Matt Robinson 9 years ago
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5 Ancient Cars We Can't Believe Are Still Sold Today

These archaic vehicles have stood the test of time and incredibly, can still be bought new today

Remind me later
Morgan 4/4 When you think about it, the average shelf life for most cars isn't all that long. A new car will have barely been in the showrooms before the manufacturer begins feverishly cooking up its eventual replacement. That's not the case for every vehicle, however. For one reason or another, some car designs just refuse to die, and despite being pretty damned long in the tooth, you can still buy them brand new today.

1. Caterham 7

10 Yep, that ballistic missile of a car we all know and love, the track car par-excellence, is bloody ancient. Caterham have been producing the uncomplicated but thrilling sports car since taking it on in 1973, but its history goes back even further than that. It started out life as Lotus Seven, one of the Hethel-based company's very early efforts, penned by none other than Lotus founder and all-round legend Colin Chapman. It embodied Chapman's ethos of simplicity and lightness, something that still rings true in modern Lotus motors. The basic design has continued unchanged under Caterham, but much of the car has moved with the times, particularly in the firepower department. The first Lotus Seven came with a humble 40bhp Ford Side-Valve, whereas these days you can have Caterham's version with anything from a 125bhp Sigma lump, to the explosive 310bhp Duratec found in the simply mad 620 R. Video

2. Mercedes G-Class

mercedesg63amg2013-01-627x412 Mercedes can throw all the bling and big AMG V8s it wants at the G-Class, it's still basically the same machine as the venerable old G-Wagen. On sale since 1979, this hefty 4x4 was originally developed as a military vehicle, and still sees action today in armed forces around the world. It was even made into a Popemobile once upon a time. Meanwhile the civvie version - particularly in AMG form - has become something of a celebrity favourite. It may be old and not particularly sophisticated, but that doesn't stop it being oddly cool and desirable. Especially the bonkers 6x6 version. Video

3. Land Rover Defender

Land_Rover_Defender_TD5 Our next entry is another archaic 4x4. The Defender as we know it has been knocking about since 1983 (albeit only getting the Defender name in 1990), but its roots can be traced back to the original Land Rover. That means you can rock up to a Landie dealership and leave with a car that's not that different to one first seen in 1948. The old brute's longevity is helped by the fact that it's one of the most versatile things ever made on four wheels. It's a proper do anything, go anywhere machine. So it's no wonder the Green Oval have put off making a replacement, and are still scratching their heads over what to actually do for the successor. Whatever happens though, tightening EU pedestrian safety regs mean this legend of motoring will disappear from showrooms in 2015. Which is a bit of a shame.  Video

4. Volkswagen Type 2

VW-camper-van OK, so it isn't technically a car, but the old VW Camper more than deserves a mention. Remarkably, this antique on four wheels can still be bought new in Brazil. New emissions laws in 2006 killed off the dated air cooled powerplant - it's now powered by a water cooled four-pot nicked from the VW Fox - but other than that it's the same panel van that's been about since 1950. All that comes to an end in December this year, however. New crash safety regulations will consign the good old Camper to the history books, ending an era. 

5. Morgan 4/4

Morgan 4/4 (1) It seems fitting to finish this list off with the oldest car here. Morgan certainly aren't a brand known for moving with the times, and the car that best sums them up is the 4/4. Being produced since 1936 with only a couple of relatively short breaks in manufacture, Morgan claim it's the world's oldest production car. Originally christened the 4-4, the car received a big update in 1955 to become the 4/4. It's remained pretty much unchanged since then though, Morgan even still build it with that same ash frame/steel chassis combo. It's a pretty simple, lightweight thing. Think of it as a Caterham 7 for those that like to smoke pipes and wear flat caps. Like several of the current 7s, it also uses a modern Ford Sigma engine, as current emissions regulations mean Morgan can't cling to the past quite as much as they might like.