16-22 August: Motoring Milestones

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

90 years ago this week, the first cloverleaf interchange in the US, opened at Watson Road and Lindbergh Boulevard near St. Louis, Missouri as part of an upgrade of US 66 [20 August 1931]. The cloverleaf interchange (junction) was patented in the US by Arthur Hale, a civil engineer in Maryland in 1916…….40 years ago this week, French driver Jacques Laffite won the Austrian Grand Prix for Ligier, with countryman Rene Arnoux finishing second for Ferrari [16 August 1981]…. And on the same day [16 August 1981] Porsche began wind tunnel testing of the 956 at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Driver and Motor Vehicle Research in West Germany….Ford produced its last British private car until after the war [20 August 1941]. During World War II, the Dagenham plant turned out 360,000 vehicles and a new factory in Trafford Park, Manchester, that Ford opened at the request of the British government built 34,000 Rolls-Royce Merlin engines under license engines for the RAF. The Luftwaffe apparently bombed the factory a few days after it opened in May 1941, but it appears the plant was able to continue building engines because it was designed in two separate sections to minimize the effects of a bombing…….30 years ago this week, Dale Jarrett prevailed in a photo finish over Davey Allison to win his first NASCAR Winston Cup event in the Champion Spark Plug 400, Michigan, US Jarrett edged Allison by 10 inches in the closest finish in Michigan International Speedway history [17 August 1991]……. The Mazda Motor Corporation of Japan announced it planned to enter the luxury car market in 1994 with the Amati [20 August 1991]. Several other high-end brands from Japan had already been introduced: Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura…….Al Teague in Spirit of ’76 achieved the highest speed by a wheel driven car, with a peak speed of 432.692 mph (696.331 kmph) at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, US [21 August 1991]……..20 years ago this week, RM Auctions at Monterey, California sold a 1956 Ferrari 410 Sport Spyder for $3.8 million ($4.3 million adjusted for inflation) [17 August 2001]…… Sterling Marlin drove a Dodge to victory in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway (US) for his first win of the season [18 August 2001]. Marlin broke the ice in Dodge’s return to NASCAR racing. It was the first win for Dodge since Neil Bonnett won at Ontario in 1977….. and on the same day [18 August 2001] Michael Schumacher won his fourth World Championship and equalled Alain Prost’s record of 51 Grand Prix victories at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Rubens Barrichello in the other Ferrari finished second and McLaren driver David Coulthard finished third.

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