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The Auto Industry's 10 Most Disruptive Cars Since the M…

The New York International Auto Show first opened in 1900, and ever since, it’s been one of the most important fixtures in the auto industry. American icons Dodge, Ford and Chevy showcase their newest ideas and designs alongside international brands like Toyota, Volkswagon and Porsche. In 2017, the show opens to the public Friday, April 14 and runs through Sunday, April 23.

But, will any of the cars at this year’s show have an impact like the cars on this list? Start the slideshow to see the 10 most important and influential automobiles of the past century.

The Tatra 77 is the oldest and worst-selling car on the list, but it’s still massively influential for its emphasis on aerodynamic design, which was revolutionary at the time. Think about this: The Tatra 77, built in 1934, had a lower drag coefficient (0.2455) than a modern Tesla Model S (0.25). 

Adolf Hitler contracted Ferdinand Porsche to build a car for the people — a “Volskwagen” — in 1934. Four years later, the original Beetle debuted, reaching top speeds of up to 62 miles per hour. In 1972, the Beetle overtook the Ford Model T as the best-selling car ever, and maintained that honor for almost two decades.

If you’re going to talk about pick-up trucks, you have to talk about the Ford F150. Ford’s most popular line hasn’t just been the best-selling truck in America for 40 straight years, or the best-selling vehicle for 35 years. It also became the best-selling vehicle ever in the late 1980s and held that title until around 2012. 

One of the first full-size SUVs and one of the first luxury 4x4s, the Wagoneer was ahead of its time in all sorts of ways. It’s no wonder the model managed to last for almost three decades with minimal changes before being replaced by the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Watch a movie from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and you won’t see many cars that look like they can be on the road today. The Porsche 911 is an exception, and the 2017 version of the German sports car doesn’t look so different from the car that debuted in 1963.

The Toyota Corolla was one of the first popular cars from a Japanese automaker, and helped announce the country’s presence in the industry in a major way. Today, with almost 40 million cars sold, the Toyota Corolla is the best-selling automobile ever.

Laugh if you want to at its blocky design and woodgrain paneling, but the original minivan with the sliding passenger door helped bring on an entirely new type of automobile.

The first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid car, the Prius has been making big waves (and low emissions) for 20 years now.

The first electric car to top the monthly new car sales in any country, the Model S has been the world’s best-selling plug-in electric car the past two years, and it’s revolutionizing the way we think about the industry.

Alphabet subsidiary Waymo has been tantalizing us with videos of self-driving cars for a while now, but the car isn’t ready for mass production just yet. That said, Waymo did show off a self-driving minivan at the Detroit auto show in January. If we’re lucky, it’ll be ready to show us something new in New York.


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