I do not think comparing reels to vehicles is the best way to classify them. There are lots of reel designs - each designed for a special purpose. El Duco still makes a nice reel. Todd Lassen has upgraded reel design. When purchasing a reel, it is a good idea to know how you intend to use it. They come in different sizes, strengths, and some with locks.
As David mentioned above, the Thornton Windlass is a different type of reel. I have upgraded/replaced the long thread on these for several friends, as well as, on my own two Thorntons so I have had the opportunity to carefully examine the insides. They are a duplex reel having two internal springs (long). This gives them the constant tension. Lubrication must be by fine oil. Grease or the like will stop them from working. Due to the construction, adjusting the thread tension without having to open the case is simple.
One of my Thorntons was owned/used by Al DeLage to fly a silk clear across a stage. He soldered on a small compression spring to act as a brake or bumper to prevent thread breakage then the silk hit the reel case - a good solution.
JT, there are some reels out there that could be classified as Yugos, though.