25 June – 1 July: Motoring Milestones

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

120 years ago this week, the first race in Belgium, from Brussels to Spa was run. It was won the following day by Pierre de Crawhez in a Panhard [25 June 1898] ……German-Austrian inventor and automobile pioneer, Siegfried Samuel Marcus (66), died. In the early 1870s he put an internal combustion engine on a simple handcart [1 July 1898]. This appliance was designed for liquid combustibles and made him the first to propel a vehicle by means of gasoline. Today, this car is well known as “The first Marcus Car”. In 1883 a patent for a low-voltage ignition magneto was given to Marcus in Germany. This design was used for all further engines and, of course, the famous “Second Marcus Car” of 1888–1889. It was this ignition in conjunction with the “rotating brush carburettor” that made the Second Car’s design very innovative. In 1888-1889 Märky, Bromovsky & Schulz built the “Second Marcus Car”, which can still be seen in Vienna’s Technical Museum. This car made Marcus well-known all over the world. This car was named a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers……. 70 years ago this week, the San Remo Grand Prix, a non-Championship Voiturette motor race was held at the Autodromo di Ospedaletti, in San Remo, Liguria, Italy [27 June 1948]. Contested over 85 laps, it was won by Alberto Ascari in a Maserati 4CLT/48, starting from pole position. Luigi Villoresi finished second also in a Maserati 4CLT/48 and Clemar Bucci third, driving a Maserati 4CL 1502…….Italian racing driver Archille Varzi (43) died during practise for the Swiss Grand Prix [1 July 1948]. A light rain fell on the Bremgarten track. Varzi’s Alfa Romeo 158 skidded on the wet surface, flipping over and crushing him to death., which

resulted in the FIA mandating the wearing of crash helmets for racing, which had been optional previously……60 years ago this week, the Mackinac Bridge connecting the two Michigan (US) peninsulas was dedicated [27 June 1958]. The first cars to officially cross the bridge were 83 white 1959 Oldsmobile 98 convertibles carrying beauty queens representing each of Michigan’s counties……..Rex White took command when Cotton Owens drops out with wheel bearing failure, notching win No. 2 in NASCAR’s top series at Asheville-Weaverville (North Carolina, US) Speedway [29 June 1958].  White, who led 127 of 200 laps on the half-mile asphalt track, was one lap ahead of runner-up Buck Baker at the finish. Speedy Thompson came home third…….. 40 years ago this week, rock star Peter Frampton broke his arm and cracked several ribs when he was involved in a car crash in the Bahamas [29 June 1978]……… 30 years ago this week, an experimental Japanese vehicle achieved the equivalent of 6409 miles per gallon in the Shell Mileage Marathon at Silverstone, Northamptonshire US [30 June 1988]…… 20 years ago this week, Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari F300 won the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours [27 June 1998]. His teammate from the United Kingdom, Eddie Irvine finished second. Mika Häkkinen, driving a McLaren-Mercedes finished in third. The weekend clashed with France’s Round of 16 World Cup game……..It was reported that Mike Corbin had begun manufacturing the single-seat Sparrow, 3-wheel vehicle in Hollister, California, US [29 June 1998]. The 960 pound electric vehicle was designed for a range of 60 miles on a single charge with a top speed of 60 mph. It was priced at $12,900……..10 years ago this week, Swedish car maker Volvo, a unit of US auto giant Ford, said it planned to cut 2,000 jobs worldwide, most of them in Sweden [25 June 2008]…… The Dacia Sandero super mini was launched in France [27 June 2008].

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