22-28 July: Motoring Milestones

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

110 years ago this week, upon receiving an order from Cadillac for 8,000 automobile ignition units, the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company was incorporated by Charles F. Kettering and Edward A. Deeds [22 July 1909]. The name of the company, suggested by associate William A. Chryst, was picked to allow the ‘Delco’ acronym………100 years ago this week, the Luverne Motor Truck Company was incorporated in Minnesota, US by Al Leicher, his brother Edward and their sons Robert and Larry Leicher [23 July 1919]….. On the same day [23 July 1919], at the first post-war speed trial in England on the seafront at Westcliff, Essex, competitors included Malcolm Campbell (12 hp Talbot), Woolf Barnato (10 hp Calthorpe) and Yvonne Arnaud (10 hp Eric-Campbell)…….90 years ago this week, the two-

millionth Ford Model A  rolled off the production line [24 July 1929]. Also called the A-Model Ford or the A, and A-bone among rodders and customizers), this automobile was the second huge success for the Ford Motor Company, after its predecessor, the Model T. Prices for the Model A ranged from US$385 for a roadster to US$1400 for the top-of-the-line Town Car. The engine was a water-cooled L-head inline 4-cylinder with a displacement of 201 cu in (3.3 l). This engine provided 40 hp (30 kW; 41 PS). Top speed was around 65 mph (105 km/h). The Model A had a 103.5 in (2,630 mm) wheelbase with a final drive ratio of 3.77:1. The transmission was a conventional 3-speed sliding gear manual unsynchronised unit with a single speed reverse. The Model A had 4-wheel mechanical drum brakes. The 1930 and 1931 models were available with stainless steel radiator cowling and headlamp housings. The Model A came in a wide variety of
styles including a Coupe (Standard and Deluxe), the Business Coupe, Sport Coupe, Roadster Coupe (Standard and Deluxe), Convertible Cabriolet, Convertible Sedan, Phaeton (Standard and Deluxe), Tudor Sedan (Standard and Deluxe), Town Car, Fordor (2-window) (Standard and Deluxe), Fordor (3-window) (Standard and Deluxe), Victoria, Station Wagon, Taxicab, Truck, and Commercial. The Model A was the first Ford to use the standard set of driver controls with conventional clutch and brake pedals, throttle, and gearshift. Previous Fords used controls that had become uncommon to drivers of other makes. The Model A’s fuel tank was situated in the cowl, between the engine compartment’s fire wall and the dash panel. It had a visual fuel gauge, and the fuel flowed to the carburetor by gravity. A rear-view mirror was optional. In cooler climates, owners could purchase an aftermarket cast iron unit to place over the exhaust manifold to provide heat to the cab. A small door provided adjustment of the amount of hot air entering the cab. The Model A was the first car to have safety glass in the windshield. Model A production ended in March, 1932, after 4,858,644 had been made in all body styles. Its successor was the Model B, which featured an updated 4-cylinder engine, as well as the Model 18, which introduced Ford’s new flathead (sidevalve) V8 engine………80 years ago this week, some 250,000 – 300,000 spectators turned up at the Nurburgring to witness Rudolph Caracciola win his sixth and Mercedes fifth German Grand Prix [23 July 1939]……..50 years ago this week, racer Leon Dernier (57) was killed when his Mazda R100 crashed during a race in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium [26 July 1969]……….the following day [27 July 1969], Moises Solana (33) died when his McLaren M6B crashed during the hillclimb at Valle de Bravo-Bosencheve in Mexico……….10 years ago this week, Jaime Alguersuari (Spain, b.23 March 1990) aged 19 years 125 days became the youngest driver to finish a Formula One World Championship race when he finished the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, Hungary [26 July 2009]. Jamie (cover image) was racing for Toro Rosso – he finished 15th in the race……. On the same day [26 July 2009], AC/DC singer Brian Johnson appeared as the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car on the BBC television programme Top Gear. His time of 1:45.9 tied him with Simon Cowell for the second fastest time. He was introduced by host Jeremy Clarkson as “a man who has sold more albums than The Beatles, and I bet almost none of [the audience] have ever heard of him”.

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