28 October – 3 November: Motoring Milestones

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

120 years ago this week, the first Packard engine was completed and was found to produce 7.1 horsepower [30 October 1899]..………..The first automobile show in the United States opened in New York City as part of a general technology exposition [1 November 1899]…….110 years ago this week, the Springfield Motor Car Company was incorporated in Springfield, Illinois (US) with Harry C. Medcraft as President, Rudolph Haas as Vice President, Edward Everett Staley as Secretary, and racer Otis Funderburk as Sales Manager [28 October 1909]. The new firm was a reorganization of the Med-Bow Automobile Company of Springfield, MA, but actual production was only about ten cars……..on the same day [28 October 1909], the Elmore Manufacturing Company was incorporated in Ohio, US, although it had been producing Elmore automobiles since 1900. The company took its name from its original place of manufacture, the nearby village of Elmore. Founded by Harmon Von Vechten Becker and his two sons, James and Burton, the Elmore used a 2-stroke engine design, in straight twin or single-cylinder versions. They later produced a straight-3 as well. In 1908, Elmore’s three-cylinder two-stroke caught the attention of William C. Durant, founder of General Motors. He purchased the company the following year, with Elmore becoming one of General Motors’ divisions. After Durant was forced out of General Motors in 1910, the Elmore marque was soon cut, along with several other underperforming brands, to help General Motors achieve financial stability………100 years ago this week, Armstrong Siddeley Motors was officially formed in Britain [1 November 1919]. One

journalist described an early Armstrong Siddeley “as silent and inscrutable as the sphinx”. The description touched Colonel J D Siddeley so much it was to become his trademark and he commissioned an artist to draw the sphinx from the base of Cleopatra’s needle on the Thames Embankment, London. Car production was small scale with between one and two thousand a year between the 1920’s to 1930’s with a range of models from a small 12hp family vehicle to a 5 litre Siddeley Special. During the Depression in 1932 sales rose due to the modestly priced small cars. Armstrong Siddeley introduced a preselector semi automatic gear box in 1928 that would become associated with most models of marque. A new British car with front suspension and advanced body design was produced after the Second World War. Design was slow with the first new models announced on the 11 May 1945. It took till 1946 for the first production to be built. Two litre 16HP engine cars were named after famous war time aircrafts built by the company, with the likes of the Hurricane, Lancaster and Typhoon. During 1949 to 1954 the cars were updated and used an improved 2.3 litre 18HP engine, while the Typhoon sports was replaced with the Whitley saloon. However the Mulliner bodied Lancaster ceased production in 1952. Two commercial vehicles were also produced by the Armstrong Siddeley group. These were versions of the 18HP models being a utility coupe and a station coupe, boosting a short tray and an occasional bench seat behind the front seat in its extended cab. More than half of these vehicles were exported to Australia were a few survive having been restored and cherished by their owners. Limousines with extended chassis and cabriolets were also produced. Very few two door Hurricane drophead coupes and two door Typhoon sports saloon’s survive and these are perhaps the most interesting post war models. 1952 saw the introduction of the 3.4 litre Sapphire saloon which went on sale in 1953. These engines were advanced in design with hemispherical combustion chambers and producing 120bhp witch was developed to produce 125bhp, and with twin carburettors 150bhp was produced. A genuine 100mph was possible from the twin carburettor Sapphire. The Sapphire had a choice of preselector and synchromesh gearboxes. In 1954 the Mark 2 was introduced with an automatic version available. The discontinued 16/18HP cars were replaced in 1956 with a smaller 234 and 236 Sapphire models. An advanced 4 cylinder version of the Sapphire engine developing 120bhp powered the 234 Sapphire giving it outstanding performance and characteristics. The 18HP was redeveloped to produce 85bhp and used in the 236 Sapphire. Both models had a 4 speed synchromesh gearbox as standard with the option of a Laycock de Normanville overdrive. Manumatic clutches were fitted to many 236 Sapphires but these were not very popular due to there unusual body styling for there time and production stopped in 1958. The opulent Star Sapphire replaced The Sapphire in 1958 and was one of the first British cars produced with front disc brakes. The Star Sapphire was the last car produced by the company and the last one left the workshop in July 1960……..The HCS Motor Company of Indianapolis, US was incorporated with James C Murdock as Chairman of the Board, Harry C Stutz as President, Samuel T Murdock as Vice President, A Gordon Murdock as Secretary and Henry F Campbell as Treasurer [3 November 1919]. The first H.C.S. automobile left the Indianapolis (US) assembly plant in 1920. H.C.S. automobiles were relatively expensive with a 1922 Roadster selling for $2725.00, a four door Touring car $2775.00, a two door Coupe $3250.00 and a four door Sedan $3650.00. The early H.C.S. automobiles were equipped with four cylinder Weidely engine. H.C.S. automobiles with four cylinder engines were produced until 1925. However, in 1923 Harry C. Stutz designed a new six cylinder engine with about 30 horsepower for his H.C.S. automobiles. This powerful engine was built by Mid-West Engine Corp………90 years ago this week, petrol prices in the UK fell to 1s 7d a gallon [1 November 1929]…….The Hungerford rocket-powered car built by brothers Floyd and Daniel Hungerford made its maiden run in Elmira, New York, US [2 November 1929]. Dubbed the “Shirley Lois Moon Girl” after Daniel’s daughter, it was made largely of cardboard and linoleum, a 1921 Chevy chassis, and powered by a set of gasoline-burning rocket motors. In one of the rocket car’s first tests, the car reached a speed of 70 mph with a 20-feet sheet of flame trailing behind it. It got 2 miles to the gallon…….80 years ago this week, the last Ford Model 7Y was built on the same day that production commenced of its replacement, the E04A Anglia [31 October 1939]. The Anglia, the smallest UK Ford range, was a simple vehicle aimed at the cheap end of the market, with few features. Most were painted Ford black. Styling was typically late-1930s, with an upright radiator. There were standard and deluxe models, the latter having better instrumentation and, on pre-war models, running boards. Both front and rear suspensions used transverse leaf springs, and the brakes were mechanical. The two-door Anglia is similar to the longer, four-door, E93A Ford Prefect. A bulge at the back enabled a spare wheel to be removed from its vertical outside stowage on the back of the car and stowed flat on the boot floor, which usefully increased luggage space. Some back seat leg room was sacrificed to the luggage space, being reduced from 43¾ inches in the Ford 7Y to 38½ inches in the Anglia. The Anglia replaced the 7Y saloon, but the van version of the earlier model continued to be built until 1946, after which some very minor changes sufficed to rebaptize the van the “E04C”. The domestic market engine was the 933 cc (56.9 cu in) straight-four side-valve engine familiar to drivers of predecessor models since 1933. The 1172 cc straight-four engine from the Ford Ten was fitted for some export markets, including North America, where imports began for model year 1948; these cars used the slightly more aerodynamic “three-hole” grille from the 1937-38 Ford Ten 7W, prefacing the 1949 E494A facelift. They also had sealed beam headlights and small, separate parking lights mounted underneath, as well as dual tail lights, into which flashing turn signals could be added without adding additional lights. A minor styling change was made in December 1947, with the name “Anglia” now incorporated in the top of the grille surround. The car retained a vacuum-powered wiper with its tendency to slow down or stop above about 40 mph (64 km/h), the point at which the suction effect from the induction manifold disappeared; however, the Anglia’s wipers were supported by a vacuum reservoir, which partially addressed the propensity to stop entirely when the car was accelerated. A contemporary road test commended the Anglia’s ability to pull away from 5 or 6 mph (8 or 10 km/h) in top gear.[3] Compulsory driving tests had only recently been introduced in the UK. Most potential buyers would approach the vehicle without the benefit of formal driving tuition. The cars did have synchromesh between second and top gears, but not between first and second,[3] so many would have sought, wherever possible, to avoid en route changes down to first. Production, hindered by the diversion of Ford’s factory to military production during the Second World Wa
r, ceased in 1948 after 55,807 had been built. Initial sales in Britain actually began in early 1940. Production was suspended in early 1942, and resumed in mid-1945. The E04A was also built in Australia from 1940 to 1945 and was produced in tourer and roadster body styles. The former had a rear seat and the latter was a two-seater convertible……..
60 years ago this week, the Valiant compact car was introduced by the Chrysler Corporation [29 October 1959]. At first it was considered to be a new marque, but beginning with the 1961 model year it became the Plymouth Valiant in the US. The Valiant was also built and marketed, without the Plymouth name, worldwide in countries including Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as other countries in South America and Western Europe.Road & Track magazine considered the Valiant to be “one of the best all-around domestic cars”……..The first section of the M1 motorway between Junction 5 (Watford) and Junction 18 (Crick/Rugby), together with the motorway’s two spurs (the M10
from Junction 7 to the south of St Albans, originally connecting to the A1, and the M45 from Junction 17 to the A45 and Coventry), was opened by the British Minister for Transport Ernest Marples [2 November 1959]. At first there was no speed limit, no central reservation, no crash barriers and no lighting. Approximately 13,000 vehicles were estimated to use the M1 on a daily basis in 1959, compared with today’s figure of 90,000. The 72 miles of the southern section of the road was built by a labour force of 5,000 in just 19 months at a cost of £16.5 million – at an average of 1 mile every 8 days……..20 years ago this week, a Jaguar sports car that won the 1956 Le Mans 24-hour race was sold for £1.71m at auction at Christie’s in London [28 October 1999]. The Ecurie Ecosse D-type was driven by Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson to win the famed endurance race for Scotland in 1956. It had been in Scottish ownership ever since, and was sold at auction by Sir Michael Nairn, who runs a Scottish engineering company……..Matt Hines set an NHRA Pro Stock Bike 1/4-mile ET record of 7.154 seconds at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas, US [29 October 1999]……..Mika Häkkinen driving a McLaren clinched the 1999 World title in Suzuka by winning the Japanese Grand Prix [31 October 1999]. It had been one of the most controversial finales in Formula 1 history. The Ferraris of Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher which had been disqualified at the previous race in Malaysia for using illegal deflectors, but their points from the race had been restored by the FIA’s officials. For Mika it meant he had to win the Japanese Grand Prix to beat championship leader Eddie Irvine to the title. And that’s exactly what the Finn did at Suzuka, despite constant pressure from Michael Schumacher……… Norway’s first mass-produced vehicle, the TH!NK City started to roll off the assembly line in Oslo [1 November 1999]…….In the first-ever sale of electric vehicles by a major auto maker in Canada, Ford of Canada delivered 16 battery-powered, zero-emission 1999 Ford Ranger EV pickup trucks to Quebec-based [Canada] customers [2 November 1999].

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