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.
Most experts agree that Vauxhall built the first true sports car, the 1910 Prince Henry. It offered the race car thrills, but with much more civilised accommodation. It was a replica of the 3.0-litre car Vauxhall had successfully campaigned in the 1910 Motor Trial, a 1,200 mile race across Prussia. The Prince Henry – named after Prussia’s ruler – had further competition success, both in trials and at the Brooklands circuit. Few survive and are highly prized.
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 recorded traffic island was built at St. James street along Piccadilly in London in 1864 by Colonel Pierpoint. Apparently, he was afraid of getting knocked down by a horse-drawn carriage on his way to his club, the Pall Mall, and commissioned the island. When it was finished, he was so excited he ran over, tripped and was run over and killed by a carriage!
In 1968, Ford became the first automaker to offer an antilock brake system. Though the system did not sell in large volume, it did validate the technology and lead to more sophisticated antilock systems. In 1979, Mercedes-Benz introduced the first computerised antilock braking system.
Czech automaker Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriksgesellschaft added bumpers to its "Prasident" model in 1897, but they're said to have fallen off after a short trip. British engineer Frederick R Simms, a friend of Mercedes-Benz co-founder Gottlieb Daimler, ultimately received the first patent for car bumpers in 1905.