4-10 October: Motoring Milestones

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

90 years ago this week, the last Oakland, a Series 301 sedan, was produced when the brand was dropped by General Motors in favor of the division’s Pontiac make [8 October 1931]……. 70 years ago this week, the first Willys Aero was produced [4 October 1951]. The Willys Aero was a line of passenger cars manufactured first by Willys-Overland and later by Kaiser-Willys Corporation from 1952 through 1955. The father of the Aero was Clyde Paton, former engineer for Packard Motor Car Company…….60 years ago this week, Deutz AG of Germany acquired a license to build diesel engines using the Wankel rotary engine theories [4 October 1961]…… Innes Ireland drove a Lotus-Climax to victory in the first United States Grand Prix held at Watkins Glen, New York. It was the first Team Lotus win in a championship qualifying Grand Prix. Tony Brooks finished third in his last Grand Prix [8 October 1961]….. on the same day [8 October 1961] John D Hertz (82), founder of the Hertz Rent-A-Car System , Inc., in 1924 and the Yellow Cab Company, died in Los Angles, California…….70 years ago this week, the 125 miles (201 km) Seward Highway from Seward to Anchorage in Alaska was completed [9 October 1951]. The entire course of the highway was paved in 1952. In 1989, the highway was designated as a scenic byway by the U.S. Forest Service. The state of Alaska added the highway to its byway system in 1993, and in 2000 it was designated as an All-American Road, or National Scenic Byway…..40 years ago this week, the six year production run of the Triumph TR7 ended as the last of 111.648 cars was completed at the Rover factory in Solihull, West Midland, UK [5 October 1981]…….. John DeLorean began libel action after the UK Government denied it was investigating his automobile company [6 October 1981]…….. The Triumph Acclaim, a badge-engineered Honda, was officially launched and produced until 1984 when the Triumph marque was discontinued [7 October 1981]…… Europe’s first license-built Japanese car was launched, the Triumph Acclaim, nee Honda Ballada [10 October 1981]. The four door medium sized saloon had front-wheel drive, was powered by a 1.3 litre 70 bhp petrol engine, and was between the Ford Escort and Ford Cortina in terms of size…….30 years ago this week, Geoff Bodine’s extraordinary fuel mileage netted him a win in Char­lotte’s Mello Yello 500, Virginia (US) [6 October 1991]. Bodine completed the final 114 miles without a pit stop……20 years ago this week, Gil de Ferran won the CART Texaco Grand Prix of Houston through the downtown streets of Houston, Texas [7 October 2001]….. A man wrecked a $300,000 sports car owned by hip-hop star Missy Elliott after losing control of the 550 hp vehicle and crashed into a traffic sign and a tree [9 October 2001]. Joseph Johnson had taken the Lamborghini Diablo away from the garage where it was stored without permission for a late night spin. He was later sentenced to three years in jail and ordered to pay $170,000 for the car and $1,975 for repairs at the site of the accident.

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