21-27 August: Motoring Milestones

burtmonro

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

400 years ago this week, the first one-way streets were established in London [23 August 1617] . An Act of Common Council was passed to regulate the “disorder and rude behaviour of Carmen, Draymen and others using Cartes.” Seventeen narrow and congested lanes were specified. They ran into Thames Street, including Pudding Lane (where the Great Fire of London began in 1667). The next

Seventeenth century London

Seventeenth century London

one-way street in London was Albemarle Street in Mayfair, the location of the Royal Institution. It was so designated in 1800 because the public science lectures were so popular there. One story of the origin of the one-way street in the United States originated in Asbury Park, New Jersey. On 9 September 1934, the on-fire SS Morro Castle was towed to the shore near the Asbury Park Convention Center and the sightseeing traffic was enormous. The Asbury Park Police Chief decided to make the Ocean Avenue one-way going north and the street one block over (Kingsley) in one-way going south, creating a circular route. By the 1950s this “cruising the circuit” became a draw to the area in itself since teens would drive around it looking to hook up with other teens. The circuit was in place until the streets went back to two way in 2007 due to new housing and retail development……120 years ago this week, Olds Motor Vehicle Co, which would later become Oldsmobile, was founded [21 August 1897]. The reliable, light, and fairly powerful curved-dash Oldsmobile was the first American car to be produced using the progressive assembly-line system, and the first to become a commercial success…… 90 years ago this week, new regulations came into force in the

Lucy O'Reilly Schell

Lucy O’Reilly Schell

UK limiting the length of new cars to 27 feet 6 inches [24 August 1927]……. Lucy O’Reilly Schell finished 12th, driving a Bugatti in the Baule Grand Prix in France. She was the first, and only, American woman to drive in a Grand Prix [25 August 1927]…… 80 years ago this week, Mercedes finished 1-2-3 at the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten. After the start, Hans Stuck (Mercedes W125) chopped across the nose of the other drivers to take the early lead, followed by Rudolf Caracciola (Mercedes W125) and Bernd Rosemeyer (Auto Union Typ C) [22 August 1937]. Rosemeyer was soon in trouble though, under pressure from Hermann Lang (Mercedes W125) he skidded off the circuit and was bogged down in the wet ground. Some spectators came to his assistance but their help would have resulted in a disqualification so he retired his car. Stuck could not maintain his early pace under pressure from the Mercedes’ and was soon passed by Caracciola, Lang and Manfred von Brauchitsch (Mercedes W125). Tazio Nuvolari drove for the Auto Union team for this race as he wasn’t impressed with the new Alfa. However, the tricky rear-engined Auto Union was not a car to race without some practice, even for a man of Nuvolari’s skill. The wet track simply compounded his problems. Whilst running in 8th place he was called into the pits and the carless Rosemeyer took over, eventually getting up to 5th place and putting in the fastest lap in his chase after the Mercedes’. In the closing laps Lang closed on Caracciola but was ordered to maintain position and von Brauchitsch passed Stuck……70 years ago this week, Ettore Bugatti, the Italian-born and naturalised-French car manufacturer, died at the age of 65 [21 August 1947]. Bugatti specialised in racing and luxury motor vehicles and his factory in Molsheim, France, turned out some of the most

Ettore Bugatti

Ettore Bugatti

expensive cars ever produced. The best-known Bugatti car was Type 41, known as the ‘Golden Bugatti’ or ‘La Royale’. It was produced in the 1920s, meticulously constructed and very expensive – only a few were ever built. After Bugatti’s death, the firm failed to survive, at least in part because Ettore’s eldest son and chosen successor Jean died before Bugatti himself……60 years ago this week, a formal press conference introduced the Edsel, named after Henry Ford’s son, Edsel Bryant Ford, to an eager and curious public [26 August 1957]. Plenty of Edsels were on hand, demonstrations were made, and members of the media were given the opportunity to do test drives themselves. Just over 110,000 were built before the company pulled the plug after three years due to lack of sales and negative press. Ironically, market research conducted just a few years earlier had pointed to the Edsel’s success; consumers had said they wanted more horsepower, tailfins, three-tone paint jobs, and wraparound windshields. However, by 1957, fickle consumers had changed their minds, and despite a relatively low price, Edsel sales were poor. Due to the limited number produced, the Edsel has become a collector’s item…… 50 years ago this week, the front-engine, rear wheel drive, two-door hardtop AMC Javelin made its debut and the new models were offered for sale from September 26, 1967 with prices starting at $2,743 [22 August 1967]. Marketed by AMC in two generations, 1968-1970 and 1971-1974, it was styled by Dick Teague, and was available in a range of trim and engine levels, from economical pony car to muscle car variants. In addition to manufacture in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Javelins were assembled under license in Germany, Mexico, Venezuela, as well as Australia —and were marketed globally. As the winner of Trans-Am race series in 1971, 1972, and 1976, the second-generation AMX variant was the first pony car to be used as a standard vehicle for highway police car duties by an American law enforcement agency…… Enjoying a wild birthday party Keith Moon drummer with The Who drove his Lincoln car into a Holiday Inn swimming pool, in Flint, Michigan, US [23 August 1967]. As the party had become out of control, the police were called to put an end to the festivities. Moon, ever keen to avoid the boys in blue snuck outside and got into a Lincoln Continental Limousine and attempted to make a getaway. Unfortunately, in his inebriated state he released the handbrake, and began rolling towards the pool. Moon simply sat back and waited, as the car crashed through the fence around the pool and into the water……. The famous industrialist Henry J. Kaiser passed away in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the age of 85 [24 August 1967]. Along with a

Henry J. Kaiser

Henry J. Kaiser

construction company, a shipyard, an aircraft company, and an aluminium manufacturing plant, Kaiser owned a car company. Co-founded with Joseph W. Frazer in 1945, the company produced only a few models before production was ceased in 1954…….. New Zealand motorcycle racer, Burt Munro set an under-1,000 cc world record of 184.087mph on his beloved streamlined Indian motorcycle, at Bonneville, Utah, US [25 August 1967]. This record still stands to this very day. Burt bought his Indian motorbike new in 1920 as a standard model Indian Scout which had a side valve engine of 600cc capacity. The price was ₤120 with acetylene lighting although he could have bought an electric lighting model but it was quite a bit more expensive at the time. The engine number was 50R627. In the 1920′s Burt started tuning the bike for speed and ultimately he had it exceeding 90mph in side valve form. In the mid 1930s Burt made patterns for an overhead valve engine conversion but initially he was quite disappointed as it was no faster than the original side valve. er overcoming the con-rod failures Burt then experienced engine big-end failure. As the lubrication was achieved by a total loss system, which had no direct feed to the big-ends and crank pin, with the result that the rollers often came out blued and fused to the

Burt Munro

Burt Munro

big-end cage. Eventually Burt made new fly wheels and increased the diameter of the crank pin which was bored to feed oil direct to the big-ends. He also fitted an Indian Chief oil pump and in doing so changed it to a dry sump lubrication system. Over the years Burt gradually increased the bore and stroke which enlarged the engine to just on 1000cc capacity. Burt cast his own pistons using a large kerosene blow lamp and casting dies he made himself. Another modification was to the primary transmission. He made sprockets for this and fitted a triplex chain on the primary drive in place of helical gears as this was more efficient. The clutch was basically standard with extra springs fitted to cope with the extra power the engine was developing. In order to get closer ratios in the gear box Burt cut the layshaft and welded two pinions from an Indian Chief onto this Scout layshaft in order to get closer ratios on the three speed gear box. Originally the Indian Scouts had only two cams and this limited the valve timing so Burt changed this to a four cam system which allowed him to alter the valve timing on both the inlet and exhaust valves. Burt built four different streamline shells for the Indian Scout over the years……. James Hylton, one of NASCAR’s longest-running independent drivers, was born [26 August 1967]. The Inman, South Carolina, US., native made 601 starts from 1964 to 1993 in NASCAR’s top series and won twice, at Richmond and Talladega, in the 1970s. Hylton, who still races at age 78, most recently competed in a NASCAR national series in August 2011, when he finished 30th in a Camping World Truck Series event at Pocono……. The first ever Canadian Grand Prix was held at Mosport Park [27 August 1967]. Brabhams driven by Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme finished first and second, respectively. Having already changed his battery on the grid, losing six laps, Al Pease in an Eagle-Climax spun and stalled out on the circuit during the race, and suffered another flat battery. He ran back to the pits for a new one, ran back to the car, fitted the battery himself and continued. He was still running at the finish, albeit 43 laps down on the winner……. 40 years ago this week, the first British built Vauxhall Cavalier rolled off the production line [26 August 1977]……. 30 years ago this week, Didier Pironi (35) was killed during a

Vauxhall Cavalier

Vauxhall Cavalier

powerboat race in the UK [23 August 1987]. During his career he competed in 72 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, driving for Tyrrell (1978–79), Ligier (1980) and Ferrari (1981–1982). Pironi found himself at the centre of one of the biggest team disputes in Formula One history when he disobeyed team orders to steal a last-gasp victory from Gilles Villeneuve at the 1982 San Marino Grand Prix. An enraged Villeneuve vowed never to speak to Pironi again and was killed trying to take pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder two weeks later. Pironi won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1978 driving a Renault Alpine A442B……. A.J. Foyt drove a Oldsmobile Aerotech to a new closed-course speed record of 257.123 mph on the 7.71 mile oval test track at Fort Stockton, Texas, USA [27 August 1987]. The car consisted of a March Indycar single seat chassis enclosed in an extremely efficient aerodynamic body shell. It was powered by a highly turbo-charged version of the 2-litre Oldsmobile Quad 4 engine. The Aerotech body was designed by GM Design staff and was one of the sleekest vehicles ever developed for use on a high speed track. The design of the Aerotech included the capability of adjusting underbody sections to control the distribution of downforce, front to rear. Oldsmobile produced three versions of the original Aerotech to prove the capabilities of the company’s Quad 4 engine. Two were short-tailed (ST) versions and one was long-tailed (LT). Subsequently, between 7 – 15 December 1992, another version of the Aerotech, this time powered by a 4.0 litre Oldsmobile Aurora V8 engine and fitted with lights, broke 47 speed endurance records including the 10000 and 25000 kilometre world speed records. Other national and international speed records ranging from 10 kilometres to 24 hours were accomplished by a team of drivers working 24 hours a day for 8 days. These records were also set at the Fort Stockton test track……. 20 years ago this week, Ford sold its first natural gas taxis to New York City [21 August 1997]……. After the race started behind the safety car for the first time, due to wet weather, Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher won the Belgian Grand Prix [24 August 1997]……. 10 years ago this week, Lewis Hamilton’s title bid took the first of two major blows as a result of a tyre failure [26 August 2007]. He had been running in a comfortable third position at the Turkish Grand Prix, ahead of title rival and McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso, when his front left tyre failed at high speed. He dropped back to fifth, missing out on two points – the exact same margin he lost the championship by to Kimi Raikkonen. His second tyre failure, which stopped him taking the title on that day, came at the Chinese Grand Prix when he ran wide on the pit lane entrance with a balding intermediate. Felipe Massa went on to win the Turkish Grand Prix, ahead of Raikkonen and Alonso.

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