26 June – 2 July: Motoring Milestones

Momentous motoring events that took place during this week in history …..

120 years ago this week, a German-built Benz Velo, appearing at the Grand Forks parade to promote cigars, became the first automobile to be driven in North Dakota, US [28 June 1897]…… 110 years ago this week, Mongini and Zach covered 1,037 miles driving a Locomobile in winning the 24 hour race at the Hamline Avenue race track in the “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, US [28 June 1907]…. on the same day [29 June 1907], Selwyn Edge completed a single-handed 24 hour drive to celebrate the opening of the Brooklands Track. Resting only when his 60 hp Napier had to be refuelled or provided with fresh tyres. He covered 1,581 miles 1,310 yards at an average speed of 65.905 mph and afterwards drove back to his hotel in Cobham. During the run 24 tyres were changed. The record stood until 1924……. Thirty eight cars started the French Grand Prix at one minute intervals

to complete 10 laps of a 48-mile (77 km) circuit on a triangular circuit near the city of Dieppe [2 July 1907]. The field was led away by Vincenzo Lancia’s Fiat. The race was run under a fuel consumption limit of 30 litres per 100 kilometres (7.84 miles per US gallon; 9.42 miles per imperial gallon). Louis Wagner led the race for the first three laps. After Wagner retired on lap four, Arthur Duray inherited the lead. Duray set the fastest lap, with an average speed of 75.40 mph (121.34 km/h), and led the race until his retirement on lap nine. Felice Nazzaro’s Fiat led from this point until the finish, completing the race over six and a half minutes ahead of second placed Ferenc Szisz. Nazzaro’s average speed was 70.6 mph (113.6 km/h) for the race. Nazzaro’s Fiat won the race over six and a half minutes ahead of second placed Ferenc Sziszat, at 70.6 mph (113.6 km/h)…….80 years ago this week, the 25,000th car produced by Volvo, a dark blue PV52, was delivered to the daughter of Mr Ostergren, Managing director of the Swedish Milk Producers Association in Stockholm [30 June 1937]……. 70 years ago this week, Jean-Pierre Wimille in an Alfa Romeo 158 won the Belgian Grand Prix contested over 35 laps of the 8.70 mile Spa-Francorchamps road circuit [29 June 1947]……. 60 years ago this week,  Tony Bettenhausen drove a Novi to a new closed course speed record of 177.046 mph at Monza, Italy, in qualifications for the “Race of Two Worlds” [28 June 1957]…… Giuseppe Bacciagaluppi, managing director of the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, staged the first race at his newly remodeled track, a match race between the top 10 Indy Car drivers and the top 10 Formula One drivers in the world [29 June 1957]. Monza enjoyed the reputation of being Europe’s fastest racetrack. Jimmy Bryan of the United States won the Two Worlds Trophy in a Salih roadster at 160mph. The race did little to settle the dispute as to where the world’s best drivers reside, on the high-speed ovals of the United States or on the curvy Grand Prix tracks of Europe. In those days, many racers bridged the gap between the two worlds– like Jim Clark, who won at Indy in the same year he captured the F1 crown. Today it is widely held that the world’s best drivers compete on the F1 circuit, though the specialized cars of today make the two types of racing more difficult to compare……50 years ago this week, SEAT 600 model production began [27 June 1967]. Made in Spain under licence by Fiat, it helped to start the economic boom, the Spanish miracle (1959–1973), that came at the end of the slow recovery from the Spanish Civil War. Technically, the car was basic and not very modern; it was a license-built Italian Fiat 600 of 1955 with a rear-engine/rear-wheel-drive layout. The engine was a 4-cylinder, water-cooled unit formerly with a displacement of 633 cc producing 19 hp (14 kW) and later 767 cc, yielding 21.5 hp (16 kW) at 4600 rpm. It was a relatively inexpensive vehicle (then 60,000 Spanish pesetas) and was the first car that came within the modest but rapidly growing economic means of most Spanish families from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. The vehicle has become an icon of the period. The SEAT company was born as a joint venture of the Spanish state holding agency National Institute of Industry, six Spanish banks and Fiat – almost all SEAT models up to 1982 were license-built Fiat based cars although the 1200/1430 Sport “Boca negra” and 133 were models created in-house by SEAT in the 1970s. Up to 797,319 SEAT 600s and 18,000 SEAT 800s were made until 1973. They were exported to Argentina, Mexico, Poland and Finland. The Fiat version enjoyed far less success in its homeland than the Spanish model, probably because the Italian market was more advanced than the Spanish at the time. Among the reasons for ending production were the thin and weak b pillars, which made seat belt installation very difficultThe SEAT 600 was replaced by the far less successful SEAT 133, a modernized derivative of the SEAT 850 designed by SEAT……Jayne Mansfield, the first major American actress to have a nude starring role in a Hollywood motion picture, died in a car crash at the age of 34 [29 June 1967]. At approximately 2.25 a.m. on US Highway 90, her 1966 Buick crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer that had slowed for a truck that was spraying mosquito fogger. Mansfield, her lover Sam Brody and their driver Ronnie Harrison were killed instantly; three of her children in the rear survived with minor injuries. Reports that Mansfield was decapitated are untrue, as photographs of the crushed car with what resembled a blonde-haired head tangled in the car’s smashed windshield actually showed her wig……. Jack Brabham in a Brabham-Repco BT24 won the first French Grand Prix to be held in Le Mans since the first ever running of the race in 1906 [2 July 1967]. The new Bugatti circuit at Le Mans used the main pit straight at Le Mans, which back in 1967 did not have the Dunlop Chicane, but then turned right at “La Chapelle” into an infield section comprising the third gear “Le Musée” left hander and the second gear “Garage Vert” corner which led onto the back straight, whose only distinctive feature was the “Chemin Aux Boeups” left hand kink (now a left-right chicane) some two-thirds along, before heading back to the pit straight via the “S Bleu” and “Raccordement” corners near the entrance to the pits. Graham Hill was on pole and led away for the first lap until Jack Brabham took over. On lap 7 Jim Clark took the lead and Hill passed Brabham to make it a Lotus 1-2. Hill then retook the lead until his crown-wheel and pinion failed on lap 14. The same problem caused Clark’s retirement from the lead on lap 23, leaving Brabham ahead of Dan Gurney, Chris Amon and Denny Hulme. On lap 41 a fuel line broke on Gurney’s car, making it a Brabham 1-2 and Amon’s throttle cable broke several laps later. Brabham drove home serenely to win his first race in eight Grands Prix by 49.5 seconds from team mate Hulme, and over a lap in front of the BRM of Jackie Stewart……. 40 years ago this week, the Grand Prix de Rouen-les-Essarts was won by Eddie Cheever in a BMW, aged 19 years, 168 days – to become the youngest winner of a Formula 2 race [26 June 1987]……. 20 years ago this week, the World Record for Most Persons in a Car Skoda Felicia was set: 28, students of a high school in Brno (Czech Republic) [27 June 1997]…… The French Grand Prix (formally the LXXXIII French Grand Prix) contested over 72 laps of the Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours, was won by Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari car after starting from pole position [29 June 1997]. Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished second driving for the Williams team, with Eddie Irvine third in the other Ferrari. Schumacher’s win was his third of the season and his second consecutive win having won the preceding Canadian Grand Prix…… on the same day, Griffith Borgeson (79), influential American race car historian, described by the Society of Automotive Engineers as one of the world’s preeminent automotive historians, died [29 June 1997]. His most well-known work, The Golden Age of the American Racing Car, almost single-handedly rescued the memory of an entire era of brilliant race car work in the United States, an era whose memory was being lost……. The Lincoln Navigator, a full-size luxury SUV marketed and sold by the Lincoln brand of Ford Motor Company was introduced in the United States [1 July 2007]. Sold primarily in North America, the Navigator is the Lincoln counterpart of the Ford Expedition. While not the longest vehicle ever sold by the brand (it is shorter than the 1958-1960 Lincolns and the 1969-1979 Lincoln Continentals), it is the heaviest production Lincoln ever built. Considering its Ford counterpart, it is also the Lincoln with the greatest cargo capacity and the first non-limousine Lincoln to offer seating for more than six people. The Lincoln Navigator was the first Lincoln (aside from the ill-fated Lincoln Versailles) to be produced in a factory outside the Wixom Assembly Plant since 1958. From 1997 to 2009, production was sourced at

the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. Since 2007, production has also been sourced from the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky……. 10 years ago this week, Paris Hilton was released from a California jail after serving around half of a 45-day sentence for violating probation on a driving ban [26 June 2007]……. Two unexploded car bombs were discovered in London [29 June 2007]. The first device, made up of 60 litres of petrol, gas cylinders and nails, was found in a Mercedes parked outside a nightclub in Haymarket. The second device, similar in design, was left in another Mercedes in nearby Cockspur Street, but was not discovered until after the car had been towed away because it was illegally parked…… Terrorist Kafeel Ahmed deliberately drove a dark-green Jeep Cherokee into the glass doors of the main terminal of Glasgow International Airport [30 June 2007]. Although the car burst into flames, the car bomb failed to detonate. Ahmed, on fire after dousing himself in fuel, together with passenger Bilal Abdulla, attacked the police. Fire extinguishers were used to put Ahmed out and he was subsequently tackled by two police officers and bystanders. He later died from serious burns sustained in the attack, and his accomplice Abdulla was jailed for a minimum of 32 years….. A Vauxhall 30-98, was auctioned by Bonham& Goodman in Sydney, Australia for £176,321(AUD$417,195) including premium [1 July 2007]. The Vauxhall, remarkably original and unrestored 1921 model featuring polished aluminium bodywork, had been in the same ownership for over fifty years and had covered less than 20,000 miles since 1928. The Vauxhall 30-98, one of the greatest sports cars of the twentieth century was the first in the UK to top 100mph in production form. Fitted with a 4,525cc side-valve four-cylinder engine, producing 90bhp, this Vauxhall was made in two basic types, E-type and the more powerful OE-type, built between 1923 and 1927. The Autocar magazine went on to say: ‘Few cars have such graceful lines yet suggest unlimited strength allied to speed… and very, very few can take a corner stiffly with absolute certainty as this one can.’….. Contested over 70 laps of the Magny-Cours Circuit, the French Grand Prix was won by Kimi Räikkönen for the Ferrari team after starting from third position [1 July 2007]. Felipe Massa, who started the race from pole position, finished second in the latter Ferrari, with Lewis Hamilton third in a McLaren

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.