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An In-Depth Look at Cars Starting with "V"

Cars with names starting with the letter "V" hold a special place in automotive history. This article will provide an in-depth overview of the origins, models, and unique features of brands and vehicles beginning with V.

We‘ll explore pioneering companies like Vauxhall, Volkswagen, and Volvo in detail. Niche brands like Voisin and Vignale will also get their time in the spotlight. Tables highlighting specs and sales figures will allow easy comparison of different models side-by-side. By the end, you‘ll have an extensive knowledge of cars starting with the beloved letter V!

The Vauxhall Motor Company

Founded in London in 1857, Vauxhall is one of Britain‘s oldest and most iconic carmakers. Originally a marine engine producer, Vauxhall built its first car in 1903 and was acquired by General Motors in 1925.1

Notable Vauxhall Models

Some of Vauxhall‘s most popular models through the decades include:

Model First Built Notes
Vauxhall Cadet 1906 Vauxhall‘s first enclosed sedan model
Vauxhall 30-98 1913 Luxury model built until 1927
Vauxhall Astra 1979 Bestselling compact model in the UK
Vauxhall Viva 1963 Britain‘s first compact family car

The Astra has ranked among the UK‘s top 3 bestselling cars for much of the 2000s and 2010s.2

Acquisition by GM

Vauxhall‘s 1925 acquisition by General Motors secured high-volume auto production through access to GM‘s substantial resources and manufacturing facilities. Vauxhall still maintains separate branding from GM‘s European Opel marque today.3

Volkswagen: The People‘s Car Company

Founded in 1937 in Nazi Germany, Volkswagen emerged from the ashes of WWII to become the world‘s largest automaker. Its name meaning "people‘s car," Volkswagen embodied an egalitarian postwar vision of mass motorization.4

Beetle Resurrection

The Volkswagen Beetle, conceived in the 1930s, commenced mass production in 1945 under British control. By 1972, over 15 million Beetles had been manufactured. This single model exemplified VW‘s enormous postwar success.5

Model Total Units Sold
Volkswagen Beetle 21.5 million[^6]
Volkswagen Golf 30 million[^7]
Volkswagen Jetta 14.8 million[^8]

Global Brand Identity

Creative ad campaigns like the 1960s "Think Small" and "Lemon" ads helped cement Volkswagen‘s brand identity in America, positioning VW as an iconoclastic underdog versus "fat cat" Detroit automakers. Volkswagen‘s top-selling models have made it the most globally recognized European auto brand.6

Volvo – Safety and Durability Pioneer

[image: Volvo logo]

Volvo, founded in Sweden in 1927, made its name through durable vehicles and a ceaseless emphasis on safety. In 1959, Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin invented the three-point seatbelt, now standard equipment worldwide.7

Volvo‘s large sedan and rugged station wagon models appealed to American counterculture in the 1960s. The rear-facing third row in Volvo‘s late 90s SUVs set a trend still followed in family vehicles today.8

More recently, Volvo has invested heavily in electrification, with an industry-leading goal to sell only electric vehicles by 2030 and become fully climate neutral by 2040.9 This continues the company‘s dedication to pioneering improvements benefiting all.

Fun Fact

Volvo‘s brand name originated from the Latin "I roll," taken from its predecessor SKF, a ball bearing manufacturer.10

Obscure Models: Voisin and Vignale

Beyond the giants, smaller niche brands starting with V also left their creative mark.


Avions Voisin began manufacturing vehicles in 1919, founded by French aviation pioneer Gabriel Voisin. The expensive luxury models boasted powerful aircraft engines and exquisite custom coachwork.11

The remarkable Laboratoire from 1923 encapsulated Voisin‘s uniqueness, with a boat-tailed rear end and aerodynamic sloped hood. A true "car as art" built for an elite clientele.12


Alfredo Vignale‘s Turin coachbuilding company, established in 1948, crafted custom bodies for Italy‘s top marques before financial woes forced its sale to De Tomaso in 1969.

Ford later revived the prestigious Vignale name for upscale variants like the Mondeo Vignale featuring signature styling touches.13

Why "V"?

So what explains the prominence of V in car naming? Here are some potential reasons:

  • Power – The V-angle between banks in a V8 or V12 engine signals high performance.
  • Velocity – V‘s upward thrust evokes speed and forward motion.
  • Vision – V‘s diverging lines suggest moving into the future.
  • Victory – V is a symbol of peace and triumph.

Whatever the origins, V-branded vehicles have made an indelible impression on automotive history. This deep dive shows the letter is more than a simple Roman numeral – it represents quality, innovation, and human mobility.

  1. Georgano, G. N. Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. London: Grange-Universal, 1985. 
  2. "Best-Selling Cars in the UK." Wikipedia, 29 Jan. 2023. 
  3. Bardsley, Gillian. "Vauxhall – Major Employer for More Than 100 Years." Engineering & Technology History Wiki, Jan. 2023. 
  4. Womack, James P. "Volkswagen: Fahrvergnügen (Driving Pleasure)." MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 1989. 
  5. Ciferri, Luca. "The Volkswagen Beetle Started Adolf Hitler‘s Car Obsession." Forbes, 11 July 2019. 
  6. Wernle, Bradford. "The Brief: How VW took over the world." Automotive News Europe, 8 Oct. 2019. 
  7. "Volvo Cars Tech History." Volvo Car USA Newsroom, 15 April 2020. 
  8. Voelcker, John. "Volvo: History from 1927 to Today." The Car Connection, 18 Dec 2019. 
  9. "Volvo Cars‘ Unique Electrification Strategy." Volvo Car Group Global Newsroom, 26 May 2022.
  10. Georgano, G. N. Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. London: Grange-Universal, 1985. 
  11. Posthumus, Cyril. "Gabriel Voisin‘s Marvellous Flying Machines." The International Journal of Transport & Vehicle Engineering, 1981. 
  12. Schmarbeck, Wolfgang. "Avions Voisin C27 – Art Deco on Wheels." Classic Driver, 9 March 2018. 
  13. "The Story of Carrozzeria Vignale." Vignale, 2021.