16-22 January: Motoring Milestones

Cars, people and events in this week’s Motoring Milestones include…. Ford, Riverside International Raceway, Stirling Moss, Zhongnanshan Tunnel and AC Cobra.

110 years ago this week, the Hispåno-Suiza was introduced in England at the Midland Motor Show in Bingley Hall, near Birmingham [18 January 1907]…80 years ago this week, the Grosvenor Grand Prix run in Cape Town, South Africa was won by Ernst von Delius in a Auto Union Type C [16 December 1937]….. Horse-drawn traffic was banned from the West End of London [18 January 1927]….on the same day. Ford built its 25-millionth car and Time magazine reported issue that Henry Ford drew dividends but no salary, while son Edsel’s $100,378 was topped by Vice President Peter. E. Martin’s $128,008 and Charles Sorensen’s $115,100  [18 January 1927]….. 70 years ago this week, the Cities Service Oil Company Ltd changed its name to Fina Petroleum Products Ltd [20 January 1947] …… the following day [21 January 1947] Ford truck production at the Highland Park Plant resumed after an absence of nearly 20 years…… 60 years ago this week, a Ferrari driven by Cesare Perdisa, Masten Gregory, Eugenio Castellotti and Luigi Musso won the Argentine 1000 Kilometers World Sports Car Championship race on the Costanera circuit [20 January 1957]. The four drivers covered the 1000 km in 6 hours, 10 minutes. The talk of the race was the V8 Maserati and Stirling Moss built a huge lead in the car before handing over to Juan Fangio. The then four time World Champion proceeded to lap all but Castellotti, only to retire with clutch failure…… The 1957 Packard Clippers were introduced – the 57th Series were basically badge-engineered Studebakers available only as a 4-door sedan or station wagon [22 January 1957]..,…50 years ago this week, technology Minister, Tony Wedgewood-Benn stated in the House of Commons that the US car manufacturer Chrysler would be allowed to take-over the Rootes Group [17 January 1967]…… The 1965 USAC Rookie of the Year Billy Foster (29) died in a crash while practicing for the ‘Motor Trend 500’ NASCAR GN race at Riverside International Raceway. Foster’s Rudy Hoerr Dodge crashed hard into the turn 9 wall after the brakes failed at the end of the mile long backstraight [20 January 1967]….. on the same a mini Cooper S driven by Rauno Aaltonen and Henry Liddon won the Monte Carlo Rally [20 January 1967]……20 years ago this week, Bill Cosby’s son, Ennis Cosby (27), was shot to death while changing a flat tyre on a dark freeway exit ramp just outside Los Angeles, California [16 December 1997]…… A drunk driver killed University of California Davis All-American track and field athlete Jill Peckler, her father, and her brother [17 January 1997]. In 2001, her story was featured in a major US TV ad campaign against drinking while driving…… 15 years ago this week, Benneta Buell-Wilson (42) was left a paraplegic after her Ford Explorer rolled over in San Diego County after she swerved to avoid an obstacle on the road [19 January 2002]. An initial ruling awarded her $122 million in compensation and $246 million in punitive damages. The trial judge reduced the total to $150 million. In 2006 an appeals court reduced the total award to $82 million. In 2009 the US Supreme Court upheld her $55 million in punitive damages…… 10 years ago this week, Benjamin Stewart Parsons (66), American NASCAR driver, and later an announcer/analyst on TBS, ESPN, NBC and TNT, who became famous as the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) champion, died [16 January 2007]….. Zhongnanshan Tunnel, or Qinling Zhongnanshan Tunnel, the longest two-tube road tunnel in the world, which forms part of the Xi’an-Ankang Highway between the Changan and Zhashui counties in China, opened to traffic [20 January 2007]. The 18,040-metre (11.21 mile) long tunnel, which crosses under the Zhongnan Mountain (Zhongnanshan) has a maximum embedded depth

of 1640 metres below surface level. The tunnel is equipped with lights that show different colours and patterns to make drivers feel more alert. Each tunnel is decorated with artificial plants as well as images of clouds projected over the ceiling at certain sections in order to reduce the eye strain of drivers. The cost to build this tunnel was CNY3.2 billion or USD410 million….. The 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake made history when it was sold for $5.5 million at the Barrett-Jackson Collector

Car Auction [21 January 2007]. The 800-bhp sports car was one of just two produced and was used as personal transportation by famed American racer and performance-car builder Carroll Shelby himself……The following day [22 January 2007]., the last survivor of the first world championship grand prix, Toulo de Graffenried, died in Lausanne. Involved in the sport until weeks before his death, he even took part in a demonstration to mark the 50th anniversary of Silverstone in 1998.

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