model to remain in uninterrupted production over five decades of development and revision. Lee Iacocca's assistant general manager and chief engineer, Donald N. Frey was the head engineer for the T-5 project—supervising the overall development of the car in a record 18 months—while Iacocca himself championed the project as Ford Division general manager; the T-5 prototype was a mid-mounted engine roadster. This vehicle employed the German Ford Taunus V4 engine, it was claimed that the decision to abandon the two-seat design was in part due to the increase in sales the Thunderbird had seen when enlarged from a two-seater to a 2+2 in 1958. Thus, a four-seat car with full space for the front bucket seats, as planned, a rear bench seat with less space than was common at the time, were standard. A "Fastback 2+2", first manufactured on August 17, 1964, enclosed the trunk space under a sweeping exterior line similar to the second series Corvette Sting Ray and European sports cars such as the Jaguar E-Type coupe.
Favorable publicity articles appeared in 2,600 newspapers the next morning, the day the car was "officially" revealed. To achieve an advertised list price of US$2,368, the Mustang was based on familiar yet simple components, many of which were in production for other Ford models. Many of the interior, chassis and drivetrain components were derived from those used on Ford's Falcon and Fairlane; this use of common components shortened the learning curve for assembly and repair workers, while at the same time allowing dealers to pick up the Mustang without having to invest in additional spare parts inventory to support the new car line. Original sales forecasts projected less than 100,000 units for the first year; this mark was surpassed in three months from rollout. Another 318,000 would be sold during the model year, in its first eighteen months, more than one million
Lotus Elan is the name of two separate ranges of automobiles produced by Lotus Cars. The first range of cars comprised: Two seater sports cars: Lotus Type 26 drop head coupes marketed as the Elan 1500, Elan 1600, Elan S2. Lotus Type 36 fixed head coupes marketed as the Elan S3, the Elan S4 and, lastly, in a higher performance model, the Elan Sprint. Lotus Type 45 drop head coupes, replacing the Type 26, delivered in parallel with the Type 36 in S3, S4 and Sprint form. Lotus Type 26R racing version of the Type 26. Four seater sports car: Lotus Type 50, fixed head coupe, marketed as the Elan +2. After the S2 was released the original Elan 1500 and Elan 1600 models were referred to as the S1 although the car was never explicitly marketed as such. Today, all models are cited collectively as the 1960s Elans. A Elan-inspired model similar to the 1960s original called the Evante was produced in the mid-1980s in low volumes by British Lotus specialist Vegantune; the second range of cars comprised: Two seater sports cars: Lotus Type M100 drop head coupe marketed as the Elan S1 and for the UK market, the Elan S2.
This second model was produced in South Korea by Kia Motors between 1996 and 1999, rebadged as the Kia Elan. The Lotus Elan was the first Lotus road car to use a steel backbone chassis with a fibreglass body; this style of construction was to be repeated in subsequent Lotus models for nearly three decades. At 1,500 lb, the Elan embodied Colin Chapman's minimum weight design philosophy; the Elan was technologically advanced with a DOHC 1,558 cc engine, four-wheel disc brakes and pinion steering, 4-wheel independent suspension. Gordon Murray, designer of the McLaren F1 supercar said that his only disappointment with the McLaren F1 was that he could not give it the perfect steering of the Lotus Elan. In 2004, Sports Car International named the Elan number six on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s; the original version of the car was designed by Ron Hickman who designed the first Lotus Europa as part of Lotus' GT40 project bid and made his fortune having designed the Black & Decker Workmate.
Because of its successful design and rigorous attention to cost control on the body, chassis and transmission, the Elan become Lotus' first commercial success and contributed to the funding of its achievements in racing over the next ten years. It revived a company stretched thin by the more exotic, expensive to build, rather unreliable Lotus Elite, which used a fiberglass monocoque body/chassis and all aluminium Coventry Climax engine; the original Elan 1500 was introduced in 1962 as a roadster. After a short production run of just 22 cars the engine was enlarged and the car was re-designated the Elan 1600. An optional hardtop was offered; the Elan 1600 of 1963 was replaced by the Elan S2 in 1964. In 1965 the Type 36, a fixed head coupe version of the car, was introduced while in 1966 the drop head coupe Type 26 was replaced by the Type 45. Both Types, 36 & 45, were offered in S3 form, followed in 1968 in S4 form, in 1970 as the Elan Sprint. Production of the Sprint ceased in 1973; the standard S2, S3 & S4 models were available in a more powerful and luxurious "Special Equipment" variant referred to as the SE.
In the UK the Elan was offered as a assembled vehicle and, for tax avoidance purposes, as a lower cost kit for final assembly by the customer. The Elan was admired and praised by customers and reviewers, noted for its exceptional handling, steering, acceleration and comfort: Car and Driver: The Elan simply represents the sports car developed in tune with the state of the art, it comes closer than anything else on the market to providing a Formula car for ordinary street use. And it fits like a Sprite, goes like a Corvette, handles like a Formula Junior. Driving it is simply another sort of automotive experience altogether. Most people tend to come back from their first ride a little bit glassy-eyed... Road and Track: The light and tactile steering, combined with supple suspension and a weird, physics-defying sense of zero weight transfer in corners, provides a sensation akin to flying just over the ground. I'm convinced there's a powerful pleasure center in the brain that remains untapped until you drive an Elan.
It's a drug. Motor Sport: The tremendously responsive steering and handling requires similar qualities from the driver and the speeds achieved round corners and on the straight are deceptively fast. This, calls for a lot of concentration on the driver's part. Once mastered, the Elan is the nearest thing to a single-seater racing car one is to be able to drive comfortably on the road. To master the car and explore its tremendous handling potential along that delightfully twisty piece of road one knows so well is close on perfection for the sporting motorist; the total production number for the Lotus Elan is not definitively known. This number was used by Lotus itself. See below for +2 production. Meanwhile, Paul Robinshaw and Christopher Ross, in their book "The Original 1962–1973 Lotus Elan", assert that Lotus' somewhat erratic record keeping at the time meant that vehicle serial numbers were not sequential or consistent, their assessment suggests the actual count to be in the range 8,676-9,153.
As of April 2018, the voluntary, thus incomplete, Lotus Elan r
Hot hatch is a high-performance version of a mass-produced hatchback car. The term originated in the mid-1980s, however factory high-performance versions of hatchbacks have been produced since the 1970s. Front-mounted petrol engines, together with front-wheel drive, is the most common powertrain layout, however all-wheel drive has become more used since around 2010. Most hot hatches are manufactured in Asia. Usage of the term "hot hatchback" began in the United Kingdom in 1983, shortened to "hot hatch" in 1984; the term first appeared in The Times in 1985, is now and accepted as a mainstream, albeit informal, term. It was not a phrase used at the time; some sports cars have a rear hatch, however these body styles are not classified as hatchbacks, therefore they are not referred to as hot hatches. Due to the historical scarcity of hatchback cars in the United States, the term hot hatch is not used in the US. Since the 1990s and 2000s, the term warm hatch has been used to describe sporting hatchback models of lesser performance than a hot hatch.
Examples include the Mini Cooper, Peugeot 207 GT Suzuki Swift Sport, Toyota Yaris SR. The 1961 Mini Cooper was one of the first performance cars to use a small body and an FF layout, both key characteristics of a hot hatchback. However, the Mini was not produced in a hatchback body style and is therefore not considered a hot hatch; the car retrospectively considered to be the first hot hatch is the 1973 Simca 1100 Ti. Power was increased by 40% to 82 hp, which resulted in a 0 to 60 mph time of under 12 seconds and a top speed of 105 mph. Other upgrades included a front disk brakes and rear spoilers and alloy wheels; the second hot hatch to be introduced was the Renault 5 Alpine, which went on sale in May 1976. It could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph time of under 10 seconds; the car credited with establishing the popularity of hot hatches is the Volkswagen Golf GTI, announced at the 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show. and released in July 1976. The Golf GTI was designated to be sold only in West Germany, but from 1977 Volkswagen began exports of the GTI.
Production of right-hand drive GTI's began in 1979. The Renault 5 Alpine and Volkswagen Golf GTI, with the addition of a higher performance engine, sharper handling, distinctive body styling with additional spoilers and alloy wheels, helped create the birth of a huge market for small, practical hatchback cars with performance to match contemporary coupes such as the Ford Capri 2.0, Lancia Beta Coupe 2000 and Renault 17TS. With top speeds above 110 mph, the Alpine and GTI enjoyed a short run of unparalleled sales success until the early 1980s; the 1979 Lotus Sunbeam set a new performance benchmark of hot hatches, with a power output of 150 bhp and a 0-60 mph time of 6.6 seconds. Despite being rear-wheel drive, the Sunbeam is considered a hot hatch; until the early 1980s, the Volkswagen Golf Mk1 GTI and the Renault 5 Alpine/Gordini dominated the retrospectively named hot hatch market segment in many European markets. From around 1984, the market for hatchbacks with sportier performance grew, many manufacturers added a hot hatch variant to their range.
Power increases were achieved through upgraded carburettors, fuel injection, supercharging or fitting larger engines. Other significant hot hatches of the 1980s include the Ford Escort RS Turbo, Opel Kadett GTE, Renault 11 Turbo, Lancia Delta HF Integrale, Citroën AX GT and Suzuki Swift GTi. By the end of the 1980s, the hot hatch was hugely popular in Europe, was pushing into other worldwide markets; the brief heyday of Group B rallying pushed the hot hatch genre to its limits, small numbers of ultra-high performance variants were manufactured to comply with the rally rules. These vehicles represented a brief, extreme branch of the hot hatch, included such notable vehicles as the Lancia Delta S4, MG Metro 6R4 and Peugeot 205 T16. European manufacturers continued to produce hot hatches through the 1990s, including the Ford Fiesta RS Turbo, Ford Escort RS Cosworth, Peugeot 106 Rallye / GTi, Peugeot 306 GTi-6 / Rallye, Renault Clio Williams, SEAT Ibiza GTi / GT 16v / Cupra, Volkswagen Golf GTI / VR6 and Ford Focus ST170.
Japanese manufacturers began to produce hot hatches, including the Honda Civic Type R, Nissan Pulsar GTI-R, Toyota Corolla GTi and Suzuki Swift GTi. Performance of hot hatches continued to increase through the 2000s, with an increasing number of models using turbocharged engines. During the 2000s manufacturers started to emphasise the sub-brand of their hot hatch derivatives such as Renault's Renault Sport, Opel's OPC, Vauxhall's VXR and Fiat's Abarth. European-built hot hatches from the 2000s include the Abarth Grande Punto, Alfa Romeo 147/156 GTA, Audi S3,Ford Fiesta ST/RS,Ford Focus ST/RS,Mazdaspeed 3,MG ZR, Mini Cooper S/JCW,Opel/Vauxhall Astra SRi Turbo/OPC/VXR, Peugeot 206/207 GTi, Renault Clio RS/Mégane RS,SEAT León Cupra/FR+SEAT Ibiza Cupra/FR and Volkswagen Golf GTI/Golf R. Asian-built hot hatches included the Honda Civic Type R and Proton Satria GTi. Further increases to power outputs saw the adoption of all-wheel drive on
Compact car is a vehicle size class— predominantly used in North America— that sits between subcompact cars and mid-size cars. The present-day definition is equivalent to the European C-segment or the British term "small family car". However, prior to the downsizing of the United States car industry in the 1970s and 1980s, larger vehicles with wheelbases up to 110 in were considered "compact cars" in the United States. In Japan, small size passenger vehicle is a registration category that sits between kei cars and regular cars, based on overall size and engine displacement limits; the United States Environmental Protection Agency Fuel Economy Regulations for 1977 and Later Model Year includes definitions for classes of automobiles. Based on the combined passenger and cargo volume, compact cars are defined as having an interior volume index of 100–109 cu ft; the beginnings of U. S. production of compact cars were the late 1940s prototypes of economy cars, including the Chevrolet Cadet and the Ford Vedette.
Neither car reached production in the U. S. however the Vedette was produced by Ford SAF in France. The first U. S produced, it was built on a 100-inch wheelbase, nonetheless still a large car by contemporary European standards. The term "compact" was coined by a Nash executive as a euphemism for small cars with a wheelbase of 110 inches or less, it established a new market segment and the U. S. automobile industry soon adopted the "compact" term. Several competitors to the Nash Rambler arose from the ranks of America's other independent automakers, although none enjoyed the long-term success of the Rambler. Other early compact cars included the Willys Aero and the Hudson Jet. In 1954, 64,500 cars sold in the U. S. were small American cars, out of a total market of five million car. Market research indicated that five percent of those surveyed said they would consider a small car, suggesting a potential market size of 275,000 cars. By 1955, the Nash Rambler that began as a sideline convertible model became a success and was now available in station wagon and sedan body styles.
During the Recession of 1958, the only exception to the sales decline was American Motors with its compact, economy-oriented Ramblers that saw high demand among cautious consumers. By 1959, sales of small imported cars increased to 14% of the U. S. passenger car market, as consumers turned to compact cars. By this time, smaller cars appealed to people with a college education and a higher income whose families were buying more than one car. Customers expected compact cars to provide improved fuel economy compared to full-sized cars, while maintaining headroom and plenty of trunk space. Between 1958 and 1960, the major U. S. car manufacturers made a push towards compact cars, resulting in the introduction of the Studebaker Lark, Chevrolet Corvair, Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant. These models gave rise to compact vans built on the compact car platforms, such as the Studebaker Zip Van, Chevrolet Covair Greenbrier, Ford Econoline and Dodge A100. During the 1960s, compacts were the smallest class of North American cars, but they had evolved into only smaller versions of the 6-cylinder or V8-powered six-passenger sedan.
They were much larger than compacts by European manufacturers, which were five-passenger 4-cylinder engine cars. Adverising and road tests for the Ford Maverick and the Rambler American made comparisons with the popular Volkswagen Beetle. Compact cars were the basis for a new small car segment that became known as the pony car, named after the Ford Mustang, built on the Falcon chassis. At that time, there was a distinct difference in size between compact and full-size models, an early definition of the compact was a vehicle with an overall length of less than 200 in, much larger than European equivalents. In the early 1970s, the domestic automakers introduced smaller subcompact cars that included the AMC Gremlin, Chevrolet Vega, Ford Pinto. In 1973, the Energy Crisis started, which made small fuel efficient cars more desirable, the North American driver began exchanging their large cars for the smaller, imported compacts that cost less to fill up and were inexpensive to maintain; the 1977 model year marked the beginning of a downsizing of all vehicles, so that cars such as the AMC Concord and the Ford Fairmont that replaced the compacts were re-classified as mid-size, while cars inheriting the size of the Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega became classified as compact cars.
After the reclassification, mid-size American cars were still far larger than mid-size cars from other countries and were more similar in size to cars classified as "large cars" in Europe. It would not be until the 1980s that American cars were being downsized to international dimensions. In the 1985 model year, compact cars classified by the EPA included Ford's Escort and Tempo, the Chevrolet Cavalier, Toyota Corolla, Acura Legend, Mercedes-Benz 300, Nissan Maxima, Volvo DL, many others. Since the 1990s, most compact cars sold in the United States are imported models. In Japan, vehicles that are larger than kei cars, but with dimensions smaller than 4,700 mm long, 1,700 mm wide, 2,000 mm high and with engines at or under 2,000 cc are classified as "small size" cars. Small size cars are identified by a licence plate number beginning with "5". In the past, the small size category has received tax benefits stipulated by the Japanese government regulations, such as those in the 1951 Road Vehicle Act.
In 1955, the Japanese Ministry of International Trade
Supermini is a British car classification or vehicle size class for a small car in a hatchback body style. It an equivalent of the European B-segment or American subcompact categories; the term is used by Euro NCAP for a size class including B-segment and the smaller A-segment cars. In the UK the supermini is the top-selling vehicle type. For years the Ford Fiesta has been the leader of the class, most-sold car in the UK overall, competiting against the Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Polo, Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, many others; the term developed in the 1970s as an informal categorisation, by 1977 was used by the British newspaper The Times. By the mid-1980s, it had widespread use in Britain; the term was adopted by Euro NCAP as the smallest size class for passenger vehicles for the launch of Euro NCAP in 1997. The first round of NCAP tests was of seven supermini cars; the term is used by the Euro NCAP system as a size class for A-segment and B-segment. In 1977, the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Chevette were among Britain's top 10 best-selling cars.
Other superminis of the mid-1980s included the Austin Metro, Vauxhall Nova, Nissan Micra, Peugeot 205, Volkswagen Polo and Renault 5. The 1983 Fiat Uno was won the European Car of the Year award; the 1990 Renault Clio and 1994 Fiat Punto were significant models in the supermini category during the 1990s.. Both the Clio and Punto were recipients of the European Car of the Year Award; the Clio replaced the long-running Renault 5, although the Renault 5 remained in production until 1996. In 1993, the Nissan Micra, became the first Japanese car company to be receive the European Car of the Year award. In 1999, the Toyota Yaris received the European Car of the Year award, was noted for its high roof which allowed for improved interior space. Retro styling became popular across Europe from the late-1990s, the first successful retro-themed supermini was the 2000 launch of the BMW-owned Mini Hatch; the Fiat 500— launched in 2007 on the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the original model— was another popular retro-themed supermini, popular in Europe
Executive car is a British term for a large car, equivalent to the European E-segment classification. Executive cars are larger than compact executive cars, smaller than luxury saloons / full-size sedans; the term has been adopted by Euro NCAP, a European organization founded to test for car safety. The term was coined in the 1960s to describe cars targeted at successful professionals and middle-to-senior managers, it was used by businesses as an incentive for employees in senior roles and to exploit Britain and Europe's tax schemes as a company owned vehicle. Early executive cars offered engines with displacements of 2.0–3.5 L, compared with 1.6–2.4 L for an equivalent sized— but less luxurious— "large family car". Prior to the 1990s, executive cars were sedans, however in recent years they have been produced in other body styles, such as estates, four-door coupes and fastback sedans. In general, executive cars are 4-door sedans; some manufacturers seek to differentiate their offerings by making them as estate variants, or with 5-door hatchback bodies—in particular Rover, Saab and Citroën have been known to prefer such body styles, with Ford offering such models through the 1990s, Audi and BMW have offered such body styles for their executive cars.
Until the 1990s, some models were available as 2-door coupés. One of the first Chinese-built executive cars was the 2006 Roewe 750, based on the Rover 75. In 2012, the Roewe 950 was introduced, a re-bodied version of the 2010 Buick LaCrosse. Several overseas brands have produced long wheelbase versions of cars for the Chinese market, due to the preference Chinese owners have for being driven by a chauffeur. Examples include the "XF L" version of the 2016 Jaguar XF, the "Li" version of the 2017 BMW 5 Series and other models from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. In France, executive cars are known as "Grande Routière", a class of comfortable long distance cars that first emerged on the French market in the 1930s. Peugeot began producing large cars in the early 1900s. Following the Peugeot 601 being discontinued in 1935, Peugeot ceased production of large cars until the Peugeot 604 was introduced in 1975; the 604 was replaced by the Peugeot 605 in 1989, which in turn was replaced by the Peugeot 607 in 1999.
Following the end of the 607's production run in 2010, Peugeot no longer produces any executive cars. Citroën's first large car was the 1934 Citroën Traction Avant. In 1955, the Traction Avant was replaced by the iconic Citroën DS, replaced in 1974 by the Citroën CX and the 1989 Citroën XM; the XM was discontinued in 2000 and for five years Citroën did not produce an executive car. The 2005 Citroën C6 was produced until 2012, Citroën has not produced any executive cars since. Renault entered the executive car segment in 1975 with the Renault 20/30 models, they were replaced, by the Renault 25 which featured a fastback rear end. In 1992, the 25 was replaced by the Renault Safrane; the Safrane was replaced by the Renault Vel Satis hatchback in 2002 and Renault has not produced any executive cars since the Vel Satis ended production in 2009. The equivalent class for cars in Germany is "Obere Mittelklasse" as defined by the German federal authorities. Luxury cars larger than this are referred to as Oberklasse.
Mercedes-Benz has produced large luxury cars since the early 1900s. Following World War II, Mercedes Benz's first all-new models were the Mercedes-Benz W120 executive cars; this lineage continues through to the present and has been marketed as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class since 1993. The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class four-door fastback was added to the company's model range in 2004, with a shooting brake body style produced from 2012-2017. BMW's first large luxury car was the 1936-1941 BMW 326. After a hiatus of 21 years, BMW's next executive car models were the 1962 New Class Sedans. In 1972, the New Class was replaced by the BMW 5 Series. Over the seven generations of 5 Series, it has been produced in sedan and four-door fastback body styles; the first large luxury car produced by Audi was the Audi 100, released in 1968. The Audi 100 was replaced by the Audi A6 in 1994. In 2010, the Audi A7 four-door fastback model range was added; the Ford Granada is an executive car produced by Ford Europe from 1972-1994.
Fiat's first large luxury car was the Fiat 24-32 HP, introduced in 1903. Other large luxury Fiats produced before World War II include the Fiat 510, Fiat 520, Fiat 527 and Fiat 2800. In 1959, the Fiat 1800 and 2100 executive sedans and station wagons were introduced; these models were replaced by the Fiat 2300 in 1969. FIAT's last executive car was the Fiat 130, produced from 1969-1977. Lancia produced several large luxury cars prior to World War II, including the Lancia Lambda, Lancia Artena and Lancia Aprilia; the Lancia Flavia was an executive car began production in 1961 and was replaced by the Lancia 2000 in 1971. The 2000 was replaced by the Lancia Gamma, released in 1976. In 1984, the Gamma was replaced by the Lancia Thema the Lancia Kappa in 1994; the Lancia Thesis, produced from 2001-2009 is the last executive car produced by Lancia. From 2011-2015, the Chrysler 300 has been sold in Europa as the Lancia Thema. Maserati's first executive is the Maserati Ghibli, in production since 2013. Toyota has been producing large luxury cars.
The Crown remains in production today and is in its fifteenth generation. In 1991, the Toyota Aristo executive car began production and s