Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 16th April 2019

Cars have come a long way, from steam-powered vehicles making their way down unpaved roads, to modern motors achieving record speeds and self-driving cars. It is truly astonishing how the technology of the car had evolved over the decades, and it’s quite hard to imagine what cars were actually like back in day.

With this in mind we want to take a look into the past so we can further appreciate where we are today – so in no particular order, here are 5 classics that helped to pave the way for the cars we have today.

1892 Peugeot Type 3

Here’s a name you’ll no doubt recognise. As well as being one of the oldest, still roadworthy cars in the world, the Peugeot Type 3 was the French automotive manufacturer’s first model to be produced in considerable numbers.

Built by pioneer and industrialist Armand Peugeot in the 19th century, the car was Peugeot’s second model that ran on an internal combustion engine. The ultra-classic car had a V-twin engine, pumping out 2 horsepower, four manual bronze gears, and could even run on pure alcohol.

1902 Motor War Car

The Motor War Car was developed around the time of the Industrial Revolution, and was the very first armoured vehicle ever built for warfare. It was built by the British engineering conglomerate, Vickers and designed by British motor industry pioneer, Frederick Richard Simms.

It was designed to help the British Army in the Boers War and was built with a Daimler chassis and a 16 horsepower internal combustion engine. A crew of four could effectively operate the vehicle, which sported two Maxim machine guns carried in two turrets. The Boers War was over by the time the first prototype was delivered in 1902.

1893 Benz Viktoria

Mechanical engineer, Karl Benz, was already the inventor of the first practical car, which had an internal combustion engine, in Germany. He then went on to develop the very first four-wheel automobile, the 1893 Benz Viktoria.

The model was available from 1892 through to either 1898 or 1900, and was rear-wheel driven with a 1.7 ltr, 3 horsepower horizontal single-cylinder engine. It could just about achieve a max speed of around 11 to 13 mph, providing there was no incline on the road.

1884 La Marquise

The De Dion steamer was given the nickname “La Marquise” after Count de Dion’s mother and is currently considered the world’s oldest running automobile. It was originally commissioned by the Count himself and then built by engineers, Georges Bouton and Charles-Armand Trepardoux in 1884.

In 1887 the car was driven in an exhibition, recognised as potentially one of the world’s very first car races, although it should be noted that no other cars showed up. Count de Dion raced the car himself, making the 20 plus mile journey from Paris to Versailles.

The car remains one of the most significant automobiles in history, despite taking over 30 minutes to build up enough steam to drive, and requiring a water refill every 20 miles. A rare model still in working condition was actually sold for $4.6 million at an auction in 2011.

1904 Rolls Royce 10 HP

We can’t possibly fail to mention the British classic Rolls Royce 10 HP, which is widely regarded as one of the rarest cars in the world, as well as being one of the oldest. The elusive iconic classic was the very first car built by both Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, and it was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1904.

Only 16 models are thought to have ever been produced and only four are still known about. One extremely rare model was sold at auction in Bonhams, London for over £3 million in 2007, whilst another model is usually on display in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.