16-22 May: Motoring Milestones

16-22 May

110 years ago this week, Louis Henry Perlman of New York City applied for a patent for his invention of the demountable tire-carrying rim, similar to those used on today’s cars, but wider [21 May 1906]. The patent was issued 4 February 1913 (U.S. No. 1,052,270). Perlamn’s innovation that made possible the spare tire. Perlman was then bankrolled by

William C. Durant, the founder of General Motors, to create the Perlman Rim Corporation, which soon manufactured tire assemblies for more than 1.5 million cars annually. Perlman would also receive a new GM car every year; he stored his autos in a lengthy barn extension at his home in Montrose, New York. He was born in Kovno, Russia in 1861; his father was a rabbi who eventually founded congregations in St. Louis, Cincinnati and Charleston, SC. Perlman was a graduate of City College and a co-founder of the Pictorial Associated Press, the first news agency to syndicate images and photos to newspapers. He had to defend his tire patent against infringement for years, and then lost his entire fortune in the 1929 stock market crash….. 80 years ago this week, the first ever motor race in Ireland, the 200 mile Cork Road Race, was held [16 May 1936]. There were 24 starters and 9 finished the race, which was won by Reggie Tongue in a 1488cc supercharged ERA….. 60 years ago this week, the 100,000th MG, a left hand drive MGA 1500, was produced [16 May 1956]…50 years ago this week, UK Transport Minister Barbara Castle stated that the 70mph limit would continue until 1967 [17 May 1966]……The 24th Monaco Grand Prix was run, the first of a new era for Formula One, the ‘return to power’ as engine regulations were altered from 1.5 litres of maximum engine displacement to 3.0 litres [22 May 1966]. It was won by Jackie Stewart driving a BRM P261. He took a forty second victory over the Ferrari 246 of Italian driver Lorenzo Bandini. It was Stewart’s second Grand Prix victory after winning the Italian Grand Prix the previous year. Stewart’s team mate, fellow Briton Graham Hill finished a lap down in third position in his BRM P261. The only other driver to be classified as a finisher was American driver Bob Bondurant driving a BRM P261 entered privately by Team Chamaco Collect…… 40 years ago this week, the Belgian Grand Prix was won by Niki Lauda driving a Ferrari 312T2, who increased his lead in the World Drivers’ Championship to 29 points by doing so [16 May 1976]……Rolling Stone Keith Richards crashed his car near Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamsire, after falling asleep at the wheel; marijuana and cocaine were found by the police resulting in another fine for the guitarist [19 May 1976]…… The

Triumph TR7 was launched in the UK on the same day [19 May 1976]. It was characterized by its ‘wedge’ shape, which was commonly advertised as ‘The Shape of Things to Come’, and by a swage line sweeping down from the rear wing to just behind the front wheel. Power was provided by a 105-bhp (78-kW), 1,998-cc, 8-valve, 4-cylinder engine. Drive was to the rear wheels via a 4-speed gearbox, with optional 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic. In total approximately 115,000 TR7 models were built, but it was axed in 1981 when Rover’s Solihull factory in the West Midlands ceased making cars…… 30 years ago this week, Joe Schwarzkopf-Bowers, of Watford, Herts drove his modified battery-powered Bond Equippe from Heathrow Airport, London to Crewkerne, Somerset, a distance of 132 miles on a single charge costing an estimated 60p [16 May 1986]…… Alan Bates in Nobby Hills Corvette was credited with a 5.99 second run, the first five second Funnay Car run at the Sanata Pod Raceway [19 May 1986]. The run was dismissed by some that saw it as being a mid-six second run although it is often credited as being the first UK Funny Car five…… 20 years ago this week, IndyCar

veteran Scott Brayton (40) won pole position for the 1996 Indianapolis 500 but was killed after a tire deflation caused his car to crash into a retaining wall during a practice run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway [17 May 1996]. He became the 40th driver to be killed at the sports’ most famous race track……The Monaco Grand Prix was run in wet weather, causing significant attrition and setting a record for the fewest number of cars (3) to be running at the end of a Grand Prix race [19 May 1996] . Olivier Panis scored his sole career Formula One victory, earning the last ever Formula One victory for the Ligier team (and the first ever for engine manufacturer Mugen Motorsports) after switching to slick tires in a well-timed pitstop…..10 years ago this week, Renault Trucks took over ACMAT [19 May 1996].

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