Two of the world’s major car-producing countries, Japan and America, have spawned hundreds of car models since the early 19th century. Many of these models only last a few years in the automotive market, while some have a longer lifespan. Very few cars can boast of being in continuous production for 50+ years and still survive today. Those who do have suffered several setbacks to earn their place in history and have renewed their nameplates for generations.
Recessions, bankruptcies, changing tastes, and government regulations are some of the hurdles vehicles must overcome to stay on the market. In an industry where giants have risen and fallen, these icons still adorn showrooms around the world due to their reliability and low maintenance costs. Here are the oldest cars in production in Japan and America.
Japanese: Toyota Land Cruiser – 70 years old
The 4X4 vehicle which was later renamed “Land Cruiser” was developed in 1951 in response to demand for military type utility vehicles. It is renowned for its strength, durability and reliability, which has made it a popular choice for tackling some of the most demanding terrains in the world.
Between the Toyota “Jeep” BJ series and the current model, Toyota has sold over 10 million Land Cruisers worldwide. Seventy years later, the Land Cruiser has evolved in both looks and functions, but its average off-road capabilities have endured.
Japanese: Toyota Crown – 66 years old
The Toyota Crown is a four-door executive sedan that began life as the “Toyopet Crown” in 1955 and was produced for private purchase. As well as being the oldest Toyota passenger car, it also made history in 1958 when it became the first Toyota to be exported to the United States.
It was unable to penetrate the US market and had to be withdrawn in 1960 due to poor sales and a loss of $ 1.42 million. Currently in its fifteenth generation, unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the Crown has been refreshed for the 2021 model year.
Japanese: Nissan Skyline – 64 years old
The first Skyline was built by the Prince Motor Company and was powered by a 1.5 liter I-4 engine mated to a 3-speed manual transmission. Producing an output of 60 hp, the engine pushed the 2,900-pound Prince Skyline to a top speed of 87 mph.
Following the merger of Nissan and Prince in August 1966, the Prince nameplate was finally removed from the Skyline in 1968. From a brand that started life as a 4-door luxury car, the Skyline has grown into a champion. race that gave birth to the GT-R badge.
Japanese: Toyota Corolla – 55 years old
Launched in 1966, the Toyota Corolla was so successful that it became the best-selling car in the world just nine years later. The fifth generation, released in 1983, saw the introduction of fuel injection as well as front-wheel drive in most models.
The latest Corolla models (available as hatchbacks and sedans) offer comfort, a range of high-tech infotainment, safety features and excellent gas mileage. In twelve generations, Toyota has sold more than 50 million Corollas worldwide, and they aren’t showing signs of slowing down any time soon.
Japanese: Suzuki Jimny – 51 years old
The first Suzuki Jimny to come out of the line was the Jimny LJ10 powered by a 0.4-liter air-cooled inline 2 engine. Quite unexpectedly, the lightweight Suzuki Jimny became an instant hit in its home market – within a year it had surpassed sales of the Mitsubishi Jeep, which was the market leader.
Over the years, the Suzuki Jimny has been updated in various ways to comply with changing emissions and safety regulations. For the 2021 model year, the Jimny, offered with a 1.5-liter engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, retains its small size and rugged off-road capabilities.
American: Chevrolet Suburban – 86 years old
When it debuted in 1934 as a 1935 model, the Chevrolet Suburban was an eight-seater all-metal body wagon built on the chassis of a small truck. For twelve generations, the Chevrolet Suburban survived recessions and gasoline shortages to become the oldest car still in production.
The all-new 2021 Suburban premiered in December 2019 at Little Caesars Arena, Michigan, and is built on the GMT T1XX platform. Its practicality and reliability, born of years of development, still make it a preferred choice for public and private use.
American: Ford F-Series – 73 years old
Although Ford has been building trucks since 1917, it was in 1948 that the F series saw the light of day with the manufacture of eight different weights of trucks. Ford has built trucks ranging in weight from the F-150 light pickup to the super-duty series over fourteen generations.
In addition to being the most popular line of pickup trucks in the United States, it is also the best-selling vehicle overall. The powertrains available for today’s F-series include a diesel, gasoline, and all-electric system for the Lightning unveiled in May 2021.
American: Chevrolet Corvette – 68 years old
The first Chevrolet Corvette was a show car that aroused such interest during the 1953 General Motors Motorama that GM decided to build a production version. However, the Corvettes of the first model year failed to thrill the buying public due to the unimpressive performance of the I-6 engine that powered them.
But when a V8 was pushed under the hood in 1955, the story changed and the Corvette was able to deliver true sports car performance. For the 8th generation, which debuted in July 2019, the engine was moved to the rear of the cabin – the first time for a production Corvette.
American: Ford Mustang – 57 years old
When Ford presented the Mustang at the 1964 World’s Fair, it became an instant hit – 22,000 were sold that day alone. Far exceeding Ford’s sales estimates, one million Mustangs were sold in the first two years, while the ten millionth unit was built in August 2018.
A romance between Ford and Shelby American – between 1965 and 1970 and resumed in 2005 – led to the production of high-performance Mustangs. Indeed, one of America’s most popular nameplates, the Mustang is one of America’s most affordable sports cars half a century later.
American: Ford Transit Van – 56 years old
Introduced as a replacement for the Ford Thames 400E and sporting American-inspired styling, the Transit had a load advantage over the competition. Although, when it was introduced in October 1965, the Ford Transit Van was originally intended for the European market, it is now sold worldwide.
Ford has sold more than 8 million Transit vans in various body types, including van, van, pickup truck and minibus. For the fourth generation, launched in 2013, Transit is offered in several configurations that continue to provide logistics solutions to millions of people.
For every beautiful car that these countries have produced, there are many that have completely missed the mark.
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