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13-19 September: Motoring Milestones

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

100 years ago this week, John W Swan, founder of the Swan Carburetor Company of Cleveland, Ohio, US applied for a United States patent for an improved automobile intake manifold. [17 September 1921]…….90 years ago this week, Herbert ‘Bert’ le Vack (52), a motorcycle world speed record holder throughout the 1920, was killed in a sidecar accident near Bern, Switzerland [16 September 1931]. The ‘Wizard of Brooklands’, was an expert racing engine tuner. Le Vack worked for some of the great marques and in the late 1920s joined Motosacoche in Switzerland as the works rider, chief designer and tuner….. on the same day [16 September 1931], a GMC T-95-C tractor/trailer unit operated by the Southern California Freight Lines Ltd. arrived in New York City eight days after leaving Los Angeles, with a load of perishable fruit and vegetables, completing the first trans-United States trip by a refrigerated truck…….70 years ago this week, the Aston Martin DB3/1 made its racing

Aston Martin DB3/1

with debut at the RAC Tourist Trophy race at Dunrod, Ireland, but the car driven by Lance Macklin had to retire due to bearing failure [15 September 1951]……60 years ago this week, the first Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster, a 1962 model, was produced [13 September 1961]. The Sports Roadster was a limited production version of the convertible which added 48 spoke Kelsey-Hayes designed wire wheels, special badges to the front fenders and a passenger side grab bar to the front dashboard. The most striking addition to the Sports Roadster was a fiberglass tonneau cover which covered the back seat of the car and created a two seater appearance……. 50 years ago this week, the MG-S (also known as MG S1300) was introduced in Spain (with three round instruments, leather steering wheel and leather seats) [16 September 1971]……. The Lincoln Continental Mark IV was introduced [17 September 1971]. Sharing the underpinnings and much of the roofline with the redesigned Ford Thunderbird for 1972, the Mark IV was given distinct body styling from the windows down. In addition, the Mark was distinguished by hidden headlights and the “Continental spare tire” trunklid. All Continental Mark IVs were assembled at the Wixom Assembly Plant in Wixom, Michigan, alongside the standard Lincoln Continental and the Ford Thunderbird. For 1977, the Mark IV underwent a substantial exterior styling revision and was replaced by the Continental Mark V……. Jackie Stewart underlined his credentials with victory in a Canadian Grand Prix to record his sixth win of a season in which he had the drivers’ championship done and dusted by August [19 September 1971]. The race had to be stopped after 64 of the scheduled 80 laps because track marshals were unable to see each other through the rain and mist. The day was overshadowed by the death of 37-year-old local driver Wayne Kelly in a Formula Ford race earlier on, the accident causing a delay to the start of the grand prix…….40 years ago this week, Canada’s West Edmonton Mall made the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest parking lot in the world with it’s 20,000 parking spaces [18 September 1981]. The 800 store Mall which is equivalent in size to 48 city blocks and is visited by 31 million people annually also holds records for:World’s largest indoor amusement park, World’s largest indoor triple loop rollercoaster, World’s largest indoor lake, andWorld’s largest indoor wavepool…….30 years ago this week, Harry Gant turned in a dominant second half of the race to win the Peak Antifreeze 500 at Dover International Speedway, Delaware, US lapping the field for his third win in a row in NASCAR’s premier series [15 September 1991]. Gant, who led 326 of the 500 laps on the mile track, strung wins together at Darlington, Richmond, Dover and Martinsville during his hot streak, which earned him the unofficial nickname of “Mr. September.” Geoffrey Bodine finished second with Morgan Shepherd third. Just 16 of 40 cars were running at the finish, largely because of a 15-car wreck that thinned the field in the 69th lap…….20 years ago this week, the first generation Citroen C3 (cover image) was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show [13 September 2001]. When it appeared in car show rooms in 2002 it was available with 1.1, 1.4 and 1.6 litre petrol engines, and 1.4 and 1.6 litre common rail diesel engines. In accordance with the PSA Group policy, the C3’s chassis was used for the Peugeot 1007 and the Peugeot 207. Many components of the C3 are the same as those of the Peugeot 206……. Mika Hakkinen announced he would be taking a sabbatical year from Formula One, and fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen would take his McLaren seat [14 September 2001]. In the end the double world champion never returned to the sport despite a number of offers from high-profile teams. After a career spanning four decades, starting karting in 1974 at the age of five, Hakkinen expressed a desire to spend more time with his wife and son…….. Italian racing driver Alex Zanardi suffered a huge crash while racing in the Cart series in Germany [15 September 2001]. Lucky to survive the crash, Zanardi had to have both his legs amputated. Astonishingly, he was back racing again within two years…….. The Italian Grand Prix took place in the shadow of terrorist attacks in the US five days earlier [16 September 2001]. Serious consideration was given to cancelling the race but it did go ahead albeit in a sombre atmosphere, and the Ferraris sported black nose cones as a mark of respect. Michael Schumacher tried to organise a pact with the other drivers not to overtake at the first two corners but this was scuppered when Jacques Villeneuve refused to comply. Juan Pablo Montoya went on to score his maiden win in Formula One, while Schumacher finished fourth…… Michael Schumacher was forced to back down on threats not to compete in the US Grand Prix at the end of the month after Bernie Ecclestone warned him he could be stripped of his almost-certain title if he did [17 September 2001]. Schumacher was one of several drivers raising concerns about their safety in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But he got backing from Jaguar boss and former champion Niki Lauda.”Personally I don’t think we should go, but it’s not my decision,” he said. “We have a contractual commitment to Indianapolis and the race could only be cancelled if the organisers there wanted it.”…… Organisers of the US Grand Prix ended speculation that the September 30 event could be cancelled in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks [19 September 2001]. Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president, said the race would go ahead “with deep respect for those affected by last week’s tragedies”……..10 years ago this week, luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover, part of Indian group Tata Motors, announced a £355M investment on a new engine plant in central England [19 September 2011]. The British government provided £10M for the plant which was expected to create 750 jobs and thousands of jobs across the wider economy.

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