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What Was The First Car? A Quick History of the Automobile for Young People by William W. Bottorff Several Italians recorded designs for wind driven vehicles. The first was Guido da Vigevano in 1335. It was a windmill type drive to gears and thus to wheels. Vaturio designed a similar vehicle which was also never built. Later Leonardo da Vinci designed a clockwork driven tricycle with tiller steering and a differential mechanism between the rear wheels.
A Catholic priest named Father Ferdinand Verbiest has been said to have built a steam powered vehicle for the Chinese Emperor Chien Lung in about 1678. There is no information about the vehicle, only the event. Since Thomas Newcomen didn't build his first steam engine until 1712 we can guess that this was possibly a model vehicle powered by a mechanism like Hero's steam engine, a spinning wheel with jets on the periphery. Newcomen's engine had a cylinder and a piston and was the first of this kind, and it used steam as a condensing agent to form a vacuum and with an overhead walking beam, pull on a rod to lift water. It was an enormous thing and was strictly stationary. The steam was not under pressure, just an open boiler piped to the cylinder. It used the same vacuum principle that Thomas Savery had patented to lift water directly with the vacuum, which would have limited his pump to less than 32 feet of lift. Newcomen's lift would have only been limited by the length of the rod and the strength of the valve at the bottom. Somehow Newcomen was not able to separate his invention from that of Savery and had to pay for Savery's rights. In 1765 James Watt developed the first pressurized steam engine which proved to be much more efficient and compact that the Newcomen engine.
The first vehicle to move under its own power for which there is a record was designed by Nicholas Joseph Cugnot and constructed by M. Brezin in 1769. A replica of this vehicle is on display at the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, in Paris. I believe that the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D. C. also has a large (half size ?) scale model. A second unit was built in 1770 which weighed 8000 pounds and had a top speed on 2 miles per hour and on the cobble stone streets of Paris this was probably as fast as anyone wanted to go it. The picture shows the first model on its first drive around Paris were it hit and knocked down a stone wall. It also had a tendency to tip over frontward unless it was counterweighted with a canon in the rear. the purpose of the vehicle was to haul canons around town.
The early steam powered vehicles were so heavy that they were only practical on a perfectly flat surface as strong as iron. A road thus made out of iron rails became the norm for the next hundred and twenty five years. The vehicles got bigger and heavier and more powerful and as such they were eventually capable of pulling a train of many cars filled with freight and passengers.
As the picture at the right shows, many attempts were being made in England by the 1830's to develop a practical vehicle that didn't need rails. A series of accidents and propaganda from the established railroads caused a flurry of restrictive legislation to be passed and the development of the automobile bypassed England. Several commercial vehicles were built but they were more like trains without tracks.
The development of the internal combustion engine had to wait until a fuel was available to combust internally. Gunpowder was tried but didn't work out. Gunpowder carburetors are still hard to find. The first gas really did use gas. They used coal gas generated by heating coal in a pressure vessel or boiler. A Frenchman named Etienne Lenoir patented the first practical gas engine in Paris in 1860 and drove a car based on the design from Paris to Joinville in 1862. His one-half horse power engine had a bore of 5 inches and a 24 inch stroke. It was big and heavy and turned 100 rpm. Lenoir died broke in 1900.
Lenoir had a separate mechanism to compress the gas before combustion. In 1862, Alphonse Bear de Rochas figured out how to compress the gas in the same cylinder in which it was to burn, which is the way we still do it. This process of bringing the gas into the cylinder, compressing it, combusting the compressed mixture, then exhausting it is know as the Otto cycle, or four cycle engine. Lenoir claimed to have run the car on benzene and his drawings show an electric spark ignition. If so, then his vehicle was the first to run on petroleum based fuel, or petrol, or what we call gas, short for gasoline.
Siegfried Marcus, of Mecklenburg, built a can in 1868 and showed one at the Vienna Exhibition of 1873. His later car was called the Strassenwagen had about 3/4 horse power at 500 rpm. It ran on crude wooden wheels with iron rims and stopped by pressing wooden blocks against the iron rims, but it had a clutch, a differential and a magneto ignition. One of the four cars which Marcus built is in the Vienna Technical Museum and can still be driven under its own power.
In 1876, Nokolaus Otto patented the Otto cycle engine, de Rochas had neglected to do so, and this later became the basis for Daimler and Benz breaking the Otto patent by claiming prior art from de Rochas.
The picture to the left, taken in 1885, is of Gottllieb Daimler's workshop in Bad Cannstatt where he built the wooden motorcycle shown. Daimler's son Paul rode this motorcycle from Cannstatt to Unterturkheim and back on November 10, 1885. Daimler used a hot tube ignition system to get his engine speed up to 1000 rpm
The previous August, Karl Benz had already driven his light, tubular framed tricycle around the Neckar valley, only 60 miles from where Daimler lived and worked. They never met. Frau Berta Benz took Karl's car one night and made the first long car trip to see her mother, traveling 62 miles from Mannheim to Pforzheim in 1888.
Also in August 1888, William Steinway, owner of Steinway & Sons piano factory, talked to Daimler about US manufacturing right and by September had a deal. By 1891 the Daimler Motor Company, owned by Steinway, was producing petrol engines for tramway cars, carriages, quadricycles, fire engines and boats in a plant in Hartford, CT.
Steam cars had been built in America since before the Civil War but the early one were like miniature locomotives. In 1871, Dr. J. W. Carhart, professor of physics at Wisconsin State University, and the J. I. Case Company built a working steam car. It was practical enough to inspire the State of Wisconsin to offer a $10,000 prize to the winner of a 200 mile race in 1878.>(see more on J. W. Carhart story from Fredric Dennis Williams)
The 200 mile race had seven entries, or which two showed up for the race. One car was sponsored by the city of Green Bay and the other by the city of Oshkosh. The Green Bay car was the fastest but broke down and the Oshkosh car finished with an average speed of 6 mph. From this time until the end of the century, nearly every community in America had a mad scientist working on a steam car. Many old news papers tell stories about the trials and failures of these would be inventors. By 1890 Ransom E. Olds had built his second steam powered car, pictured at left. One was sold to a buyer in India, but the ship it was on was lost at sea. Running by February, 1893 and ready for road trials by September, 1893 the car built by Charles and Frank Duryea, brothers, was the first gasoline powered car in America. The first run on public roads was made on September 21, 1893 in Springfield, MA. They had purchased a used horse drawn buggy for $70 and installed a 4 HP, single cylinder gasoline engine. The car (buggy) had a friction transmission, spray carburetor and low tension ignition. It must not have run very well because Frank didn't drive it again until November 10 when it was reported by the Springfield Morning Union newspaper. This car was put into storage in 1894 and stayed there until 1920 when it was rescued by Inglis M. Uppercu and presented to the United States National Museum.
Henry Ford had an engine running by 1893 but it was 1896 before he built his first car. By the end of the year Ford had sold his first car, which he called a Quadracycle, for $200 and used the money to build another one. With the financial backing of the Mayor of Detroit, William C. Maybury and other wealthy Detroiters, Ford formed the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899. A few prototypes were built but no production cars were ever made by this company. It was dissolved in January 1901. Ford would not offer a car for sale until 1903.
The first closed circuit automobile race held at Narragansett Park, Rhode Island, in September 1896. All four cars to the left are Duryeas, on the right is a Morris & Salom Electrobat. Thirteen Duryeas of the same design were produced in 1896, making it the first production car.
At left is pictured the factory with produced the 13 Duryeas. In 1898 the brothers went their separate ways and the Duryea Motor Wagon Company was closed. Charles, who was born in 1861 and was eight years older than Frank had taken advantage of Frank in publicity and patents. Frank went out on his own and eventually joined with Stevens Arms and Tool Company to form the Stevens-Duryea Company which was sold to Westinghouse in 1915. Charles tried to produce some of his own hare-brained ideas with various companies until 1916. Thereafter he limited himself to writing technical book and articles. He died in 1938. Frank got a half a million dollars for the Westinghouse deal and lived in comfort until his death in 1967, just seven months from his 98th birthday.
In this engraving Ransom Eli Olds is at the tiller of his first petrol powered car. Riding beside him is Frank G. Clark, who built the body and in the back are their wives. This car was running by 1896 but production of the Olds Motor Vehicle Company of Detroit did not begin until 1899. After an early failure with luxury vehicles they established the first really successful production with the classic Curved Dash Oldsmobile.
The Curved Dash Oldsmobile had a single cylinder engine, tiller steering and chain drive. It sold for $650. In 1901 600 were sold and the next years were 1902 - 2,500, 1903 - 4,000, 1904 - 5,000. In August 1904 Ransom Olds left the company to form Reo (for Ransom Eli Olds). Ransom E. Olds was
the first mass producer of gasoline powered automobiles in the United States, even though Duryea was the first auto manufacturer with their 13 cars.
Eras of invention Early automobiles Steam-powered wheeled vehicles, precursors to later automobiles Main article: History of steam road vehicles 17th century Ferdinand Verbiest, a member of a Jesuit mission in China, built the first steam-powered vehicle around 1672 as a toy for the Chinese Emperor. It was of small enough scale that it could not carry a  driver but it was, quite possibly, the first working steam-powered vehicle ('auto-mobile'). 18th century
Cugnot's steam wagon, the second (1771) version
A replica of Richard Trevithick's 1801 road locomotive 'Puffing Devil'
Steam-powered self-propelled vehicles large enough to transport people and cargo were first devised in the late 18th century. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnotdemonstrated his fardier à vapeur ("steam dray"), an experimental steam-driven artillery tractor, in 1770 and 1771. As Cugnot's design proved to be impractical, his invention was not developed in his native France. The centre of innovation shifted to Great Britain. By 1784, William Murdoch had built a working model of a steam carriage in Redruth,  and in 1801 Richard Trevithick was running a full-sized vehicle on the road in Camborne. Such vehicles were in vogue for a time, and over the next decades such innovations as hand brakes, multispeed transmissions, and better steering developed. Some were commercially successful in providing mass transit, until a backlash against these large speedy vehicles resulted in the passage of the Locomotive Act (1865), which required self-propelled vehicles on public roads in the United Kingdom to be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag and blowing a horn. This effectively killed road auto development in the UK for most of the rest of the 19th century; inventors and engineers shifted their efforts to improvements in railway locomotives. (The law was not repealed until 1896, although the need for the red flag was removed in 1878.) The first automobile patent in the United States was granted to Oliver Evans in 1789. 19th century Among other efforts, in 1815, a professor at Prague Polytechnic, Josef Bozek, built an oil-fired steam :p.27 car. Walter Hancock, builder and operator of London steam buses, in 1838 built a four-seat :p27 steam phaeton.
In 1867, Canadian jeweller Henry Seth Taylor demonstrated his 4-wheeled "steam buggy" at the  Stanstead Fair in Stanstead, Quebec, and again the following year. The basis of the buggy, which he began building in 1865, was a high-wheeled carriage with bracing to support a two-cylinder steam  engine mounted on the floor. What some people define as the first "real" automobile was produced by French Amédée Bollée in 1873, who built self-propelled steam road vehicles to transport groups of passengers. The American George B. Selden filed for a patent on May 8, 1879. His application included not only the engine but its use in a 4-wheeled car. Selden filed a series of amendments to his application  which stretched out the legal process, resulting in a delay of 16 years before the US 549160 was granted on November 5, 1895. Karl Benz, the inventor of numerous car-related technologies, received a German patent in 1886.
The four-stroke petrol (gasoline) internal combustion engine that constitutes the most prevalent form of modern automotive propulsion is a creation ofNikolaus Otto. The similar four-stroke diesel engine was invented by Rudolf Diesel. The hydrogen fuel cell, one of the technologies hailed as a replacement for gasoline as an energy source for cars, was discovered in principle by Christian  Friedrich Schönbein in 1838. The batteryelectric car owes its beginnings to Ányos Jedlik, one of the inventors of the electric motor, and Gaston Planté, who invented the lead-acid battery in  1859. The first carriage-sized automobile suitable for use on existing wagon roads in the United States was a steam powered vehicle invented in 1871, by Dr. J.W. Carhart, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in Racine, Wisconsin. It induced the State of Wisconsin in 1875, to offer a $10,000 award to the first to produce a practical substitute for the use of horses and other animals. They stipulated that the vehicle would have to maintain an average speed of more than five miles per hour over a 200 mile course. The offer led to the first city to city automobile race in the United States, starting on July 16, 1878, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and ending in Madison, via Appleton, Oshkosh, Waupun, Watertown, Fort Atkinson, and Janesville. While seven vehicles were registered, only two started to compete: the entries from Green Bay and Oshkosh. The vehicle from Green Bay was faster, but broke down before completing the race. The Oshkosh finished the 201 mile course in 33 hours and 27 minutes, and  posted an average speed of six miles per hour. In 1879, the legislature awarded half the prize. Steam-powered automobiles continued development all the way into the early 20th century, but the dissemination of petrol engines as the motive power of choice in the late 19th century marked the end of steam automobiles except as curiosities. Whether they will ever be reborn in later technological eras remains to be seen. The 1950s saw interest in steam-turbine cars powered by small nuclear reactors (this was also true of aircraft), but the dangers inherent in nuclear fission technology soon killed these ideas. The need for global changes in energy sources and consumption to bring about sustainability and energy independence has led 21st century engineers to think once more about possibilities for steam use, if powered by modern energy sources controlled with computerized controls, such as advanced electric batteries, fuel cells, photovoltaics, biofuels, or others.
Electric automobiles See also: History of the electric vehicle In 1828, Ányos Jedlik, a Hungarian who invented an early type of electric motor, created a tiny model  car powered by his new motor. In 1834, Vermont blacksmith Thomas Davenport, the inventor of the first American DC electrical motor, installed his motor in a small model car, which he operated on a  short circular electrified track. In 1835, Professor Sibrandus Stratingh ofGroningen,
the Netherlands and his assistant Christopher Becker created a small-scale electrical car, powered by  non-rechargeable primary cells. In 1838, Scotsman Robert Davidson built an electric locomotive that attained a speed of 4 miles per hour (6 km/h). In England, a patent was granted in 1840 for the use of rail tracks as conductors of electric current, and similar American patents were issued to Lilley and Colten in 1847. Between 1832 and 1839 (the exact year is uncertain), Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first crude electric carriage, powered by non-rechargeable primary cells.
Internal combustion engines
1885-built Benz Patent Motorwagen, the first car to go into production with an internal combustion engine
The second Marcus car of 1888 (Technical Museum Vienna )
Early attempts at making and using internal combustion engines were hampered by the lack of suitablefuels, particularly liquids, therefore the earliest engines used gas mixtures. Early experimenters using gases. In 1806, Swiss engineer François Isaac de Rivaz who built an enginepowered by internal combustion of a hydrogen and oxygen mixture. In 1826, Englishman Samuel Brown who tested his hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engine by using it to propel a vehicle up Shooter's Hill in south-east London. Belgian-born Etienne Lenoir's Hippomobile with a hydrogen-gas-fuelled one-cylinderinternal combustion engine made a test  drive from Paris to Joinville-le-Pont in 1860, covering some nine kilometres in about three hours. A later version was propelled by coal gas. A Delamare-Debouttevillevehicle was patented and trialled in 1884. About 1870, in Vienna, Austria (then the Austro-Hungarian Empire), inventor Siegfried Marcus put a liquid-fuelled internal combustion engine on a simple handcart which made him the first man to propel a vehicle by means of gasoline. Today, this car is known as "the first Marcus car". In 1883, Marcus secured a German patent for a low-voltage ignition system of themagneto type; this was his only automotive patent. This design was used for all further engines, and the four-seat "second Marcus
car" of 1888/89. This ignition, in conjunction with the "rotating-brush carburetor", made the second car's design very innovative. It is generally acknowledged that the first really practical automobiles with petrol/gasolinepowered internal combustion engines were completed almost simultaneously by several German inventors working independently: Karl Benz built his first automobile in 1885 in Mannheim. Benz was granted a patent for his automobile on 29 January 1886, and began the first production of automobiles in 1888, after Bertha Benz, his wife, had proved - with the first long-distance trip in August 1888, from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back - that the horseless coach was absolutely suitable for daily use. Since 2008 a Bertha Benz Memorial Route commemorates this event. Soon after, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Stuttgart in 1889 designed a vehicle from scratch to be an automobile, rather than a horse-drawn carriage fitted with an engine. They also are usually credited with invention of the first motorcycle in 1886, but Italy's Enrico Bernardi of the University of Padua, in 1882, patented a 0.024 horsepower (17.9 W) 122 cc (7.4 cu in) onecylinder petrol motor, fitting it into his son's tricycle, making it at least a candidate for the first :p.26 :p.26 automobile, and first motorcycle;. Bernardi enlarged the tricycle in 1892 to carry two adults. One of the first four-wheeled petrol-driven automobiles in Britain was built in Birmingham in 1895 by Frederick William Lanchester, who also patented the disc brake; and the first electric starterwas :p.25 installed on an Arnold, an adaptation of the Benz Velo, built between 1895 and 1898. George F. Foss of Sherbrooke, Quebec built a single-cylinder gasoline car in 1896 which he drove for  4 years, ignoring city officials' warnings of arrest for his "mad antics." In all the turmoil, many early pioneers are nearly forgotten. In 1891, John William Lambert built a three-wheeler in Ohio City, Ohio, which was destroyed in a fire the same year, while Henry Nadigconstructed a four-wheeler in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It is likely they were not the only :p.25 ones.
Veteran era Main article: Antique car
The Selden Road-Engine
The first production of automobiles was by Karl Benz in 1888 in Germany and, under license from Benz, in France by Emile Roger. There were numerous others, including tricycle builders Rudolf :p.20-23 Egg, Edward Butler, and Léon Bollée. Bollée, using a 650 cc (40 cu in) engine of his own design, enabled his driver, Jamin, to average 45 kilometres per hour (28.0 mph) in the 1897 Paris:p.23 Tourville rally. By 1900, mass production of automobiles had begun in France and the United  States. The first motor car in central Europe and one of the first factory-made cars in world, was
produced by Czech company Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau (later renamed to Tatra) in 1897, the Präsident automobil. The first company formed exclusively to build automobiles was Panhard et :p.22 Levassor in France, which also introduced the first four-cylinder engine. Formed in 1889, Panhard was quickly followed by Peugeot two years later. By the start of the 20th century, the automobile industry was beginning to take off in Western Europe, especially in France, where  30,204 were produced in 1903, representing 48.8% of world automobile production that year.
The first automobile in Japan, a FrenchPanhard-Levassor, in 1898
1903 World's Work Article
In the United States, brothers Charles and Frank Duryea founded the Duryea Motor Wagon Company in 1893, becoming the first American automobile manufacturing company. However, it was Ransom E. Olds and his Olds Motor Vehicle Company (later known as Oldsmobile) who would dominate this era of automobile production. Its production line was running in 1902. The Thomas B. Jeffery Company developed the world's second mass produced automobile and 1,500 Ramblers were built and sold in its first year, representing one-sixth of all existing motorcars in the U.S. at the  time. Within a year, Cadillac (formed from the Henry Ford Company), Winton, and Ford were also producing cars in the thousands. Within a few years, a dizzying assortment of technologies were being produced by hundreds of producers all over the western world. Steam, electricity, and petrol/gasoline-powered automobiles competed for decades, with petrol/gasoline internal combustion engines achieving dominance in the
1910s. Dual- and even quad-engine cars were designed, and engine displacement ranged to more than a dozen litres. Many modern advances, includinggas/electric hybrids, multivalve engines, overhead camshafts, and four-wheel drive, were attempted, and discarded at this time. In 1898, Louis Renaulthad a De Dion-Bouton modified, with fixed drive shaft and ring and pinion gear, making "perhaps the first hot rod in history" and bringing Renault and his brothers into the car  industry. Innovation was rapid and rampant, with no clear standards for basic vehicle architectures, body styles, construction materials, or controls. Many veteran cars use a tiller, rather  than a wheel for steering. During 1903, Rambler standardized on the steering wheel and moved the  driver's position to the left-hand side of the vehicle. Most cars were operated at a single speed. Chain drive was dominant over the drive shaft, and closed bodies were extremely  rare. Drum brakes were introduced by Renault in 1902. The next year, Dutch designer Jacobus  Spijker built the first four-wheel drive racing car; it never competed and it would be 1965 and  the Jensen FF before four-wheel drive was used on a production car. Innovation was not limited to the vehicles themselves, either. Increasing numbers of cars propelled  the growth of the petroleum industry, as well as the development of technology to produce gasoline (replacing kerosene and coal oil) and of improvements in heat-tolerant mineral  oil lubricants(replacing vegetable and animal oils). There were social effects, also. Music would be made about cars, such as "In My Merry Oldsmobile" (a tradition that continues) while, in 1896, William Jennings Bryan would be the  first presidential candidate to campaign in a car (a donated Mueller), in Decatur, Illinois. Three years later, Jacob German would start a tradition for New York City cabdrivers when he sped  down Lexington Avenue, at the "reckless" speed of 12 mph (19 km/h). Also in 1899, Akron, Ohio,  adopted the first self-propelled paddy wagon.
In My Merry Oldsmobile songbook featuring an Oldsmobile Curved Dashautomobile (produced 1901-1907) and period driving clothing
By 1900, it was possible to talk about a national automotive industry in many countries, including Belgium(home to Vincke, which copied Benz; Germain, a pseudo-Panhard; :p,25 and Linon and Nagant, both based on theGobron-Brillié), Switzerland (led by Fritz Henriod, :p.25 Rudolf Egg, Saurer, Johann Weber, and Lorenz Popp), Vagnfabrik AB in Sweden, Hammel (by A. F. Hammel and H. U. Johansen at Copenhagen, inDenmark, which only built one car, ca.
1886 ), Irgens (starting in Bergen, Norway, in 1883, but without success), 26 Italy (where FIAT started in 1899), and as far afield as Australia (where Pioneer set up shop in  1898, with an already archaic paraffin-fuelled centre-pivot-steered wagon). Meanwhile, the export trade had begun to be global, with Koch exporting cars and trucks from Paris to Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, :p25 and theDutch East Indies. On 5 November 1895, George B. Selden was granted a United States patent for a twostroke automobile engine (U.S. Patent 549,160 ). This patent did more to hinder than encourage development of autos in the USA. Selden licensed his patent to most major American automakers, collecting a fee on every car they produced. The Studebaker brothers, having become the world's leading manufacturers of horse-drawn vehicles, made a transition to electric automobiles in 1902, and :p.90 gasoline engines in 1904, but also continued to build horse-drawn vehicles until 1919. In 1908,  the first South American automobile was built in Peru, the Grieve. Motor cars were also exported very early to British colonies and the first motor car was exported to India in 1897. Throughout the veteran car era, however, automobiles were seen as more of a novelty than a genuinely useful device. Breakdowns were frequent, fuelwas difficult to obtain, roads suitable for travelling were scarce, and rapid innovation meant that a year-old car was nearly worthless. Major breakthroughs in proving the usefulness of the automobile came with the historic long-distance drive of Bertha Benz in 1888, when she travelled more than 80 kilometres (50 mi) from Mannheim to Pforzheim, to make people aware of the potential of the vehicles her husband, Karl Benz, manufactured, and after Horatio Nelson Jackson's successful transcontinental drive across the United States in 1903. While other automakers provided motorists withtire repair kits, Rambler was  first in 1909 to equip its cars with a spare tire that was mounted on a fifth wheel.
Brass or Edwardian era
Model-T Ford car parked outside GeelongLibrary at its launch in Australia in 1915
Main article: Brass Era car See also: Antique car Named for the widespread use of brass in the United States, the Brass (or Edwardian) Era lasted from roughly 1905 through to the beginning of World War I in 1914. Within the 15 years that make up this era, the various experimental designs and alternate power systems would be marginalised. Although the moderntouring car had been invented earlier, it was not until Panhard et Levassor's Système Panhard was widely licensed and adopted that recognisable and standardised automobiles were created. This system specified front-engined, rear-wheel drive internal combustion engined cars with a sliding geartransmission. Traditional coach-style vehicles were
rapidly abandoned, and buckboard runabouts lost favour with the introduction of tonneaus and other less-expensive touring bodies.
A Stanley Steamer racecar in 1903. In 1906, a similar Stanley Rocket set the world land speed record at 205.5km/h at Daytona Beach Road Course.
By 1906, steam car development had advanced, and they were among the fastest road vehicles in [not in citation given] that period. Throughout this era, development of automotive technology was rapid, due in part to hundreds of small manufacturers competing to gain the world's attention. Key developments included the  electric ignition system (by dynamotor on the Arnold in 1898, though Robert Bosch, 1903, tends to  get the credit), independent suspension (actually conceived by Bollée in 1873), and four:p27 wheel brakes (by the Arrol-Johnston Company of Scotland in 1909). Leaf springs were widely used for suspension, though many other systems were still in use, with angle steel taking over from armored woodas the frame material of choice. Transmissions and throttle controls were widely adopted, allowing a variety of cruising speeds, though vehicles generally still had discrete speed settings, rather than the infinitely variable system familiar in cars of later eras. Safety glass also made  its debut, patented by John Wood in England in 1905. (It would not become standard equipment  until 1926, on a Rickenbacker.) Between 1907 and 1912 in the United States, the high-wheel motor buggy (resembling the horse buggy of before 1900) was in its heyday, with over seventy-five makers including Holsman (Chicago), IHC (Chicago), and Sears (which sold via catalog); the high-wheeler :p.65 would be killed by the Model T. In 1912, Hupp (in the U.S., supplied by Hale & Irwin) and BSA (in  the UK) pioneered the use of all-steel bodies, joined in 1914 by Dodge(who produced Model T  bodies). While it would be another two decades before all-steel bodies would be standard, the  change would mean improved supplies of superior-quality wood for furniture makers. Some examples of cars of the period included:
1908–1927 Ford Model T — the most widely produced and available 4-seater car of the era. It used a planetary transmission, and had a pedal-based control system. Ford T was proclaimed as the most influential car of the 20th century in the international Car of the Century awards.
1909 Morgan Runabout - a very popular cyclecar, cyclecars were sold in far greater quantities  than 4-seater cars in this period
1910 Mercer Raceabout — regarded as one of the first sports cars, the Raceabout expressed the exuberance of the driving public, as did the similarly conceived American Underslung andHispano-Suiza Alphonso.
1910–1920 Bugatti Type 13 — a notable racing and touring model with advanced engineering and design. Similar models were the Types 15, 17, 22, and 23.
1923 Lancia Lambda
1926 Austin 7 Box saloon
1926 Bugatti Type 35
Main article: Vintage car See also: Antique car The vintage era lasted from the end of World War I (1919), through the Wall Street Crash at the end of 1929. During this period, the front-engined car came to dominate, with closed bodies and standardised controls becoming the norm. In 1919, 90% of cars sold were open; by 1929, 90% were :p.7 closed. Development of the internal combustion engine continued at a rapid pace, with multivalve and overhead camshaft engines produced at the high end, andV8, V12, and even V16 engines conceived for the ultra-rich. Also in 1919, hydraulic brakes were invented by Malcolm Loughead (co-founder of Lockheed); they were adopted by Duesenberg for their 1921 Model  A. Three years later, Hermann Rieseler of Vulcan Motor invented the first automatic transmission, which had two-speed planetary gearbox, torque converter, and lockup clutch; it never entered   production. (Its like would only become an available option in 1940.) Just at the end of the  vintage era, tempered glass (now standard equipment in side windows) was invented in France. In this era the revolutionary ponton design of cars without fully articulated fenders, running boards and
other non-compact ledge elements was introduced in small series but a mass production of such cars was started much later (after WWII). Exemplary vintage vehicles:
1922–1939 Austin 7 — the Austin Seven was one of the most widely copied vehicles ever, serving as a template for cars around the world, from BMW toNissan.
1922–1931 Lancia Lambda — very advanced car for the time, first car to feature a loadbearing monocoque-type body and independent front suspension.
1924–1929 Bugatti Type 35 — the Type 35 was one of the most successful racing cars of all time, with over 1,000 victories in five years.
1925–1928 Hanomag 2 / 10 PS — early example of ponton styling.
1927–1931 Ford Model A (1927-1931) — after keeping the brass era Model T in production for too long, Ford broke from the past by restarting its model series with the 1927 Model A. More than 4 million were produced, making it the best-selling model of the era. Ford A was a prototype for the beginning of Soviet mass car production (GAZ A).
1930 Cadillac V-16 — developed at the height of the vintage era, the V16powered Cadillac would join Bugatti's Royale as the most legendary ultra-luxury cars of the era.
Ford V-8 (Model B)
Rolls-Royce Phantom III
Citroën Traction Avant
Main article: Classic car The pre-war part of the classic era began with the Great Depression in 1930, and ended with the recovery after World War II, commonly placed at 1948. It was in this period that integrated fenders and fully closed bodies began to dominate sales, with the new saloon/sedan body style even incorporating a trunk or boot at the rear for storage. The old open-top runabouts, phaetons, and touring cars were phased out by the end of the classic era as wings, running boards, and headlights were gradually integrated with the body of the car. By the 1930s, most of the mechanical technology used in today's automobiles had been invented, although some things were later "re-invented", and credited to someone else. For example, frontwheel drive was re-introduced by André Citroën with the launch of the Traction Avant in 1934, though it had appeared several years earlier in road cars made by Alvis and Cord, and in racing cars by Miller (and may have appeared as early as 1897). In the same vein, independent suspension was originally conceived by Amédée Bollée in 1873, but not put in production until appearing on the low volume Mercedes-Benz 380 in 1933, which prodded American makers to use it more widely. In 1930, the number of auto manufacturers declined sharply as the industry consolidated and matured, thanks in part to the effects of the Great Depression. Exemplary pre-war automobiles:
1932–1939 Alvis Speed 20 and Speed 25 — the first cars with all-synchromesh gearbox. needed]
1932–1948 Ford V-8 (Model B) — introduction of the powerful flathead V8 in mainstream vehicles, setting new performance and efficiency standards.
1934–1940 Bugatti Type 57 — a singular refined automobile for the wealthy.
1934–1956 Citroën Traction Avant — the first mass-produced front-wheel drive car, built with monocoque chassis.
1936–1955 MG T series — sports cars with youth appeal at an affordable price.
1938–2003 Volkswagen Beetle — a design for efficiency and low price, which was produced for over 60 years with minimal basic change; it has the largest production in history with over 20 million units produced in several counties. The car was awarded the fourth place in the international Car of the XX Centurycompetition. A new car echoing the styling of the original has been produced in the 21st century.
1936–1939 Rolls-Royce Phantom III — V12 engined pinnacle of pre-war engineering, with technological advances not seen in most other manufacturers until the 1960s. Superior performance and quality.
1946 GAZ-M20 Pobeda one of the first mass produced car with ponton design
1953 Morris Minor Series II
1947 Standard Vanguard ponton styled car in 1954 version as station wagon (break)
1954 Plymouth Savoy Station Wagon, one of the first U.S. all-metalstation wagons
1974 Citroën DS
Main article: Classic car Since World War II automobile design experienced the total revolution changes to ponton style (without a non-compact ledge elements), one of the first mass representatives of that were the Soviet GAZ-M20 Pobeda (1946), British Standard Vanguard (1947), USStudebaker Champion and Kaiser Special (1947), and small serial Czech luxury Tatra T600 Tatraplan (1946) and ItalianCisitalia 220 sportcar (1947). Automobile design and production finally emerged from the military orientation and other shadow of war in 1949, the year that in the United States saw the introduction of high-compression V8 engines and modern bodies from General Motors' Oldsmobile and Cadillac brands. The unibody/strutsuspended 1951 Ford Consul joined the 1948 Morris Minorand 1949 Rover P4 in waking up the automobile market in the United Kingdom. In Italy, Enzo Ferrari was beginning his250 series, just as Lancia introduced the revolutionary V6-powered Aurelia. Throughout the 1950s, engine power and vehicle speeds rose, designs became more integrated and artful, and cars spread across the world. Alec Issigonis' Mini and Fiat's 500 diminutive cars swept Europe, while the similar kei carclass put Japan on wheels for the first time. The legendary Volkswagen Beetle survived Hitler's Germany to shake up the small-car market in the Americas. Ultra luxury, exemplified in America by the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, reappeared after a long absence, and grand tourers (GT), like the Ferrari Americas, swept across Europe. The market changed somewhat in the 1960s, as Detroit began to worry about foreign competition, the European makers adopted ever-higher technology, and Japan appeared as a serious car-producing nation. General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford tried radical small cars, like the GM A-bodies, but had little success.Captive imports and badge engineering swept through the US and UK as amalgamated groups like the British Motor Corporation consolidated the market. BMC's revolutionary space-saving Mini, which first appeared in 1959, captured large sales worldwide. Minis were marketed under the Austin and Morris names, until Mini became a marque in its own right in  1969. The trend for corporate consolidation reached Italy as niche makers like Maserati, Ferrari, and Lanciawere acquired by larger companies. By the end of the decade, the number of automobile marques had been greatly reduced. In America, performance became a prime focus of marketing, exemplified by pony cars and muscle cars. In 1964 the popular Ford Mustang appeared. In 1967,Chevrolet released the Camaro to compete with the Mustang. But everything changed in the 1970s as the 1973 oil crisis, automobile emissions control rules, Japanese and European imports, and stagnant innovation wreaked havoc on the American industry. Though somewhat ironically, full-size sedans staged a major comeback in the years between the energy crisis, with makes such as Cadillac and Lincoln staging their best sales years ever in the late 70s. Small performance cars from BMW, Toyota, and Nissan took the place of big-engined cars from America and Italy.
Besides of smaller size and grand tourer class cars, amongst a trends of car design at the late of XX century were the wide using of the station wagons (estate, break, kombi, универсал) and noncommercial comfortable all-wheel drived off-road vehicles. On the technology front, the biggest developments of the era were the widespread use of independent suspensions, wider application of fuel injection, and an increasing focus on safety in the design of automobiles. The hottest technologies of the 1960s were NSU's "Wankel engine", the gas turbine, and theturbocharger. Of these, only the last, pioneered by General Motors but popularised by BMW and Saab, was to see widespread use. Mazda had much success with its "Rotary" engine which, however, acquired a reputation as a polluting gas-guzzler. Other Wankel licensees, including Mercedes-Benz and General Motors, never put their designs into production after the 1973 oil crisis. (Mazda's hydrogen-fuelled successor was later to demonstrate potential as an  "ultimate eco-car". ) Rover and Chrysler both produced experimental gas turbine cars to no effect. Cuba is famous for retaining its pre-1959 cars, known as yank tanks or maquinas, which have been kept since the Cuban revolution when the influx of new cars slowed because of a US trade embargo. To the end of the 20th century and later, the US Big Three (GM, Ford, Chrysler) partially lost their leading position, Japan became for a while the world's leader of car production and cars began to be mass manufactured in new Asian, East European and other countries. Notable exemplary post-war cars:
1946–1958 GAZ-M20 Pobeda — Soviet mass car with full ponton design.
1947–1958 Standard Vanguard — British mass car with full ponton design some and
1948–1971 Morris Minor – a popular and typical early post-war car exported around the world
1953–1971 Chevrolet Bel Air and 1953–2002 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham – in its first generations were a bright representatives of golden epoch of American tailfin car design
1955–1976 Citroën DS — bright and non-often representative of unusual bogie (hydropneumatic) и design (one of the most mind), due to what became a movie star; car was awarded the third place on international Car of the XX Century competition.
1959–2000 Mini — this quintessential small car lasted for four decades, and is one of the most famous cars of all time; car was awarded the second place on international Car of the XX Century competition; car has a re-styled new variant in XXI century.
1961–1975 Jaguar E-type — the E-type saved Jaguar on the track and in the showroom.
1963–1989 Porsche 911 – wanted non-cheap but mass sport car, famoused its company; car was awarded the fifth place on internationalCar of the XX Century competition; car has a successors with similar design.
1964–present Ford Mustang — the pony car that became one of the best-selling and mostcollected cars of the era.
1966–end of 20th century Fiat 124 — an Italian car that was licence produced in many other counties including the Soviet Union where as the VAZ-2101 it launched mass automobilisation.
1967 NSU Ro 80 — the basic wedge profile of this design was much emulated in subsequent  decades., unlike that its other technical innovation - rotor engine.
1967–2002 Chevrolet Camaro – The pony car that General Motors introduced to compete with Ford's mustang which featured the relatively new Coke bottle styling.
1969 Datsun 240Z — one of the first Japanese sports cars to be a smash hit with the North American public, it paved the way for future decades of Japanese strength in the automotive   industry. It was affordable and well built, and had great success both on the
track and in the showroom.
Modern era The modern era is normally defined as the 25 years preceding the current year. However, there are some technical and design aspects that differentiate modern cars from antiques. Without considering the future of the car, the modern era has been one of increasing standardisation, platform sharing, and computer-aided design. Some particularly notable advances in modern times are the widespread of front-wheel drive and allwheel drive, the adoption of the diesel engine, and the ubiquity of fuel injection. While all of these advances were first attempted in earlier eras, they so dominate the market today that it is easy to overlook their significance. Nearly all modern passenger cars are front-wheel drivemonocoque/unibody designs, with transversely mounted engines, but this design was considered radical as late as the 1960s. Body styles have changed as well in the modern era. Three types, the hatchback, sedan, and sport  utility vehicle, dominate today's market, yet are relatively recent concepts. All originally emphasised practicality, but have mutated into today's high-powered luxury crossover SUV, sports wagon, two-volume Large MPV. The rise of pickup trucks in the United States, and SUVs worldwide has changed the face of motoring, with these "trucks" coming to command more than half of the world  automobile market . There was also the appearance of new one-volume MPV class (smaller non-commercial passenger minivans), among the first of which were the French Renault Espace and US Pontiac Trans Sport. The modern era has also seen rapidly rising fuel efficiency and engine output. Once the automobile emissions concerns of the 1970s were conquered with computerised engine management systems, power began to rise rapidly. In the 1980s, a powerful sports car might have produced 200 horsepower (150 kW) – just 20 years later, average passenger cars have engines that powerful, and some performance models offer three times as much power. Since 2009 China became the new world's absolute car manufacturer leader with production more than US, Japan or all Europe. Besides of large growth of car production in Asian and other countries, the junctions (and breaks) of producents into transnational corporate groups and the transnational "platforms" of a cars becamed as wide practice. Since the end of the 20th century, several award competitions of cars and trucks have become widely known, such as European Car of the Year Car of the Year Japan, North American Car of the Year, World Car of the Year, Truck of the Year, and International Car of the Year, so that vehicles of different classes, producers, and countries win alternately. Also, Car of the Century awards were held, in which in the US the Ford Model T was named as most influential car of the 20th century. Exemplary modern cars:
1966–present Toyota Corolla — a simple small Japanese saloon/sedan that has come to be the best-selling car of all time.
1970–present Range Rover — the first take on the combination of luxury and four-wheel drive utility, the original 'SUV'. Such was the popularity of the original Range Rover Classic that a  new model was not brought out until 1994.
1973–present Mercedes-Benz S-Class — electronic Anti-lock Braking System, supplemental restraint airbags, seat belt pretensioners, and electronic traction control systems all made their debut on the S-Class. These features would later become standard throughout the car industry.
1975–present BMW 3 Series — the 3 Series has been on Car and Driver magazine's annual Ten Best list 17 times, making it the longest running entry in the list.
1977–present Honda Accord saloon/sedan — this Japanese sedan became the most popular car in the United States in the 1990s, pushing the Ford Taurus aside, and setting the stage for today's upscale Asian sedans.
1981–1989 Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant — the "K-cars" that saved Chrysler as a major manufacturer. These models were some of the first successful American front-wheel drive, fuelefficient compact cars.
1983–present Chrysler minivans — the two-box minivan design nearly pushed the station wagon out of the market, and presaged today's crossover SUVs.
1984–present Renault Espace — first mass one-volume car of non-commercial MPV class.
1986–present Ford Taurus — this mid-sized front-wheel drive sedan with modern computerassisted design dominated the American market in the late 1980s, and created a design revolution in North America.
1989–1999 Pontiac Trans Sport — was one the first of the one box cars.
1997–present Toyota Prius — launched in the Japanese market, in September 2010 reached worldwide cumulative sales of 2.0 million units, becoming the most known hybrid electric vehiclein the world.
1998–present Ford Focus — one of the most popular hatchbacks across the globe, that is also one of Ford's best selling world cars.
2008–present Tata Nano — The Tata Nano is an inexpensive( 100,000 ~ $2200), rear-engined, four-passenger city car built by the Indian company Tata Motors and is aimed primarily at the Indian domestic market.
2008–present Tesla Roadster — The Tesla Roadster was the first highway-capable all-electric vehicle in serial production for sale in the United States in the modern era.
2010–present, Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt — an all-electric car and a plug-in hybrid correspondingly, were launched in the U.S. and Japanese markets in December 2010, becoming the first mass production vehicles of their kind.
Future directions Main article: Future car technologies
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Automuseum Dr. Carl Benz, Ladenburg/Germany
Bertha Benz Memorial Route
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AUTOMOBILE FIRSTS Inventor
Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot (1725-1804)
STEAM / Built the first self propelled road vehicle (military tractor) for the French army: three wheeled, 2.5 mph.
1832-1839 ELECTRIC / Electric carriage.
Karl Friedrich Benz (18441929)
GASOLINE / First true automobile. Germany Gasoline automobile powered by an Patent DRP internal combustion engine: three No. 37435 wheeled, Four cycle, engine and chassis
form a single unit. Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler (1834-1900) and Wilhelm Maybach (1846-1929)
GASOLINE / First four wheeled, fourstroke engine- known as the "Cannstatt-Daimler."
George Baldwin Selden (1846-1922)
GASOLINE / Combined internal combustion engine with a carriage: patent no: 549,160 (1895). Never manufactured -- Selden collected royalties.
GASOLINE / First successful gas powered car: 4hp, two-stroke motor. The Duryea brothers set up first American car manufacturing company.
Charles Edgar Duryea 1893 (1862-1938) and his brother Frank (1870-1967)
History of cars
by Chris Woodford. Last updated: October 7, 2012. Cars are amazing! And one of the most amazing things about them is that no-one invented them— no single person, that is. There was no scribbling on the back of an envelope, no lightning flash of inspiration, and no-one ran down the street crying "Eureka". All the different parts—the engine, the wheels, the gears, and all the fiddly bits like the windscreen wipers—somehow came together, very gradually, over a period of about five and a half thousand years. How did it happen? Let's take a closer look! Photo: Henry Ford's cars changed the world. This one's a restored Ford Model Y from 1935. Although modern cars world essentially the same way as old ones, they are much more efficient (go further on each liter or gallon of fuel) and aerodynamic (waste less energy pushing through the air). Beasts of burden Photo: Beasts of burden: animals were the original engines! Photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service .
It all began with the horse. Or the camel. Or perhaps even the dog. No-one really knows which animal prehistoric humans picked on first. People tended to stay put, living more locally than they do now. If they needed to move things about, they had to float them down rivers or drag them by sledge. All that started to change when humans realized the animals around them had raw power they could tap and tame. These "beasts of burden" were the first engines. By about 5000BCE, there were sledges and there were animal "engines"—so the obvious thing to do was hitch them together. The Native Americans were masters at this. They invented the travois: a strong, A-shaped wooden frame, sometimes covered with animal skin, that a horse could drag behind it like a cart without wheels. First used thousands of years ago, the travois was still scraping along well into the 19th century. The next big step was to add wheels and turn sledges into carts. The wheel, which first appeared around 3500 BCE, was one of the last great inventions of prehistoric times. No-one knows exactly how wheels were invented. A group of prehistoric people may have been rolling a heavy load along on tree trunks one day when they suddenly realized they could chop the logs like salami and make the slices into wheels. However it was invented, the wheel was a massive advance: it meant people and animals could pull heavier loads further and faster. Huge and heavy, the first solid wheels were difficult to carve and more square than round. When someone had the bright idea of building lighter, rounder wheels from separate wooden spokes, lumbering carts became swift, sleek chariots. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all used chariots to expand their empires. They were a bit like horse-drawn tanks. Photo: The first wheels were made of solid wood. By the early 20th century, car wheels had thin metal spokes similar to bicycle wheels, which make them lighter and easier to turn.
Earlier civilizations made small steps by trial and error. The ancient Greeks (the first real scientists) took giant leaps. Greek philosophers (thinkers) realized that a wheel mounted on an axle can magnify a pushing or pulling force. So people now understood the science of wheels for the first time. The Greeks also gave us gears: pairs of wheels with teeth around the edge that lock and turn together to increase power or speed. Carts and chariots were a big advance on legs—but they were useless for going cross country. That's why ancient Middle Eastern people and Mediterraneans, who lived in open grassy areas and deserts, developed chariots faster than Europeans and Asians stuck among the forests and scrub. The Romans were the first to realize that a car is only as good as the road it travels on. So they linked up their empire with a huge highway network. Roman roads were cutting-edge technology. They had a soft base underneath to drain away water and a harder top made from a patchwork of tight-fitting rocks. The Greeks gave us gears, the Romans gave us roads—but when it came to engines, the world was still stuck with horsepower. And things stayed that way for hundreds of years through a time known as the Dark Ages, the early part of the Middle Ages, when science and knowledge advanced little in the western world. Things finally started getting interesting again toward the end of the Middle Ages. In 1335, Dutchman Guido von Vigevano drew sketches of a "Windwagen". It had the three key parts of a modern car: an engine (spinning windmill sails), a set of wheels, and gears to transfer power between them. During the Renaissance (the explosion of culture and science that began in the 15th century), Italian inventor Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) scribbled some designs for a clockwork car. Like a giant watch, it was supposed to be powered by springs that would drive the wheels through a system of interlocking gears. Even though there was little mileage in either of these ideas, the selfpowered car was slowly coming together and the days of the horse seemed numbered. Chariots of fire The next major development came in 1712 when "the very ingenious Mr Thomas Newcomen" (as his friends called him) built a massive machine for pumping rainwater out of coal mines. It was based around a huge 2-m (7-ft) high metal cylinder with a piston inside that could move up and down like the plunger in a bicycle pump.
Every so often, steam from a boiler (a sort of gigantic coal-fired kettle) squirted into the space in the cylinder underneath the piston. Then cold water was squirted in to make the steam condense, creating a partial vacuum directly under the piston. Since the air pressure in the space above the piston was now greater than that in the space beneath it, the piston moved down. When the vacuum was released, the piston rose back up again. The rising and falling piston operated a pump that slowly sucked the water from the mine. Machines like this were originally called fire engines—they were, after all, powered by burning coal—though they soon became known as steam engines when people realized that controlling steam was the key to making them work more efficiently. One of those people was a Scotsman named James Watt (1736–1819). In 1764, Watt redesigned Newcomen's engine so it was both a fraction the size and more powerful. Where Newcomen's piston had simply tipped a beam up and down, Watt's turned wheels and gears. Large Watt engines soon found their way into factories, where they became the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution and people did away with horses for operating pumps and other machines. Coal seemed to be the fuel of the future. Steam engines were still too big and heavy to use in vehicles, but that didn't stop people trying. In 1769, Frenchman Nicholas Joseph Cugnot (1725–1804) used steam-engine technology to make a lumbering, three-wheeled tractor for pulling heavy army cannons. Many people consider this the world's first car, but it was incredibly primitive by today's standards. With a top speed of just 5 km/h (3mph), you would have thought it posed little danger. But the "fardier à vapeur" (steam wagon) was heavy and hard to steer and, just two years later, the first ever car had the first ever car crash when Cugnot rammed it through a brick wall. He was given a speeding ticket and thrown in jail.
Steam engines were soon finding their way into other heavy vehicles. In the early 1800s, Cornishman Richard Trevithick (1771–1833) started building steam carriages with wobbly 3-m (10-ft) diameter wheels. Around this time, Trevithick's American counterpart Oliver Evans (1755–1819) built an ambitious steam-powered river digger called the Oruktor Amphibolos that could drive on either land or water. Belching fire and smoke like a dragon, it caused a sensation as it chugged down the Philadelphia streets in 1804. Photo: Steam engines were too large and cumbersome to power cars to begin with. This one is a newly rebuilt steam locomotive working on the Swanage Railway , England, in 2007.
Both Trevithick and Evans ultimately switched their attention to making steam trains, but another Cornish inventor, Goldsworthy Gurney (1793–1875), was convinced the idea of steam road vehicles still had legs. Quite literally. He designed an early steam carriage that would gallop along on rickety pins, just like a horse. When Gurney realized wheels could do the job much better, he built impressive steam buses and ran a service between London and Bath. Ultimately he was driven out of business by horse-powered stage coaches, which were faster and cheaper. John Scott Russell (1808– 1882) also had to close a promising steam-coach business when one of his buses exploded on 29 July 1834, killing four passengers. It was the world's first fatal car accident. Horses everywhere breathed a huge sigh of relief: they'd be around for many years yet. Or so they thought, until a clever bunch of scientists showed up. Ingenious Engineers A car is like a cart with a built-in horse—a horse-less carriage that doesn't eat grass, wear shoes, or leave a steaming pile of muck wherever it goes. The engineers who set out to make the first cars had a big problem on their hands: how to squeeze the power of a galloping horse into a small, reliable engine. This tricky problem taxed the best minds of the day. The experiments with steam had been the first attempt to solve it, but though coal-powered steam engines were excellent for pulling trains, they weren't so good in cars. Apart from the clunking great engine itself, you had to carry a minimountain of coal and a tank full of water. Some ingenious Europeans starting searching for better fuels and more compact engines. They were a mixture of "thinkers" and "doers". Christiaan Huygens The engineers were inspired by brilliant Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695), who had the laser-like mind of Isaac Newton and the inventing ability of Leonardo da Vinci. He made many astronomical discoveries, invented the mathematics of probability, made the first pendulum clock, invented a musical keyboard, and discovered that light travels like a wave. In the late 17th century, Huygens had an idea for an engine that made power by exploding gunpowder in a tube. Unfortunately, he was way ahead of his time: engineering wasn't yet good enough for him actually to build this machine. If it had been, the world might have had cars almost 200 years earlier! Sadi Carnot Next up was a French army engineer called Nicolas Leonard Sadi Carnot (1796–1832), who wrote the original book of car science, Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, in 1824. It was the first proper explanation of how engines worked, why they made power, and how you could make them even more effective. Carnot's ideas are now considered brilliant, but they were published over 100 years after the first steam engines had already been built. What was use was science when it came a century after the inventions it tried to explain? Joseph Étienne Lenoir Huygens' idea to capture the power of a small explosion was what the "doers" seized on. A FrenchBelgian engineer called Joseph Étienne Lenoir (1822–1900) was tinkering with electricity in the 1850s when he took the next step. In those days, street lamps were naked flames fed by gas pipes. Lenoir
wondered what would happen if he could ignite some of this street-lamp gas in a metal tin using an electric spark. His "spark plug" (as we now call it) would make the gas explode with a thump of power that could push a piston. If he could repeat this process again and again, he could drive a machine. The "gas engines" Lenoir built made as much power as 1.5 horses and were soon being built by the dozen. In 1863, Lenoir fixed one of them to a three-wheeled cart and built a very crude car. It made an 18-km (9-mile) journey in 11 hours—four times longer than it would have taken to walk. Nikolaus August Otto Lenoir died a miserable pauper because his engines, though revolutionary, were soon obsolete. Gas was a cleaner fuel than coal, but it wasn't practical—there was even a risk it would explode and kill people. Gasoline (a liquid fuel) proved to be a better bet, as German Nikolaus Otto (1832–1891) discovered. Otto was no scientific thinker—far from it: he was a traveling grocery salesman who taught himself engineering. During the 1860s, he tinkered with various engine designs and, in 1876, finally came up with a really efficient gasoline engine, which worked by methodically repeating the same four steps (or "strokes") over and over again. Virtually every car engine has worked the same way ever since. Karl and Bertha Benz German engineer Karl Benz (1844–1929) studied Otto's work and determined to do better. After building a simpler gasoline engine of his own, he fixed it to a three-wheeled carriage and made the world's first practical gas-powered car in 1885. No-one took much notice—until Benz's feisty wife Bertha and their two young sons "borrowed" the car one day without asking and set off for a 100-km (65-mile) journey to see grandma. They bought fuel at drug stores (chemist's shops), because gas stations had yet to be invented, and the boys had to get out every so often to push the car up hills. Bertha even had to stop a couple of times to make repairs with her hair pin and garter belt. News of this intrepid early test-drive caught the public's imagination; Benz couldn't have dreamed up a better publicity stunt if he'd tried. He took his wife's advice and added gears for uphill driving. Soon he was developing successful four-wheel cars and, by the start of the 20th century, was the world's leading car maker. Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach Benz soon found himself up against Gottlieb Daimler (1834–1900) and Wilhelm Maybach (1846– 1929), who worked for Nikolaus Otto, until Otto and Daimler fell out. Setting up their own firm, Daimler and Maybach experimented with a giant gasoline engine nicknamed the Grandfather Clock (because it was tall and upright). After shrinking it down to size, they bolted it to a wooden bicycle and made the world's first motorbike. By 1889, they were building cars. Ten years later, the Daimler company named a car "Mercedes" in honor of Mercedes Jellinek, the daughter of one of their customers and dealers, Emil Jellinek (1853–1918). The Daimler and Benz companies were rivals until the 1920s, when they merged to make Daimler-Benz and began selling cars under the name Mercedes-Benz.
Photo: Early cars were literally "horseless carriages": wooden carriages powered by simple internal combustion engines. This one is typical. Dating from 1898, it's suspended at a jaunty angle from the ceiling of Think Tank, the museum of science in Birmingham, England. Rudolf Diesel Rudolf Diesel (1858–1913) was both a thinker and a doer. Confined to hospital after an accident, he spent months poring over books and papers by people like Carnot and Otto. He soon came to the conclusion that he could build a far better engine than the puny gasoline machines Benz and Daimler had designed and knocked up a prototype, an enormous 3-m (10-ft) high machine, in the early 1890s. This first diesel engine made twice as much power as a similar steam engine and, even more remarkably, could run on practically any fuel at all—even oil made from peanuts and vegetables. Diesel, in other words, was a pioneer of biofuels long before people had a name for them. Diesel was convinced of his genius and certain his engine would change the world, but he never lived to see the success he'd earned. In September 1913, while traveling from Germany to England on the mail ship SS Dresden, he fell overboard and drowned. Some people think he was murdered by German or French secret agents to stop him selling the secrets of his engines to the English in the run up to World War I, which broke out the following year. Charles Goodyear
While inventors like Diesel were developing engines in a careful scientific way, a hapless American called Charles Goodyear (1800–1860) found the secret of making car tires completely by accident. After learning about rubber, he convinced himself he could make his fortune by turning it into useful objects like waterproof shoes. All attempts ended in disaster and his life became a catalog of misery and misfortune. His shoes melted in the summer heat, six of his 12 children died in infancy, and his family had to live in grinding poverty eating fish from the river. But Goodyear was determined. When debts landed him in jail, he simply asked his wife to bring him a rolling pin and some rubber and he carried on inventing in his cell. He finally made his big breakthrough when he accidentally dropped a piece of rubber on a hot stove. It cooked and shriveled into a hard black mass that Goodyear immediately spotted as the thing he'd wanted all along. This is how he developed the tough black rubber we use in tires today by a cooking process now known as vulcanization. Photo: American inventor Charles Goodyear developed the vulcanization process in the 19th century. Photo courtesy of US Library of Congress . The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford By the start of the 20th century, gasoline-engined cars were fast, reliable, and exciting. They were also stupidly expensive. In 1893, Karl Benz's simple, Viktoria car had a price tag of £9000 (about £50,000 today) and hardly anyone could afford one—he sold just 45. Car makers stuck with big, expensive cars, so customers stuck with their horses and carts. Then a bold American engineer called Henry Ford (1863-1947) came along and decided things had to be different. "It was not at all my idea to make cars in any such petty fashion"—Henry Ford, My Life and Work, 1922. The rise of Henry Ford
Ford was no scientist, but he'd been repairing watches and tinkering with machines since he was a boy. Never afraid of rolling up his sleeves, he loved machinery and understood it instinctively. His first car was little more than a four-wheel motorbike that he called the Quadricycle. When he took it on the streets of Detroit in 1896, horses bolted in all directions. Photo: Henry Ford was inspired to build his first car after he saw a steam-powered tractor (traction engine) like this one. He realized straight away that engine-powered vehicles were the future. Ford must have been delighted: he had no time for horses. Aged 14, he'd been thrown from the saddle of a colt, caught his foot in the stirrups, and dragged home along the ground. A few years later, he'd been seriously injured when his bolting horse and cart tried to smash through a fence. Now was the time to settle those scores. Ford loved machines and hated horses, so he hatched a simple plan: he'd make the simplest possible "horseless carriage" and he'd make it in such enormous quantities, in only one color, that he could sell it cheaply to a huge number of people. It took him 12 years to get things right. In fact, he made eight different models (named A, B, C, F, N, R, S, and K) before he finally came up with a winner, the Model T, launched in 1908—a car everyone could afford. Around 15 million Model T Fords were eventually sold and a delighted (and very rich) Henry Ford scribbled in his notebook: "The horse is DONE". How the horse was "done" "I felt perfectly certain that horses, considering all the bother of attending them and the expense of feeding, did not earn their keep." —Henry Ford, My Life and Work, 1922.
From horse to car in six steps and about 5000 years...
1. Wild horse: The horse's stomach is its fuel tank and it "burns" food to make power. "Fourleg drive" makes this the perfect, all-terrain vehicle, with a top speed of ~90 km/h (60 mph). 2. Horse and cart (~2500 BCE): Dragging a cart with heavy, solid wheels slows the horse down to a measly 6 km/h (4 mph)—brisk human walking speed. The wheels mean the cart can carry huge loads over long distances. It's just a shame there are no roads. 3. Roman chariot (100BCE-476CE): With four horses and two slick, spoked wheels, a racing chariot has more horsepower, less weight, and less friction to slow it down. It can reach speeds of 60 km/h (40 mph) But it can't carry much shopping. 4. Phaeton (~1800-1900): The phaeton (a sporty, four-wheel carriage) sacrifices a bit of speed for comfort: it has suspension under the wheels to smooth the ride. The "dashboard" protects the passengers from stones and muck the horses kick back as they dash along. It has a top speed of 16 km/h (10 mph)
5. Ford's Quadricyle (1896): Ford's first car is not so much a "horseless carriage" as a horse crossed with a carriage: it has its own gasoline engine and fuel tank and four bicycle wheels instead of four legs. Its top speed of 32 km/h (20 mph) is only a third of a horse's. 6. Model T Ford (1908): Ford's Model-T combines speed, practicality, and simplicity. Its 20horsepower gasoline engine can race to speeds of 72 km/h (45 mph)—still slower than a galloping horse. The only thing it can't do is jump fences. Photo: Henry Ford's mass-produced cars soon became ubiquitous. This Ford Model Y dates from 1933. Immaculately preserved, it was photographed in 2009. The Assembly Line Normally things get more expensive over time—but Ford's pint-sized miracle car, the Model T, dropped in price from $850 when it was launched in 1908 to just $260 in 1925. The secret was massproduction: making the car from simple, easy-to-fit parts in huge quantities. Other car makers used small groups of mechanics to build entire cars very slowly. By 1913, Ford was building cars at his new Highland Park factory in a completely different way using a moving "assembly line". Model Ts were gradually assembled on a conveyor that inched past a series of workers. Each mechanic was trained to do only one job and worked briefly on each car as it passed by. Then the vehicle moved on,
someone else did another bit, and the whole car magically came together. The first year Ford used his assembly line, production of the Model T leaped from 82,000 to 189,000. By 1923, Ford's giant River Rouge factory was making 2 million cars a year. River Rouge
Photo: Inside one of the many River Rouge buildings in 1941. Photo (believed to be in the public domain) by Alfred T. Palmer, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information courtesy of US Library of Congress . Ford's most ambitious project was his sprawling River Rouge car plant in Dearborn, Michigan. Production of Model T parts switched here in 1919, though the car was still put together at Highland Park. With dozens of enormous buildings spread across a vast area, River Rouge was more like a city for making cars than a traditional assembly plant. The idea was to make cars more cheaply than ever before by taking in the most basic raw materials at one end and churning out millions of finished vehicles at the other. Giant barges ferried coal to the Rouge from Ford's own mines down the river. Elsewhere on the site, there was a steelworks, a glassworks, a cement works, a body-making plant, a sawmill, and a rubber-making plant. River Rouge even had its own hospital, police force, and a steam-electric power station big enough to light a city. All this meant it could produce one car every 49 seconds. River Rouge Facts
93 separate buildings.
81,000 people employed.
120 miles of assembly line conveyors.
100 miles of private railroad track and 16 trains.
Total size: 2000 acres (an area the size of 1000 British soccer pitches or 1500 American football fields).
15,767,708 square feet of factory floors and 3500 mops used each month to keep them clean.
Total cost: $268,991,592.07—equivalent to about £1.5 billion today!
The fall of Henry Ford
Photo: Henry Ford in later life. Photo by courtesy of US Library of Congress . Henry Ford was a big success and a people's hero: no-one did more to put cars within reach of ordinary people. But he made big mistakes too, probably because he was a mess of contradictions. Stuck in the past? Ford looked to the future—he grew soybeans to make plastic parts for cars and experimented with biofuelsyears before almost anyone else. He famously wrote "History is more or less bunk". But, as he grew older, he set up his own museum, packed it full of nostalgic exhibits, and spent increasing amounts of time there daydreaming of a lost era. He even had visitors driven round on horses and carts. Nostalgic? His assembly-line methods were widely copied and quickly transformed the United States from a clean and green farm-based nation into a dirty, smoky factory-based one. Yet the more industrialized things became, the more Ford yearned for the rural world he was helping to destroy. Stubborn? The Model-T Ford was a huge success, but Ford refused to update it: "There is a tendency to keep monkeying with styles and to spoil a good thing by changing it." But other car makers began introducing a new model every year and the Ford Motor Company lost its lead. In 1927, Ford grudgingly abandoned the Model-T and closed down his factories for six months while they converted to making new models. Arrogant? Ford had strong opinions and never shrank from expressing them. He ran for the US senate, but lost, and even seriously thought of standing for President. Though a brilliant mechanic, he had no qualifications to speak about world affairs. Racist? Ford bought a newspaper and got into big trouble writing offensive articles about Jewish people. But he was one of the first industrialists to employ black people and treat them fairly.
Pacifist? When World War I broke out, this committed pacifist hired a huge ocean liner and sailed it round the world trying to make peace—earning nothing but ridicule. But during World War II, he turned his factory over to making thousands of bombers. Spent Force Ford built his company up from nothing and was determined to keep control. Despite making his son Edsel president in 1919, Ford still made all the big decisions. He belittled Edsel and cruelly undermined his authority. Once, when Edsel ordered new coal ovens for the steel plant at River Rouge, Ford waited till they'd been built before ordering them to be demolished. Though Ford humiliated Edsel, he was devastated when his son died from cancer in 1943, aged only 49. The sparkle vanished from his eyes and he hurtled towards senility. He briefly became president of the Ford Motor Company once more, but couldn't remember what he was supposed to be doing or why. By now, Ford was unquestionably the world's greatest industrialist: he'd made a personal fortune of over $1 billion. But he was deteriorating into what his doctor described as "a pleasant vegetable" and died after a massive stroke in 1947, aged 83. Car planet Chariots thrived in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle-East. Steam-power was a product of 18thcentury Britain. In the 19th century, French and German engineers built the first gasoline cars. At the start of the 20th century Henry Ford, an American, made simple cars people could afford. Ever since then, the miracle of the motor car has spread around the world... and changed the face of our planet. People's wagon: 1940s: Germany German dictator Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) gave Henry Ford a medal for making cars affordable. Inspired by the Model-T Ford, Hitler asked German auto-maker Dr Ferdinard Porsche to develop a simple people's car or "Volks Wagen" called the KDF (Kraft durch Freude or Strength through Joy). Renamed the Beetle, it sold over 20 million worldwide and was one of the most popular cars of the 20th century.
Photo: Small, basic cars like this Austin Mini, popular in the UK during the 1960s and 1970s, owed much to pioneering, affordable cars like the Model T-Ford and Volkswagen Beetle.
Status symbols: 1950s–1960s: America Ford wanted to keep cars simple to keep them cheap. But his "any color so long as it's black" message fell out of favor: people wanted comfort and style. In the 1930s, cars became sleek, glamorous, and "streamlined"; inside, they boasted luxuries like automatic gears and window defrosters. The end of World War II brought cars inspired by planes. Swaggering "gas guzzlers" were given tail fins like jet fighters—and burned almost as much fuel! Paving the way: 1930s–1950s: Europe and America Many countries launched huge roadbuilding schemes in the mid-20th century. Hitler helped to pioneer Germany's high-speed Autobahns in the 1930s, while his Italian pal Benito Mussolini (1883– 1945) greatly expanded the Italian network of autostrade. Britain didn't start building motorways until the 1950s, when America also reorganized its major roads into a simple numbered network called the Interstate Highway System. Cuban Classics: 1950s: Cuba Cuba has been cut-off from the United States since the Cuban revolution of 1959, so many Cubans still drive round in classic cars from the late 1950s. It's hard to buy new cars or spares for old ones! Trabi trials (1950s–1980s): East Germany Before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, eastern Europeans zipped around in 3 million ugly little cars called Trabants (or "Trabis"). They were cheap and cheerful—even cool in some ways, with recycled plastic body parts that lasted nearly 30 years. But their engines chugged like mowers and smoke belched from their exhausts. When communism collapsed, people drove their Trabants to the scrap heap at top speed. Only to find the plastic bits couldn't be recycled. Big Sheik Out: 1970s: Middle East In 1973, oil-rich states in the Middle East began to restrict exports—turning off the tap that supplied the world with oil. There were sharp hikes in fuel prices and queues of cars snaking from gas stations were a familiar sight. Sugar cars: 1970s– : Brazil When the 1973 oil crisis hit home, the Brazilian government launched a major project to run the country's cars on ethanol made from sugar beet. Almost 30,000 filling stations in Brazil now sell ethanol, which supplies a fifth of the country's fuel. First robot carmaker: 1961: Ewing, New Jersey, USA Henry Ford pioneered automation, but General Motors took it a quantum leap further in 1961. That's when the first-ever car-making robot started building car bodies at the GM plant in Ewing New Jersey.
Photo: A modern car-welding robot at Think Tank, the museum of science in Birmingham, England. Big in Japan: 1970s–1980s: Japan American and European car firms dominated car production till the 1970s. Then Japanese upstarts such as Nissan, Honda, Mazda, and Toyota began to undercut them by exporting cheaply made cars to the West. For a time, countries like the United States and Britain fought off these imports. So the Japanese went further and began exporting their factories instead. Honda became the first Japanese maker to open plants in the United States and Canada in the early 1980s. Compete or cooperate? California, USA: 2000s– Car makers used to compete; now they cooperate. In the world of "globalization", big companies and their brands operate beyond national borders. New cars are expensive to design so makers in different countries work together to reduce costs. A Renault made in France might use exactly the same chassis, engine, or bodywork as a Nissan made in Japan. Another example of globalization is when a car plant in one country builds vehicles for more than one maker. Toyota and General Motors jointly run a plant like this in Fremont, California making parts for Toyotas, Pontiacs, and Chevrolets. Car-making memories: UK: 2000s– Britain's car industry once employed over a million people and was the world's second-biggest producer after the United States. Today, the only big car plants left in Britain are run by Japanese firms and the once great names of British motoring—Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Aston Martin—are foreign-owned too. Dream cars: China: 2000– The Chinese are bicycle crazy: there are twice as many cycles in China as people in the United States. But all that could soon change. Car makers are eagerly turning their eyes to China, the world's fastest-growing car market, where sales are growing at 80 per cent a year. The country's biggest car
maker, Shanghai Automotive, has already formed powerful alliances with big western firms including Fiat, General Motors, and Volkswagen. Car crazy!
There's roughly one car for every ten people on the planet.
A quarter of the world's cars are in America.
Over 40 million new cars roll off the world's production lines each year.
A typical American spends on average 18 days a year (72 minutes a day) behind the wheel of a car.
The ski village of Zermatt in Switzerland has banned combustion-engines. Only emergency vehicles can use them. All other vehicles have to be electric.
Japanese firms make the most cars—around a quarter of the world's entire fleet. In 2006, Japanese firms built more cars overseas (10.93 million vehicles) than at home for the first time ever. Some of them are even exported back to Japan!
America has 6.3 million km (3.9 million miles) of highways—enough to go from Earth to the Moon 16 times.
Photo: You don't have to be crazy to drive this, but it helps. This is the Railton Mobil Special , a 1940s land-speed record car. Driven by John Cobb, it was the first car to go faster than 640 km/h (400 mph). Here you can see it from the front, with the aluminum bodyshell suspended high above the engine compartment. Cobb sat more or less between the two wheels at the front. See it for yourself at Think Tank, the museum of science in Birmingham, England.
Timeline of motoring history The following is an abridged timeline of motoring history which primarily concentrates on developments in Europe and North America and covers the progressive introduction of motorised road transport from the end of the 17th Century onwards.
1679 Practical French scientist Denis Papin invents the pressure-cooker or ‘digester’. 1690 Many before him have experimented with single charges of gunpowder as a means of moving a piston in a bore but, Denis Papin publishes his ideas for harnessing steam as an alternative, to achieve repeated cycles of movement. In doing so, he recognises the potential for a mechanical alternative to animals for mobilising carriages. He goes on to build the first steam engine, which is used to pump water to a canal running between Kassel and Karlshaven in Germany. 1698 English military engineer Thomas Savery uses Papin’s ‘Digester’ as the basis of a crude steam engine for pumping water out of flooded mine-shafts. 1712 Denis Papin, visiting London in the hope of finding patronage, writes to a friend reporting his failure and asking for financial support to pay for his return to Germany. Never heard of again, it is likely that Papin died in London in abject poverty and complete anonymity. Thomas Newcomen, an "ironmonger" and blacksmith of Dartmouth, England, patents the "Atmospheric Steam Engine" and, together with John Calley starts to build and sell engines for pumping water out of mines. 1765 James Watt, while engaged in repairing a Newcomen engine, comes up with several improvements which substantially change its method of operation and increase its efficiency. In so doing he lays a firm foundation for the design of all steam engines yet to come. 1769 In Paris, Nicolas Joseph Cugnot, a military engineer, demonstrates a self propelled steam vehicle the first on record. The French government requests Cugnot to design and build a larger vehicle, capable of moving large amounts of artillery. 1770 At the French government’s immense cost, Cugnot builds ‘Fardier’ a large three- wheeled artillery carriage and creates history’s first motor accident by knocking down part of a wall. 1787 Oliver Evans of Maryland patents a steam engine for the use in powering carts and carriages.
1801 Richard Trevithick, an early pioneer of the Steam Railway, builds the first successful motor vehicle, and drives it through Camborne, Cornwall. Four days later it is destroyed by fire. 1803 Trevithick builds a second steam powered carriage, which makes several successful runs through the streets of London. Unfortunately it also frightens horses and kindles considerable public hostility. 1805 In 1804 Oliver Evans, builds the world's first amphibious vehicle, ‘Orukter Amphibolas’, a steam powered dredger on wheels, for the Philadelphia Health Service. In July of 1805 it makes a one and a half mile journey from Central-Square to the banks of the Schuykill. It weighs 20 tons and is powered by a 5 HP twin cylinder beam engine driving both the paddle and 2 wheels. With no method of steering on land, the vehicle is much more successful as a boat. 1807 In Switzerland, Francois Isaac de Rivaz builds, and demonstrates the first working internal combustion engine. It is fuelled by a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen and reliant on a foot-operated exhaust valve. Mounted on small trolley, travels just a few metres. 1816 Concerned about the number of people being killed by exploding steam engines Reverend Robert Stirling invents and patents an alternative which is not only safer but also much more efficient. It runs on hot air and rotation is caused by heat differentials as it passes between various parts of the engine. It can use a number of alternative fuels to heat the air and, in spite of its improved safety and superior efficiency, it remains largely ignored for use in vehicles. 1826 Samuel Brown patents and builds his "gas-and-vacuum" engine. It has two cylinders linked by a rocking beam, with a capacity of 8,800cc and an output of just 4hp. The engine powering a carriage successfully drives up Shooters Hill at Blackheath, on the outskirts of London. 1829 Goldsworthy Gurney, having built his ‘London and Bath’ steam coach, sets out on the world’s first long distance coach service, a round trip from London to Bath and back. While the outward journey is marked by many breakdowns the return journey is accomplished in ten hours at an average speed of 8.4 miles per hour. Gurney is later to be the inventor of the theatrical ‘Limelight’. 1830 A regular steam omnibus service is established between Stratford, East London, and Paddington, West London by Walter Hancock. Using ‘Infant’, his second steam carriage. 1831 Sir Charles Dance sets up the world's first scheduled passenger service by automobiles between Gloucester and Cheltenham, using three Gurney steam carriages. It operates for just a few months.
1834 In London, Walter Hancock sets up a chain of garages to service his passenger carrying steam omnibuses en route between their destinations. 1845 Robert William Thomson of Stonehaven, Scotland patents the world’s first vulcanized rubber pneumatic tyre. It is well received on trials in London but does not reach production for fear of its cost. 1859 Belgian J. J. Etienne Lenoir builds the worlds first practicable internal combustion engine running on a mixture of coal gas and air and using a ‘jumping-spark’ ignition system. A company is formed in Paris to develop the engine further. 1860 Le Monde Illustre. Devotes an article to J. J. Etienne Lenoir's first gas- engined carriage. First oil well in USA is drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania. 1862 French engineer Alphonse Beau de Rochas, patents the four-stroke cycle used in most modern internal combustion engines. 1863 Lenoir demonstrates a second carriage, powered by a 1.5hp ‘liquid hydrocarbon' engine. Several sixmile journeys are successfully completed between Paris and Vincennes. 1864 Alexander II Tsar of Russia buys one of Lenoir’s carriages making it the first export sale of a car in history. 1865 Britain’s government introduces the 'Locomotives on Highways Act' more widely known as the 'Red Flag Act'. This requires that all mechanically powered road vehicles must have three drivers, must be limited to 4 mph on the open road and 2 mph in town and, must be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag, to warn the public. 1866 In Germany Nikolaus August Otto patents a "free-piston" atmospheric engine. 1868 First steam driven vehicle ‘Cornubia’, exported to India. 1872 Nikolaus Otto and Eugen Langen form N.A. Otto & Cie to produce the ‘free-piston’ engine. 1877 The smooth-running "Otto silent" engine is patented in Germany as employees, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach prepare it for production.
1879 An initial ‘master patent' for the automobile is filed in the United States by engineer and Patents Lawyer George B. Selden. He extends his application period for many years, by filing many amendments to delay its issue. Meanwhile he struggles to establish his own production capability. 1885 A petroleum (gasoline) powered four stroke engine is used to adapt a horse carriage by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. French inventor Ferdinand Forest, builds an opposed-piston engine with low tension magneto ignition and a spray carburettor. 1886 Nicolaus Otto fails to obtain a patent covering his four-stroke engine because of Alphonse Beau de Rochas’ 1862 patent in France. Nevertheless we still refer to the four-stroke principle as the Otto cycle Carl Benz's three wheeler, makes its first successful runs. This is the first petroleum powered car to be designed from scratch, rather than adapted from a horse-drawn carriage. 1888 John Boyd Dunlop a Scottish Veterinary Surgeon living in Belfast, re-invents and re-patents the pneumatic tyre without knowledge of the previous work and patent of fellow Scott Robert William Thomson. In the UK, Brighton inventor Magnus Volk begins production of electric carriages. His electric Railway still runs along the coast today. Karl Benz starts to produce three wheeled, petroleum powered cars; sales are slow. 1889 Daimler sells rights for France to a new V configured twin cylinder engine to Panhard & Levassor 1890 With no thought of manufacturing cars, Panhard & Levassor licence the Peugeot ironmongery business to use the engine in automotive applications. Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft set up by Gottleib Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Bad Cannstatt, Germany.
1891 M. Levassor decides to build cars after all, designing and building a rear engined car. Frederick R. Simms acquires Daimler rights in the UK, with the intention of using the engines to power motor launches. Ferdinand Forest produces the world's first four cylinder petrol engine with mechanical valve operation for use in boats and goes on to build the world's first six cylinder engine for the same purpose. The marine application ensures that his contribution to motoring history is ignored. 1892 Levassor introduces a new design of motor car which is to become the template for the vast majority of designs for many years to come. Four wheels, front mounted engine, sliding gear transmission
and rear wheel drive. At first this configuration is known as Systeme Panhard. 1893 Brothers Charles Edgar Duryea and James Frank Duryea of Springfield, Massachussetts build their first motor buggy, Charles having an established background in the cycle trade. They are credited with being the first in America to build a practicable automobile. Karl Benz introduces the "Viktoria", powered by a 3hp petroleum (gasoline) engine with a top speed of 11mph. Forty-five cars are in this year. 1894 After many years of financial difficulty, Karl Benz begins 'mass production' of two models, the Velo and the Viktoria. Henry G. Morris and Pedro Salom of Philadelphia open America's first car factory to build Electrobat electric cars. The Apperson brothers and Elwood Haynes of Kokomo, Indiana collaborate to build an automobile. 1895 Karl Benz sells 135 motor vehicles in the year. Sir David Salomans organises Britain's first exhibition of motor vehicles in the open air in October at Tunbridge Wells, Kent. In November, the first indoor exhibition of cars in Britain takes place, at the Stanley Cycle Show. Selden's master patent is finally granted in the USA, after years of revision. First petrol engine produced by De Dion and Bouton. The Autocar magazine founded by J. J. Henry Sturmey. Frederick, Frank and George Lanchester build the first all-British, four-wheel, petrol driven car featuring many technical innovations. Lanchester will go on to rival Rolls Royce in their reputation for excellence, but fail to achieve long-term commercial success. A Peugeot L'Eclair becomes the first car to run on Michelin pneumatic tyres. 1896 The British Motor Industry is born when Harry J. Lawson launches the Daimler Motor Company in Coventry. British Parliament repeals the Red Flag Act and raises the speed limit to l4mph; Lawson organises the first Run from London to Brighton to commemorate ‘Emancipation Day’. Duryea brings two cars over to Europe for the Emancipation Day event. American pioneers Henry Ford, Charles Brady King, Ransome Eli Olds and Alexander Winton all complete and test their first cars. The first car to be sold with pneumatic tyres as standard is Leon Bollee's Voiturette. Harry J. Lawson forms the Great Horseless Carriage Company (later the Motor Manufacturing Company) to acquire the rights to all important Continental patents, in an effort to gain control of the British motor industry. 1897 Emil Jellinek, financier, international diplomat and racing enthusiast, orders the first four cylinder Daimler. The first commercially available steam cars are manufactured by twin brothers Francis and Freelan
Stanley. Alexander Winton a bicycle manufacturer of Cleveland, Ohio incorporates the Winton Motor Carriage Co. The Pope Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut, at the time the USA’s largest cycle manufacturer, begin their attempt to build cars in large quantities. A British-built Daimler is driven from John O’Groats to Lands End by Henry Sturmey, at the time a journalist with ‘The Autocar’ magazine. The Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland is founded by F.R.Simms. Emile Levassor dies. R.E. Olds and a group of Lansing businessmen invest $50,000 to create The Olds Motor Vehicle Company. Leon Serpollet builds his first steam car. 1898 James Ward Packard of Warren, Ohio, becomes one of the earliest buyers of a Winton and, immediately unsatisfied with it’s reliability and performance begins literally, to ‘pick it to pieces’. Rudolf Diesel is granted a patent for an internal combustion engine where extremely high compression of the fuel/air mixture causes self-ignition, rather than a spark. Using a De Dion engine and axle, Louise Renault builds his first car. Panhard-Levassor adopt the steering wheel instead of the tiller. De Dion Bouton introduce the Voiturette. Coventry-Daimler release their first four cylinder model. The first Napier power unit is built. 1899 FIAT, Sunbeam, Wolseley, Albion and Isotta Fraschini begin production. In the USA, the Olds Motor Vehicle Company also begins Production. 1900 Gottlieb Daimler dies at the age of 66. One week later Emil Jellinek secures an exclusivity agreement with Wilhelm Maybach. The cars in which he has been involved and will be marketing, will now be named after his favourite daughter, Mercedes. The Thousand Miles Trial is organised by the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland to demonstrate the reliability and efficiency of the motor vehicle to the British public. Many people will see a car for the first time in their lives. American manufacturers produce a total of 4192 cars, each selling at an average price of $1000.00. 1901 · With an exclusive sales agreement and some technical input from Emile Jellinek , Daimler at BadCannstatt introduces the new ‘Mercedes’. Jellinek will both race these cars with great success and sell them to a personally selected clientele. · Ettore Bugatti wins the Milan Grand Prix in his Type 2 and exhibits it at the Milan International Motorcar Exhibition. He is approached by de-Dietrich of Niederbronn in the Alsace region and offered a licensing deal to design cars for them. Since he is still legally a minor, his father Carlo signs the contract. · The Olsmobile ‘Curved Dash’ model becomes the world’s first mass-produced petroleum (gas)
powered car. · John Starley dies, without seeing a Rover car go into production. 1902 · Packard patents and introduces the "H" gearshift pattern so familiar today. · Dr E C Lehwess sets out on the first attempt to drive around the world in a specially adapted Panhard Levassor bus named "Passe Partout" ("Anything Goes"). With no time-limit his intended route runs from London, through Europe to Asia, from where the bus will be shipped to California to cross the USA and return to England by ship across the Atlantic Ocean. He gets as far as Nizhni Novgorod in Eastern Russia, where "Passe Partout" and the attempt, have to be abandoned in deep snow. · The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is founded by Frederick R. Simms. 1903 · The British Parliament passes the Motor Car Act, raising the speed limit from 12 to 20mph, introducing driving licences and establishing the registration and numbering of cars. · 17,000 vehicles are now registered in Britain. · Henry Ford finally succeeds in raising $28,000.00 to found the Ford Motor Company and begin production and sales of his Model A runabout. · In Detroit, the Cadillac Motor Car Company is founded by precision engineer Henry Martyn Leland. · In London, The Vauxhall Iron Works builds its first car. · Marcel Renault is one of 10 drivers killed in that year’s Paris-Madrid race. · Administration of George B. Selden’s ‘master patent for the automobile’ is taken over by the newly formed Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers, with the intention of pursuing numerous manufacturers for infringement, to gain compensation and future royalties. · The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders hosts its first motor show at the Crystal Palace, in South London. · The first completely new Benz, the front engined ‘Parsifal 12/18’, is designed by Marius Barbarou and introduced to compete with the very successful Mercedes Simplex. · A six cylinder, four wheel drive racing car is introduced by Dutch manufacturer Spyker. · The first six cylinder production car is introduced by Napier. · James H. Whiting, co-founder of the Flint Wagon Works, persuades his partners to buy the Buick Motor Car Company, at that time a very small car manufacturer. Whiting becomes President and David Buick is General Manager. · Mary Anderson is granted a patent for a handle-operated windshield wiper, originally intended to help the streetcar drivers of New York. 1904 · On January 1st, The Motor Car Act becomes law in Great Britain. · Having built his first motor car Henry Royce meets Charles Stewart Rolls, already successful in the sales of quality cars in London and Royce agrees to manufacture a range of cars exclusively for sale by CS Rolls & Co. They are to be known by the name Rolls-Royce. · The Sturtevant brothers of Boston, Massachusetts invent the first automatic gearbox. With two forward speeds it is dependent on rotation by the engine, of centrifugal weights which, all too often disintegrate. The unit may not be a complete success but at least it points the way for future developments.
· Ford begins to export cars to Britain. · Having invented the modern bicycle 18 years earlier, Rover embarks on the manufacture of cars. · De Launay Belleville is founded in Saint Denis sur Seine, central France, with Marius Barbarou as engineer. · William Crapo Durant, Co-owner of Durant-Dort Carriage Company, the USA’s largest carriage makers, is approached by James Whiting to promote his Buick automobiles. Durant becomes Buick's General Manager. · Having refused to pay royalties to the Association of Licensed Automotive Manufacturers for infringement of George B Selden’s master patent, Henry Ford is taken to court. Key to Ford’s defence is that Selden has never even built a car and the validity of the patent is therefore questionable. The judge orders Selden to build a car in accordance with his patent. 1905 · Herbert Austin, resigns as general manager of Wolseley to set up his own company at Longbridge, Birmingham. · The American the market for cars is enlarged by the introduction of installment finance plans. · The Automobile Association is set up to represent the interests of British motorists finding themselves easy targets for Police officers keen to gain promotion based on the numbers of speeding motorists caught and convicted! 1906 · The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) introduce a horsepower formula, largely based on the Cylinder bore of an engine. · The successful commercial collaboration between Henry Royce and C S Rolls results in the formation of the Rolls-Royce company and the launch of the 40/50hp six-cylinder ‘Silver Ghost’, soon to be hailed as 'the best car in the world'. · Ford introduces the Model N at the New York Auto Show. Selling initially at $500, · The American car industry produces 33,500 cars. · Former Fiat test-driver Vincenzo Lancia sets up his own company in Turin with his friend and colleague Claudio Fogolin. · Britain exports a total of two cars per month to France while importing a total of 400 cars per month from France. · Otto Zachow and William Besserdich of Clintonville, Wisconsin, built the first successful 4-wheeldrive car. 1907 · A year after its announcement, the price of Ford’s Model N had already risen to $600. · King Edward VII awards the Automobile Club the Royal accolade. · Willys-Overland is formed following the purchase of the Overland Company of Indianapilolis by John Willys. · Over 60,000 Cars are now registered in Britain. · A Rolls-Royce ‘Silver Ghost’ completes a 15000 miles test under supervision of the RAC, with just one enforced stop. · Also completing a 15,000 mile test is a 45hp Hotchkiss, wearing out 46 tyres in the process. · Otto Zachow and William Besserdich begin a company called the Four Wheel Drive Auto Co.
1908 · Ford build the first Model T. This year’s production totals 8000. · Based on a previous, failed attempt to bring together America’s top four car manufacturers William Crapo Durant incorporates General Motors of New Jersey (GM) with a capital of $2,000. Within 12 days the company has raised $12,000,000 cash, enough to buy Buick and Oldsmobile in quick succession. · In London The Royal Automobile Club awards Cadillac the Dewar Trophy following the dismantling, mixing and re-assembly of components from three ‘Model K’ runabouts. 1909 · The General Motors Company acquires Cadillac and Oakland. · William Durant fails to raise the $9.5 million needed to buy Ford. · Louis Chevrolet drives a Buick to victory in the fifth "Indy car" race at Crown Point, Indianapolis. · Fernand Renault is dies after a long illness. Now alone at the helm, Louis Renault changes the company’s name to Les Automobiles Renault. · While still engaged by de Deutz, Ettore Bugatti and good friend Felix Kortz build the ‘Type 10’ in the cellar of his house, probably as an expression of his imminent intention to establish his own production. · Joseph Sankey & Sons of Bilston, near Woverhampton, specialists in steel pressings, commence production of stamped body panels for Arrol-Johnston cars. · Joseph Sankey & Sons develop the first detachable pressed-steel artillery wheel, a considerable improvement over the wooden carriage wheels which most vehicles had used previously. · Louis Coatalen is appointed as chief engineer at Sunbeam and starts to design cars capable of achieving records at Brooklands race track in Surrey. · H.F.S. Morgan builds his first car, a three-wheeler with a twin cylinder 8hp engine, seating for one, tiller steering and patented ‘sliding pillar’ independent front suspension. · Charles Franklin Kettering, having already invented, designed and developed the electric cash register, bank accounting machines and a superior ignition system for cars while working for NCR, sets up Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco). 8000 ignition systems are supplied to Cadillac in his first year of production. 1910 · De Dion-Bouton introduces the first "mass-produced" V8 engine in the world. · Automobile production in the Untied States reaches 181,000. · The proposal to place a tax on petrol is rejected by the British Parliament. · Charles Stewart Rolls is killed at the age of 33, when his biplane crashes during a flying competition in Bournemouth. · The RAC devises the horsepower ratings by which cars in Britain are taxed. · Wireless radio is installed in a car with considerable effect although the equipment is very bulky. · Having spent the past 9 years designing cars for deDeutz and Mathis-Hermès, Ettore Bugatti sets up his own factory at Molsheim in the Alsace region (German territory until 1919, French thereafter) and starts production of his ‘Type 11’. · Crossley, Arrol Johnston, Argyll and Isotta Fraschini offer four wheel braking. 1911 · Burley Swiss racing driver and talented engineer Louis Chevrolet drives a Buick for Willam Durant in
the first Indianapolis 500. A broken camshaft forces early retirement. Louis’s brothers, Arthur and Gaston, are also keen racing drivers. · Having been ousted from General Motors William Durrant hires Louis Chevrolet as a consultant to develop a high quality car and forms the Chevrolet Motor Company. · Ford opens its first factory outside the USA at Trafford Park, Manchester, UK. With an annual output of 3000 Model Ts, Ford soon becomes Britain's biggest car maker. · Cadillac 20/30hp model comes with ignition, electric lighting and electric self-starting developed by Charles F. Kettering’s Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco). · The Selden Patent Case finally ends in victory for Henry Ford when the car built to Selden’s patent is a technical failure. The patent is found to be 'valid but not infringed' releasing Americas car manufacturers to sell their products without further interference from Selden. 1912 · Prominent figure S. F. Edge resigns from the Napier company following a dispute. He agrees to stay out of the motor industry for 7 years in exchange for a £160,000.00 pay-off. Instead he turns to pig farming, cattle breeding and film production, all with considerable success. · Delco electric self-starters and electric lighting come as standard on all Cadillac models. · The first Chevrolet, the big, powerful and very expensive Classic Six, reaches production but its price places it well out of reach of the mass market which Durant needs to attract to build his new business. · Sunbeam causes a sensation by simultaneously entering two team of 3 litre cars in French races running at the same time. They come in 1st, 2nd and 3rd in Coupe de l'Auto for touring cars at Dieppe and 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the French Grand Prix against cars with engines of vastly greater cubic capacity. As a result, the virtually identical touring models sell very well. · Brothers W O and H M Bentley buy the London agency for French DFP cars from their employers and call their new business Bentley and Bentley. 1913 · Packard achieves a significant step in the development of the differential by introducing the spiralbevel ring and pinion set. This cuts noise levels dramatically. · Henry Ford trials moving conveyor belt techniques for magneto production. · Ford’s sales rise to 182,809 vehicles. · The Royal Automobile Club awards the Dewar Trophy to Cadillac for a second time, in recognition of the introduction of the electric self-starter and electric lighting. · William Morris introduces his I0hp Morris Oxford light car. · Congress is lobbied by the Lincoln Highway Association who want a transcontinental highway to be constructed across America. · Mechanical direction indicators begin to appear on some models. · Fiat builds 3251cars. · Renault build 9338 cars. · Louis Chevrolet falls out with William Durant, wanting his name to be associated with prestigious cars and resigns. By selling his stock Chevrolet has thrown away the opportunity to become a multi millionaire. Durant continues to grow Chevrolet sales by moving the range downmarket. · W O Bentley develops the aluminium-alloy piston for use in automotive engines and achieves a class record at Brooklands in an alloy-pistoned DFP.
1914 · De Dion-Bouton’s V8 engine is now available in 3.5 litre, 4.6 litre and 7.8 litre capacities. · Ford introduces conveyor assembly line techniques to chassis production reducing unit production times from 12½ to 1½ hours. · Ford raises the daily pay of its production workers to an industry record of $5. · Ettore Bugatti designs and manufactures the world’s first series-produced 16-valve 4 cylinder engine. · British buyers can now choose between 200 makes of car. · The German Army’s advance on Paris is repulsed by troops ferried to the front line in Renault taxis. · W O Bentley is commissioned into the navy to develop aero-engines for the Royal Naval Air Service. The BR1 and BR2 radial engines, built at the Humber factory, prove extremely effective and Bentley passes his knowledge of alloy piston technology on to Ernest Hives who is also developing aeroengines at Rolls-Royce. · Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford set up a small sports-car manufacturing business in West London. Bamford’s early departure leaves Martin with the need for a new name. Success achieved at the Aston-Clinton Hill Climb course in the prototype car provides the ideal name. Aston-Martin is born! 1915 · British Chancellor of the Exchequer Reginald McKenna introduces a ‘temporary’ 33.33 % levy on luxury imports to contribute to the cost of the war. Commercial vehicles are excluded, as they are needed for the war effort. This levy becomes known as the "McKenna Duties". · Catillac introduces the first successful V8 engine in the United States. · Inspired by Sunbeam aero-engine designs, Packard introduce the Vl2 Twin Six. · Banker Nicola Romeo takes over Anonima Lombardo Fabbrica Automobili of Milan to create Alfa Romeo. · Ford give a $50.00 refund to every Model T customer in recognition of annual sales exceeding their target. · The British Admiralty Landships Committee, charged with development of an armoured fighting vehicle capable of crossing trenches and barbed wire to attack an enemy, appoint a Lincoln agricultural machinery manufacturers William Foster & Co. Ltd, to design and develop it. For the sake of secrecy the factory workers are told to refer to the project as ‘a water carrier for Mesopotamia’. Their nick-name for the project is still with us today - ‘The tank’. 1916 · Windscreen wipers powered by vacuum from the engine’s inlet manifold begin to replace the manual version originally patented by Mary Anderson in 1903. Because inlet manifold vacuum varies with engine speed so does wiper speed. · C F Kettering’s Delco is sold to United Motors Corporation for $9,000,000.00. 1917 · Herbert Austin receives a knighthood. · Having founded Cadillac and stayed at the helm since the 1909 sale to General Motors, Henry Martyn Leland resigns and leaves with his son Wilfred C Leland, to found the Lincoln Motor Company and build Liberty aero-engines for use in WW1 fighter planes. · Engineer William Rootes is demobilised from the British Armed to set up a new plant at Maidstone,
Kent to repair aeroplane engines instead of scrapping them. The war ends before the plant is fully operational. 1918 · Emil Jellinek dies. · Car registrations in America exceed five million for the first time. · The Thomas B Jeffery Company is bought by Charles Nash and renamed Nash Motors. · United Motors Corporation is acquired by General Motors. As a result, C F Kettering is invited to organise and direct General Motors Research Corporation and insists that its headquarters are established in Dayton. 1919 · Andre Citroen, having decided the future lies in simple reliable cars for the mass market, begins production of his Model A. · Henry Ford pays out $l00 million to buy-out all the other stockholders in the Ford Motor Company. · S. F. Edge returns to the British motor industry by taking over AC cars. · The first straight eight production engine is introduced by Isotta Fraschini. · Walter P. Chrysler resigns his position as vice president of General Motors. · New aero influenced post war models introduced by Hispano Suiza, Guy, Enfield Allday. · WO Bentley, awarded an £8,000 gratuity for his wartime work on the design of aero-engines, uses it to establish Bentley Motors Ltd and develop his first sports-car. · Charles F Kettering’s Dayton Metal Products Co. is absorbed into General Motors, forming the core of GM's new research division. · William and Reginal Rootes re-establish the family car sales business, Rootes Ltd. in Maidstone Kent. · Enzo Ferrari finishes ninth at the Targa Florio bringing him to the notice of Alfa Romeo. 1920 · Half of all the motor vehicles in the world are Model T Fords. · The American car industry is hit hard by a sudden post-war sales slump - Most companies struggle, many go out of business and some are absorbed into the larger corporate conglomerates. · The merger of Sunbeam and Talbot-Darracq creates the STD group. The new organisation will fail to rationalise development programmes and share components, missing out on financial opportunities, building cars which compete with each other for market share. · William Durant is ousted from his position at the head of General Motors for a second and final time, when DuPont/Morgan banking interests gain a controlling interest. Alfred P. Sloan is placed in charge of the group's affairs. · Duesenberg introduce the first production car with a straight eight engine and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. · Work starts on Britain's first bypass roads, The Great West Road from Chiswick, West London and The Purley Way near Croydon. · 350 French companies manufacture cars. · Louis Chevrolet’s Monroe racer wins the Indianapolis 500 with his brother Gaston at the wheel. · Gaston Chevrolet is killed in a racing accident on a boardwalk raceway in Beverly Hills, California. · C F Kettering, inventor and outstanding engineer and head of General Motors Research Corporation becomes a vice-president and GM board member.
· Driving a modified Alfa Romeo production car in the Targa Florio, Enzo Ferrari finishes in second place. 1921 · Ferodo introduces a dry-plate clutch using asbestos friction materials that do not burn out every few hundred miles. · The Motor Car Act taxes cars in Britain at £I per RAC horsepower. Because of the RAC formula this favours small-bore, long stroke engines used by British manufacturers. Sales of cheaper American imports which tend to use large-bore, short stroke engines are crippled. A Morris Cowley, rated at 11.9hp costs just £12 to tax, whereas a Model T is rated at 22.5hp and costs £23 per year. One variation is that pre 1914 cars pay only half the horsepower. One oddity is a complete exemption for cars used solely for taking servants to church or voters to the polling station! · Bentley Motors Ltd start production of the new Bentley 3 litre sports car at a factory in Cricklewood, London and the three racing Bentleys entered in the Tourist Trophy Race win the team prize. · Lincoln introduce theirV8. · To counteract a drop in sales Morris cuts prices by up to £I00. The ploy works effectively, with sales increasing from 1932 cars in 1920 to 3077 cars this year. · William Durant establishes Durant Motors, having raised $7 million in loans. · Tommy Milton drives a straight-eight Frontenac, designed and built by Louis Chevrolet, to victory at Indianapolis. Two different Louis Chevrolet-developed machines have now won at Indianapolis in consecutive years. 1922 · Ford buys financially troubled Lincoln. · In Britain Herbert Austin introduces the Seven. · Clyno begin car production in Wolverhampton. · Marconi begin experiments with wireless receivers in Daimler cars. · Ford produce over one million Model Ts. · Inspired by the strength of a ship’s hull in a storm Vincenzo Lancia devises the first car to feature a sheet metal unitary body structure. The Lancia Lambda also featured a V4 engine with twin overhead camshafts, independent front suspension and brakes on all four wheels. · Trico (USA) introduce electric windscreen wipers as a more speed-consistent alternative to vacuumdriven wipers. · Leslie Hounsfield's Trojan Ltd of Croydon Licence production of his low-cost 2 stroke, four cylinder car to Leyland Motors. · Charles F. Kettering, (previously responsible for the electric starter) and his assistant T. H. Midgley develop tetraethyl leaded petrol to improve the quality of fuels available in the USA. This alone encourages the development of more powerful and efficient high-compression engines. · 21 year old Motor Cycle enthusiast William Lyons meets motorcycle sidecar maker William Walmsley in Blackpool, England. Together they set up the Swallow Sidecar Company. 1923 · De Dion-Bouton cease production of their V8 engine range. · Cecil Kimber builds his first MG, a Morris Cowley with flattened springs, a sports body and a rebuilt engine.
· Coventry bicycle manufacturer Triumph, builds their first car, the 10/20hp. · Over 2,000,000 Model Ts leave Ford’s production lines. · Sunbeams came 1st, 2nd and 4th in the French Grand Prix. · While racing at the Circuit of Sivocci at Ravenna Enzo Ferrari is approached by Count Enrico and Countess Paolina Baracca, parents of deceased national hero Francesco Baracca. They give Ferrari Francesco’s squadron badge, a prancing horse on a yellow shield. 1924 · Former General Motors Vice President, Walter P Chrysler, begins production of his own cars. · Car production times are cut dramatically when DuPont develop quick-drying enamels. · Napier give up the production of cars and concentrate on aero-engines. · The "McKenna Duties" on luxury imports are removed. · Sunbeam win the Spanish Grand Prix. No other British car will win a Grand Prix in the first half of the 20th century. Twin cam OHV engines become standard on the 3 litre Super Sports models. · Malcolm Campbell achieves an official Land Speed Record d 146mph in an 18 litre 12 cyl Sunbeam developing 350hp. · A Bentley Sport, driven by Sammy Davis and John Benjafield, wins the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race for the first time. 1925 · The "McKenna Duties" on luxury imports are reinstated and extended to include commercial vehicles. · Morris production of ‘Bullnose’ Oxfords and Cowleys hits 54,131. · Vauxhall Motors at Luton becomes a part of General Motors. · The 250,000th Ford Model T rolls out of Ford’s British factory and begins a celebratory tour. · Rolls Royce introduce the Phantom 1, their first new model since the introduction of the 1906 Silver Ghost. · The Triumph 13/30 becomes Britain’s first family car with hydraulic braking on all four wheels. · Malcolm Campbell raises the official Land Speed Record to 150mph, again in a Sunbeam car. · Sunbeam enters their new 3 litre Super Sports car for the Grand Prix d'Endurance (24 hours) at Le Mans. It is the only British car to finish, winning 2nd place overall and coming first in the 3 litre class. The parent company (The STD Group) takes out a large loan. · General Motors Research Corporation and its boss C F Kettering, move to Detroit. 1926 · Cadillac introduce shatter-resistant glass. · Long retired from racing, Louis Chevrolet drives the official pace car for his last laps of Indianapolis Speedway. As a driver he has achieved 10 career Indy car wins and won over 27 major events, making him the most successful of the three racing Chevrolet brothers. · Following a trip to America William Morris is convinced that the future of the car revolves around all-steel construction and works with Edward G Budd to set up the Pressed Steel Company. · In Germany, Daimler Benz AG is formed by the long-planned (since 1911) merger between Benz and Daimler companies. · A 7136cc V12 sleeve valve engine is the main feature of the Coventry Daimler Company’s new Double Six model. · In London, the General Strike and resultant marches bring traffic to a halt.
· London's motorists see electric traffic lights for the first time. · Production of 300 cars a week makes Clyno of Wolverhampton Britain’s third largest car manufacturer. · Packard further refines the differential by introducing hypoid gears, virtually eliminating rear axle whine. · Major Henry Segrave sets a new Land Speed Record of 152mph in a 4 litre 12 cyl Sunbeam. · The Swallow Sidecar Company starts to build special bodies for the Austin Seven and changes its name to the Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company. Beyond the Austin seven it also offers coach-built bodies on chassis by Morris, Fiat, Standard, Swift and others. · William and Reginald Rootes move their business from Kent to offices and showrooms at Devonshire House, Picadilly, in the heart of London's West End. Within a matter of months they have built a network of branches across the UK, in the process, becoming Europe’s largest motor distributing company. 1927 · Ford’s Model T comes to the end of the road after 19 years and fifteen million vehicles. · The first British all-steel body is produced by the Pressed Steel Company for the Morris Isis Six, a medium sized saloon. · William Morris acquires the failed Wolseley company. · Chevrolet becomes the top selling manufacturer in America as Ford reorganizes its production facilities for the Model A. · Chromium plating is pioneered by Studebaker and Oldsmobile. · Stanley brings production of its steam cars to an end. · Major Henry Segrave, sets a new World Land Speed Record of over 200mph driving a twin-engined 1000 hp Sunbeam. 1928 · By now Britain’s largest car distributors, William and Reginald Rootes begin to acquire manufacturers, starting with Humber, Hillman and Commer. · Dodge is acquired by Chrysler for $I75,000,000. · In the face of fierce price competition from William Moris, Clyno introduce a £I00 8hp model and ‘hits the rocks’. · Cadillac introduces the synchromesh gearbox. · Britain's first front wheel drive production car is introduced by Alvis. · A Bentley wins the Le Mans 24 Hours driven by Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin. · As a result of slumping sales many UK companies are become vulnerable · The Rootes brothers acquire a substantial interest in The Hillman Car Company and then take over Humber Ltd and it’s commercial vehicle brand, Commer. 1929 · Karl Benz dies, aged 85. · David Dunbar Buick dies. · US car production reaches 5,337,087, a record that will stand until the I950s. · 26.5 million cars are now registered in the USA. · Clyno ceases trading and its assets liquidated. · Armstrong Siddeley offer a Wilson pre-selector gearbox as an option.
· Sir Dennistoun Burney, the man behind the development of R100 airship, applies his aerodynamic expertise to car design and starts to make his Burney ‘Streamlines’ at his factory in Maidenhead. Each car features teardrop styling, space-frame construction, rear engine, all-round independent suspension and hydraulic brakes. · Bentley win the Le Mans 24 Hours for the second year in succession with a Speed Six driven by Woolf Barnato and Henry Birkin. · While continuing to work for Alfa Romeo, Enzo Ferrari forms the Scuderia Ferrari, a club/team for gentlemen-racers with the aim of organizing racing for members. 1930 · Daimler fit fluid flywheels in conjunction with pre-selector gearboxes to produce semi automatic transmission. · Cadillac introduces a 7.4 litre VI6. · Economic depression causes a fall in car sales. · Henry Royce receives a knighthood. · In the bar of the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton following the annual ‘London to Brighton Run’, three participants decide to form the Veteran Car Club to help its members preserve the veteran and Edwardian cars which form a record motoring’s early history. · The 20mph speed limit, which has been ignored by motorists and police alike for many years, is abolished by the British Parliament. · In Britain, third party insurance becomes compulsory. · Larger Morris cars come with hydraulic brakes. · Walter Wilson introduces the Wilson Preselector gearbox based on a planetary manual transmission system like that used in the Ford Model T. Bentley wins the Le Mans 24 Hours for the fourth year in succession with a Speed Six driven by Woolf Barnato and Glen Kidston. 1931 · The Vauxhall Cadet 2 litre six, is the first car in Europe to feature a synchromesh gearbox. · Bentley Motors goes into liquidation. Napier are interested in buying, but are outbid by Rolls Royce who form Bentley Motors (1931) Limited. · Daimler acquire Lanchester Britain’s oldest motor manufacturer. · The Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company introduces its first cars, the SS1 and SS2. The larger SS1 is based on a modified Standard chassis and Standard six-cylinder engine. The smaller SS2 has a four-cylinder engine. · As the first fruit of the Rootes Group acquisition, Hillman introduces the Wizard with a choice of either 2.1 or 2.8 litre engines. It is not a great sales success. 1932 · After years of struggling to survive De Dion-Bouton goes out of business. · Oldsmobile and Packard models feature automatic chokes. · Ford of Britain moves it’s plant and machinery from Trafford Park, Manchester to its new factory at Dagenham on the Eastern outskirts of London over one weekend without losing any production. · Ford design their first car for the European market, the 8hp model Y, in Dearborn. · Ford facelift the Model A and offer it with a mass-produced V8 engine. Sales in the first year exceed
300,000. · Hillman introduces the Minx, small family saloon, which proves to be extremely popular. 1933 · William Lyons Changes the name of the Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company to SS Cars Limited, taking on the role of managing director. · Ford looses its grip on the American market, dropping to third place behind General Motors and the Chrysler Corporation. 1934 · REO introduce the Reo Self-Shifter, actually two transmissions connected in series. The first shifts automatically due to the engagement of a multi-disc centrifugal clutch mechanism. The second transmission is shifted manually to engage a lower gear. · Under both the Chrysler and DeSoto brands Chrysler introduces the revolutionary ‘Airflow’ ‘streamline’ family saloons with aerodynamic unitary sheet-steel body construction and an automatic overdrive. · In Britain a 30mph limit is imposed in built-up areas by Transport Minister Leslie Hore Belisha, pedestrian (Zebra) crossings are introduced, illuminated by a flashing orange (Belisha) beacon and new drivers are required to pass a test. · Morris Motors’ first conveyor assembly line is installed at Cowley and Sir William Morris becomes Baron Nuffield. · General Motors put the successful racecar designer and financial failure, Louis Chevrolet on their payroll in recognition of their use of his name. · Ferdinand Porshe approaches the German Reich government with proposals for a car for the German masses – a Volkswagen. Massive government investment follows. · Construction of the German Autobahn system commences, conceived by Adolph Hitler as a productive way of harnessing the unemployed masses. · British cars are now available with Metallic finishes. · Andre Citroen’s ambition gets the better of him as development of the ‘traction avant’ becomes so expensive that the company is virtually bankrupted. Michelin step in to prop up the business and Citroen looses control. · At SS Cars Limited, William Lyons boosts his company’s technical capabilities with the arrival of renowned engine specialist Harry Weslake. Soon after his arrival overhead valve cylinder heads become available. 1935 · The depression of the 1930s means STD Motors are unable to sustain repayments of the large loan taken out in 1925 and are forced into receivership. The Rootes brothers outbid the smaller SS Cars Limited and the proud Sunbeam and Talbot names are destined to become up-market badgeengineered versions of Hillmans. · Ford of Britain introduces a cut price version of the 8hp Model Y saloon to sell at £I00.00. · There are now 35 million motor vehicles on the world’s roads according to an international census. · Triumph offer a screen wash system. · William Heynes joins SS Cars Ltd as chief engineer and the SS Jaguar is announced.
1936 · Morgan, specialists in economical three-wheelers since 1909 introduce their first four wheeler, thanks to changes in tax and market readiness for ‘a fourth wheel’. · Fiat introduce the budget-priced 500A, featuring an aerodynamic shape, a ‘570cc engine and a full length sunroof. Its appearance earns it the nick-name ‘Topolino’ (Mickey Mouse) while a 55mph top speed and 55mpg economy makes it very popular, particularly in its home country. · Ferdinand Porsche begins development and construction of prototype ‘Volkswagens’ to demonstrate his concept to Adolf Hitler. The declared intention is that they will sell for £50.00 on a special finance plan. · At SS Cars Limited, William Lyons buys out William Walmsley and anounces the SS 100 and SS Jaguar models. · There are still 45 British car manufacturers. · Fifty-four percent of families in the United States now own a car. 1937 · The first London Motor Exhibition is held at Earls Court, rather than Olympia, where it has been since 1905. · Buick and Oldsmobile introduce the Automatic Safety Transmission, using a conventional clutch for engaging forward or reverse and shifting automatically once underway. · 800 miles of autobahn have been built in Germany at a cost of £56,000 a mile. · Chrysler perfects the fluid coupling, a major advance towards the fully automatic gearbox, but does nothing with it for the moment. 1938 · The Volkswagen goes into production in Nazi Germany. · The British government raises the petrol tax from 8d to 9d per gallon and horsepower tax to £l.25d per hp. · The first small British saloon to feature independent front suspension is the Standard Flying Eight. · Riley is taken over by The Nuffield Group. · Morris launches the Series E 8hp Saloon at £128, the cheapest car in Britain. · As another War begins to look inevitable British car manufacturers are requested to set up Shadow Factories next to small-scale specialists who’s products, in much larger quantities, would be crucial to any war effort. · GM offer the Hydra-Matic hydraulically operated gearbox. · SS Cars Ltd, like many other British manufacturers turns production over to the war effort. 1939 · Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Germany on September 3rd. · The British Government introduces petrol rationing. Petrol is exchanged for coupons allowing each motorist about 200 miles of motoring per month. · There are now two million cars on Britain's roads. · The customized Lincoln Continental and the lower priced Mercury are introduced by Ford. · Triumph has to cease trading and is put into receivership. 1940 · Car production in Britain is put on hold as most factories go over to munitions production.
· The German Luftwaffe destroys the centre of Coventry. · Oldsmobile and Cadillac offer the first fully automatic transmission. · Enzo Ferrari leaves Alfa Romeo to establish Auto-Avio Costruzioni Ferrari. · In Japan, Toyo Kogyo produces its first passenger car. 1941 · Lord Austin dies aged 74 · Louis Chevrolet dies aged 63. He is buried at Indianapolis, scene of his greatest racing victories. · Packard are the first car manufacturer to offer air conditioning. · Chrysler introduces the Fluid Drive transmission, a manual transmission with a fluid coupling instead of a clutch. 1943 · American passenger car production falls to just 139 vehicles as war production requirements take over. 1944 · Volvo focus on occupant safety with the introduction of a safety cage. · Louis Renault is arrested and imprisoned for collaborating with the Germans. He dies at Fresnes prison in ‘suspicious circumstances’. · Enzo Ferrari’s Maranello workshops are bombed and destroyed. 1945 · 2nd World War in Europe ends with Germany’s unconditional surrender to the allies on May 7th. · In receivership since 1939, Triumph is acquired by Standard. · Petrol rationing in Britain continues. · Henry Ford resigns as president of The Ford Motor Company, handing over to his grandson, Henry Ford 11. · French President Charles de Gaulle nationalizes Renault and the company's name is changed to Regié Nationale des Usines Renault. · British manufacturers are compelled by · The newly elected Socialist government ‘encourages’ manufacturers to export half their output. To counteract the consequential development of an illicit black-market car buyers are required to sign a covenant preventing the sale of new cars for one year. 1946 · Newly designed post-war models are launched by British car makers Triumph, Armstrong-Siddeley, Jowett and Bentley as the British Motor Industry celebrates its fiftieth birthday. · Petrol ration for British motorists is increased by 50 per cent. · Ford of Britain produce their millionth car, an 8hp Anglia. · Michelin patent the Radial-ply tyre. · In light of negative wartime connotations William Lyons changes the name of SS Cars Ltd. to Jaguar Cars Ltd and begins to focus on export markets. · Enzo Ferrari rebuilds his bombed workshops and begins work on the development and production of the Ferrari 125 Sport. The first Ferrari hits the road!
1947 · Packard offers power seats and windows across their range. · Ettore Bugatti dies in Paris aged 66. · The American car industry celebrates its Golden Jubilee. · Henry Ford dies at the age of 84. · BMW engine and car designs are ‘acquired’ by Bristol and Frazer-Nash as ‘war reparations’. · David Brown, already successful in the British engineering industry, sees an advertisement in The Times offering ‘A high-class motor business, established 25 years’ and pays £20.000 to buy Aston Martin. He has already purchased Lagonda, having owned a Lgonda Rapide himself in the past. · A new name, Standard-Vanguard, is introduced to the British public · Instead of taxing cars based on the 1906 RAC horsepower formula a flat- rate system is introduced. · Enzo Ferrari’s 125 Sport wins its first race. The first of many Ferrari victories. 1948 · The first motor show since the end of the war takes place at Earls Court. · Morris introduce the Minor family car, designed by Alec Issigonis. · Jaguar Cars Ltd. announces the XK120 sports car featuring low, streamlined body, an outstanding twin overhead cam 6 cylinder engine and a top speed of 120mph. Alongside it the elegant MK 5 saloon (sedan) replaces the pre-war model known by enthusiasts, though not the company, as the MK 4. · Citoen introduce the 2CV, reputedly designed to accommodate gentlemen still wearing their hats and to drive across a ploughed field without breaking a cargo of eggs! · The American motor industry builds its 100,000,000th car. · Ferdinand Porsche launches the Porsche marque by introducing the 356/2 as a no-frills sports car re-working of his war-time Volkswagen project. · Developed along the well proven lines of the Willys Jeep, Rover introduce the 4 wheel drive Land Rover. · Buick offer the Dynaflow fully automatic gearbox. This is essentially the automatic gearbox as we know it today, 1949 · Michelin ‘X’ radial-ply tyres go on sale for the first time. 1950 · British government ends petrol rationing but doubles fuel tax. · The new car covenant, introduced to prevent a black market in new cars is extended from one to two years ownership. · The UK’s former double purchase tax on luxury cars is halved. · Ford wins back its second place in the US sales league from Chrysler. · Automatic transmission becomes available on lower priced Chevrolet models. · Goodyear offers self-repairing tyres (tires). · 60% of American families now own a car. · 6,657,000 cars are sold in the USA. · Rover demonstrates the JET 1 the world's first gas turbine powered car. · Ford engineer Earle S MacPherson designs the MacPherson Strut, a combination of spring, shock absorber and stub-axle which simplifies design and production and reduces costs.
· Ford UK introduces Consul and Zephyr models. · In the USA, automatic gearboxes become more readily available - Chevrolet offer the Powerglide, Ford the Fordomatic and Merc-O-Matic. · Nash feature seatbelts in the Rambler. The promoted benefits are that they ‘overcome the problems caused when sleeping passengers fall out of their seats’! 1951 · Porsche enters a 356 SL in the Le Mans 24-Hours and wins the 1100cc class. · Ferdinand Porsche dies aged 75. · Lotus Engineering Co founded by aeronautical engineer and competitive sports car driver Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman. · 100mph performance becomes available at realistic prices as Triumph announces the TR and the Healey introduces their 100/4 sports cars. · Chrysler offer power steering and the M-6 Torque-Converter Automatic. They also spark a horsepower race with the 180 horsepower, 331 cubic-inch Firepower Hemi V-8 engine. · Kaiser introduces new safety features, a pop-out windshield and a padded dashboard top. · Jaguar introduces the prototype C-Type race-car, aimed at winning Le Mans. 1952 · In the USA, sales of cars with automatic transmissions exceed 2 million. · Crosley ceases production. · Rival manufacturers Nuffield organisation (Morris) and Austin comes to an end with their amalgamation into the British Motor Corporation (BMC) with Lord Nuffield in the driving seat. · Mercedes shows the spectacular 300SL 'gull wing' sports coupe. · Packard offer power brakes. · The newly developed disk braking system, now available from Dunlop, is fitted to Jaguar’s C Types, enabling them to achieve 1st, 2nd and 4th places at Le Mans. 1953 · As wartime austerity begins to fade in the United Kingdom, the availability of higher octane fuels allows higher compression ratios and improvements in engine performance. · Singer announces the SMX Roadster, Britain’s first plastic-bodied production car. Only 12 are made before the project is abandoned. · Britain’s New Car Covenant Purchase Scheme, originally introduced to prevent new cars being soldon at a premium, is abolished. · General Motors Launch the Corvette, a radical glass-fibre-bodied roadster concept car featuring a wrap-around windshield and powered by a venerable straight six engine. Production is limited. · Porsche introduces the 550 ‘Spyder’ race-car with a triangulated tubular steel chassis, aluminium bodywork and a VW-based 4 cylinder ‘boxer’ engins. 550 Spyders dominate the 1500cc class at Le Mans and then the same class in the Pan Americana, Mexican road race. 1954 · The 50 millionth General Motors car rolls off the production line. · All Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac models feature wrap-around Panoramic windshields. · Ford introduces overhead valves on its V8 engines in Ford and Mercury models. · Nash merges with Hudson to form the American Motors Corporation.
· Studebaker merges with Packard. · GM reveals the 370 horsepower turbine-powered Firebird I concept car. · The two seat Ford Thunderbird roadster is announced. · Lanchester offer the Sprite with automatic transmission, still a rarity in Europe. · Having re-established production of the ‘Beetle’ with much help from British Army personnel, Volkswagen start to focus on generating export sales. · Tubeless tyres (tires) are now offered on all new American cars. · Jaguar Cars replace the XK120 with the XK 140, featuring a 190 horsepower engine, mechanical refinements and chrome trim. The new Jaguar D Type race-car is introduced at Le Mans without success. 1955 · The revolutionary Citroen DS19 is introduced with a futuristic aerodynamic body, self-levelling hydropneumatic suspension, power steering and braking and automatic jacks. · McDonald’s opens its first drive-thru hamburger bar. · Chrysler launches ‘Imperial’ as a separates brand. · Kaiser goes out of business. · American car sales hit a record 7,915,000. Jaguar launch the MK 1 Family sports saloon (sedan) to broaden their market appeal. They also win at Le Mans with a much improved D-type. 1956 · Fuel supplies are seriously limited by the Suez crisis, resulting in rationing in Britain and other European countries and an upsurge of interest in economical micro-cars for personal transportation. · U.S. car stylists begin to adopt tail fins and rocket-shaped tail lamps as science fiction and space rockets enter the American consciousness. · The Ford Foundation offers over ten million Ford Motor Company shares for sale to the public. · BMC commissions Pininfarina to styles its new models. · Lanchester comes to the end of the road as Daimler discontinues production. · Ford of America offers seat belts to a disinterested public. · The "McKenna Duties" on luxury imports are finally abolished. · Jaguar D Type wins the Le Mans 24 Hours for a second successive year. · The Porsche 550A Spyder, a modified version of its predecessor, wins the Targa Florio road race on its debut, beating much more powerful competitors. It goes on to ‘wipe the floor’ at virtually every appearance. 1957 · The Lotus Elite (Type 14) is announced, featuring a revolutionary glassfibre monocoque construction. · Ford Motor Company introduces the Continental Mark II, priced at almost $10,000. · The three millionth Mercury comes off Ford’s production line. · Packard and Chrysler offer pushbutton automatic transmissions. · Packard offers power door locks. · Chrysler offers an in-car record player. · 80% of all new cars sold in America have a V-8 engine. · The American Congress approves construction of the 41,000 mile Interstate highway system. · The Nash and Hudson marques are discontinued by parent company AMC.
· A new Fiat 500 is introduced featuring a rear-mounted vertical twin-cylinder air cooled engine. · Chrysler produce their ten millionth Plymouth. · The new Ford Skyliner features a retractable hardtop, a ‘first’ for a production car. · Ford introduces the Ranchero pickup. · Chevrolet, Pontiac and Rambler adopt fuel injection. · 66% of all cars purchased in the USA are bought on extended finance. · Jaguar introduce the XK 150 and a D Type wins the Le Mans 24 Hours for a third successive year. 1958 · Work starts on the Ml ‘London to Birmingham’ Motorway, the UK’s first. · Roads around London are governed by a new 40mph speed limit. · To celebrate the fiftieth birthday of the Model T, Ford re-assembles a 1909 example. · Ford produce their fifty millionth car. · The revolutionary glassfibre Lotus Elite (Type 14) enters production. With all-round independent suspension and a 1,216 cc overhead cam Coventry Climax engine it has spectacular handling and is capable of 118mph! In spite of its success as a racecar Lotus will loose money on every one built. · With controversial styling and sophisticated features, the Ford Edsel is launched to a luke-warm reception. · Chrysler builds its twenty five millionth vehicle. · Packard production comes to an end. · The Austin-Healy 'Frogeye' Sprite is introduced. · The new chairman of BMC is Sir Leonard Lord. · A record one million cars are produced in Britain. · Toyotas and Datsuns are imported to the United States for the first time. · The Ford Thunderbird becomes a four-seater 'personal luxury’ car. · American car sales drop by 31% due to an economic recession. · C F Kettering, inventor of the electric starter and Ethyl-Leaded Gasoline dies aged 82. · Porsche introduce the "RSK" Spyder, or Type 718 which continues to win class and outright honours in the hands of such drivers as Dan Gurney, Wolfgang von Trips and Jo Bonnier. · A fascination with the impending space-age inspires Cadillac to begin giving its new models fins and rocket-shaped taillights. 1959 · UK Government reduces Purchase Tax on new cars from 60 to 50 per cent. · Triumph introduce the Michelotti styled Herald, featuring all round independent suspension. · Lea Francis go out of business. · NSU announce that they will build Wankel rotary engined cars. · Dutch manufacturer DAF begins car production, using the Variomatic belt-drive automatic transmission. · The M1, Britain’s first motorway is opened by The Right Honourable Ernest Marples, minister of Transport. · British Motor Corporation introduces the Morris Mini-Minor and Austin Se7en variants, built on separate production lines at Cowley, Oxford and Longbridge, Birmingam to a revolutionary compact design by Alec Issigonis. Whichever brand of ‘Mini’, it features a rubber-cone suspension system and a gearbox built into the engine, beneath the crankshaft. Perhaps the Mini’s most significant contribution to the packaging efficiency of modern front-wheel-drive cars is its transversely
mounted engine. · Jaguar launches the MK II family sports saloon (sedan) to great acclaim. · The Ford Anglia arrives. It is a small family car with conventional mechanical layout. Its unusual feature is a reverse-slope rear window, which ensures good headroom far rear-seat passengers. · Studebaker introduces the Lark, a compact car intended to compete with European imports. · An Aston-Martin DBR 1, driven by Caroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori wins the Le Mans 24 hours. 1960 · Eighty percent of United Stated families own at least one car. · The UK Daimler Company becomes part of Jaguar Cars. · The Japanese car industry manufactures 200,000 cars. · The Ford Anglia l05E is introduced with a four speed gearbox and a raked back rear window. · OPEC (The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) is formed to give the oil producing countries more power over crude oil prices. · The millionth Morris Minor leaves the production line, one of a series of 350 painted in a celebratory shade of lilac with white leather upholstery. · Jaguar Cars Limited buys Daimler and begins to offer ‘badge engineered’ Jaguars. 1961 · The Cortina Mk I is introduced by Ford of Britain. · BMC introduce the Morris I IOO featuring a revolutionary ‘Hydrolastic’ suspension system. · The ‘MOT’ test is introduced by Ernest Marples, requiring that all cars over 10 years old are subjected to an annual test. · BMC chief, Sir Leonard Lord becomes Lord Lambury. · Commercial vehicle producers Leyland Motors acquire Standard Triumph and AEC. · Porsche introduce the W-RS Spyder race-car with its well-proven flat four power unit. 1962 · Chevrolet introduce the Nova, a compact car with plain styling and 4 or 6 cylinder engines, designed to offer economical family motoring. · Ford UK introduces the Consul Cortina, an attractive medium-sized family saloon, powered by an 1198cc OHV engine. (The ‘Consul’ is dropped very quickly). Though launched as a two-door, a fourdoor body becomes available within a few months. · The W-RS Spyder, now powered by a 2.0-litre flat-eight engine, continues to build Porsche’s racing prowess by winning everything in sight. 1963 · The Leyland Motor Corporation formed under the chairmanship of Sir Henry Spurrier. · Ford’s Cortina DeLuxe is now available with a 1498cc engine and also as high-performance Lotus model featuring a twin-cam engine and major suspension modifications. · Lord Nuffield dies aged 86. · The Hillman Imp is unveiled to compete with the BMC Mini. It features a light-alloy 4 cylinder, 875cc slant-4 engine, originally developed by Coventry Climax to power fire pumps. Manufactured at Linwood, a new Scottish production plant, this is the first car since the 1931 Arrol Johnston, to be made in Scotland. · NSU announce the Spyder their first car to use a Wankel engine.
· Rover introduces the 2000 P6 saloon which wins them the European Car of the Year Award. · In Italy Feruccio Lamborghini Automobili founded in Sant'Agata near Bologna. The debut of the prototype 350 GTV takes place at the Turin Motor Show. · Porsche’s W-RS Spyder continues its winning ways at Le Mans and the Nurburgring. 1964 · Triumph launches the 2000 family saloon. · The Ford Mustang is ‘released’ to great acclaim and achieves sales of more than 500,000 in its firs 18 months. · Following many years of crippling strikes at its British Light Steel Pressings Ltd factory, the Rootes Group sells a controlling interest to Chrysler. · Despite continuing disinterest, front seat belts supplied as standard in all American cars. · Having resigned his position after just 4 months in charge of The Leyland Motor Corporation Sir Henry Spurrier dies. · Porsche’s W-RS Spyder wins further season championships in the hands of Edgar Barth, before final retirement. 1965 · BMC’s intended merger with the Pressed Steel Company is subjected to a report by the Monopolies Commission. · The British government introduces a 70 mph maximum speed "as a four month experiment" which is still with us today. · An automatic transmission, specially designed by AP is available to Mini buyers. · Rolls Royce's launch Silver Shadow its first unit constructed car. · Ralph Nader publishes his book 'Unsafe at Any Speed' exposing safety standards severely compromised by USA manufacturers’ cost constraints. The rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair receives Nader’s particular attention. 1966 · Jensen FF sports coupe is launched, featuring Fergusson’s four wheel drive system, Italian styling, a powerful V8 engine and anti-lock brakes. · British Motor Holdings is created by merging The Jaguar Group (Jaguar, Daimler, Guy, Coventry Climax, Henry Meadows) with BMC. · Ford UK update the Cortina with smoother, but boxier styling. · Largely as a result of Ralph Nader’s expose of the American Motor industry the U.S. Congress passes a rigorous auto safety act. Rear seat belts now supplied as standard equipment in all cars sold in the USA. · Peugeot and Renault agree to establish a partnership organisation, La Francaise de Mecanique, to manufacture common mechanical parts. · Sir William Lyons retires as the Managing Director, becoming Chairman and Chief Executive as Jaguar Cars Limited and the British Motor Corporation Limited announce the merger of the two companies. 1967 · Panhard, France’s oldest car maker is disolved by its owners Citroen. · NSU produce the first series production passenger car to be powered by a Wankel engine, the
Ro80. · Rover and Alvis are absorbed into the Leyland Motor Corporation. · Ford UK introduce the crossflow engine to their product range in 1300cc and 1600cc capacities. · Ford UK and Ford of Europe start to co ordinate development and production programmes to increase commonality of design and component use. 1968 · Ford introduces the Escort range, including a high performance ‘twin-cam’ engined version. · The largest car company in British history is formed as British Motor Holdings merges with Leyland Motors to create British Leyland Motor Corporation. · Rover offers the Buick-based V8 in the P6 body-shell to create the 3005, later re-named the 3500. · As bitter strikes cripple industry Renault lose production of IOO,OOO vehicles. · Volkswagen introduces the 411 or ‘Variant’. Based on an extended ‘Beetle’ floor-pan it features a contemporary body-style and 2 or 4 doors. An estate (station wagon) version is also available. · Citroen buys Maserati, primarily, to take advantage of its engine know-how. Their forthcoming SM coupé will be powered by a Maserati V6 engine. · David Brown is knighted. 1969 · Volkswagcn take over Audi. · Jaguar launches the XJ6. · The new British Leyland organisation introduces the Austin Maxi. Sir Alex Issigonis’s last project, in spite of its outstanding practicality, its boxy styling, sparse interior, lack of power and ‘notchy’ fivespeed gearbox attracts criticism. · Renault and Peugeot start production of common components as a result of their 1966 agreement, at Douvrin, near Lens in Northern France. · Enzo Ferrari sells 50% of Ferrari's share capital to Fiat. 1970 · Land Rover launches an entirely new concept. The Range Rover is a luxury off-road car and, as an immediate sales success it points the way for rivals, laying the foundation for a whole new market sector. · Citroen launches two new aerodynamic models, the GS family car and the Masserati-powered SM sports saloon. · Italian styling house Ghia of Turin is acquired from Alessandro de Tomaso by Ford. · Mercedes build the C III experimental car to act as a test-bed for future road-car developments. Featuring dramatic aerodynamic styling and powered by a triple rotor Wankel engine developing 280bhp, it achieved a top speed of 160mph. · Japan’s monthly production output of 200,000 cars, makes it the world's second biggest motor manufacturer. · Volkswagen reveals the K70, their first water cooled model. · Kjell Qvale, Norwegan born head of the ‘British Motor Car Distributors’ in San Francisco, takes over Jensen Motors. · The Chrysler 160/l80 range is launched at the Paris Salon. · The General Motors’ ‘family’ come together from all parts of the globe, under the leadership of Opel, Germany, to begin a project which will result in a ‘World Car’ to rival the success of the VW
beetle. For Opel it will result in the Kadette C, small family car. Internationally it becomes known as GM’s ‘T Car’. 1971 · Jensen ceases production of the four-wheel-drive ‘FF’ sports-car, but continues with the two-wheel drive ‘Interceptor’ version. · Morris Minor production finally comes to an end. · Peugeot and Renault join forces with Volvo to form a new joint-venture organisation. PRV will design and produce V-engines at their Douvrin production plant. · Mercedes preview the C111-2 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Once again a test-bed vehicle it features a four-rotor Wankel engine rated at 350 bhp which took the car to 180mph. · Aston Martin’s financial performance causes difficulties, prompting the David Brown Group to sell to financiers. The DBS stays in production. · Jaguar reveals their VI2 production engine, making it available in an enlarged E-type as well as XJ6 and Daimler sedans. This makes them one of only a handful of manufacturers who have ever offered this configuration on a production basis. · Maserati introduce the Bora. 1972 · A record l,900,000 cars produced by British motor industry in this year. · The success of Japanese cars becomes evident when Datsun becomes the second biggest importer of cars into Britain. · Maserati introduces the Merak. · Lotus Esprit mid-engined concept car shown on Giorgio Giugiario’s Ital Design stand at the Turin Motor Show. · Sir William Lyons retires as chairman of Jaguar, exactly 50 years after forming the company. Labour relations and production quality problems beset the whole British Leyland organisation, of which Daimler-Jaguar is a significant part. 1973 · The Arab-Israeli War causes fuel supply problems and steep rises in pump prices for motorists throughout the world and the realisation that oil is a finite resource. The OPEC organisation becomes more powerful. In Britain motorists queue for petrol and speeds are restricted to 50mph to conserve national stocks and consumption. · Ford opens Bordeaux plant to manufacture automatic transmissions. · Volksvagen ‘Beetle’ production beats the Model T's record. · Chevrolet offers airbags in some models as a reaction to a rise in fatal car accidents in the USA. · Alfa Romeo introduce the Alfasud, a small family car featuring front wheel drive, a flat-four ‘boxer’ engine, nimble handling and a bonded-in windscreen. The car is made in a new purpose built plant near Naples in Southern Italy - ‘sud’ being Italian for South. · The Bertone-styled Maserati Khamsin is launched into a tough sales environment. · The first fruits of the GM ‘T Car’ project appear in Brasil, with the launch of the Chevrolet Chevette and in Germany with the Opel Kadett C. Although superficially different all T Cars share the same mechanical configuration and many significant components.
1974 · E. L. Cord dies · Gabriel Voisin, aeronautical pioneer, industrialist and car manufacturer dies. · The last of 11,916,519 VW ‘Beetles’ to be built at Wolfsburg, leaves the production line. The VW Golf, a completely new water-cooled, front wheel drive model becomes and instant sales success and Karmann start production of the Scirocco sports coupe version. Both cars styled by Georgetto Guigaro. · Peugeot takes over Citroen to form PSA. · Plans for the Chevrolet Vega to be powered by the repeatedly delayed outcome of General Motors’ Wankel rotary engine project are abandoned and production continues with an alloy block/iron head 4 cylinder unit. · As a result of the previous year’s the fuel crisis, American sales of large-engined cars have slumped and manufacturers start to look at ways of improving fuel econonmy. · Ford begins research into the Stirling 'hot air' engine but having made considerable progress, as fuel prices drop back the urge to take the project all the way to production diminishes. · In spite of one million 127s leaving their production lines Fiat find themselves in deep financial difficulties. · The last E Type Jaguar leaves the Coventry factory. · The Douvrin-built PRV V6 engine appears for the first time in the Volvo 264 and soon after in the Peugeot 504 Coupé and Cabriolet models. · In an attempt to cut fatalities in the United States the maximum speed limit is reduced to 55 mph. 1975 · Production of the Ford Escort MK1comes to an end. · Ford introduce the Escort MK2 with a squarer body style. · In America VW launch the Golf as the Rabbit. · Rolls Royce unveil the Camargue with Italian styling by Pininfarina, hand- built on the Silver Shadow floor pan at their Mulliner Park Ward coach-building division. Priced at £29,250, it is the first car in the world to feature completely automatic split-level air conditioning and the first Rolls Royce to be designed in metric dimensions. · Porsche announce the 911 Carrera Turbo. · Chrysler UK, in financial difficulties is propped up by the British Government. The introduction of the French built Alpine brings in vital sales. · Volvo takes a majority shareholding in Holland’s DAF car and truck manufacturer. · The Douvrin-built PRV V6 is introduced in the Peugeot 604 and Renault 30 TS models. · Citroen replaces the DS21 with the CX which is voted European Car of the Year. · British Leyland, struggling against a tide of strikes and a poor reputation gets an injection of £200,000,000 from the UK Government. · Jaguar launch the XJS to replace the E type. Due to stringent American crash regulations earlier plans to include a roadster in the range have been dropped. · Lotus Cars start production of the new mid-engined Esprit and confirm their move up-market with front-engined Eclat. · All American cars now come with catalytic converters in the exhaust system in an effort to cut air polluting emissions. · Citroën pulls out of Maserati, leaving Alejandro De Tomaso and GEPI to come to the rescue a few
months later. · VW introduce the Polo, the third of their ‘new generation’ cars. · The UK gets its own version of the GM T-Car, the Vauxhall Chevette. A unique aerodynamic ‘droopsnoot’ front-end, designed by Vauxhall Chief-Stylist, Wayne Cherry complements the neat hatchback body tub. · Australia launches its version of the ‘T Car’, the Holden Gemini, in 4-door saloon (sedan) and stylish coupé versions. 1976 · The Chrysler Alpine voted European Car of the Year. · The Renault Alpine A310 sports-car is launched with a rear mounted PRV ‘Douvrin’ V6 engine. · Ford's first front drive car, the Fiesta, announced. · The Golf GTi debuts at the Frankfurt International Motor Show establishing a new market sector later known as the ‘Hot Hatch’. · Rover launch the 3500 ‘SD1’ a roomy saloon with Ferrari Daytona inspired styling and the ex-Buick alloy V8 engine. · VW introduce a small diesel engine to the golf range. · Mercedes reveal the C111-3. Where its two predecessors had been powered by Wankel rotary engines, this one has a 5 cylinder turbo-charged/inter-cooled Diesel engine producing 180 bhp. At Nardo test track on June 12th, at an average speed of around 150mph, the C111-3 either establishes or brake a total of 16 world speed and endurance records, some of which pertained regardless of its engine type.the · Vauxhall’s ‘T Car’ Chevette appears in the UK as a 2 or 4 door saloon (sedan). 1977 · Michael Edwardes takes over the helm of the British Leyland conglomerate, together with its labour relations, production quality and public perception . · Volkswagen cease production of the ‘Beetle’ in Germany forty years after production began. · Rover’s 3500 ‘SD1’ wins the European Car of the Year award. · Merger plans between Swedish manufacturers Saab and Volvo are abandoned. · Production of the Wankel rotary engined NSU Ro80 comes to an end. · Porsche introduce 924 and 928 models, both featuring front-mounted water-cooled engines and rear transaxles. The 924 is an aborted VW project and thus contains a high percentage of WV partsbin components, including the engine from the Transporter van. The V8 powered 928 is eventually intended to take over from the 911 and wins the European Car of The Year Award. 1978 · The Volvo DAF conglomerate slips into financial difficulties. The Dutch Government comes to the rescue with financial aid. · British Leyland shows substantial signs of recovery in the hands of Michael Edwardes but the company’s future is far from secure. · Toyo Kogyo launch the Mazda RX7, a two-seat sports coupe powered by a Wankel rotary engine. · Ford introduces the Fiesta, their first front-wheel-drive small family car. It is to be made at plants in England, Spain and Germany.
1979 · Rolls Royce Motor Company is sold to Vickers for £38m as part of the Rolls-Royce engineering group. · Rover begins collaboration with Honda. · Maserati Bora production comes to an end. · Simca- Matra complete the first model of new and practical concept in personal transportation. Based on a single-box van-like shape but with a car-like interior and comfortable flexible seating for up to seven people, the P17 concept is rejected by Talbot-Simca, prompting Matra to approach Renault and to develop the concept further in prototype P18. The MPV is on its way! 1980 · Rear wheel drive Escort Mk2 production comes to an end to make way for the new front-wheeldrive Escort Mk3. · Bitter strikes at British Leyland provoke chairman Sir Michael Edwardes to threaten "Return to work or lose your jobs." · Daimler-Jaguar division of British Leyland gets John Egan as its new Chairman. Egan sets about rebuilding pride in the quality of design and production, lost since British Leyland’s formation. 1981 · General Motors announces the launch of the Saturn project in the USA, with the intention of creating a new brand and new products from scratch. · John Z DeLorean, former General Motors high-flyer, launches the DMC-12, his stainless steel gullwing dream car into a world of recession and high interest rates. Designed by Georgetto Guigaro, engineered by Lotus Cars and powered by the Douvrin PRV V6 engine it appears over-priced against stiff opposition and quality issues compound the problem. · Maserati launch the Biturbo range of coupes, spyders and saloons powered by twin-turbocharged all-alloy V6 engines. 1982 · Honda starts production at its first US factory. · Having built 8,563 DMC-12s, the DeLorean Motor Company’s factory in Northern Ireland goes into receivership and after a few months, the British government, DeLorean’s biggest creditor by far, issues orders to shut it down. · Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman dies suddenly aged 54, having grown Lotus into an extraordinarily successful Grand Prix team, a substantial low-volume sports car production specialist and an extremely reputable auto-engineering consultancy. 1983 · Lexus is announced as the name of Toyota’s new luxury brand in the USA and Europe, intended to allow them to overcome brand prejudice and compete head to head with the prestige European and American manufacturers. · Maserati end production of the Merak 1984 · Japanese manufacturer Toyo Kogyo changes its name to Mazda Motor Corporation. · Renault release the new Espace, the first MPV, designed, developed and built for them by Matra at their assembly plant in Romorontin, near Paris.
1985 · Chrysler buys AMC and takes over production of the Jeep range. · Founder of Jaguar, Sir William Lyons, dies as the company sees its reputation for quality and value return. 1986 · Volkswagen takes a 51% share in Spanish car makers SEAT. 1987 · The Ford Motor Company acquires a 75% shareholding in Aston Martin Lagonda. 1988 · The new Lincoln Continental is Ford’s first car with a six-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. · Fiat acquires additional shares in Ferrari, taking its total shareholding to 90%. · Enzo Ferrari dies in Modena, aged 90. · British Aerospace buys Rover Group. 1989 · General Motors takes a 50% stake in Saab of Sweden. · General Motors introduces the Geo brand to market Suzuki, Isuzu, and Toyota models in the USA. · Lexus introduces its first model, the LS400. · Honda announces plans to establish European car production by expanding its existing manufacturing facilities at Swindon UK · Honda starts Civic production at its East Liberty, Ohio plant. · Ford takes over Jaguar Cars, promising to build on the unique identity and brand values of the Jaguar name. 1990 · Vickers Rolls Royce and BMW announce a joint venture company to build aero-engines - BMW Rolls-Royce GmbH. · Following Czech government approval, VW establishes a new partnership with Skoda. 1992 · The Dodge Viper is released with a steel chassis, a glass-fibre body and a 400 horsepower light-alloy V10 engine. 1993 · Maserati is bought outright by Fiat. · With development input from parent company Ford, Jaguar announces a vastly improved XJ6. · Sir David Brown, former owner of Aston-Martin Lagonda, dies aged 89. · Aston Martin introduce the DB7, with sleek, modern bodywork, strong six cylinder engines and Jaguar XJS underpinnings. Produced at a dedicated factory in Bloxham, near Banbury in Oxfordshire, it soon begins to achieve sales levels previously unheard of for any Aston Martin. 1994 · BMW buys Rover Cars from British Aerospace. · McLaren Cars, previously successful as Formula 1 racing car constructors, introduce the F1 sports supercar. Designed by Gordon Murray and Peter Stevens it features a BMW V12 engine, a top speed
well in excess of 200 mph and a price in excess of £500,000.00. · The Ford Motor Company acquires the outstanding 25% interest Aston Martin Lagonda to gain complete control. 1996 · The Museum of Modern Art in New York places an early E-Type roadster on permanent display, only the third car to given this honour. · Jaguar introduces the V8 Powered XK8 as a replacement for the venerable XJS. 1997 · Vickers put Rolls-Royce Motor Cars up for sale to the highest bidder. 1998 · Ferrari takes control of Maserati, and closes the factory for a complete refit and modernisation. · VW announce the New Beetle. A modern stylised interpretation of the original, it shares its floorpan and many mechanical components with the front-wheel drive Golf. · Rolls Royce is sold after an acrimonious bidding war between Volkswagen and BMW. The final outcome is that, while VW wins the production plant at Crewe and the Bentley brand name, BMW buys the rights to use the Rolls Royce name and announces its plan to develop a new generation of cars which will be built at its own British factory from 2003. · Chrysler and Daimler Benz merge to form Daimler-Chrysler. Initial indications are that the two businesses will remain autonomous. 1999 · Volvo sells its car-making division to Ford Motor Company but continues to manufacture trucks. · Aston Martin becomes part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group joining Jaguar, Lincoln and Volvo, enabling it to call on a pool of expertise, financial and technical resources which would otherwise have been way beyond its reach. 2000 · Having invested considerably in the Rover Group and struggled unsuccessfully to make it pay, BMW withdraws and ‘sells’ Rover and MG to The Phoenix Group for a token £1.00. BMW retains the rights to brands Mini, Triumph, Riley and Land Rover, the last of which it then sells to Ford. 2001 · Under the ownership of BMW Rolls-Royce move production from Derby to a new, purpose built factory next to the old Grand Prix circuit at Goodwood, West Sussex. · BMW release the ‘NEW MINI’, a modern interpretation of the original Mini built at the former Morris Abingdon plant. Powered by a South-American built, Chrysler-sourced engine, it retains the original’s cheeky appeal and dynamic handling. · In the UK, a new Licence-plate numbering system is introduced. · Jaguar Cars introduce the X Type, based on an extended version of Ford’s European Mondeo floorpan with transverse engine and 4 wheel-drive. 2002 · Rolls Royce complete their new factory and commence production of the new Phantom, due for delivery to customers on the 1st January 2003.
· Named after the company's founder Enzo, Ferrari introduce the Enzo supercar. Made of carbonfibre and incorporating much else in the way of Formula 1 technology, its all-alloy, 660 bhp, V12 engine endows the Enzo with a top speed of 217.5 mph. 2003 · First customers for Rolls Royce’s New Phantom take delivery on 1st January as promised and worldwide deliveries commence. · Production of the ‘Beetle’ finally comes to an end at VW’s Puebla, plant in Mexico. · Matra’s production-line closes at Romorontin, following commercial failure of Renault’s Avantime and their decision to take Espace production in-house. Matra and its facilities are sold to Italian styling house and niche production specialists Pininfarina SpA, who rename the company Matra Automobile Engineering. · Peter Morgan, son of Morgan founder ‘HFS’ dies aged 84, leaving the business in the safe hands of his son Charles. · Now owned by Volkwagen, Bentley introduces their first all-new design. Based on VW’s large-car platform, the new Continental GT features a contemporary body (styled in-house), 4 wheel drive and an extensively re-engineered version of VW’s 6 litre W12 engine, twin-turbocharged to produce 552bhp. 2004 · Car production in the UK reaches its highest level in five years. Britain's biennial motor show has its last event at the National Exhibition Centre before its move back to London. · More than 40 years after it was launched, the e-type Jaguar has a special exhibition devoted to it at London's Design Museum. · Production begins on the Aston Martin Volante. · 24 year old Russian multimillionaire Nikolas Smolensky purchased Blackpool based TVR for £15 million. 2005 ·MG Rover -the last "traditional" British mid-sized car manufacturer goes into administration with the key assets finally being purchased by China based Nanjing Automobie Group. Thousands of jobs are lost although there is hope that small scale car manufacturing could return to the same Longbridge plant sometime in the future. ·Elsewhere in the Midlands, production begins on the new Aston Martin Vantage.
2006 ·Honda and the MINI brand continue to help the UK economy as both enjoy increased investment resulting in new jobs. Honda plans to add a further 700 people to its UK workforce, while the worldwide success of the MINI will result in a further 1200 jobs in manufacturing and assorted component industries.
·Nissan announce that its new Qashqai car will be built at the company's Sunderland plant, with the cars being exported across the globe, including Japan. The Qashqai is described as a crossover effectively a passenger car with a sleek dynamic top half combined with SUV attributes of large pronounced wheel arches and slightly elevated ground clearance. In terms of its size its sits between C-segment hatchbacks and SUVs. ·Lotus announces it is to produce a new mid-engined sports car which should be available in about two years time. ·The 1½ millionth Honda Civic rolls of the production line at Bridgend. ·TVR, the innovative Blackpool based specialist sports car company finally closes its doors after a long battle to remain in production. Owners, enthusiasts and employees meet up for a final celebration in Blackpool. ·The British Motor Show returns to London after several decades in the West Midlands. The new venue is the Excel Centre on the banks of the River Thames and nearly 500,000 people attend. The 30,000th Aston Martin is produced, while the Jaguar XK coupe wins Britain's car of the year award and luxury car of the year awards. 2007 ·The Bentley marque enjoys continued success under the parentage of Volkswagen and its newest model is the company's fastest ever production car -the Bentley Continental GT Speed. It has a top speed of over 200 mph and can get from 0-60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. It is offered for sale in Britain at £137,500. ·Manufacturers around the world put more effort and resources into designing and building more environmentally friendly vehicles as the price of oil increases and there is greater awareness of the damage that harmful pollutants are causing from traditional petrol based engined cars. ·Britain's young motor racing star Lewis Hamilton very nearly becomes the new world F1 motor racing champion in his first season -eventually being beaten in the final race. His success though reignites interest in motor sport around the world. 2008 ·Ford accepts an offer by the rapidly expanding Tata Motors of India for the purchase of Land Rover and Jaguar. The Indian company say their aim is to ensure the cars will remain essentially British. ·As the Model T celebrates its 100th anniversary, Ford also announces plans for a year long celebration of the iconic car around the world. One initiative is for a surviving car to be displayed in the "glass tank' outside the Design Museum in London. ·The new Roewe 550 is unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show in China with the hope that the car may eventually be produced at the old MG Rover plant at Longbridge. ·In the US, General Motors announces annual losses for 2007 of $39 billion -the largest ever loss by a US car manufacturer and a further sign that many of the older established car makers are struggling to compete with the surge of production from Asia.
Timeline of motoring history The following is an abridged timeline of motoring history which primarily concentrates on developments in Europe and North America and covers the progressive introduction of motorised road transport from the end of the 17th Century onwards. TOP