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Various car brands and their history

Car brands

At this moment there are about 1000 car brands active all over the world, where we mean by car brand a company that has built at least one car in its entire history, this is without tuning companies and armor companies but including design studios that have only made one or more prototypes.

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Both in Belgium and in the Netherlands, between 50 and 100 brands of the current 1000 are sold. Sixteen car brands are active in the Netherlands, Belgium has five of its own active brands and in Suriname there are no car brand headquarters yet. The presence of car brands varies greatly from country to country.

Influence of the car
The car has made a big change in several areas. Things like safety, the environment, but also things like infrastructure, architecture and the like can be thought of.

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1975 BMW 3.0 CSL, “BMW Art Car”, painted by Alexander Calder
The car has influenced various art movements in the 20th century.

As a character, the car plays a leading role in the short novel Knorrende dieren (1933) by Ferdinand Bordewijk, the Disney films about Herbie (from 1969), the thriller Christine (1983) by Stephen King and the animation film Cars (2006) by Pixar in collaboration with Disney.

The Dutch visual artist Joost Conijn is known for his ‘Hout Auto’, among other things. In Amarillo, Texas, United States, the ‘Cadillac Ranch’ (1974) by the artists Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels can be seen as an installation in public space. The German artist Helmut Dick made a video with the reactions of the public in The Hague to his mobile installation ‘The Rising Dog’: a white Mercedes from which a German shepherd rises from the roof and disappears again. Singer/artist Herman Brood painted various cars, including his own funeral car.[4]

The first form of customizing arose around 1918, when the artist Sonia Delaunay painted her car. She used it as a kind of “dressing” of the car.

In the fifties the so-called Pinstriping became very popular. The most famous artist in this movement was Kenneth Howard, nicknamed Von Dutch.[5]

As soon as the first cars started to drive around, styling started to become important as well. The development of cars has always gone hand in hand with art. It all started with the layout of the car: it had to be determined where the passenger seats would be placed and where the engine would be placed. The interior then became important, and finally the exterior of the car started to play a role as well.

It was Alfred Sloan of General Motors who, in the 1920s, came up with the idea of introducing a new model every year, which looked different from the previous models, but was still recognisable.

See also: concept car.

End user

“pimped” Volkswagen Golf
In the United States of America the perhaps first car trend started, namely the lowrider. The goal of the lowrider was to get the car as low as possible on the street. As this is illegal, one had to have a system to get the cars back to the normal ride height. For this they used a powerful hydraulic cylinder. From this trend arose the artistic movement of the car (“dancing”).

There is also the tuning movement, in which cars are decorated (“pimped”) with spoilers, rims and the like.


Parking garage in Delft
The car has had a great influence on the architecture. Without the car, for example, we would not have had the concept of a parking garage. The car provided motels, roadside restaurants, but shopping malls have also been developed with the car in mind.

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Architects like Le Corbusier often had their work photographed with a car, to show how modern the building was. The car became a kind of living room object, because garages were built next to houses.

The layout of the public space around 1900 was very different than it is today. In addition to pedestrians, horse-drawn carriages dominated the streetscape. Initially, therefore, the car was not seen as a polluter. The streets became cleaner due to the displacement of horses: there was no longer any horse manure everywhere and there were no more horse-drawn carriages to be slaughtered. Since then, pedestrians have been pushed to the sidewalk, a narrow strip that seemed to be getting smaller and smaller until the 1980s, when the concept of a pedestrian zone was introduced. In the United States, village centres were “sucked out” by car, which went to the new motels and shopping malls. Towns and villages were adapted to the car, by constructing wide avenues towards the city centre, parking lots, etc. The car gave an impulse to suburbanisation and desurbanisation because it was no longer necessary to live close to work. Recently, a reversed trend has been observed.