Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.
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A random selection of firsts from the world of motoring.
Oklahoma City, USA was the site for the world’s first parking meter, where it was installed in July 1935. An invention of Gerald A. Hale and Professor H.G. Thuesen of Oklahoma State University, the first person to be arrested for a parking meter offence was the Reverend C.H. North of the Third Pentecostal Church of Oklahoma City in August 1935. Britain’s first parking meters made their appearance outside the American Embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square on 10 July 1958.
One of the most complex interchanges in the country, Worsley Braided Interchange opened in 1970 to connect the then M62 (now M60) and M61 with the A580 and A666. It spans over 2.5 miles and featured the first lengths of dual four lane motorway in the UK. The M61 officially starts on the A580 with the links to the M60 forming part of the secretive A666(M). The distinctive pseudo-tunnels are an engineering solution to allow severely skewed carriageways to cross the mainline without the need for extensive support structures spanning the motorway. The southbound M61 suffers from severe congestion as traffic squeezes into a single lane to join the relatively empty three lanes from Bolton. It is not yet known if the proposals to add a fourth lane anti-clockwise on the M60 will also change this merge. The junction is also notable in that, where the M60 clockwise splits off a slip road for the M61, you can draw a line roughly East–West and count eighteen lanes of motorway running in parallel.
The first heaters specifically designed for cars appeared in the after-market around 1907 and used a vehicle's exhaust for warmth.Typically installed by plumbers, they'd use pipes to route exhaust gas through the car's cabin to give off heat. But these systems often leaked, smelled bad and even caused some asphyxiation deaths. The earliest modern heating system appeared on some 1933 Fords. Using a heat exchanger, they safely transferred warmth from the car's exhaust to fresh air that came out of a dashboard vent.
With a front-mounted vertical engine, foot operated friction clutch and sliding-pinion change-speed gear, the vehicle produced by Panhard et Levassor in Paris, in 1901, is generally considered to be the first ‘conventional’ motor car.
Britain’s first automobile fog lights were produced by Desmo of Birmingham in 1928. Previous to this accessory manufacturers offered ‘fog discs’ in yellow celluloid which fitted over the headlamp.