15-21 March: Motoring Milestones

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

160 years ago this week, Jean-Joseph Etienne Lenoir was issued a patent for his “Air Engine”, an important ancestor of the modern internal combustion engine [19 March 1861]…….120 years ago this week, the California Legislature authorised counties, cities and incorporated towns to tax and license motor vehicles [16 March 1901]…….110 years ago this week, a Saurer 4.5 ton truck, built by Adolphe Saurer in Arbon Switzerland, arrived in San Francisco, California, after completing a demonstration drive from Denver, Colorado [15 March 1911]. This truck was later shipped to Pueblo, Colorado and driven to New York City in what the company claimed to be the first trans-United States trip by a motor truck……..on the same day [15 March 1911], Gustave Otto, the son of internal combustion engine pioneer Nikolaus Otto, organized Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik Muchen. Otto’s Munich-based aero-engineering firm would later merge with Karl Rapp’s firm to form the Bayerische Motoren-Werke, or BMW…….. Rolls Royce Limited purchased exclusive rights to the “Spirit of Ecstasy” mascot from sculptor Charles Sykes [16 March 1911]…… Teddy Tetzlaff, driving a 46 hop Lozier defeated the 90 hp Fiat of Ralph DePalma in a match staged at the Playa del Rey Motordrome in Los Angeles, California, US [19 March 1911]……..70 years ago this week, the 500th Porsche was completed from the leased Reutter coachworks in Zuffenhausen, Germany by Hans Klauser, research and personnel manager [21 March 1951]…..60 years ago this week, Jaguar’s E-Type sports car was presented to the world’s press at the restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives in Geneva by Sir William Lyons [15 March 1961]. Surrounded by up to 200 members of the press, the car caused a sensation, and so did the price. At £2097 for the roadster and £2196 for the fixed head coupe, it was considerably cheaper than similar performing cars from Ferrari, Aston Martin and Chevrolet, and

Jaguar E-type interior

was on a par with much slower cars from Porsche and AC. In fact, the E-types was initially sold at a cheaper price than the outgoing XK150.The powertrain, which was carried over from the XK150S, was a 3781 cc XK engine mated to a four-speed Moss transmission, without overdrive. Jaguar claimed the E-type engine produced 265bhp (SAE) at 5500 rpm, but this was – to say the least – an exaggeration. The cast iron cylinder block was actually manufactured by Leyland Motors in Lancashire, a task it had performed since 1948, predating its involvement in the management of Jaguar. The aluminium cylinder head came from two sources, West Yorkshire Foundries of York and William Mills of Wednesbury, Staffordshire. The XK engine was fed by triple 2in SU HD8 SU carburettors. The body employed a central monocoque made of steel, a year before the monocoque chassis made its appearance in Formula One racing. The Bob Knight designed independent rear suspension, and the careful use of rubber, helped suppress noise and vibration. Initially, the car was available in two forms, the roadster – styled by Malcolm Sayer – and the fixed head coupe (FHC), featuring an opening rear hatchback, which also had some input from Sir William Lyons and Bob Blake. The E-type was the only Jaguar car produced during Lyons’ active involvement in the running of the company, not wholly styled by the boss himself. Enzo Ferrari called it; “The most beautiful car ever made!”……..50 years ago this week, the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch was won by Clay Regazzoni in a Ferrari 312B2 [21 March 1971]……40 years ago this week, the US West Grand Prix was held at Long Beach [15 March 1981]. Defending World Champion Alan Jones driving a Williams-Cosworth FW07C. Defending finished nine seconds ahead of teammate Carlos Reutemann, and won his first Long Beach Grand Prix, as the 1981 season finally began after a winter of controversy and legal battles…….also on the same day [15 March 1981], Ayrton Senna, just 20 years old, lined up for just his second event in a racing car, a Formula Ford 1600 race, at Brands Hatch track in England. He displayed wet-weather mastery that would become legendary by winning the race nearly 10 seconds from second-placed man. He won £70 for his troubles………30 years ago this week, New Jersey in the US raised turnpike tolls by 70% [17 March 1991]…… Ken Schrader landed his third victory in NASCAR’s top series, pulling away to a 3.02-second victory over hometown favourite Bill Elliott at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Georgia, US [18 March 1991]. Dale Earnhardt finished third to retain his early grasp on the points lead, which would eventually become his fourth NASCAR championship…….20 years ago this week, in a sign of things to come, McLaren and Ferrari team officials squared up in the pits at the Malaysian Grand Prix [16 March 2001]. The incident happened when a Ferrari technician stood in front of the adjacent McLaren-Mercedes garage looking in at the cars. A mechanic from the McLaren team then bumped into the Ferrari man, who refused to move away until he was accused of spying and finally pushed out of the garage area. McLaren team boss Ron Dennis said: ‘I didn’t see the incident, but I know the Ferrari guy concerned and his body language is always pretty infuriating. But it is a pit lane. He is not the traditional tyre-spotter and we all live with each other’s tyre-spotters. ‘He was … generally being a bit of a Nosy Parker. There is nothing in the regulations to stop that happening, but when you step back over him as, in this instance, one of our guys did, then in this heat, with a bit of jet lag, the sympathy is not there”……… Michael Schumacher won the Malaysian Grand Prix held at Sepang from pole and outpaced his teammate Rubens Barrichello who finished second 23 seconds behind [18 March 2001]. David Coulthard finished third and his teammate Mika Hakkinen, set the fastest lap but could do no better than 6th at the finish…… Chung Ju-yung (85), South Korean entrepreneur, businessman and the founder of all Hyundai Groups of South Korea, died [21 March 2001]. He founded the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company in 1947. Hyundai Motor Company was later established in 1967

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