22-28 November: Motoring Milestones

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

120 years ago this week, Clement Studebaker (70), American carriage manufacturer died [27 November 1901]. With his brothers, he founded H & C Studebaker Company, which built Pennsylvania-German conestoga wagons and carriages during his lifetime, and automobiles after his death, in South Bend, Indiana, US …….110 years ago this week, Ralph Mulford in a Lozier won the seventh Vanderbilt Cup, in the only year it was staged at Savannah, Georgia in a double-header along with the American Grand Prize three days later [27 November 1911] An American winner driving an American car, Mulford became an overnight hero. Although facilities at Savannah were hugely improved to accommodate the two events, large crowds caused problems and there were a strong of accidents as spectators spilled onto the course; in one during practice, Jay McNay was killed when he swerved to avoid a wagon……The Briggs-Detroiter Company was incorporated in Michigan, US [28 November 1911]. Their 1914 Touring sold for $925. It was a steam lined, bull-nosed 32 horsepower vehicle with crowned fenders, dash control, and a full floating rear axle designed to withstand 2,000 ponds of overload……..100 years ago this week, Robert McLaughlin (85) founder of the McLaughlin Carriage and McLaughlin Motor Car companies which later became part of General Motors, died [23 November 1921]…… Gottfried Schlöemer (79), mechanic and inventor, who lived on the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US, died [24 November 1921]. His principal claim to fame rests on the “motor wagon” that he built there in 1889, which some have hailed as the first workable gasoline-engine automobile ever built in the United States, four years ahead of Charles and Frank Duryea, who are most often identified with this achievement. At the time of his death certain local reports even claimed him as the designer and maker of the first gasoline-powered automobile in the world, although that honor is usually given to the German Karl Benz in 1885…….André Lombard won first Griffoulet Hill Climb Race (near Toulouse/France) with a Salmson [27 November 1921]…..90 years ago this week, the first cloverleaf interchange to be built in the United States, at the junction of NJ Rt. 25 (now U.S. Rt. 1) and NJ Rt. 4 (now NJ Rt. 35) in Woodbridge, New Jersey, was featured on the cover of the Engineering News-Record [26 November 1931]. With their four circular ramps, cloverleaf interchanges were designed to let motorists merge from one road to another without braking. They worked well enough—and became so ubiquitous as a result—that writer Lewis Mumford once declared that “our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf”……….80 years ago this week, José Canziani driving an Alfa Romeo 8C-35 won the Buenos Aires Grand Prix [23 November 1941]…..70 years ago this week, the first Warszawa, based on the Soviet Pobieda, was completed by Fabryka Samochodow Osobowych (FSO) of Warsaw – often cited as the first automobile to be manufactured in Poland [23 November 1951]…… Austin and Morris agreed to merge, making the combined business, named BMC (British Motor Corporation), the biggest in the British

motor trade and the fourth-largest internationally after the US ‘Big Three’ of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford [24 November 1951]. In a joint statement the two companies announced that they would retain their separate identities and would not produce the same models. Forty years later the merger was recognised to have been a political decision in the face of American competition and the absence of heirs for either Morris or Austin…..Frank Mundy throttled his Studebaker to a win in the 150-lap NASCAR Grand National finale at Lakeview Speedway in Mobile, Atlanta, US [25 November 1951]. Bob Flock crashed his Oldsmobile in the early laps and suffered a broken neck. Herb Thomas wrapped up the tightly contested NASCAR Grand National championship chase by nosing out Fonty Flock by 146.2 points…….50 years ago this week, the Austin Apache was launched in South Africa [26 November 1971]. While the car’s centre structure was that of the Austin/Morris 1100, its front and rear styling was all-new, styled to resemble a scaled down Triumph 2000/2500. The tail lights, and outer sections of the rear bumper were the same as those used by the Triumph 2000/2500…….40 years ago this week, Hannu Mikkola and Arne Hertz won the Lombard RAC Rally with an Audi Quattro [25 November 1981]. Mikkola’s rally career spanned 31 years, starting with a Volvo PV544 in 1963, but his most successful period was during the 1970s and 1980s. The 1970s saw Mikkola a frontrunner in many international events, usually in a Ford Escort……20 years ago this week, in a ceremony in Oxford, TV Inspector Morse’s classic red Jaguar was presented to James Went after he won it in a competition organised by Carlton Television and Woolworths [22 November 2001]. He was handed the keys by Colin Dexter, the creator of Morse. The 2.4-litre, four-door-saloon model, when first introduced in October 1959, had retailed at £1,534…… Robby Gordon sped to his first NASCAR Winston Cup win in the season finale at New Hamp­shire International Speedway (US) [23 November 2001]. The race was postponed from September 16 after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Jeff Gordon nabbed his fourth NASCAR Winston Cup title by 349 points over Tony Stewart……. Marcus Gronholm and Timo Rautiainen won Great Britain Rally with a Peugeot 206 WRC [26 November 2001]…….. Citroën set a new world record for distance travelled in 24 hours by an electric-only car, when two Saxo Electriques covered 1,064 miles on a closed circuit in France [28 November 2001].

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