Car of the Century

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The Car of the Century (COTC) is an international award that was given to the world's most influential car of the 20th century.[1] The election process was overseen by the Global Automotive Elections Foundation.[2] The winner, the Ford Model T, was announced at an awards gala on December 18, 1999 in Las Vegas, Nevada.[3]

1st place: Ford Model T

The selection process[edit]

An elaborate and formal process for deciding the Car of the Century was devised. It started in October 1996, when a list of 700 cars was offered by the COTC organising committee as candidates for the award, which their experts had selected from recommendations made from within the car industry and from car clubs.[4]

In February 1997 a list of 200 eligible cars was announced at the AutoRAI motor show in Amsterdam, having been selected from the 700 by an honorary committee of experts who were all independent and highly respected and experienced automotive experts.[5]

The next step was for a jury of 133 professional automotive journalists [6] from 33 countries, under the presidency of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu,[7] to reduce the list to 100, and the result was announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1997.[8]

The elimination process proceeded with an Internet-based public vote [9] to select 10 cars, and for 25 cars to be selected by the jury of professionals. In the event, 9 out of the 10 cars selected by the public were also amongst the 25 selected by the journalists (the AC Cobra being the extra car selected by the public), so 26 cars were announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1999, as the nominees for the next round.[10]

2nd place: Mini
3rd place: Citroën DS
5th place: Porsche 911
The 26 nominees
Make Type Year Country
AC Cobra 1965–1967 United KingdomUK/US
Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Coupé 1954–1968 ItalyItaly
Audi Quattro 1980–1991 GermanyGermany
Austin Seven 1922–1939 United KingdomUK
BMW BMW 328 1936–1940 GermanyGermany
Bugatti T35 1926–1930 FranceFrance
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 1963–1967 United StatesUS
Citroën Traction Avant 1934–1957 FranceFrance
Citroën 2CV 1948–1990 FranceFrance
Citroën DS19 1955–1975 FranceFrance
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta 1959–1962 ItalyItaly
Fiat 500 Topolino 1936–1948 ItalyItaly
Ford Model T 1908–1927 United StatesUS
Ford Mustang 1964–1968 United StatesUS
Jaguar XK120 1948–1954 United KingdomUK
Jaguar E-Type 1961–1975 United KingdomUK
Land Rover Range Rover 1970–present United KingdomUK
Mercedes-Benz S/SS/SSK 1927–1932 GermanyGermany
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé 1954–1957 GermanyGermany
Morris/Austin Mini 1959–2000 United KingdomUK
NSU Ro 80 1967–1976 GermanyGermany
Porsche 911 1964–present GermanyGermany
Renault Espace 1984–present FranceFrance
Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 1907–1925 United KingdomUK
Volkswagen Beetle 1938–2003 GermanyGermany
Volkswagen Golf 1974–present GermanyGermany
Willys Jeep 1941–1945 United StatesUS

From the 26, the jury were asked to nominate five finalists which would go through to the last round of voting, using a points system. The final nominees were announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, 1999.[11]

The final results[edit]

The jury each ranked the five cars in their preferred order, and the results were combined with a points system. The final results are shown in the table below.[12]

Position Car model Points
1 Ford Model T 742
2 Mini 617
3 Citroën DS 567
4 Volkswagen Beetle 521
5 Porsche 911 303

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Car of the Century - the Car Connection". Archived from the original on 2017-03-27. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  2. ^ Law, Alex (1999-12-22). "Car of the Century". Auto123. Archived from the original on 2006-03-08. Retrieved 2006-04-29.
  3. ^ Wright, Richard A. (1999-12-20). "Car of the Century? Ford's Model T, of course". Joyrides. Archived from the original on 2005-02-04. Retrieved 2006-04-29.
  4. ^ "Autofest City - India's largest collection of authentic scale models". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  5. ^ "Car of the Century Search Begins". Archived from the original on 7 April 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  6. ^ "MotorCities National Heritage Area - Year of the Car: Ford Model T Turns 100: Centennial celebrations underway". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  7. ^ "Rover Group Press Release - Mini Shortlisted for 'Car of the Century' - 24 June 1999".
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Early and Often".
  10. ^ "Car of the century voting narrows", Tim Dornin, AAP General News, March 15, 1999
  11. ^ "Car of the Century?" Archived October 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Wired, December 17, 1999
  12. ^ "This Just In: Model T Gets Award", James G. Cobb, The New York Times, December 24, 1999