The Carnut's History of the World...of Cars
History according to a Carnut!!!

Special thanks to the History Channel
and other web sites dedicated to the history of different forgotten parts of the history of the automobile
My own comments in Italics...not the views of the History Channel

Other months of Carnut's History
Jan/Feb | March | April | May | June | July | AugustSeptember | October | November | December
March 31

1956 Dust, Death, And DePalma

Ralph DePalma died in South Pasadena, California at age 72. DePalma, one of the premier racers of the century's second decade and winner of the 1915 Indy 500, is most famous for his rivalry with fellow racing legend Barney Oldfield. During World War I, car racing on a grand scale was not allowed because of the war effort. However, match races pitting two rivals against each other were deemed appropriate as they provided maximum entertainment with a relatively minimal allocation of resources. Race promoters naturally realized the appeal of starting DePalma and Oldfield on the same line with the same end in mind. Beyond their ordinary competitive relationship, Oldfield and DePalma embodied two contrasting archetypes of the champion. Brash and crude, Oldfield talked as much as he raced, cheated as much as he played fair. He ran his car with an unlit cigar clamped in the back of his teeth. DePalma, on the other hand, was a true gentleman, gracious both in victory and defeat, but no less competitive than his abrasive rival. An estimated 15,000 fans turned out to watch the two men race. Unfortunately, the race didn't live up to its hype. Oldfield won all three heats. His car, the Golden Submarine, was so much lighter than DePalma's Packard that its speed through the turns more than made up for DePalma's bigger engine. Perhaps a credit to Oldfield's unconventional quest for victory, he had chosen to drive a car designed by Harry Miller. Miller's all-aluminum car had been mocked in the public, but he and Oldfield got the last laugh at the match races. Miller would go on to revolutionize race-car design, as his cars dominated the Indy 500 for over a decade.

However, match races pitting two rivals against each other were deemed appropriate as they provided maximum entertainment with a relatively minimal allocation of resources.
Do the Nascar boys know there is a war going on? Park those rolling billboards until the war on terrorism is over.
1900 Satisfaction

The first car advertisement to run in a national magazine appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. The W.E. Roach Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ran an ad featuring its jingle, "Automobiles That Give Satisfaction."

Hard to believe how many car manufacturers have come and gone from North America. In 1908 there were 241 car manufacturers

March 30

1947 Tucker

Preston Tucker announced his concept for a new automobile to be named "the Tucker". Having built a reputation as an engineer during WWII when he served as general manager of his company, Ypsilanti Machine & Tool Company, Tucker looked to capitalize on the high demand for cars that post-war conditions offered. His 1945 plans called for an automobile that would be equipped with a rear-mounted engine as powerful as an aircraft engine, an hydraulic torque converter that would eliminate the necessity of a transmission, two revolving headlights at either side of the carýs fender, one stationary "cyclops" headlight in the middle, and a steering wheel placed in the center of the car and flanked by two passenger seats.

In the end, only fifty-one Tuckers were produced and none of them were equipped with the technological breakthroughs he promised. Still, the Tucker was a remarkable car for its price tag. Whether as an innovator silenced by the complacent authorities or a charlatan better fit to build visions than cars, Preston Tucker made a personal impact in a post-war industry dominated by faceless goliaths.
I was speaking with a fellow named Tucker the other day (no relation) that missed buying a Tucker back in 1970 for a price of $40,000. He missed it by 2 hours. Although he always looked for another, they crept out of the price range he wants to pay.
March 29
March 29

1806 Federal Highway

The Great National Pike, also known as the Cumberland Road, became the first highway funded by the national treasury. Built between 1806 and 1840, the Great National Pike stretched from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois. On this day the first appropriation of $30,000 was made by congressional act. Eventually over $6 million was appropriated for the highway. In 1856, control over the road was turned over to the states through which it ran. Roads would be left to the devices of the states almost exclusively until the dawn of the automobile. Henry Ford and other leaders of the automotive industry were instrumental in encouraging the federal funding of national highways.

If ever you want to complain about the state of the roads today think what it would have been like travelling in 1806...and quit your whining.

1927 Mystery Sunbeam

Major Henry O'Neil de Hane Segrave became the first man to break the 200mph barrier. Driving a 1,000 horsepower Mystery Sunbeam, Segrave averaged 203.79mph on the course at Daytona Beach, Florida. Great Britain dominated the land-speed record books until jet engines usurped supremacy from internal combustion engines. Segrave died in 1930, attempting to set a new water speed record.

1,000 hp to go seems todays supercars can all go that fast with much less horsepower. I wonder what the top speed of todays supercars would be if they had 1,000 hp on tap?

1919 The First Tatras

The First Tatra vehicle, a TL4 truck, was completed. The truck was Tatra's first offering to the automotive world but it was the Tatra car that had inspired engineer Hans Ledwinka to found Tatra. Just after the war, Hans Ledwinka began construction of a new automobile to be marketed under the marque Tatra, a division of the newly named Koprivnicka Wagenbau of Czechoslovakia.In 1923, the first official Tatra automobile, the Tatra T11, was completed, and Ledwinka's hope for an affordable "people's car" was realized. The reliable, rugged T11, like Ford's Model T, gave many Czechoslovakians their first opportunity to own an automobile. In 1934, Tatra achieved automotive press with the introduction of the Tatra 77, the world's first aerodynamically styled automobile powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled engine.

Aerodynamically styled automobile powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled engine....and we all thought Porsche designed the beetle!!

March 28
March 28

1941 Willit Run?

Construction of Ford's Willow Run Plant began. Due both to his admiration of the German people and his philosophical alignment as a pacifist, Henry Ford was reluctant to convert all of his production facilities to war manufacturing. But with the U.S. declaration of war in 1941, Ford had no choice but to participate. He contributed with his usual sense of competitive ambition. Before the war, Ford had boasted nonchalantly that Ford could produce 1,000 airplanes per day provided there was no interference from stockholders or labor unions. The contract included $200 million toward the construction of a new production facility. Ground was broken on a vast piece of land in Ypsilanti, Michigan, to begin a plant called Willow Run. By the end of 1942, Willow Run had only produced 56 B-24 bombers, and the plant had been saddled with the nickname "Willit Run?" Just when it seemed that Sorensen's project would fail, Willow Run began rolling out B-24's at a remarkable rate. By the middle of 1944, Willow Run churned out a plane every 63 minutes. "Willow Run looked like a city with a roof on it," remembered Esther Earthlene, one of the many women who worked there during the war. Willow Run was the largest factory of its day. Its workers built planes around the clock, rotating three eight-hour shifts. They were provided with housing and entertainment. Willow Run had a 24-hour movie theater. By the end of the war, Willow Run had produced more than 8,500 bombers, and it had become a symbol of the American economy's successful response to war.

Not to mention a great way for another of the big three to get a government financed factory built!!! When thinking of Willow run you must consider that they were going to build a factory for an item that they(Ford) had never built before and had to design the factory from the ground up while the allies were taking a pounding in Europe. How many designers and engineers does it take to accomplish a feat like this??? Before Computers???
If you have a chance go to Boeings' Factory in Washington State and see how huge a factory can be.

1892 Fill 'Em Up

Charles Duryea and Erwin Markham signed a contract to design and finance the construction of a gasoline-powered automobile.

Check out any info on this car they produced and Erwin's name is strangley absent...more>>

1900 Brits on the Move

The British Royal family receives its fist motor car, a Daimler Mail Phaeton.

Check out what this baby is worth now!!!!

March 27

1939 Tough As Old Cale

Racer Cale Yarborough was born in Timmonsville, South Carolina. Yarborough became famous on the NASCAR circuit racing Mercury "fastback" Cyclones. In 1968 he won four races including the Daytona 500, tallying record annual winnings of $136,786. Yarborough remained a giant in NASCAR racing through the 1970s, becoming the first racer ever to win three consecutive Winston Cup Championships by winning the title in 1976, 1977, and 1978 driving for Chevy. Yarborough also holds the distinction of being the first man to qualify for the Daytona 500 at a speed of over 200 miles per hour, a feat he accomplished in 1984. He is a member of the Motor Sports Hall of Fame.

March 27

1925 Roots of the MG

Cecil Kimber registered his first modified Morris, the prototype of the MG. Kimber's car is now known as "Old Number One", though design differences lead some to maintain that "Old Number One" was a different species from the MG. However you look at it, Kimber's modified Morris was the first in a line of successful automobiles known for their style and performance. Known for their zippy overhead cam engine's, MG's were hugely popular in the U.S. as sports cars.

I think when they say "Zippy overhead cam engines" I think the translation for zippy is "finicky hard to keep running".
And by "hugely popular in the US as sports cars" is to mean that there was no cheaper convertible available!!!

March 26

1932 Leland's Legacy

Henry Martyn Leland, the founder of Cadillac and Lincoln, died in Detroit, Michigan at the age of 89. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Leland began work at the U.S. Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. After the war, Leland served as an engineer and mechanic in a series of manufacturing firms in New England. After successfully runnning, for a few years, as a supplier of various machine-shop products, Leland and Falconer gained entrance into the automobile industry at the request of Ransom Olds. Olds needed a supplier of transmissions for his Olds Runabouts. After a successful run supplying Olds transmissions, Leland was asked by the Detroit Automobile Company to appraise their holdings, which they were preparing to liquidate. Leland surprised them by recommending that they hang on to their facilities; he offered to run their car company for them and revealed to them an engine design he had come up with which produced three times the horsepower of Olds' engines. The Cadillac Car Company was born, named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit. The first Cadillacs came on the market as low-priced cars, but soon, due to Leland's high standards, the car was marketed as a luxury item. Cadillac distinguished itself further by becoming the first car company to introduce a self-starting mechanism. Charles Kettering invented the system at the urging of Leland, who was said to be distraught over the death of a friend caused when an errant crank-shaft broke the man's arm and jaw. He went on to found Lincoln, which he named after the man he admired most and for whom he had cast his first vote as a 21-year-old, Abraham Lincoln. Leland was never able to escape financial trouble with Lincoln, and he ended up selling the company to Henry Ford. Ford eventually ran Leland out of the business, most likely as a result of some personal jealousy on Ford's part. Nevertheless, Leland was responsible for creating the luxury marques for America's two largest automotive manufacturers.

Starting 2 of the major luxury brands is nothing to sneeze at...but did he ever make a ZIL?

1984 World Car

The Ford Escort was named the best-selling car in the world for the third year in a row. The Escort was the result of Ford's attempt to design a "world car," a car that could be sold with minor variations all over the world. It was Ford's first successful sub-compact car and its features have become standard for cars in that class all over the world. The Escort was one of the first successes of Ford's dramatic resurgence in the 1980s.

1989 Still Just An Automaker

Boris Yeltsin was elected to the Soviet Parliament, defeating Communist Party candidate Yevgeny Brakov, manager of the Zavod Imieni Likhacheva, manufacuterers of the ZIL car. In spite of Brakov's close brush with history, he was destined to remain a car maker.

March 21
March 21
1950 Tucker Turns Tables

Preston Tucker filed suit against his former prosecutors. Tucker, made famous by the 1988 film Tucker starring Jeff Bridges in the title role, was one of the car industry's most spectacular postwar failures. Having built a reputation as an engineer during WWII, when he served as general manager of his company Ypsilanti Machine & Tool Company, Tucker looked to capitalize on the high demand that the postwar conditions offered. No new car model had been released since 1942, so the end of the war would bring four years worth of car buyers back to the market. Tucker intended to meet the new demand with a revolutionary automobile design. His 1945 plans called for an automobile that would be equipped with a rear-mounted engine as powerful as an aircraft engine, an hydraulic torque converter that would eliminate the necessity of a transmission, two revolving headlights at either side of the car's fender along with one stationary "cyclops" headlight in the middle, and a steering wheel placed in the center of the car and flanked by two passenger seats. In the end, only 51 Tuckers were produced, and none of them were equipped with the features Tucker had initially advertised. Still, loyal fans of Tucker claim that Tucker was the victim of industrial sabotage carried out by the Big Three. more>>
Tucker Website

I take it that this suit he filed didn't go over very well... I remember seeing the movie and thinking how everything has a conspiracy theory behind it. Tucker is form long ago but a more modern counterpart is Malcolm Bricklin or John Delorean and they didn't do well either. But Bricklin is back in the news with a new car built by the Chinese and soon to come to North America.

1960 Sao Senna

Ayrton Senna da Silva is born in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Senna was first given a 1 cc car by his father when he was only four years old. He raced throughout his childhood and began to compete at the age of 13 in local Brazilian KART races. Senna rose from the anonymity of KART racing to become one of the greatest Formula-1 drivers in history. He was worshipped in Brazil to an extent nearly unimaginable in the U.S. Senna, known for his belligerent competitive spirit, won 41 Grand Prix events, and remains second all-time to Alain Prost in Formula-1 victories. He was a key player in the golden years of F-1 racing when he, Nigel Mansel, Alain Prost, and Nelson Piquet battled for the top position in car racing's most glamorous circuit. Senna died in a crash in 1994 during the Grand Prix of San Monaco. A manslaughter investigation still shrouds Senna's death in mystery. It is presumed that Senna's fatal crash may have been caused by a faulty steering column on his Williams-Renault automobile. However, the cause of Senna's death has become a point of contention among Brazilian racing fans who hold the Williams team responsible for the death of their national hero.

A Hero to many and loved by even more this super star died early and his death was jumped all over by Lawyers and the courts.

March 20 March 19
1920 Bugatti's 16-Valve

Bugatti delivered its first 16-valve car to a customer in Basel, Switzerland. Bugatti, a Swiss-based luxury car company, was famous for its exquisite, powerful vehicles. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Bugatti car was a symbol of wealth and status, and its cars were equipped with massive racing engines. A bizarre footnote in Bugatti history: the renowned American dancer Isadora Duncan was driving in a 16-valve Bugatti when her trademark long scarf caught in the rear wheel of the vehicle, and she was instantly strangled to death.

No such thing as bad publicity... There is no truth to the rumour that a lot of husbands were buying Bugattis for themselves and long scarves for their long-time wives....

1952 One Million Jeeps

In 1939, the American Bantam Car Company submitted its original design for an all-terrain troop transport vehicle--featuring four-wheel drive, masked fender-mount headlights, and a rifle rack under the dash--to the U.S. Armed Forces. The Army loved Bantam's design, but the development contract for the vehicle was ultimately awarded to the Willys-Overland Company for its superior production capabilities. The name "Jeep" is reportedly derived from the Army's request that car manufacturers develop a "General Purpose" vehicle. "Gee Pee" turned to "Jeep" somewhere along the battle lines. Willys-Overland released its first civilian Jeep model, called the CJ (Civilian Jeep) in 1945. On this day in 1952, the 1,000,000th Jeep was produced.

This is the story of an almost was...If Bantam had got the contract we would all know about the Bantam name.
March 18
March 18
1929 GM Acquires Opel

General Motors (GM) announced its plans to acquire Opel AG, one of Germany's largest car companies. When Alfred P. Sloan became president of GM in 1923, there was already a GM of Canada, but all other foreign markets were still being served through export. Throughout the 1920s the economic nationalism of European countries made international expansion difficult for the U.S. car companies. Ford attempted to crack foreign markets by setting up manufacturing subsidiaries in other countries. GM's Sloan decided that purchasing existing companies in countries with desirable markets was a better policy. In 1925, GM purchased Vauxhall Motors of Great Britain. Sloan's policies allowed GM to expand its market without attracting attention as a foreign company. On this day in 1929, GM announced its plans to buy the Adam Opel A.G. GM still runs Opel under the Opel name. Alfred Sloan is credited with turning GM from one of the most successful car companies in America into one of the greatest industrial giants in the world.

The only Opel I remember was the little Opel GT with the cool Headlights. When the North American market was having it's love affair with BMW's all through the 80's I would of thought we would have seen more German Opels on this side of the pond...if they were any good!

1947 Death Of GM Founder

William C. Durant, the founder of General Motors (GM), died in New York City at the age of 85. Economic historian Dana Thomas described Durant as a man "drunk with the gamble of America. He was obsessed with its highest article of faith--that the man who played for the steepest stakes deserved the biggest winnings." General Motors reflected Durant's ambitious attitude toward risk-taking in its breathtaking expansionist policies, becoming in its founder's words "an empire of cars for every purse and purpose." But Durant's gambling attitude had its downside. Over a span of three years, Durant purchased Oldsmobile, Oakland (later Cadillac and Pontiac), and attempted to purchase Ford. By 1910, GM was out of cash, and Durant lost his controlling interest in the company. Durant would get back into the game by starting Chevrolet, and he would eventually regain control of GM--only to lose it a second time. Later in life, Durant attempted to start a bowling center and a supermarket; however, these ventures met with little success.

Yeah, just as I thought, Bowling Alleys and Supermarkets are just a fad...

March 17
March 17
1949 Porsche's Pride

The first car to carry the Porsche family name was introduced at the 19th International Automobile Show in Geneva, Switzerland. After serving a two-year prison sentence for his participation as an engineer in Hitler's regime, Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferry went to work on a car that would carry the Porsche name. In 1950, Ferdinand Porsche celebrated his 75th birthday. He had risen to fame as an engineer for Mercedes; he had developed the Volkswagen; and he had finally put his name to his own automobile. One year later, Porsche suffered a stroke from which he would never recover. He died in January of 1952. Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand's son, built the Porsche Company into the empire it is today.

If you get a chance to read the History of the Ferdinand Porsche, you will find that although he was a great Engineer at Mercedes and his name is well known for high priced sports cars bearing his name he was absolutely tireless throughout his career at championing a small inexpensive car for the masses, something that was unwanted by any of the European manufacturers in the early part of the Century. It was his insistence that finally got Hitler involved, and he ended up serving a deuce in prison for his trouble.

1914 Better Views On Buses

The Fifth Avenue Coach Company of New York introduced the first bus with cross-wise seats. Prior to this introduction, all buses had been equipped with longitudinal seating. Cross seats allowed passengers to face forward, affording them a less one-sided view of their world. The company's double-decker buses were capable of seating 44 passengers.

The less "one-sided view" of the world meant only half the world saw you riding the "Loser-Cruiser"!!!

1930 Willys becomes ambassador

John North Willys of the Willys-Overland Corporation became the first U. S. ambassador to Poland on this day in 1930. Willys had rescued the ailing Overland firm from its woeful production of 465 cars in 1908. By 1916, Willys-Overland produced over 140,000 cars per year. By 1920, the company was $46 million in debt. The briefly retired Walter Chrysler was called on to rework the company's daily operations, and in no time at all, he had cut the debt by nearly two-thirds to $18 million. In 1941, Willys-Overland began mass production of the Willys Jeep, the "General Purpose" vehicle of the U.S. Army. In 1944, Willys' political and manufacturing legacies merged symbolically as Willys Jeeps carried U.S. troops across liberated Poland.

Bailed out by Chrysler??? Who would of thunk it? Many Years later when Chrysler got bailed out by the Governent it must have been some cosmic Karma redistribution, with all the great things Jeeps did for the war effort.

March 16
March 16

1961 A New Kind Of Jaguar

Jaguar Cars Ltd. introduced the XK-E, or E-Type, at the Geneva Auto Show. The E-Type was the successor to the C- and D-Type Jaguar that had earned the company's reputation for racing excellence. The D-Type, with a top speed of 170mph, captured first place at the 24-hour race at Le Mans in 1955, 1956, and 1957. The release of the E-Type in 1961 signaled an impressive return by the British racing giant. With a top speed of 150mph and a 0 to 60 time of 6.5 seconds, the E-Type engine growled loudly. What's more, the E-Type averaged an unheard of 17 miles per gallon. By the mid 1960s, the E-Type had become the most famous sports car in the world; today the E-Type is cherished as a car of beautiful lines and precision engineering.

It is hard to imagine what it would have been like to see your first Jag E-Type back in 1961. It would have looked unlike anything you had ever seen before.

1958 And 1966

On this day in 1958, the Ford Motor Company produced its 50,000,000th car, a Thunderbird. Ford averaged nearly a million cars each year since the company's inception. Ford and General Motors (GM) are the largest car manufacturers in the United States. To put their relative sizes in perspective, on this day in 1966, General Motors produced its 100,000,000th car, an Oldsmobile Toronado. GM's larger production is the result of always having been a conglomeration of automotive companies, while Ford was, for a very long time, a centrally run, vertically administered family business.

50,000,000 and 100,000,000 cars produced on this day...along with like 60,000 other cars, trucks and...oh yeah no mini-vans back in the day!!!

March 15
March 15

1906 Rolls And Royce

On this day, Rolls-Royce Ltd. was officially registered with Charles S. Rolls and F. Henry Royce as directors. In 1904, Henry Royce, the founder of his self-titled electrical and mechanical engineering firm, built his first car. In May of that year, he met Charles Rolls, whose company sold cars in London. The two men agreed that Royce Limited would manufacture a line of cars to be sold exclusively by C.S. Rolls & Co. The cars bore the name Rolls-Royce. Success with their partnership led to the formation of the Rolls-Royce Company. In 1906, just after the company was organized, it released the six-cylinder 40/50 horsepower Silver Ghost. The car was enthusiastically heralded by the British press as "the best car in the world."

Apparently the sound of "rolling over" has been loudly heard at the grave sites of both Rolls and Royce since the Germans bought the Rolls-Royce name...or the manufacturing rites...or the marketing rites...not even the companies involved are sure of who owns what...but the "rollin' over" continues!!!

1990 The Ford Explorer Rolls Out

The Ford Explorer was introduced to the public on this day. One of the first generation sports utility vehicles released by the Big Three in the early 1990s, the Ford Explorer became one of the company's best-selling models almost immediately. Like sports cars before them, "Sport Utility Vehicles" (SUVs) became the chosen automobiles for the glamorous world of entertainment, and their virtues were even extolled in pop music. Ice Cube rapped, "I put the petal to the floor of my two-tone Ford Explorer," in his song "Down For Whatever." However, SUVs have come under fire recently for the relatively high proportion of deaths resulting from accidents involving them.

If these "accidental" deaths involved Rappers then I say keep em comin'

March 14

1914 Father Of The King

Stock-car racer Lee Arnold Petty was born near Randleman, North Carolina, on this day. Now famous as the father of Richard Petty--the all-time "winningest" racer in NASCAR history--Lee Petty was no slouch in his own day. In 1959, Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500 at the brand new Daytona International Speedway driving a new hardtop Olds 88 to a photo finish with Johnny Beauchamp.

March 13
March 13

1969 The Love Bug

On this day, the Walt Disney studio released The Love Bug. Directed by Robert Stevenson, the film starred "Herbie," a lovable Volkswagen bug with a personality. Abused by the evil race-car driver "Thorndyke" (David Thomlinson), Herbie is rescued by the young good-guy race-car driver "Jim" (Dean Jones). Grateful for his rescue, Herbie rewards the hapless Jim by winning one race after another on his driver's behalf. By becoming one of the biggest grossing films of 1969, The Love Bug allayed any fears that the Disney Studio would collapse without the presence of the recently deceased Walt Disney.

All this time I thought this was a documentary!!
Reading between the lines... it seems that a certain mouse was saved by a beetle!!!!

1944 Sorensen Of The Rouge

Charles Sorensen resigned as the vice president of the Ford Motor Company on this day. Sorensen had been Henry Ford's longtime right-hand man. He was in charge of Ford's wartime production; and the Willow Run plant that produced B-24 Liberator bombers was Sorensen's project. Originally, Ford had been contracted to produce subassemblies for United Aircraft, but Sorensen demanded that Ford be able to produce entire planes. He promised the government 500 planes per month, a figure nearly three times as great as United Aircraft's production potential. In return, he was rewarded with a huge contract which included $200 million for the construction of the Willow Run facility. Willow Run, after a rocky beginning, became a heroic success story, a symbol of America's role as the "great arsenal of democracy." The plant eventually reached a production level of one bomber per hour. In 1943, Henry Ford promoted Harry Bennet, his longtime labor enforcer, to a position above Sorensen. Realizing that he had fallen from favor, the graceful Sorensen resigned from Ford.

Harry Bennet raises his ugly head once again in the Ford Legacy.

1980 Henry II Abdicates The Throne

Henry Ford II resigned as Chairman of the Ford Motor Company after naming Philip Caldwell his successor. With Ford's resignation, the era of the Ford family as an automotive dynasty temporarily ended. Henry II was, like his grandfather, a tough and formidable leader. He reorganized the company and instituted a modern bookkeeping system. His father, Edsel, had been considered a dreamer by Henry I. Edsel had spent much of his energy designing cars and improving Ford's labor relationships. He hadn't been a hard-edged businessman and often drew his father's criticism on those grounds. Like the archetypal ruling families of England, the Ford family followed its own generational legacy: Henry the Great, Edsel the Confessor, and Henry II. It sounds like Shakespeare.

Hey I'm the one that is supposed to write the funny stuff around here.
One important thing to note, Honda would not even hire his own kid let alone promote him. A wise man.

March 11
March 11

1885 The Knighted Rider

Sir Malcolm Campbell, land-speed record holder, was born in Chiselhurst, Kent, England, on this day. Campbell's thirst for speed was evident early in his life. He won three gold medals in the London-Edinburgh motorcycle trials as a young man. However, Campbell gained his greatest fame by way of his quest to attain the landspeed record. Over the course of two decades, he battled with Major H. O. C. Segrave for sole possession of the land-speed title. He received worldwide attention when he flew his Bluebird to South Africa in search of a flat racing surface superior in safety to the beach at Daytona. He ended up at Verneuk Pan, a massive salt flat in South Africa's interior. Verneuk Pan, flat as it was, proved to be too rough a surface for Campbell's tires; but having already made the extraordinary trip, Campbell's people built a road on the flat and raced the car. Over the course of his career, Campbell set six land-speed records in various types of vehicles, all christened "Blue Bird." After eclipsing the 300mph barrier on land at the age of 50, Campbell turned his attention to boat racing and broke a number of water-speed records. For his lifetime of achievement in international speed events, Campbell was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Campbell passed his thirst for speed on to his son, Donald, who was the first person to set both land and water speed records in the same year.

1927 Tough Customers

On this day, the Flatheads Gang staged the first armored truck holdup in U.S. history on the Bethel Road, seven miles out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the way to Coverdale. The armored truck, carrying $104,250 of payroll money for the Pittsburgh Terminal Coal Company, drove over a mine planted under the roadbed by the road bandits. The car blew up and five guards were badly injured.

1921 A Thorn is Born...
On this day in 1921, Giovanni "Gianni" Agnelli, the glamorous, powerful Italian business tycoon who turned Fiat, his family's car company, into an international conglomerate, is born in Turin, Italy. Agnelli was named for his grandfather, who founded Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, later known as Fiat, in 1899.

As a young man Agnelli, who had a privileged upbringing, received a law degree and fought in World War II. He also earned a reputation as a playboy, dating Hollywood actresses and enjoying yachts and fast cars. In the late 1930s, Agnelli traveled to Detroit to study the American auto industry; his grandfather reportedly had been friendly with Henry Ford. In 1966, Agnelli, then in his mid-40s, became head of Fiat. Under his leadership, the company grew into one of Europe's leading car makers and expanded internationally. Fiat also took stakes in such Italian auto manufacturers as Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati. Additionally, Fiat branched out into other industries, including construction, finance and telecommunications. The company became Italy's biggest private-sector employer and Agnelli, who was referred to as the country's uncrowned king, at one point controlled more than 25 percent of the companies on the Milan stock exchange.

According to his 2003 obituary by the United Press International (UPI), Agnelli pursued several unconventional strategies as chairman of Fiat, including turning to Libya's autocratic Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi for financial assistance during the oil crisis of the 1970s and, after the end of the Cold War, becoming "the first Western carmaker to make an aggressive move into former Warsaw Pact countries, opening plants in Poland and Russia."

Nicknamed L'Avvocato (The Lawyer), Agnelli amassed a multi-billion-dollar fortune, hobnobbed with world leaders and was known for his sartorial flair, which included wearing his wristwatch over his shirt cuff. He was also an avid soccer fan and owned the Italian team Juventus.

Agnelli resigned as head of Fiat in 1996, although he remained honorary chairman until his death on January 25, 2003, at the age of 81 from prostate cancer. In April 2009, American Big Three automaker Chrysler filed for bankruptcy and announced it was entering a partnership with Fiat.

This guy was a bad-ass larger than life character....who deals with Muammar and sets up Factories in Russia back in the 70's? Although his Grandpa was friends with Henry Ford, Agnelli was with Fiat (although not the head) when Enzo Ferrari tempted Ford with a merge and then backed out at the last minute to set up a deal with thanks to Fiat we have the fabulous GT-40's because FORD wanted to win and cost became not object. Fiat eventually bought the majority of Ferrari with the stipulation that Enzo got to run it until he died.

March 10

1964 Mustang Sallies Forth

The first Ford Mustang was produced on this day. The Mustang wasn't released to the public until April 16, 1964. However, one journalist described its unveiling as "the most sensational introduction of modern times." The Mustang was the result of Ford's desire to make a small, sporty car which was inexpensive enough to appeal to young car buyers, an increasingly important market. The Mustang was the brainchild, or at least the mouthchild, of Ford executive Lee Iacocca. David Halberstam explained Iacocca's relationship to the Mustang: "Outside the industry, Iacocca, who controlled the publicity for the car, was always considered the father of the Mustang... Within Ford, however, Don Frey, the product manager, was seen as the brains behind it." The base price of the car was only $2,368, but buyers averaged over $1,000 of extra features.

Iacocca said, "People want economy so badly they don't care how much they pay for it." Over its first two years the Mustang earned $1.1 billion in profits for Ford. Iacocca created an astounding media blitz surrounding the car's release. He and the Mustang made the covers of Time and Newsweek, and the car appeared in every major business and automotive publication. Historian Gary Witzenburg explained, "No new car in history had ever received the publicity and attention that the media lavished on Ford's sporty small car." One of America's most popular car models, then, is a testament to one of America's greatest salesman.

The very first Mustang was mistakenly sold to a Pilot from Canada and was only returned to Ford once the pilot got another newer Stang as a trade for free. He let it turn into a rusted basket case.
March 9

1901 Olds On Fire

On this day, a fire destroyed the Olds Motor Works factory in Detroit, Michigan. Legend holds that Olds employee James Brady pushed a Regular Runabout, affectionately called the Curved Dash, out of the building to safety. Over the course of the previous year, Olds had developed over 11 models for cars, all of which varied greatly in price and design. He had reportedly not decided which Olds models on which to focus the company's production capability, but, as the first destroyed all but one prototype, fate decided that the Runabout would be the first major production Olds. The Runabout, a small buggy with lightweight wheels and a curved dashboard powered by a one-cylinder engine, not dissimilar from today's lawnmower engines, became the Olds Motor Company's primary automobile. The Runabout maxed out at 20mph. Olds later viewed the fire as a miracle, a sign that the Runabout would make his fortune.

He expressed his enthusiasm for the little car, "My horseless carriage is no passing fad. It never kicks, never bites, never tires on long runs, never sweats in hot weather, and doesn't require care when not in use. It eats only when it's on the road. And no road is too tough for the Olds Runabout." In preparation for his success, Olds contracted other companies for parts to comprise his Runabout and, in doing so, he revolutionized the automobile industry. Previously, all cars had been built from start to finish on one site. Olds' methods allowed for an assembly line in which parts were produced outside his factory and systematically assembled in his own factories. Among Olds subcontracted partners were the Dodge Brothers; Henry Leland, who founded Lincoln and Cadillac; and Fred Fisher, whose family produced bodies for General Motors. The Olds Runabout sold for $650.

March 8
1936 Down at Daytona

Daytona Beach, Florida, staged its first race strictly for stock cars on a combination beach and public roadway course. The race is remembered as the impetus for today's NASCAR. On December 14, 1947, France called a meeting to reorganize the growing NCSCC. Racing officials gathered at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach to hear France call for major changes in the operation of the circuit. He demanded more professionalism and suggested that the organization provide insurance for drivers and strict rules for the race cars and tracks. A new organization to be incorporated later that year as the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) emerged from the meeting, with Bill France, former mechanic, as president.

I am pretty sure that the first "Daytona Week" was not a huge place for Co-eds in thongs to hang out at!

1969 Firebird Trans Am Debuts

The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was introduced. The Firebird Trans Am was just one in a series of muscle cars released by Pontiac in the 1960s, including the Grand Prix and the GTO. The Grand Prix and the Firebird accounted for half of the gain. The Trans Am, originally a limited model Firebird, would become a symbol in the muscle car niche of automobile manufacturing.

It is ironic that the car got it's name from the race series but did not do all that well racing in the early days of the Trans Am series. The Trans Am series benefitted from every Trans Am car produced monetarily as they owned the name. Do you think we will see a "Nascar" soon? What would that cost the makers per car?
March 7
1932 March on Hunger

The Communist Party of America organized the "March on Hunger"; the procession traveled from downtown Detroit to the Ford Motor Company's River Rouge Plant in order to protest the company's labor record. When police and firemen were unable to disperse the thousands gathered at River Rouge, Ford strongman Harry Bennet, notorious for his mob tactics of labor management, ordered his "servicemen" to quell the crowd with fire hoses. Ford's trouble with labor unions came to a head five years later when Roosevelt's New Deal guaranteed the workers the right to join a union.

Nothing Funny here!

1903 Rolls Fast

C.S. Rolls, driving a Mors automobile on a private estate in Nottinghamshire, England, ran a record flying kilometer at 84.84mph. He himself disallowed the record, noting as an objection the favorable tailwind and gradual slope of the course.

Reminds me off the old joke about the "Rolls Canardly" It rolls down hills and can 'ardly get up them!!!

1916 The Beginning Of BMW

The manufacturing firms of Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto merged to form the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (Bavarian Aircraft Works). The company would later become the Bayerische Motor-Werke (Bavarian Motor Works or BMW). As the original name suggests, BMW began as a manufacturer of aircaft engines. In 1929, BMW built its first car, the Dixi, in a factory in Eisenach, Germany. By 1938, BMW was racing in the biggest car races in Europe. The 328 won its class at the Mille Miglia Italian road race. The outbreak of World War II saw BMW, like its U.S. counterparts, switch production to war manufacturing. BMW facilities were destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. After the peace, a three-year ban was imposed on BMW by the Allies for its part in the war. The BMW R24 motorcycle became, with its release in 1948, the company's first post-war product. BMW completed its first postwar car, the 501, in 1951. BMW is still one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers. The company is noted for its innovations in the field of ABS, Anti-Lock Braking Systems.

Do you think the red Baron had a BMW mill in his WWI fighter?

I will take the most pertinent info from their amazing archive and add my own insitefull comments....and other info I find from other sources and try to entertain and inform.

Time for a little fun. Everyone should subscribe to the History channels amazing daily e-mail of what happened on this day in History. Subscribe here
Death by Car
James Dean, Princess Di, Princess Grace, General Patton and Jayne Mansfield all died in Cars related events.

A short list of some of the Official land Speed Records and how quickly the speed climbed over the years. More Info...go to

Dr. Thomas Curtright Professor, Department of Physics, University of Miami

the Wikipedia lots of info on lots of stuff

Bonneville Salt Flats Records

Thrust SSC
October 15, 1997 Andy Green Great Britain Thrust SSC Black Rock Desert 766.609
October 4, 1983 Richard Noble Great Britain Thrust 2 Black Rock Desert 633.470
October 23, 1970 Gary Gabelich USA Blue Flame Bonneville Salt Flats 622.407
November 15, 1965 Craig Breedlove USA Spirit of America Sonic 1 Bonneville Salt Flats 600.601
November 13, 1965

Bob Summers

USA Goldenrod Bonneville Salt Flats 409.277
November 7, 1965 Art Arfons USA Green Monster Bonneville Salt Flats 576.553
November 2, 1965 Craig Breedlove USA Spirit of America Sonic 1 Bonneville Salt Flats 555.485
February 19, 1928 Malcolm Campbell Great Britain Bluebird Pendine Sands 206.956
March 29, 1927 Henry Segrave Great Britain Sunbeam Daytona Beach 203.793
January 23, 1906 Fred Marriot USA Stanley Steam Daytona Beach 121.573
December 30, 1905 Victor Héméry France Darracq Arles-Salon 109.589
January 25, 1905 Arthur Macdonald Great Britain Napier Daytona Beach 104.651
January 12, 1904 Henry Ford USA Ford Lake St Clair 91.371
January 17, 1899 Gaston Chasseloup-Laubat France Jeantaud Electric Achères 43.690
January 17, 1899 Camille Jenatzy Britain Jenatzy Electric Achères 41.425
December 18, 1898 Gaston Chasseloup-Laubat


Jeantaud Electric Achères 39.245
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