20-26 November: Motoring Milestones

Dan GurneyDan Gurney

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

120 years ago this week, McLaughlin Motor Car Company Limited was founded in Ontario (Canada) with capital of 1918-2-15,000 shares valued at C$100 each with R.S. “Sam” McLaughlin as President and signed manufacturing agreement with Billy Durant, a partner in Buick Motor Company [20 November 1907]. In 1908, its first full year of operation, it produced 154 cars…….Ransom Eli Olds of Lansing, Michigan, was issued a US patent for his ‘motor carriage’, a petrol-powered vehicle that he had constructed the year before [23 November 1907]. In 1887, when he was only 18, Olds had built his first automobile, a steam-propelled, three-wheeled vehicle. Two months before receiving his patent, Olds had formed the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, a company that grew into the Olds Motor Works……. 90 years ago this week, the first Dodge Victory Six was produced in honour of the 10th anniversary of World War I. It was Dodge’s first six cylinder car and offered with hydraulic brakes, unique for a low-priced car [21 November 1927]. The smooth running engine could accelerate from 5 to 25 mph in 7.5 sec. The 58-hp six was good for 60 mph and 21 mpg (at 25 mph) according to Dodge. It featured an all-steel body built by Budd Manufacturing. This was at a time when most auto manufacturers still used composite metal and wood bodies. Its six-cylinder engine produced 68 horsepower…….on the same day [21 November 1927] Time magazine put the week-old Holland Tunnel on its cover. The tunnel, which runs under the Hudson River between New York City and Jersey City, New Jersey, had opened to traffic the week before, at the stroke of midnight on November 13. Time presented all of the tunnel’s vital statistics: its total length (9,250 feet, the “longest of its kind in the world”), length under the river (5,480 feet), hourly vehicle capacity (3,800), and cost ($48.4 million). It also explained the most significant thing about the tunnel: its sophisticated ventilation system. Until its engineers could figure out a way to keep carbon monoxide out of the air, building an underground road for cars and trucks had been a foolishly dangerous idea. As Time explained: “To prevent disaster absolutely Chief Engineer Holland installed 84 ventilating fans in four 10 story buildings, two on each side of the Hudson. Part of them blow fresh air into the tunnel floor through vents, others suck vitiated air through ducts in the tunnel ceiling. Thus they change the tunnel air completely 42 times an hour and but

 Carl Eliason

Carl Eliason

56 of the fans are needed to do so.” The other 28 were reserved for emergency use. It took—and still takes—about 90 seconds to replace all of the air in the tunnel with fresh air……. The following day [22 November 1927] The first patent for a snowmobile was granted to Carl Eliason of Sayner, Wisconsin, US. His first working prototype had a front-mounted, liquid-cooled, 2.5-bhp Johnson outboard engine, slide-rail track guides, wooden cleats, rope-controlled steering skis, and running boards made out of two downhill skis. Eliason used everything he could lay his hands on to construct the vehicle, from bicycle parts to a radiator from a used Model T Ford. He founded Eliason Motor Toboggans in the 1930s, and the US army was a major purchaser of his snowmobiles in the early years of the company, ordering 150 all-white models for use in the defence of Alaska during World War Two…….The Ford Motor Company announced the introduction of the Model A, the first new Ford to enter the market since the Model T was introduced in 1908 [26 November 1927]. Prices ranged from $385 for a roadster to $1,400 for a top-of-the-line Town Car. The water-cooled, L-head, 3.3-litre, 4-cylinder engine provided 40 bhp, giving the car a top speed of around 65 mph. Transmission was a conventional 3-speed, sliding-gear, manual, unsynchronised unit with a single-speed reverse……. 80 years ago this week, Howard E. Coffin, who founded the Hudson Motor Company along with Joseph L. Hudson in 1909, died from an accidental gunshot wound at Sea Island Beach in Georgia at the age of 64 [21 November 1937]. Coffin was one of the founders of Hudson with Roy D. Chapin. A charter member of The Society of Automotive Engineers, he was their president in 1910. Coffin was one of the “dollar-a-year men”, serving as chairman of the Aircraft Board which organised aircraft production and industrial mobilization during World War I…….50 years ago this week, the Saab 99 was premiered in Stockholm, Sweden [22 November 1967]. The first engine used in the original 99 was a four-cylinder in-line engine which was tilted at 45 degrees. The 1709 cc Triumph-sourced engine produced 87 PS (64 kW; 86 hp) at 5500 rpm. The engine was water-cooled, but unlike most cars of the time it had an electric cooling fan. The bonnet (hood) was forward-hinged and the panel extended over the front wheel arches. The windscreen (windshield) was wrap-around and very deep for the era. The A-pillar had a steep angle, providing excellent driver visibility. Writing in 1968, the English test-driver Archie Vicar wrote in Mass Motorist magazine: “The little 99 has been given a striking and wholly rational appearance. It gives the flavour of an aeroplane on four wheels.” 1984 was the final year for the 99. It was replaced by the SAAB 90 and the SAAB 900. A total of

Dan Gurney

Dan Gurney

588,643 were made…….Dan Gurney drove an Eagle to victory in the Rex Mays 200 Indycar race at Riverside, California, USA. He was the first driver to win in the four major racing disciplines of Indycars, stockcars, F1, and sportscars [26 November 1967]…… 40 years ago this week, Bjorn Waldegaard and Hans Thorszelius won RAC Rally with a Ford Escort RS 1800 [24 November 1977]…….. 20 years ago this week, Colin McRae and Nicky Grist won Great Britain Rally with a Subaru Impreza WRC [25 November 1997]……. Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, formally opened Pakistan’s first stretch of motorway (M2), which went from the capital, Islamabad, to the capital of Punjab province, Lahore [26 November 1997]. In a speech at the opening ceremony just outside Islamabad, he described the motorway as the ‘pathway to prosperity for the country’. One of the most expensive motorways in Asia, the M2 has the highest pillared-bridge in Asia (at the Khewra Salt Range). The Pakistan Air Force

Motorway M2 near Islamabad

Motorway M2 near Islamabad

(PAF) has used the M2 motorway as a runway on two occasions: for the first time in 2000 when it landed an F-7P fighter, a Super Mushak trainer and a C-130 and, again, in 2010. On the last occasion, the PAF used a runway section on the M2 motorway on 2 April 2010 to land, refuel and take-off two jet fighters, a Mirage III and an F-7P, during its Highmark 2010 exercise. Pakistan’s motorways have a universal minimum speed limit of 60 km/h and a maximum speed limit of 110 km/h for heavy transport vehicles and 120 km/h for light transport vehicles. In sections of the motorway that pass through hilly or mountainous terrain, the minimum and maximum speed limits are reduced…….10 years ago this week, Lotus Cars released its limited edition for Europe – the Lotus Elise S 40th Anniversary Limited Edition [23 November 2007]…… The first production Jaguar XF was driven out of the Castle Bromwich factory, near Birmingham [26 November 2007].

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