The History of the Automotive World

This one’s started in comments and I think it deserves a life of it’s own.

The comments section related to a post where I explained a little of Saab’s jet heritage to another blogger who had asked questions about it. In comments, people started doing “Born froms” for other manufacturers.

So, why not post them as a list on the front page here for a bit of fun?

So….post your company, and then a brief explanation as to why.


Saab – Born from Jets. Saab started as an aircraft company and diversified into cars.

Lamborghini – Born from tractors. Lambo boss built tractors and started on cars when he was unhappy with his Ferrari and got snobbed by Enzo when he complained.

Other ones that have been mentioned in comments (could do with a short explanation for those that don’t know, including me).

BMW – Born from Bubble Cars

VW – Born from Not Very Nice Times (no expl reqd)

Honda – Born from Motorbikes

Volvo – Born from ZZzzzzz… (ok, maybe that one doesn’t need an explanation either)

Ovlov – born from balls (huh?)

Opel – Born from Sewing Machines

Peugeot – “Born from pepper mills”

Suzuki – Born from Weaving Looms

Mitsubishi – born from Zeroes

Zil – born from Soviet hegemony


Add your contributions or explanations to comments and I’ll update the front page as things progress.

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  1. Nice input ;D
    One thing why is the text at the right side, personally, since i’m righthanded you kind’a lean a bit to the left when you sit at the computer. And since only 1/10 of the population is lefthanded it would make more sence to have the text on the leftside…Puhh I just had to get it out =)

  2. I think the ‘born from balls’ thing refers to ball bearings.

    The whole ‘I roll’ thing.

    Btw, why do people call Volvo, ‘Ovlov’?

  3. Yeah, what Jesse said. From Wikipedia:
    Volvo means “I roll” in Latin, conjugated from “volvere”. The name Volvo was originally registered in May 1911 as a separate company within SKF AB and as a registered trademark with the intention to be used for a special series of ball bearing, but this idea was only used for a short period of time and SKF decided to use “SKF” as the trademark for all its bearing products.

    And RO provided a link to the explanation for Peugeot ( “Peugeot created the pepper mill in 1842, long before it made motor cars.”

    Don’t have an answer for Honda, but circa 1967, a friend asked me to hold a matchstick between my two hands and to clear my throat several times, which I did. Then he laughed and said “How do you like your new Honda?”

  4. As a left-hander, I think that the above comment by sinistrophobic hatemonger Robban is intolerant and so 50 years ago. Lefty and LOUD!! I’m going to the Southpaw Pride Parade this year as a pair of scissors!! (Note: for you filthy regular-handers scissors are nearly impossible to use left-handed.)


    Nissan: Born from Datsun. Who was born from Nissan.

    Lexus: Born from Corollas.
    Scion: Born from Corollas.

    Chevrolet: Born in Switzerland. (It’s true — look it up!)

  5. Eggs, wouldn’t your Nissan/Datsun/Nissan thing make Nissan it’s own grandparent?

    Just looking for clarification from you, as you are in “Deep South” where this kind of thing is more common … 🙂


    Porsche – Born from Volkswagens?

    Mini – Born again from BMWs?

  6. Sorry eggsngrits if I offended you, that wasn’t my intention, =) I just wanted to speak my mind.. and btw what does sinistrophobic hatemonger means? ( I’ve just studied English A+B i’m going for C this autumn ) i’m sure it isn’t positive tho. Have a nice day from THN

  7. Eggs,

    Where are you then? I thought you were in the Land of Gore and Thompson (what with the sign on your blog and the grits reference …)

    I can’t really throw stones though, I’m in Florida — the land of the odd.


    Jeep/Hummer – Born by order of the US Armed Forces.

    Chrysler — Born from … wait, they’re still alive?

    AMC — Killed by Gremlins

  8. Hurrah for lefties, we’re the only ones in our right minds. Also, I love the Mitsubishi: born from Zeroes. Those old plane engineers love doing other things after WW:II, I suppose.

  9. Robban: It’s really more of a swipe at the popular culture of taking extreme offense it every little thing. I’ve incorporated the rant of the chip-on-their-shoulder homosexuals into a humorous rant on left-handedness.

    Sinistrophobe = Fear of the left-handed
    Hatemonger = One who specializes in hate

    Yes, I live in Tennessee. The ‘Deep South’ generally refers to Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. I’m trying to squirm from under the comment, in other words.

    Thompson I’ll claim. Albert Gore, Jr. needs to claim his rightful home in the Washington, DC area.

  10. Grits –

    Then you and I would probably get along fine … Saabs, Southern cooking and conservative? Hmm. (Its funny, I’ve had people assume I’m left-leaning since I drive a Saab. Ever happen to you?)

  11. chaaalie, I get that impression, too. Probably goes hand-in-hand with the N.E. US demographic which often buys the cars (and you could throw some of the West Coast/Cali buyers in there too)- quite free-thinking and well-to-do, and rather liberal. But not everyone who buys Saabs subscribes to the same beliefs, of course however.

    EggsnGrits: you’re getting more and more likeable all the time! Coming from one lefty to another…yeah NG900Kev and I are brothers, and 5 of us 7 kids in our family are doing things the REAL right way- that is, the left way!

    Sinistrophobe- awesome word. I’ll start putting that one to good use!

  12. RJ:

    YES!!! (Best Marv Albert voice.)

    And, by the way, that should be sinistrophia = the fear of left-handness. A sinistrophobe is one who fears left-handedness.

  13. Here’s one. AM General, who makes the Hummer, had its genesis in the General Products Division of Studebaker Corp. Studebaker got its start in the 1800s making Conestoga wagons. The Studebaker Museum even has a Hummer on display. Hence…

    Hummer – Born from Conestoga wagons.

  14. Lincoln: Born from Cadillac (not funny, but true: Caddy’s founder got fed up with how GM was running the company, and left to form Lincoln, with little to no success, if you ask me).

  15. Since I’m thinking about it…

    Cadillac: Reborn from racism

    In 1932, Cadillac was going to be dissolved due to poor sales, mainly stemming from the fact that black people weren’t allowed in the dealerships (not to mention that the Great Depression was going on). Cadillac’s sales teams decided to do a 180 and pitch the cars to rich black folk, and voila, Cadillac was the only profitable car marque during the Depression.

  16. Jeff: So you really mean:

    Cadillac: Reborn by rejecting racism.


    Citroen: Born from bombs.

    Citroen was an armament manufacturer until after the end of World War I.

  17. Well, yes, in a way, but aiming sales at black people was still technically racism, though it was much less dickish racism :p

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