Cars That Start with D – A Look at Their Unique Histories and Features

Cars starting with the letter D encompass a wide range of makes and models, from rugged trucks built for adventure to sleek sports cars oozing luxury. What binds these vehicles together is their uniqueness and the fascinating stories behind their creations. In this article, we‘ll explore some of the most iconic, innovating, and interesting cars around that begin with the letter D.

The Durable Defender

First hitting the roads in 1948, few vehicles reach the legendary status of the Land Rover Defender. Originally built as a sturdy, go-anywhere utility vehicle in the aftermath of WWII, the boxy silhouette and no-nonsense mechanics of the Defender made it a longstanding favorite for agricultural and military use. Over its initial 67 year production run, Land Rover continuously updated the Defender with new tech and features, while still retaining the rugged charm and capabilities that gave this vehicle such broad appeal.

According to David Pritchard, author of the book Land Rover – The Unbeatable 4×4, "The Defender has become one of those instantly recognizable global icons. Its very boxy shape is known throughout the world." Beyond just looks, this vehicle delivered unparalleled off-road performance thanks to key features like:

  • Coil-sprung independent front suspension for articulation over rough terrain
  • Permanent 4WD system with low range gearing for maximized traction
  • Heavy duty steel ladder frame chassis providing structural strength
  • Up to 380 mm of ground clearance to clear obstacles

Discontinued in 2016 due to tightened emissions standards, the Defender returned triumphantly in 2020 with a modern redesign that maintained the vehicle’s rugged essence. Still beloved by adventurers and laborers today, the Defender’s seven decade legacy solidifies its status as one of the most capable and long-lasting 4x4s out there.

The Debonair DB5

If the Defender shows off rugged versatility, the Aston Martin DB5 reveals refinement and classic cool. Initially produced from 1963 to 1965, this luxury GT (grand tourer) coupe catapulted to international fame as fictional MI6 agent James Bond’s car of choice in the hit movie Goldfinger. The film debuted the DB5’s now iconic set of gadgets like revolving license plates and passenger ejector seat, adding an aura of adventure to the already beautiful vehicle.

Instantly recognizable from its elegant proportions and subtle chrome details, the DB5 perfected the GT formula prized by wealthy gentlemen drivers of the era. Cloaked in an aerodynamic aluminum body was a state-of-the-art 280 horsepower inline 6-cylinder engine, propelling drivers from 0-60 mph in just 7.1 seconds. Adding to the vehicle’s grand touring credentials was a spacious interior finished in fine leather, burled walnut trim, and wool carpeting. Aston Martin’s then chief engineer, Tadek Marek, summarized the vehicle best: “The DB5 had style, élan (flair), and performance”.

With only 1,021 examples ever built, DB5s remain coveted collector cars today. An original that sold for just £3,500 in 1963 went for a record-breaking $6.4 million at auction in 2019, thanks no doubt to its James Bond heritage. Even with its short production span in the 1960s, the beautiful and quick DB5 made an outsized cultural impact still felt today.

The Devilish Diablo

While Aston Martin conjures up visions of James Bond’s British refinement, the Lamborghini Diablo turns up the heat as a brash Italian supercar. Following the 1980s Countach (Lamborghini’s first mass media superstar), company executives knew they needed another head turning halo car to revive sales. Their solution was the hot-blooded Diablo, named after the legendary Spanish fighting bull that bested famed bullfighter El Chicorro in 1869.

True to its fiery namesake and Lamborghini heritage of big V12 engines and outlandish looks, the Diablo boasted:

  • Mid-mounted 5.7L V12 generating nearly 500 horsepower
  • Striking wedge-shaped body with upswinging scissor doors
  • A top speed over 200 mph, meeting era hypercar benchmarks
  • All wheel drive system maximizing traction and control

Car magazines raved over the Diablo’s formula, with MotorTrend calling it “the most spectacular new car in the world”. Even with heady performance stats, Lamborghini engineers designed the Diablo to be more drivable than past models thanks to traction control, ABS brakes, and power steering—all novelties at the time for supercars.

Debuting in 1990 right as Lamborghini faced dire financial troubles, the cutting edge Diablo carried the brand through that turbulent period and on into prosperity after Audi AG’s buyout in 1998. Its radical looks and performance encapsulate 1990s excess, propelling Lamborghini back to relevance along the way.

The Dawn of a New Era

In contrast to the flamboyant Lamborghini, Rolls Royce conjures calm sophistication and old world refinement—and no car continues this heritage better than the new Dawn convertible. Initially introduced in 2016, the Dawn built upon foundations first laid in the 1950s Silver Dawn, which was the brand’s first ever drophead coupé. While the design language remains familiar, under the aluminum skin Rolls Royce engineers integrated some of the most advanced technology of any modern convertible.

Key features demonstrating the Dawn’s pioneering innovation include:

  • Satellite Aided Transmission using GPS data to choose optimal gearing
  • Auto start/stop tech seamlessly shutting the engine off when parked
  • Heating circuits that open and close based on cabin or summertime settings
  • Insulated fabric roof components reducing noise and turbulence
  • Rear-wheel steering improving high speed stability and low speed maneuvering

All this technology works harmoniously to provide occupants whisper quiet, perfectly climatized journeys—whether driving through the English countryside with the top down or chauffeured among skyscrapers. As a vehicle befitting Rolls Royce’s elite clientele yet also pushing the brand toward a more sustainable, technologically integrated era, the sublime Dawn lives up to its ambitious name.

Dodge: Definition of American Muscle

Few brands capture the American essence of brawny V8 engines wrapped in dramatic styling better than Dodge. While the marque (or make) dates back over a century, Dodge as we know it today traces its roots to the muscle car era when models like the Charger and Challenger ruled the streets. These coupes brought NASCAR performance to the masses with features like:

  • Race-tuned suspension for confident cornering
  • No-frills cockpits clearly optimized for driving
  • Blistering acceleration from high horsepower V8 and V6 engines
  • Aggressive facades with bulging hood scoops and split grille styling

In more recent decades, Dodge has kept this muscular spirit alive through brash models like the Hellcat and Durango. Under Fiat Chrysler ownership, engineers continue pushing boundaries by cramming ludicrous drag-strip beating Hemi V8s into family haulers like the Charger, delivering speed once reserved for only the most elite supercars. These extremes epitomize Dodge’s core identity and highlight why the American brand appeals to enthusiasts worldwide.

While other marques chase refinement or technological innovation, Dodge charges forward with the definition of automotive muscle. As summarized by the now famous tagline “Domestic. Not Domesticated”, Dodge continues marching to the beat of its own drum, just how fans like it.

The Future is Electric

Across all brands, increased electrification points to the future with hybrid and fully electric models hitting the streets en masse. Notable examples starting with D include:

Daihatsu: This small Japanese automaker made waves as the first company to launch an electric kei car (a microcar meeting certain size restrictions) with its 2020 Copen GR Sports EV roadster. While only sold in Japan currently, industry watchers eye Daihatsu’s bold move as a sign of further EV adoption from mainstream brands.

DS Automobiles: With its new E-Tense high performance luxury sedan, French brand DS Automobiles (a spin-off from Citroën) brings sub-4 second 0-60 mph sprints and a range topping 250 miles—all wrapped in a stylishly futuristic package. Models like the sleek E-Tense showcase how electric technology can coexist beautifully with luxury expectations.

Dodge: The brand synonymous with mighty V8 muscle recently previewed its electrified future with the 2022 Charger Daytona SRT electric concept packing over 900 horsepower! While details remain limited on production intent, Dodge’s brash EV concept suggests that even hardline petrol fans can get behind emissions-free performance.


Whether chasing rugged adventure, refinement through technology, or pure adrenaline rushes, cars starting with D represent varied automotive passions. From enduring utility legends like the Defender to tire shredding modern muscle cars by Dodge, brands starting with D made, and will continue redefining, automotive history for decades to come through their unique visions. As electric power promises revolution for the 21st century, both freshly minted companies like Daihatsu and heritage filled brands such as Rolls Royce bring exciting developments under the letter D. For such breadth and legacy in the automotive world, cars starting with D earn their place as both drivers’ cars and visionary icons.

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