Mazda, Ford and Ferrari: These classic cars celebrate birthday milestones in 2020

Classic cars such as BMW, Honda and Ferrari are celebrating big “0” birthdays in 2020.

Mazda recently observed its 100-year-old anniversary, while other iconic cars from Ford and Land Rover turn 50.

It’s fair to say the world 100 years ago is different than the one we know today. Cars were just beginning to enter the mainstream. Many early vehicles were convertibles known as open-tourer models. Eventually cars were made enclosed and included features like heaters for comfort. Safety glass and mechanical brakes were also introduced for the first time. 

Since then, the auto industry has been booming with its fair share of electric-powered, hybrid and luxury options, plus the ushering in of futuristic commutes with the popularity of automated vehicles and self-driving cars.

Japanese car maker Mazda began in 1920 as Toyo Cork Kogo, a company that produced cork and machine tools. In 1927, Toyo Cork Kogo renamed itself Mazda and shifted toward the production of three-wheel pickup trucks and small vehicles.

Mazda’s first passenger car, the R360 was introduced throughout Japan in 1960. The two-door, four-seat coupe went on to become a best-selling car in Japan until production ceased in 1966. 

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In 1970, Land Rover launched its revolutionary 4×4, midsize SUV, the Range Rover. The first fleet of vehicles, which turns 50, was initially produced by the Rover division of British Leyland and then the Rover Group. Only two-door models were produced until the four-door model was introduced in 1981. 

Ford’s Escort RS1600 known for its speed and “small but mighty” racing engine is also bringing in the big 5-0. The small European car was never sold in North America, but caught all the spotlight in Hollywood action-film series, “The Fast and the Furious.”  

Other vintage cars such as Ferrari’s Mondial, Bentley’s Muslanne and Audi’s Quattro add to the list of automobiles celebrating anniversaries, turning 40. Rare sports cars including BMW’s 8 Series E31 and Lamborghini’s Diablo turn 30 this year.  

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