Surprises – Auto Anniversaries 2022: Milestones on four wheels

It seems worthwhile for all brands to celebrate technical milestones and emotional moments from the past. Even young Chinese automakers proudly point to their short history. No opportunity for anniversary parties is missed: a total of over 400 round automobile anniversaries are due in 2022.

Round birthdays must be celebrated as they happen, and so almost all automobile brands stage the milestones in their history in these times of crisis due to the corona pandemic and semiconductor shortages even more sparkling than usual. No anniversary that is not celebrated at least virtually. Prophecy 730 years ago A colorful kaleidoscope of magical moments, with the oldest probably being the biggest surprise. It is not exactly common knowledge that self-driving cars were prophesied 730 years ago (but also steamships and airplanes) – by the English Franciscan Roger Bacon. The spectrum ranges from the start of the development of the four-stroke engine by Nikolaus August Otto 160 years ago to the first automobile exhibition in Germany 125 years ago to the anniversaries of legendary brands. Opel was founded in 1862, Cadillac was launched in 1902, and design artist Bertone initiated his Carrozzeria in 1912, Jaguar followed in 1922 (as the Swallow Sidecar Company), Auto Union in 1932, Ferrari celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2022 and Lotus celebrates 70 years of sports car construction. That a fascinating and innovative identity can be distilled from a long brand history Gaining ideas for the future of mobility is something that not only western pioneers of car construction know, the Asians also follow this maxim. Toyota is therefore celebrating 85 years of car manufacturing and the Chinese are celebrating the motorization hype sparked 40 years ago by Volkswagen and Peugeot, which made the Middle Kingdom the world’s largest car manufacturer The empire sent, but the engineer Hashimoto Masujiro set the initial spark for his own vehicle industry in Nippon as early as 110 years ago: The Tokyo-based Kaishinsha Motorcar Works became the nucleus of the 1933 Nissan group, which a year earlier with the Datsun 10 and 12 models presented the first affordable Japanese people’s cars. Datsun? Nissan started under this name 50 years ago (1972) in Austria and Germany. Incidentally, there at the same time as the competitor Mazda (market launch in Austria in 1969 with the Cosmo), which at the time attracted attention primarily with models with a rotary engine – and this in contrast to the Wankel licensor NSU (the legendary Ro 80 will be celebrating its 55th birthday in 2022, by the way ) brought in millions. The rotary piston engine is not that dead to this day, as the electric Mazda MX-30 with Wankel unit as a range extender shows. Whether vegan interiors, electric gliding or government incentives to buy new vehicles, everything has already been there. Leather as a substitute for canvases coated with a mixture of linseed oil was used until the end of the 19th century, while motor power from batteries or steam dominated until the beginning of World War I. The first fire engines in the German Reich consistently relied on reliable electric and steam drives 120 years ago. Vehicle tax breaks got the car market going in 1932, when the Great Depression plunged many companies into the abyss, but some automakers with smart potential volume models such as Adler Trumpf, DKW F2 Meisterklasse, Fiat 508 Balilla or Peugeot 301 (also the world’s first coupé convertible) got back on the road to success. Models, some of which could also be seen on the first German autobahn opened in 1932, today’s A555 from Cologne to Bonn. Incidentally, it was initiated by the then Mayor of Cologne and later German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. In that year, of all times, car production with the GAZ-A began in the Soviet Union at a plant that was built by Ford. Exactly 100 years ago, Henry Ford managed to break the mark of one million cars produced per year with the legendary Model T. However, he had to cede his position as world market leader to Chevrolet in 1927. When Henry Ford died 75 years ago (1947) , his group just started the subsidiary Ford France, made legendary by iconic V8 models that were later adapted by Simca – and which provided the template for the first Chinese vehicle, the Dongfeng CA71 commissioned by President Mao Tse-tung in 1958. In Germany it was meanwhile the first Taunus 12 M, with which Ford caused a sensation since 1952. Dressed in a fashionable pontoon shape, it was an affordable dream in contrast to the new Mercedes 300 SL, which dominated road racing at the time. Anniversaries of famous sports cars In fact, many speed icons can celebrate big birthdays in 2022 and Maranello (75 years Ferrari 125 S, 60 years 250 GTO, 50 years 365 GT4 2 + 2) will use this opportunity as well as Modena (60 years of the Maserati 3500 GT and Sebring, 50 years of Maserati Khamsin and Merak) or Zuffenhausen (50 years of the Porsche 911 Carrera RS). Even amateur athletes can celebrate: The MG B and Triumph Spitfire will be 60 years, the Fiat X1 / 9, Nissan 240 Z (in Germany / Austria) and VW-Porsche 914 2.0 will be 50 years old , celebrate arch-rivals Ford Consul / Granada vs. Opel Rekord / Commodore, Alfa Romeo Alfetta vs. BMW 5 Series (E12), Audi 80 (B1) vs. refreshed “coati” Volkswagen 412. Wolfsburg had to reinvent itself 50 years ago , but was able to replace the Ford Model T as the reigning production world champion with the Beetle 1303 and send the VW 1600 Variant (Type 3) into its final year of production. As early as 1962, the 1500 Variant had freed the station wagon from its craftsman image, while Volvo at that time even established the Amazon station wagon as an adequate companion for golf course visits. In 1992 BMW demonstrated what a super sports car looks like in a combi-dress with the M5 touring. Showing edge was popular in the tech- and turbo-affine 1980s, and the Audi 100 (C3) and BMW 3-series ( E30), Mercedes-Benz 190 and Volvo 760, but also city cars like the first Opel Corsa or the early Nissan Micra, while the streamlined Ford Sierra irritated loyal Taunus buyers, while Mitsubishi Pajero (L040), Toyota Tercel 4WD, fresh Audi Quattro types and new Subaru (the world’s largest 4×4 car producer since 1972) told of the all-wheel and SUV hype that was starting up. And the automotive upper house? There is also something to celebrate there in 2022, around 50 years of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class W116 and Jaguar XJ with V12 engines. Cars with a lot of power, which then had to be used just as restrained as they are today. Free roads? Didn’t exist in 1972, as historical traffic jam warnings show. And then that: “Careful, death is faster than you”, was propagated by posters not only in neighboring Switzerland. From autumn 1972, the speed limit was 100 on two-lane federal German highways. (SPX)
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