As one of the highest honors handed out to cars, trucks and vans, the Motor Trend Car of the Year list includes some of the best vehicles that have ever been produced. Nearly each year since 1949, the Motor Trend Car of the Year has been named based on the magazine's pick for cars that exhibit superiority, significance, and value.
The Motor Trend Car of the Year list is as old as Motor Trend magazine itself with the launch of the publication in 1949 coming when the Cadillac Motor Division was honored for their excellence with V8 engine models. Initially, a motor company was selected each year, but later the award was refined to select an individual model of car. Only three times since 1949, in 1950, 1953 and 1954, was the award not given.
As the magazine grew, other categories were added, such as the Motor Trend Import of the Year and Motor Trend Truck of the Year, among others. It took 50 years for the magazine to open up the award to foreign-made models, starting in 1999, and another few after that for an international car to take home the title. In 2003, the Infiniti G35 became the first non-American-made model to win Car of the Year.
Because of the high standards used to decide on the award winner, the car selected generally continues on to sell well, however certain models, such as the 2002 Ford Thunderbird, failed to impress buyers and was canceled later. Regardless of sales, these cars will live on as the best of the year for their time, a prestigious award that can never be taken away.