24- 30 August: Motoring Milestones

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

120 years ago this week, the first long distance bus service in Great Britain was founded by A E Wynn of Knarsborough, Yorkshire to serve the route between London to Leeds [27 August 1900]…….110 years ago this week, Walden W. Shaw and John D. Hertz formed the Walden W. Shaw Livery Company, which later became the Yellow Cab Company [25 August 1910]. In 1907, the Shaw Livery Company purchased a number of small taxicabs equipped with meters. The first yellow cab (the Model J) hit the streets of Chicago in 1915, and its distinctive colour became the company’s trademark. The company

American LaFrance fire truck

was also the first to use automatic windshield wipers, ultrahigh frequency two-way radios, and passenger seat belts…… The first American LaFrance motorised fire truck was sold to Lenox (MA) Fire Department in the US and is still owned by the department [27 August 1910]. One of the catalysts in 1909 that spurred Lenox to invest in a gas-powered apparatus was a massive fire in the center of the city’s downtown district on April 11, 1909, in which six people lost their lives. In a later interview, city Fire Chief Oscar Hutchinson (who held that position from 1909-1967) stated that at the time “fire protection in Lenox was practically nil,” a fact which accounted for the devastation and loss of lives. Getting much-needed personnel and equipment to the scene faster became paramount, so the city turned to the American-LaFrance Fire Engine Company, then based in Elmira, New York. Ordered soon after the fire, the Lenox Fire Department took delivery of its new apparatus and after testing and training, the department placed the pumper into service, and it became a proud icon of the city over the next several decades……..100 years ago this week, Ernest Fridrich drove a Bugatti to victory in the Coupe International des Voiterettes on the 10.8 mile Circuit Permanent de la Sarthe, in France [30 August 1920]…….90 years ago this week, the 14.9-bhp Morris Major, available as both a saloon (£215) and a coupé (£220), was launched by Morris Motors [30 August 1930]. The engine was similar to that of the Morris Oxford Six as was the chassis. The nominally 14.9 hp 2-litre engine was said to give off 45 bhp at 3,200 rpm. The gearbox provided three forward speeds. The car was fitted with six brakes, the four-wheel ones adjustable by a single winged-nut……….80 years ago this week, the last LaSalle, manufactured by Cadillac, was built [26 August 1940]. Alfred P. Sloan developed the LaSalle brand as a companion marque for Cadillac in order to fill pricing gaps he perceived in the General Motors product portfolio. LaSalle vehicles were manufactured by Cadillac, but were priced lower than Cadillac-branded automobiles and were marketed as the second-most prestigious marque in the General Motors portfolio. Like Cadillac, the LaSalle brand name was based on that of a French explorer, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle…….70 years ago this week, the UK-based weekly “Autosport” magazine was first published [25 August 1950]…….. Ransom Eli Olds, a pioneer of the American automotive industry, after whom both the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named, died at the age of 86 [26 August 1950]. He claimed to have built his first steam car as early as 1894, and his first gasoline-powered car in 1896. The modern assembly line and its basic concept is credited to Olds, who used it to build the first mass-produced automobile, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, beginning in 1901……. The twelfth race of the 1950 NASCAR season was run at Hamburg Speedway in Hamburg, New York, US [27 August 1950]. Dick Linder won the pole, and while Curtis Turner showed a major challenge, leading 74 of the 200 laps, Linder came out on top, winning by 20 yards over Fireball Roberts. Turner, Lloyd Moore, and Jack White made up the rest of the top five…….60 years ago this week, Jack Brabham made the third fastest climb at Ollons-Villars hillclimb event in Switzerland with a Formula 2 Cooper [28 August 1960]…….40 years ago this week, Willie Nelson’s classic “On the Road Again” entered the US chart [30 August 1980]. The song would eventually reach number one and become an American classic. Nelson starred in his first leading role in the film Honeysuckle Rose, about an aging musician who fails to achieve national fame and relationship with his family, who also are part of his band that travels throughout the United States while playing in different venues. Shortly after signing the contract, Nelson was approached during a flight by the executive producer of the movie, who requested him to write a song about life on the road to use as the theme song. Nelson quickly wrote the song on a barf bag. The tune featured a “train beat”……..30 years ago this week, Ernie Irvan passed Dale Earnhardt in the final 50 miles and speeds to his first NASCAR Winston Cup victory in Bristol’s Busch 500 [25 August 1990]…….. Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna claimed his fifth race victory for the season at the Belgium Grand Prix in his McLaren MP4/5B taking a four-second win over the Ferrari 641 driven the reigning world champion, Frenchman Alain Prost [26 August 1990]. It was Senna’s fourth victory in the Belgian Grand Prix, and his third in succession. Senna’s Austrian team mate Gerhard Berger finished third, while further back Maurício Gugelmin scored a rare point for the Leyton House team in his Leyton House CG901…….. Autocar magazine tested and famously published on its front cover: ‘Ford’s new Escort meets its rivals… and loses.’ This headline and the accompanying feature led to Ford halting production of the new Mark IV Escort in order to fit the 1.4-litre-engine versions with anti-roll bars [29 August 1990]………20 years ago this week, ‘KillaCycle’ established an electric motorcycle drag racing record of completing a quarter mile (400 m) in 9.450 seconds on the Woodburn track in Oregon [26 August 2000]. KillaCycle used lead acid batteries at a speed of 152.07 mph (244.73 km/h)……. Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher went head-to-head at the Belgian Grand Prix, producing the overtaking manoeuvre of the season [27 August 2000]. Schumacher was leading after Hakkinen had spun at Stavelot earlier in the race but the McLaren was the faster car overall. Schumacher put up a spirited defence once Hakkinen was on his tail meaning the McLaren driver had to do something special to find a way past. With just four laps to go Hakkinen got a great run through Eau Rouge and was right on the gearbox of Schumacher down the Kemmel straight. As the pair approached the braking zone for Les Combes they came across Ricardo Zonta’s BAR, Schumacher went to the left but Hakkinen jinked to the right and the three cars went side-by-side towards the right hander. Hakkinen had the inside line and managed to sneak in front of Schumacher who cut back across Zonta but could not defend the position. Hakkinen went on to win the race but, four races later, Schumacher took the title……10 years ago today, a massive traffic jam in north China that stretched for 60 miles on National Highway 110 and the Bejing-Tibet expressway hit its 10-day mark [24 August 2010]. It reportedly stemmed from road construction in Beijing. Many drivers were able to move their vehicles only 0.6 miles per day, and some drivers reported being stuck in the traffic jam for 5 days. The jam had largely dissipated by the end of the month.

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