There are some questions about the oldest car models that are still in production up to the present. Chevy enthusiasts think it’s the Corvette, which has been around since 1953. Yet, there’s the Ford F Series that exists since 1948. Then, there’s the Chevy Suburban, the car with the longest-running nameplate. They’ve been around since 1933.
However, we’re talking about cars built on a platform at least 25 years old. The Corvettes, F Series and Suburbans might have retained the same name, but the latest models weren’t fundamentally the same with the original. So, they won’t be included.
Having said that, here they are:
Whenever you see the Morgan 4/4, you usually imagine men in tweed suits with a handlebar mustache, playing golf and smoking pipe tobacco. It’s the Sportster of our granddaddies, and the granddaddy of the oldest car models existing today. The classic British sports car was launched in 1936, but the current model is really a descendant of the Series II from 1955. Quite often, Morgan 4/4 is updated mechanically, but it’s pretty much the same car from way back when.
Built by the Morgan Motor Company of England, the 4/4 did not mean it’s a four-wheel drive. It stands for four cylinders and four wheels because back then, the usual Morgans had three wheels. It was actually their first car to be made with four wheels.
The latest version of the car, which was released in 2009, used a 1595 cc Ford Sigma engine that produces 110 bhp. Its top speed is 185 km/h. The engine drives the rear wheels using a Mazda-made five-speed stick shift. Its descendant, the 1955 version, was equipped with a Ford 100E 1.2-liter four-banger.
Experts predict it would still continue for another 25 years because its lifespan is not based on economic reasons, but on tradition.
Previously known as the Lada Niva (originally named as VAZ 2121), the Lada 4×4 was first designed and produced by the Russian automaker AvtoVAZ in 1977. Internationally, it was known in different names as it was marketed as Lada Sport in Iceland, Lada Cossack in the UK, Lada Taiga in Austria and Bognor Diva in Uruguay. Since 2009, it was offered as the LADA 4×4.
The vehicle was the first mass production off-roader to feature a unibody architecture and independent front suspension with coil springs. It was the predecessor to current crossover SUVs, which nearly all followed this format. It was also coined by some as the “greatest Soviet car of all time.”
In the early 90s, the Lada Niva was the best-selling off-road vehicle in Brazil. Versions of the Niva were used throughout Russia and Europe as utility, service, police and military vehicles. It was known for its superior off-road capability designed for tough tundra territory, making easy it to get around even in sub-zero temperatures. The Niva can exceed 43,000 off-road miles during deployment.
During 1998, it was sold in the US as the Chevrolet Niva, following a joint venture of the Russian automaker with General Motors, forming GM-AvtoVAZ. The Chevrolet Niva had an updated body and a 1.7-liter gasoline engine with fuel injection. Though the body and interiors were new, it was still based on the old VAZ 2121 engine, transmission, and mechanicals.
Since it was released in 1987 until its first demise 10 years later, two and a half million units of Peugeot 405 were sold internationally. It was the latest Peugeot vehicle that was marketed in American land, as it was only sold in the US between 1988 and 1991. Manufactured by French automaker Peugeot, the 405 was the voted as the 1988 European Car of the Year, with the largest number of votes in the history of the contest. However, it was replaced by the 406 by 1997 in Europe.
That wasn’t the end of this popular car. In 2012 alone, 4,626,700 units of the 405 were produced globally. It is still being built and updated in Iran until today, where it gained the title of National Car. Iran’s Iran Khodro continuously makes Samand, which is basically derived from Peugeot’s 405 platforms.
This car looks a lot like Alfa Romeo 164, with a bottom plate like those of Citroen BX. And like BX, the 405 used TU<XU petrol and XUD diesel engines.
The Volkswagen Passat, produced by German automaker Volkswagen since 1973, has been through eight design generations. The recent refreshings have made the Passat unrecognizable from the original, but it shared its engineering platform through the years. It was positioned in between Volkswagen Golf and the Phaeton in the automaker’s line-up.
Passat has always been a large family car, but through the years, it turned into a mid-sized sedan.
Over its lifetime, it’s been badged internationally with a number of names, including Carat, Dasher, Corsair, Quantum, Magotan, and Santana. Currently, the 2011 design generation of the coupe, the Passat NMS (New Midsized Sedan), is being sold in North America, China, and South Korea. The Passat NMS won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 2012 and the 2013 Passat TDI achieved a fuel consumption of 78 mpg, creating a Guinness Book of World Records mark for a non-hybrid car. The American version of the 2013 model is also being sold in the Middle East.
Mercedes-Benz G Class
Also known in some markets as the Puch G or the G-Wagen, the Mercedes-Benz G Class is a big and boxy luxury SUV. It was actually manufactured by Magna Steyr in Austria and sold by Mercedes-Benz. The G-Wagen is known for its boxy styling and body on frame construction.
The G was originally developed as a military vehicle for the German Army, as suggested by the Shah of Iran. Then, it was eventually offered for civilians in 1979, and Mercedes-Benz has been making them until now. The G class is one of the longest produced Mercedes-Benz in the history of Daimler. To add to its longevity, Daimler has reached an agreement with Magna Steyr to extend its production until 2020.
The timeless appeal of G Class overflows with style, class, and magnificence. It was a luxurious four-wheel drive that only the rich can afford. It was one of the few vehicles that have three fully locking differentials, and closing its doors might sound remarkably similar to shutting a safe. Internally referred to as the W463, the G Class produced today is best viewed as a noteworthy revision of the W461 generation from 1979.
Suzuki Jimny is the Japanese carmaker’s most senior model still in production. First released in 1970, this compact SUV can give you the purest off-road experiences you have ever seen. The present-day Jimny, which is from the third generation, is a descendant of the LJ10 from the 1970s, the car that paved the way for Suzuki’s 4×4 tradition and put mini SUVs to prominence. It was Suzuki’s first global success, and it was the car that made Suzuki an international name in SUV manufacturing.
When the Jimny was presented at the 1998 Tokyo Modern Show, it achieved instant iconic status. With its cute yet rugged design, this vehicle boasted of its body-on-frame chassis, vacuum-locking hubs, dual-ratio transfer box, and high ground clearance. Its tried-and-tested technology promises solid reliability.
However, don’t aspire for a high-powered ride with a Suzuki Jimny. With 85 hp and 110 Nm of torque, the M13AA 1.3L four-banger petrol is not potent enough for some off-road locations. The interior design is outdated though, and you don’t expect to be highly entertained with its infotainment system of only radio and CD player.
Also check out this ranking of sports cars with the longest production runs: