Automobiles: What Are Some Cars That Start With the Letter “W”?

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Cars that start with the letter “W” include contemporary vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler and classic cars like the Jeep Wagoneer, Wanderer W50, Wartburg 353 and Wolseley Wasp. These cars range from rugged all-terrain vehicles to classy saloon cars.

Jeep Wagoneer Series

The Jeep Wagoneer came before the Jeep Wrangler and was designed as a family vehicle. The first Wagoneers came out in 1962 as a 1963 model. It was the first off-road vehicle to have an independent front suspension. It came in all-wheel and rear-wheel drive variants. It was eventually replaced by the Jeep Grand Cherokee in 1991. However, it would reappear in 1993 as a variant of that year’s Grand Cherokee model.

Wanderer Vehicles

Wanderer Werke AG was a German company that started off as a bicycle company in 1885. The company began creating car designs in 1905. The company merged with Horsch, Audi and DKW in 1932 to form Auto Union, one of Germany’s largest auto manufacturers. Wanderer went out of business at the onset of World War II, and its factories were bombed in 1945.

The Wanderer W10 had a four-cylinder, 30-horsepower engine and was modified into the six-cylinder W11. Other models include the Wanderer W25 and W25K Sports. 

Wartburg 353

The Wartburg series of cars takes its name from the castle near the factory in Eisenach, Germany, where the series was first made. Wartburg built cars until it was acquired by BMW in 1928. However, after World War II and the creation of East Germany, BMW abandoned the factory. The Soviet authorities quickly put pre-war designs back into production, leading to a series of Eastern Bloc BMW knockoffs. 

The Wartburg 353 was a midsize family car and perhaps the most successful of these vehicles. First made in 1966, the 353 was produced for 25 years, almost until the fall of the Berlin Wall. An updated version called the Wartburg 1.3 remained in production until 1991. It could accelerate from zero to 69 miles in 12 seconds. 

Its simple engine design and vast storage space led to a saying that the 353 drove like a car but was maintained like a motorcycle. While it was nicknamed “The Barrel” for its shape and poor steering, it was also called “Trustworthy Hans” for its reliability. The main weakness of the vehicle was the lack of sound dampeners.

Wolseley Wasp

Originally founded in Sydney, Australia, as the Wolseley Sheep-Shearing Machine Company, the future manufacturer of the Wolseley Wasp moved to England in 1899. It slowly expanded into car production. By the breakout of World War I in 1914, the company Vickers had bought out the car production part of the Wolseley business and changed its name to the Wolseley Motor Car Company (WMCS). While WMCS changed owners several times during the interwar period, it continued to produce cars, including the Wolseley Wasp. 

The Wasp began production in 1935 as an improved version of the Wolseley Nine. While the Wasp had the same four-door saloon body, it had slightly more horsepower. The Wasp was already phased out by 1936 for new models known as the Series cars.

Jeep Wrangler Series

Jeep Wrangler vehicles trace their roots back to military trucks used during World War II and the CJs (short for “Civilian Jeep”) introduced to the public shortly afterward. The Wrangler line premiered in 1986 and was designed as a Jeep for everyday use rather than focusing on off-road travel. The fourth iteration of the Wrangler, the JL, premiered in 2018.