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Visual Evolution Animated: 3-Series, Accord, Corvette, Mustang

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1953 Chevrolet Corvette

1953 Chevrolet Corvette

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Several nameplates on the road today have been around for decades now, but the cars on modern dealer forecourts are a far cry from their historic predecessors. Among the best-known are the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette, BMW 3-Series and Honda Accord--and the eBay Motors blog has created a string of images that show how both styling and size have evolved since the first cars hit the road.

The Mustang is one of America's best-loved cars and in its half-century on sale it's unsurprising just how different the 2015 model is from the first car, which hit the roads back in 1964. Originally a sporty alternative to the Ford Falcon aimed at younger buyers, the Mustang has developed over six generations but more recently, returned to styling cues that made the first model such an icon. The car has had its rough patches--the Mustang II and the fourth-gen car both have their detractors--but with plenty of power and competitive pricing there's little doubt the 2015 car embodies the spirit of the original.

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Chevy's Corvette is also an iconic car but the latest C7 is even further removed from the 1953 classic than the Mustang is from the original pony car. In fact, the first four generations of Corvette couldn't be more different styling-wise, but since then the 'Vette's styling has been an evolution of the wedgy C4. Two things have remained constant throughout, however--the availability of a V-8 engine, which appeared in 1955, and the Corvette's fiberglass body construction.

German automakers have always been fairly restrained but there's little doubt that the latest generation BMW 3-Series, codenamed F30, is the product of decades of evolution. It's bigger, more powerful, more luxurious and offered in more variants than ever before (even if some are now badged '4-Series') but traditional BMW cues like the kidney grille, four headlamp rings and 'Hoffmeister kink' in the rear side window glass are all 3-Series mainstays. Each generation has its supporters--the early E21 is dainty, the E30 an archetypal BMW, the E36 debuted the six-cylinder M3, and subsequent generations have all refined the design and drive. All were among the best-driving sedans of their age, too.

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The Honda Accord perhaps isn't as exciting as the other cars here, but it's evidence that even the simplest and worthiest vehicles have come on a long way over the years. The original debuted in 1976, originally as a compact hatchback--but high standards of build and reliability have remained with the nameplate in each iteration since. Technology has always played a part too--and to that end, the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the latest car fit right in.

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