The first cars of every major car maker (Part 4)

Lancia: Type 51 (1907)
Founded to build sporting and race cars, Vincenzo Lancia set up his own company in November 1906. His first car was ready for trials in February 1907 but before it had left the workshop the factory burned down taking the car, the drawings and Lancia’s tools with it. Seven months later Lancia had a new car built from scratch; 100 examples of the Type 51 would be made, each with a 2544cc four-cylinder engine.

One of the most innovative car makers ever, it’s a tragedy that Lancia today is now just about defunct, with just one single model in production, due to come to an end soon.

Audi: Type A (1910)
August Horch’s first car company (founded in 1904) bore his own name, but when he fell out with fellow board members he set up a new company in 1910, called Audi. Its first model was the Type A, fitted with a 2612cc four-cylinder engine. Just 140 examples were made before the Type B arrived in 1911.

Today, Audi is part of Volkswagen and is one of the world’s leading luxury carmakers, producing 1.9 million vehicles in 2017.

Alfa Romeo: 24 HP (1910)
Launched in 1910, Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili realised that it really needed a snappier name; ALFA was the result. After Nicola Romeo took the company over in 1915 it was renamed Alfa Romeo in 1918, and its first car was the Torpedo 20-30. However, ALFA’s first car was the 4.1-litre 24HP, seen here, which remained in production until 1914.

Alfa Romeo acquired a reputation for making exciting though excitable cars in the ensuing decades; it was acquired by Fiat in 1986. As such today it’s part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, producing desirable models like the well-regarded Giulia four-door.

Morgan (1910)
Harry (HFS) Morgan opened a garage in Malvern to sell and service cars. By 1909 he’d built his own car for his personal use; a year later he put his three-wheeler into production. The first cars were single-seaters but these were never going to be very popular in the marketplace, so by 1911 Morgan’s three-wheeler was available with either two seats or four. Power came from a 961cc JAP V-twin engine.

Chevrolet: Type C/Classic Six (1913)
Although Louis Chevrolet set up his company in 1911, his first car wasn’t sold until 1913. Introduced at that year’s New York Auto Show, the Chevrolet Type C (or Classic Six) was pretty impressive with its six-cylinder engine and three-speed gearbox. But it was costly compared with rivals, which is why Chevrolet quickly introduced a four-cylinder model to compete.

Chevrolet became part of GM in 1917, and today Chevrolet is by far the largest source of GM’s output, producing 4.14m vehicles in 2017.

Dodge (1914)
John and Horace Dodge set up shop in 1901 to produce bicycle components before moving into car parts supply in 1903; very quickly virtually their entire output was for Ford. Seeing that Ford was producing more and more parts in-house they decided to go it alone with their own car which arrived in 1914. Offered only as a five-seat tourer, Dodge’s car featured a 35bhp 3480cc four-cylinder engine and a three-speed gearbox. By 1916 Dodge was America’s fourth best-selling brand of car with over 70,000 made in that one year. bandar ceme

Dodge was sold to Chrysler in 1928, and is now part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Aston Martin: Coal Scuttle (1915)
The first Aston Martin, named Coal Scuttle, was built in 1915. Following Coal Scuttle and the Great War, three more prototype cars were built including one called Bunny, but none of these cars survive. By 1921 Aston Martin was ready to start selling cars and its first production model featured a 1496cc four-cylinder engine. Just 69 were made before the company went bust – and not for the last time. The car pictured is the oldest surviving Aston Martin, chassis number 3, now owned by the Aston Martin Heritage Trust.

After going through various owners and life stages subsequently, Aston Martin was owned by Ford between 1994 and 2007 and greatly boosted vehicle output with models such as the DB7 and DB9. Owned by investors after that, the company was then floated on the London stock market as an independent entity in October 2018.

Mitsubishi: Model A (1917)
Founded as a shipping firm in 1870, Mitsubishi didn’t build its first car until 1917. Just 22 of these leviathans were built, each powered by a 2765cc four-cylinder engine. Capable of seating seven, the Mitsubishi Model A was based on the Fiat Tipo 3 with a front-mounted 35hp engine that drove the rear wheels and could take the car to 60mph.

Today, Mitsubishi Motors is Japan’s sixth largest car maker, and is in alliance with Renault and Nissan.