6-12 November: Motoring Milestones

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

110 years ago this week, the first track records were set at Brooklands Frank Newton in a 25.6 hp Napier covered the flying 1/2 mile at 77.92 mph and H C Tyron in a 38.4 hp Napier raised this record to 86.75 mph later in the day [6 November 1907] ……. 90 years ago this week, General Motors announced a share dividend of $62 million – the largest in US history [10 November 1927]…….. The first Veteran Car Rally from London to Brighton, sponsored by the Daily

Sketch took place, and was won by John Bryce from an entry of 51 vehicles [12 November 1927]……. 80 years ago this week, the Horseless Carriage Club of America was founded in Los Angeles, California, US by W Everett Miller, Arthur E Twohy and William E Wakefield [7 November 1937]….. Waldo D Waterman was issued in a United States patent for his Arrowbile (cover image), a combination automobile/airplane [9 November 1937]. The Arrowbile was a high-wing monoplane, with detachable wings and was powered by a Studebaker engine. Five Arrowbiles were built. Three Arrowbiles attempted a flight from Santa Monica toCleveland but one had to turn back after only reaching Arizona. The other two finished the flight. Arrowbile No. 6 (No. 5 was never completed), rechristened the Aerobile is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center(Smithsonian Air and Space museum extension in Dulles, Virginia)……70 years ago this week, the first shipment of post World War II Rolls Royce and Bentleys arrived in the United States [6 November 1947]…….. 60 years ago this week, the first Trabant was produced at the former Horch auto works in Zwickau, East Germany [7 November 1957]. For the marque’s first model, the designers settled on the name ‘Sputnik’ to commemorate the Soviet Union’s launching of the

first artificial Earth satellite a month earlier. The first Trabant, the P50 had a 2-cylinder, 500-cc engine capable of just 18 bhp. In design, it was the archetypal East European car: small, boxy and fragile in appearance. Yet, despite its lack of style and power, the Sputnik and its successors were affordable by the citizens of East Germany and other Soviet bloc countries……On the following day the 1958 Oldsmobiles were introduced to the US public – among the cars produced on this day was the marque’s 6th million, a Holiday Ninety Eight four-door hardtop [8 November 1957]……. 50 years ago this week, John Surtees drove a Lola T70-Chevrolet to victory in the Can-Am race at Las Vegas, Nevada [12 November 1967]. This was Surtee’s final Can-Am win while Bruce McLaren clinched the Can-Am Championship……. 40 years ago this week, the first side-by-side eight second bike race in Europe occurred during Santa Pod Raceways Fireworks Spectacular [6 November 1977]. Henk Vink just got to the line first with an 8.47/155 to John Hobbs 8.76/166……. 30 years ago this week, early NASCAR stockcar racer Gober Sosebee (81) died from injuries suffered in an agricultural accident [11 November 1987]. He won on the Daytona Beach Road Course in 1949, 1950 and 1951. Sosebee also won 2 Grand national (now Sprint Cup Series) races, one in 1952 and another in 1954. He also had 4 pole positions (including his first NASCAR race at Daytona Beach) and 33 top 10 finishes during his Cup career…….20 years ago this week, the FIA World Motorsport Council [WMSC] met to discuss the fate of Michael Schumacher for his part in attempting to drive title rival Jacques Villeneuve off the circuit in the final race of the season at Jerez [11 November 1997]. A hefty fine or even a several race ban for the following season seemed possible but ultimately the FIA decided to merely exclude him from the championship standings and make him participate in a road safety campaign. Even German tabloid Das Bild described the decision as ‘crazy’…….10 years ago this week, Renault was forced to admit that it had been using data from McLaren, acquired when an engineer moved between the teams bringing sensitive information with him which was then shared within Renault [9 November 2007]. McLaren, who had been fined $100 million in the notorious Spygate affair, were left incredulous when the FIA in effect let Renault off after accepting none of the information had been used in its designs. “I am absolutely at ease with it.’ Renault boss Flavio Briatore said: ‘I wish to pay tribute to the team, who have handled the matter with integrity and dignity.” The media could not help compare his reaction with his splenetic attacks on McLaren during Spygate … nor of his close relationship with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. “Is it fair?” Ecclestone said. “We are always fair.”…… Killacycle, using A123 Systems Li-ion nano-phosphate cells set a new quarter mile electric motorcycle drag racing record of 7.824 seconds breaking the 8 seconds barrier at 168 miles per hour (270 km/h) in Phoenix, Arizona at the All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA) [10 November 2007]…… On the same day [10 November 2007] the new Mini Clubman went on sale in the UK. The new car took inspiration and styling cues from the Morris Mini Traveller, Austin Mini Countryman and the Mini Clubman Estate, which enjoyed widespread success in the 1960s…… Honda Racing announced that Ross Brawn would join the team in the role of Team Principal with full responsibility for designing, manufacturing, engineering and racing Honda’s Formula One cars [12 November 2007]. On the same day, Ferrari announced that from January 1, 2008 Stefano Domenicali would take on the role of director of Ferrari’s Gestione Sportiva, a position held – on an interim basis – by Jean Todt.

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