15-21 October: Motoring Milestones

Discover the momentous motoring events that took place this week in history ……..

110 years ago this week, the Detroit Fire Department, Michigan received its first motorised fire truck [15 October 1908]……… 80 years ago this week, the Pak-Age-Car delivery van originally conceived by Stutz was introduced by the Aviation & Transportation Corporation, a successor of the Cord Corporation, bearing the Diamond T logo [15

October 1938]. It had a four-cylinder Hercules engine that was mounted in the rear of the truck and was mounted to a rear transaxle. This engine/transaxle unit was easily removable on the slide out frame on which it was installed. These trucks were manufactured in the Indianapolis, Indiana factory until 1937 when the Stutz Company filed bankruptcy. The Pak-Age-Car marketing and distribution taken over by the Diamond T Company, which continued to sell the van-trucks until March 1941, when war preparations took over the Connersville plant. There are approx. 10 Pakagecar (both Stutz & Diamond T models) known to be in existence…….Construction began on the Pennsylvania Turnpike [18 October 1938]. A controlled-access highway, it runs for 360 miles (580 km) across the state. The turnpike begins at the Ohio state line in Lawrence County, where the road continues west into Ohio as the Ohio Turnpike. It ends at the New Jersey border at the Delaware River–Turnpike Toll Bridge over the Delaware River in Bucks County, where it continues east as the Pearl Harbour Memorial Extension of the New Jersey Turnpike……….Chris Staniland driving a Multi-Union set the all-time Brooklands (England) record for Class D (under 3000 cc) of 141.45 mph [19 October 1938]………… 70 years ago this week, Alain Madle (57) died. While working for Graham Transmissions Inc. and General Motors he was a developer of the Transitorq, a variable speed transmission. Madle was the chief Electrical Engineer for Briggs & Stratton at the time of his passing………60 years ago this week, introduced the El Camino, a sedan-pickup created to compete with Ford’s popular Ranchero

model [16 October 1958]. Built on the full-size Chevrolet challis, the big El Camino failed to steal the Ranchero’s market and was discontinued after two years. But four years later, in 1964, the El Camino was given a second life as a derivative of the Chevelle series, a line of commonly termed “muscle cars.” The Chevelles were stylish and powerful vehicles that reflected the youthful energy of the 1960s and early 1970s, and sold well. The Chevelle Malibu Super Sport was the archetypal muscle car, featuring a V-8 as large as 454 cubic inches, or 7.4 liters. Chevelles came in sedans, wagons, convertibles, and hardtops, and, with the reintroduction of the El Camino in 1964, as a truck. The station wagon-based El Camino sedan-pickup had a successful run during its second manifestation as a Chevelle, and proved an attractive conveyance for urban cowboys and the horsey set……..50 years ago this week, Princess Alexandra performed the opening ceremony of the London Motor Show at Earls Court where the Jaguar XJ6 and Austin 3-litre were introduced [16 October 1968]. A bigger-engined version of the Morgan 4/4, the Plus Four morphed

into the Plus Eight in July of 1968 when the revised model with a Rover V-8 engine was also shown………the following day [17 October 1968], The movie “Bullitt” starring Steve McQueen was released in the US. Many critics consider “Bullitt” to be one of the greatest action movies ever made, not because of its script or special effects but because of one excellent seven-minute car chase through the streets of San Francisco, California, US. In poll after poll, moviegoers have named that chase the best in film history…….Mazda made its competition debut when two Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S coupes entered the 84 hour Marathon de la Route ultra endurance race at Nürburgring, one finishing in fourth place and the other breaking an axle after 81 hours [20 October 1968]…….40 years ago this week, the prototype 3-litre diesel C111-3 attained 203.3 mph in tests on the Nardo Circuit Southern Italy [15 October 1978]. The car, with an air drag coefficient of .191, maintained an average speed of 195.4 mph over a 12 hour period, covering a record

distance of 2344 miles and averaged 16.0 liters/100 km at 316 km/h (14.7 mpg at 195.4 mph). The C111-3 was powered by a 170 kW (230 hp) at 4,500 rpm straight-five OM617 turbocharged Diesel engine. A later 372 kW (500 hp) 4.8 L twin KKK-turbocharged V8 version set another record, with an average lap-speed of 403.78 km/h (250.958 mph). It was achieved by Hans Leibold in 1 minute, 56.67 seconds on May 5, 1979. Mercedes-Benz introduced the C112 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1991 as a proposed production sports car. The car used a mid-mounted 6.0 L V12 engine. After accepting 700 deposits, the company decided not to proceed with production……Racer Gunnar Nilsson died exactly one month short of the age of 30 [20 October 1978]. Nilsson was a works-driver for March in the 1976 Formula 2 championship and came into Formula 1 in mid-season as the result of a swap involving countryman Ronnie Peterson leaving Lotus and joining the March team. Nilsson filled the vacant seat at Lotus and scored 11 points that year with impressive third places in Spain and Austria. The following year, his first full season in F1, the young Swede overtook Niki Lauda at to score his first Grand Prix win. But what could have been a terrific season ended with shocking news: Gunnar was diagnosed with cancer. His deal with the new Arrows team for 1978 never came to fruition as his condition worsened quickly. One of the last things he did was to set up the Gunnar Nilsson Cancer Research fund……. On the same day [20 October 1978], the International Motor Show made its first appearance at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham (England), and attracted record crowds of 908,194 [20 October 1978]. Cars introduced included: the Austin Montego Estate (the Design Council award-winning family estate from Austin Rover), the Reliant Scimitar SS1 and the Dutton Rico……….20 years ago this week, Richard Brown established a British Land speed record on two wheels of 216.55 mph on rocket powered motorcycle at Elvington in Yorkshire [15 October 1998].

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