Production vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, from family cars to off-road vehicles and much, much more. Each production vehicle manufacturer will create a number of models for mass production, thus providing people with a wide choice of vehicles to suit their needs and budgets. The auto production industry is a perfect example of market forces in action – successful vehicles sell in great quantities and for a long time, while models rejected by the market are soon withdrawn. The history of the automibile reflects the changing tastes of the buying public, whose demands are quickly met by the production vehicles designed and produced by automakers worldwide – and competition for consumer dollars is fierce.
In the United States, the main manufacturers of production vehicles are General Motors, Ford and Chrysler (now officially DaimlerChrysler) – traditionally known as ‘The Big Three’. There used to be many more independent automakers, but almost all have gone out of business or have been absorbed by their larger rivals. Some of these bygone makers of American production vehicles were Studebaker, Packard, Hudson, Nash, Willys and Kaiser. A few of these small independent manufacturers joined forces to form American Motors (AMC), but even this wasn’t enough to ensure survival and AMC was bought out by Chrysler in the mid 1970s.
Foreign production vehicles began arriving on American shores after the Second World War. Names like MG, Triumph and Jaguar (England), Volkswagen and Mercedes (Germany), Fiat and Alfa Romeo (Italy) and Renault (France) achieved varying amounts of success here. However, it was the Japanese who have made the biggest impact, and are now the largest foreign-owned manufacturers of production vehicles in the USA. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Subaru are the biggest names and most successful.
Many types of production vehicles are manufactured to directly meet certain automotive needs. Jeep specializes in off-road vehicles that are able to cope with rough terrain and are perfect for adventurous people who want to explore. Porsche and Lamborghini are well known for their powerful and luxurious sports cars. If there’s a recognizable need in the market, you can be sure the automakers will address it with a new production vehicle!
When we hear the name Ferrari, we immediately picture legendary drivers such as Niki Lauda, John Surtees, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher. However, there is more to Ferrari, than a successful racing team. When Enzo Ferrari established Scuderia Ferrari in 1929, he did not do so with road vehicles in mind. He wanted to be part of the racing world and by 1938, Enzo Ferrari headed up the Alfa Romeo racing department. During the war, Alfa Romeo became absorbed by the government in their war efforts, and the little division run by Enzo Ferrari passed by unnoticed. He was not permitted to participate in racing for a period of four years, but he nevertheless built the Tipo 815. In 1943 Enzo Ferrari moved his operations to Maranello, where it still remains today. After the factory was bombed in 1944, it was rebuilt, and included a division for the production of road vehicles, even though this was just to generate the money needed to fund Enzo’s passion for racing. The name Scuderia Ferrari, means Ferrari Stable, but is translated, in a figurative form, to mean Team Ferrari.
The 125S, is the very first road vehicle that Ferrari produced in 1947. Enzo disliked the fact that he was producing vehicles that people bought for prestige and not for how the car performed, but his vehicles continues to grow in popularity, becoming famous for their style, excellence and speed. Today, the rich and the famous ensure that they add a Ferrari to their collection as a status symbol.
The world famous Ferrari emblem has been a source of speculation. All badges have a prancing black horse on a yellow background. The letters SF (Scuderia Ferrari) appear on either side of the horse, with the national colors of Italy (Green, white and red) appearing at the top of the logo.
To know the naming of the Ferrari vehicles, will definitely make you an expert. Until the 1990’s, car engines were named on engine displacement. For example, the V6 and V8 car models were total displacements. That would mean that a 206 would be a 2.0 L V6 and a 348 would be a 3.4 L V8. Displacement is measured in deciliters. On the V12’s displacement is measured in cubic centimeters, of one cylinder, making the 365 Daytona, a 4380ccV12. Flat 12’s were in liters. Body style would also play an integral role in naming a car, and over the years the styles and names have changed, but the excellence and performance has remained top quality.
Working at the Ferrari Factory in Maranello, Italy, is the job of dreams. Even though workers are free to wear what they choose, you will not see anything but red. Workstations are decorated in Ferrari logos, racing team memorabilia and everyone works with a smile on their face. There are approximately 30 stations that a car visits before completion, and the production of a Ferrari is not rushed. State of the art machines will ensure a beautiful finish on a paint job, but installations of the custom made seats and dashboards are fitted by hand and installed to perfection. The engine shop produces approximately fifty engines a day, due to its fully automated production line, that employs close to a hundred staff. The automation ensures a decrease in mistakes, and a faster production line. The factory itself is a combination of the old meticulous ways, and the latest technology, incorporated in a relaxing, spacious working environment. The manufacturing of a Ferrari might be faster today, than in Enzo’s day, but the love, pride and the passion that goes into every Ferrari, remains unmatched.
Like the AMC Javelin, the Chevrolet Camaro is a popular “pony car” produced by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors. It was introduced in the 1967 model year as competition for the Ford Mustang and was classified as an “intermediate touring car, a muscle car or a sports car”. The Chevrolet Camaro has many similar components to the Pontiac Firebird that was also introduced the same year.
Production of the Camaro stopped in 2002 but not before four distinctive generations of the car were completed. This is not the end of the Camaro as a new one will be set for production in 2009. The name of the Chevrolet was not given with any specific meaning but a GM researcher found the word in a French dictionary and is a slang term for “friend” or “companion”.
The debut Camaro came with over 80 factory and 40 dealer options, including three main packages. One of the packages was the Z/28 that came out for the 1967 model year. This option wasn’t found in any sales literature and was relatively unknown to buyers. It came with many extras that were designed specifically to allow the car to race in the Trans Am series. It was only the 602 Z/28 that was sold in 1967 and 1968, which did not come with a raised cowl induction hood like the 1969 Z/28s.
In 1969 the Camaro came out with a sportier look. The grill had been changed to a heavy “V” cant and had deeply inset headlights. The changes made to the car also gave it a more wider, lower and more aggressive look. That year other changes were also available to the Camaro to increase the competitiveness in the Trans Am racing series.
The second-generation Chevrolet Camaro was introduced in 1970 and stayed in production for 12 years with the final model produced in 1981. The styling of this generation of Camaro was inspired by Ferrari and due to its size was no longer given a convertible option. The third generation of this car was introduced in 1982, continuing to use the General Motors’ F-body platform. The forth generation Camaro was in production for ten years and from there General Motors has put a stop to the car but a fifth generation car is on the books.