Cars: The Secret of a Long Production Life
Julia Child once attributed her longevity to red meat and a certain adult beverage. That formula seemed to work for the late chef, author and television host, who lived to be nearly 92 years old.
Unlike Julia, however, longevity is hit-or-miss when it comes to cars. Models like the Ford Pinto, AMC Gremlin and Pontiac Aztek could have all used a hand to help them stay competitive, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are a few car models that are rolling down the road year after year.
We’ve seen cars like the Volkswagen Beetle, Mini Cooper and Chevrolet Camaro recently make a resurgence in the market, but those models have also taken breaks from production in the past. That said, here are the top five cars that have stood the test of time (in ascending order of longevity):
5. Ford Mustang (1964 – Present)
Unique style and a low base price made the original Mustang an instant success when it hit dealerships in 1964, and today, the Mustang carries on as one of Ford’s greatest successes. Available as a coupe or convertible, the Mustang is still offered in configurations that can fit most every budget. From the 305-horsepower V6, all the way up to the 650-horsepower Shelby GT500, the 2013 Ford Mustang continues to be a top pick for shoppers looking for muscle-car performance.
4. Porsche 911 (1963 – Present)
The original Porsche 911 got its DNA from the Volkswagen Beetle, but both cars had slightly different goals. While the Beetle was an affordable car for the masses, the 911 was designed with performance in mind. Although the 911 has come a long way since its original design and air-cooled engine, the basic formula hasn’t really changed. It’s still a rear-engined sports car with four seats and a number of performance options. Thanks to its 350-horsepower flat-six and a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds, the new 911 continues to live up to its performance heritage.
3. Chevrolet Corvette (1953 – Present)
The original Corvette wasn’t known for exhilarating performance. However, by 1955, the company presented consumers with an option to choose a V8 engine and the Corvette was well on its way to becoming America’s sports car. Today, the Corvette still offers impressive performance. A 430-horsepower V8 allows the base Corvette to accelerate from 0-to-60 mph in as little as 4.2 seconds, while higher performance trims like the Z06 and ZR-1 offer even better acceleration.
2. Ford F-Series (1948 – Present)
While the Corvette may be America’s only sports car, it really doesn’t get more American than a full-size truck, and Ford F-Series pickups have been rolling off the production line since 1948. The F-Series’ popularity is unbeatable, as Ford trucks are repeatedly at the top of the heap when it comes to new truck sales. And thanks to a variety of body styles, powertrains and options, it’s easy to customize an F-Series to meet your needs.
1. Chevrolet Suburban (1935 – Present)
The Chevrolet Suburban has been known for its cavernous interior and great utility since it was introduced in 1935. The original “Carryall Suburban” shared its frame with Chevy trucks of the day; however, its wagon-like body style distinguished it from the pack. Today, the Suburban carries on in that tradition, using a chassis that it shares with other GM trucks and SUVs like the Chevrolet Silverado, Tahoe and GMC Yukon.
Have you ever owned one of these? Tell us below.