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It’ll be many years before we’ll know if newer badges like the Hyundai i30 – now 11 years young – will ever be able to lay claim to an almost ancient heritage, but the Corolla nameplate certainly can. (Indeed, Toyota Europe recently realised just how valuable that is.)
Likewise the Volkswagen Golf, the Honda Civic, Jaguar’s XJ… these are all badges with a lineage that reaches back decades. Not just a dozen car generations, but a couple of human generations, too.
The list of cars available today with historic pedigrees is not exactly a short one – brands know better than to let good names die easy – but it’s an exclusive club nonetheless.
Interestingly, only a few of them are SUVs. The market’s obsession with high-riding family cars is still relatively young, though, meaning the longest-running names in that field are the more traditionally capable offerings like the LandCruiser, the Jimny, the Range Rover and the legendary Defender – it’s not retired, it’s just taking a well-earned break.
As something of a follow-on from Kez Casey’s epic Automotive Name of Thrones series (he swears he’s got one more in him…), here’s a great collection of visual histories for some of the most iconic nameplates still alive today.