Car of the Decade: ‘Savagely Quick’ Tesla Model S

Unless you own a collectible car or boat or motorcycle, chances are you’ve never heard of Hagerty, the world’s leading insurer of those cars we read about that sell for hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars.

During the month of July, the company has named 12 “Car of the Decade” vehicles beginning with the Ford Model T up through the current 2010s. And although the 2010s aren’t over yet, the folks at Hagerty think they’re safe picking the Model S sedan from Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) as the greatest car of the current decade.

What makes the Model S stand out, according to Hagerty, is “cool”:

[T]he Tesla has gone in a more radically different direction than any other car in recent memory. More importantly, it has done so with great success, because instead of coming out with an all-electric car that people felt that they should drive or that they had to drive, Tesla came out with an electric car that people really want to drive. It will always be remembered as the one that made electric cars truly desirable, and that’s why it is one of the greats.

From a car collector’s standpoint the Roadster, Tesla’s first vehicle, may ultimately be the more valuable car. Fewer than 2,500 were built and scarcity counts for a lot when it comes to long-term value.

But the Model S was the vehicle that “made the company a household name even without paid advertising.” Hagerty noted especially that the Model S was a “luxury sedan that looked handsome, but reassuringly conventional, and was priced like a luxury sedan.”

Why was that important? Because it demonstrated that an electric vehicle didn’t have to look or perform like Yugo. Here was a vehicle that could give an owner both a sense of doing good at the same time that it provided neck-snapping performance.

Here’s Hagerty’s list of the greatest cars of every decade.

  • 1890 to 1910: Ford Model T
  • 1910s: Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
  • 1920s: Duesenberg Model J
  • 1930s: Ford Model 18 (with the flathead V-8)
  • 1940s: Jeep CJ
  • 1950s: Mercedes-Benz 300SL
  • 1960s: Ford Mustang
  • 1970s: Lamborghini Countach
  • 1980s: Dodge Caravan
  • 1990s: Mazda Miata
  • 2000s: Chevy Corvette ZR1
  • 2010s: Tesla Model S

Read more about each of these vehicles at the Hagerty website.

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