2-8 January: Motoring Milestones

Cars, people and events in this week’s Motoring Milestones include…. National Express coaches, Nash, Marmon Wasp, Ford Rouge, Malcolm Campbell, Rolls Royce and Chicago Auto Show.
[amazon template=banner easy]

560 years ago this week, the Memmiger Chronicle mentioned the trial of a carriage “without horse, oxen or people, yet the man who built it sat in it”, an event often cited as the first reference ti a self-propelled vehicle [2 January 1447]……120 years ago this week, the first motor van manufactured in Britain was delivered to the South Wales Motor Car & Cycle Co. Ltd of Cardiff, having made a journey of 150 miles under its own steam from Chiswick [2 January 1897]. Built by Thornycroft in Hogarth Lane, Chiswick, it was a chain-driven 1.5-ton steam vehicle. The journey to Wales took over 5 hours……100 years ago this week, construction began of the massive Ford Rouge car-manufacturing facility on the banks of the Rouge River in Dearborn,

Michigan, US [4 January 1917]. On completion in 1928 it was the largest integrated factory in the world. Measuring 1.5 miles wide by 1 mile long, the Rouge had its own docks, 100 miles of railroad track, its own electricity plant, and an ore-processing facility. This miracle of modern engineering turned raw materials into finished motor vehicles at one site. At its peak in the mid 1930s, the Rouge employed 100,000 workers…… US marque Studebaker unveiled the ‘Gold Car’, which featured 8,000 parts finished in pure gold at the New York Auto Show [6 January 1917]. Valued at more than $25,000, it was billed at the time as the car with the most expensive chassis ever built……90 years ago this week, the Little Marmon, later known as the Marmon Eight, was introduced in New York City [8 January 1927]. It had a Straight-8 (8-cylinder) engine producing 64 bhp and a top speed of 70 mph. Marmon became notable for its various pioneering works in automotive manufacturing, for example it is credited with having introduced the rear-view mirror as well as pioneering the V16 engine and the use of aluminum in auto manufacturing.

The historic Marmon Wasp race car of the early 20th century was also a pioneering work of automobile engineering, as it was the world’s first car that utilized a single-seater “monoposto” construction layout……80 years ago this week, Nash Motors merged with Kelvinator Corporation, manufacturer of high-end refrigerators and kitchen appliances [4 January 1937]. The new company was named Nash-Kelvinator Corporation with George W. Mason as President…… 60 years ago this week, the Chicago Auto Show opened. Model year 1957 was pivotal for car interest in America [5 January 1957]. A real break from the recent past, in that prestige and style were key elements of manufacturers’ marketing efforts. Engineering advancements were still touted, but the all-new Fords, Chevys and Plymouths were focusing attention on their power, glamour, daring styling and massive size. Middle America could now buy a finned Ford that was more than 17-feet long and less than five feet high that brought more of the things you want than offered before in a low-priced car history…… Louis S Clarke (90), who cofounded the Autocar Company of Admore as the Pittsburgh Motor Vehicle Company 1897, died in Florida, US [6 January 1957]. He is also credited with inventing the spark plug in the US, built the first automobile with a drive shaft. and designed the first useful oil circulation system. Clarke’s insistence of placing the driver on the left hand side of the vehicle led to that standardisation throughout most of the automotive industry worldwide, and consequently we drive on the right side of the road. The patented porcelain-insulated spark plug process was sold to Champion and remains the industry standard. His wife, Mary Phillips Clarke (1868-1952) was reported to have been the first woman driver in the United States. The first Autocar was a single cylinder chain driven Runabout built in 1899 and introduced in January of 1900. Later, the four passenger Touring Car was added to the Autocar line, advertised at $1700.00. Autocar was taken over by the White Motor Company in 1953……50 years ago this week, the first South Africa Grand Prix held on the Kayalami track near Johannesburg was won by Pedro Rodriguez at the wheel of a Cooper-Maserati [2 January 1967]. It was the first Formula One win for Rodriguez and the last for Cooper…… Britain’s Donald Campbell, who broke eight world speed records in the 1950s and 1960s, tragically died at the age of 55 after his jet-powered Bluebird leapt into the air,

somersaulted and plunged into Coniston Water in the Lake District in Cumbria [4 January 1967]. Although he did not establish as many speed records (13) as his father, Sir Malcolm Campbell, he remains the only person to set both land- and water-speed records in the same year (1964)…… The 14th New Zealand Grand Prix, held at the Pukekohe Park Raceway, which doubled as the opening round of the 1967 Tasman Series, was won by Jackie Stewart in a BRM for the Parnell Racing Team [6 January 1967]. Fellow Brits Jim Clark and Richard Atwood, finished second and third, respectively. This was Jackie Stewart’s only New Zealand Grand Prix win, becoming the last British driver to win the event…… 30 years ago this week, after a gap of 29-years, the Ford Thunderbird was again presented with the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award [6 January 1987]. This was the first repeat winner of the award……20 years ago this week, Chevrolet unveiled the 1997 Corvette, dubbed the “C5”, powered by a new small block V-8 engine, the LS1, with 345 hp and 10:1 compression ratio [6 January 1997]…15 years ago this week, Buddy, the chocolate Labrador retriever owned by the Clinton family was run over by a car near the former President’s home in Chappaqua, New York [2 January 2002]. He died…… Managing Director Mike Beasley announced that for the first time in its 80-year-old history Jaguar had sold over 100,000 cars in a year when he unveiled the new Jaguar S-Type range at the Los Angeles Motor [5 January 2002]…… Luxury car maker Bentley Motors unveiled its most powerful model to date at the Detroit Motor Show in the United States, the 168mph Arnage T, costing £166,500 car and capable of 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds [15 January 2002]……on the same day [15 January 2002], the Olympic Torch Relay came to the Indianapolis Speedway on the way to the 2002 Winter Olympic games in Salt Lake City. IndyCar Series drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves took one lap with the flame in the back of a Chevy Avalanche, and Eddie Cheever Jr. and IMS CEO Tony George each ran with the flame……10 years ago this week, a 77 seat double-decker National Express coach overturned near Heathrow Aiport after failing to negotiate a slip road between the M4 and the M25 [3 January 2007]. Two passengers died shortly after and a third six months later. Several passengers were left with amputated limbs, either traumatically in the accident itself, or later surgically in hospital. It is regarded as the worst crash in National Express’ history. The coach driver, Philip Rooney (47), admitted causing the deaths of three passengers by dangerous driving and was jailed for five years…. On the same day [3 January 2007], a seven month trial of a congestion pricing system began in Stockholm, which was so successful that it was made permanent in August 2007. All entrances and exits to the control zone had unmanned control points operating with automatic number plate recognition. All vehicles entering or exiting the congestion tax affected area, with a few exceptions, had to pay 10–20 SEK (1.09–2.18 EUR) depending on the time of day between 06:30 and 18:29. Payment could not be made at the control points; instead it was made by various means within 14 days of driving into the congestion zone…… The 29th Dakar Rally started in Lisbon, Portugal and passed through Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal [6 January 2007]. The total race distance was 7,915 km, of which 4,309 km was timed special stages. It finished on 21st January 2007, with Stéphane Peterhansel winning the car event in a Mitsubishi Pajero…… General Motors introduced the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid concept car at North American International Auto Show, becoming the first-ever series plug-in hybrid concept car shown by a major car manufacturer [7 January 2007]. The Volt concept vehicle had four doors with a rear liftgate and seating for four passengers. This was a significant change in design when compared to the General Motors EV1 of the 1990s, which only seated two to reduce weight and to make the necessary room for the lead-acid battery pack. The top speed was also increased on the Volt, from the electronically limited 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) to 100 miles per hour (160 km/h).The Volt operated as a pure battery electric vehicle until its plug-in battery capacity dropped to a predetermined threshold from full charge. From there its internal combustion engine powered an electric generator to extend the vehicle’s range as needed. When the engine was running it could be periodically mechanically linked (by a clutch) to a planetary gear set, and hence the output drive axle, to improve energy efficiency. The Volt’s regenerative braking also contributed to the on-board electricity generation…… on the same day [7 January 2007] Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveiled its new

Phantom Drophead Coupé at the Detroit Motor Show. Production of the new car started at Goodwood in the summer of 2007. The two-door, four-seat convertible was a less formal interpretation of classic Rolls-Royce design. Using the lightweight rigidity of an all-aluminum spaceframe, it married modern technology to a sleek, streamlined convertible body.

Leave a Reply

365 Days Of Motoring

Recent Posts



I We have no wish to abuse copyright regulations and we apologise unreservedly if this occurs. If you own any of the material published please get in touch.