150 years ago this week, the first prearranged match race of two self-powered road vehicles over a prescribed route occurred at 4:30 am, between Ashton-under-Lyne and Old Trafford (England), a distance of eight miles [30 August 1867]. It was won by the carriage of Isaac Watt Boulton, one of six he said he had run over the years, perhaps driven by his 22-year old-son, Philip. The race was against Daniel Adamson’s carriage, likely the one made for Mr. Schmidt and perhaps driven by Schmidt. The reports do not indicate who was driving, since both were violating the red-flag law then fully in force. Boulton’s carriage was developed from a scrapped John Bridge Adams light-rail vehicle. These were solid fired steam carriages. This event and the details of the vehicles were recorded in the contemporary press, The Engineer…….120 years ago this week, Major-General Montgomery of Winchester purchased a Coventry-built Daimler in what was the first British sale of a vehicle to a person outside of the automobile industry [28 August 1897]……. 110 years ago this week, the Oakland Motor Car Company was organised in Pontiac, Michigan, US by Edward M. Murphy, Frank E. Kirby, Alanson P. Brush, R. F. Monroe, M. J. Hallinan, C. J. Cram, and James Dempsey [28 August 1907]. In 1909, Oakland became a division of General Motors, and in 1926, Oakland created the first of GM’s Companion Makes when the Pontiac Division was created. By 1929, GM sold 163,000 more Pontiacs than Oaklands. The discontinuation of Oakland was announced in 1931 and Pontiac would be the only companion marque to survive beyond 1940, or to survive its “parent” make……. Ettore Bugatti signed a formal license agreement with Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz AG of Cologne, Germany to design and produce Deutz cars for a term of five years [1 September 1907]…….100 years ago this week, the Lincoln Motor Company was founded in Detroit, US by Henry Leland, a former manager of the Cadillac division of General Motors, and his son, Wilfred Leland [29 August 1917]. The Lincoln Motor Company Plant was at 6200 West Warren Avenue (at Livernois) in Detroit, Michigan. Leland named the new company after Abraham Lincoln, his hero and for whom he cast a vote in 1864. Lincoln’s first source of revenue came from assembling Liberty aircraft engines, using cylinders supplied by Ford Motor Company, to fulfill World War I government contracts. After the war, the Lincoln factories were retooled to manufacture luxury automobiles. Ford Motor Company purchased the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, but Lincoln continued to operate as a somewhat separate company from Ford through early 1940. In April 1940, the operation of Lincoln changed as the Lincoln Motor Company became the Lincoln Division of Ford Motor Company. Once an autonomous entity, Lincoln was now brought closer under Ford control, in part to modernize the division to better compete with the equivalent competition from Chrysler (Imperial) and General Motors (Cadillac)…….. The first Nash automobile was produced [1 September 1917]; a 4-liter six-cylinder model, it had the unusual feature for the period of pushrod-operated overhead valves, an obvious legacy from Nash’s period with Buick, which had never built anything but ohv engines since its inception in 1903. The model line-up included five and seven-seat touring cars, a ‘chummy’, a coupe and a sedan. Sales were moderately encouraging at 10,283 for the 1918 season. Nash pioneered some important innovations; in 1938 they debuted the heating and ventilation system which is still used today, unibody construction in 1941, seat belts in 1950, a US built compact car in 1950, and muscle cars in (1957)…….80 years ago this week, the Toyota Motor Company Ltd, the world’s largest automobile manufacturer, was founded [28 August 1934]. The marque’s origins lie in the Japanese weaving industry when Sakichi Toyoda invented the world’s first automatic loom and, subsequently, set up the Toyoda Spinning and Weaving Company in 1918. His invention reduced defects and increased yields since a loom stopped and would not go on producing imperfect fabric and using up thread after a problem occurred. This principle of designing equipment to stop automatically and call
attention to problems immediately (jidoka) remains crucial to the Toyota Production System today. The loom impressed a British Company, the Platt Brothers, so much that, in 1929, they bought the production and sales rights for £100,000. Sakichi gave those proceeds to his son, Kiichiro, to develop automotive technology at Toyoda. This in turn led to the launch of the Company’s first ever passenger car in 1936, the Model AA, and in 1937, the Toyota Motor Company was born. After World War II, Japan experienced extreme economic difficulty. Commercial passenger car production started in 1947 with the model SA. The company was on the brink of bankruptcy by the end of 1949, but the company eventually obtained a loan from a consortium of banks which stipulated an independent sales operation and elimination of “excess manpower”. In June 1950, the company produced only 300 trucks and was on the verge of going out of business. The management announced layoffs and wage reductions, and in response the union went on a strike that lasted two months. The strike was resolved by an agreement that included layoffs and pay reductions but also the resignation of the president at the time, Kiichiro Toyoda. Toyoda was succeeded by Taizo Ishida, who was the chief executive of the Toyoda Automatic Loom company. The first few months of the Korean War resulted in an order of over 5,000 vehicles from the US military, and the company was revived. Ishida was credited for his focus on investment in equipment. One example was the construction of the Motomachi Plant in 1959, which gave Toyota a decisive lead over Nissan during the 1960s. In 1950, a separate sales company, Toyota Motor Sales Co., was established (which lasted until July 1982). In April 1956, the Toyopet dealer chain was established. In 1957, the Crown became the first Japanese car to be exported to the United States and Toyota’s American and Brazilian divisions, Toyota Motor Sales Inc. and Toyota do Brasil S.A., were also established. Toyota began to expand in the 1960s with a new research and development facility, a presence in Thailand was established, the 10 millionth model was produced, a Deming Prize, and partnerships with Hino Motors and Daihatsu were also established. The first Toyota built outside Japan was in April 1963, at Melbourne, Australia. From 1963 until 1965, Australia was Toyota’s biggest export market. By the end of the decade, Toyota had established a worldwide presence, as the company had exported its one-millionth unit. The first Japanese vehicles to arrive in North America were five Land Cruisers in El Salvador in May 1953. The first Toyotas sent to Europe were two Toyopet Tiaras sent to Finland for evaluation in June 1962, but no sales followed.The first European importer was Erla Auto Import A/S of Denmark, who brought in 190 Crowns following a May 1963 agreement to become the distributor for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The Netherlands followed in May 1964, and after having established toeholds in countries with little or no indigenous automobile production other markets followed in 1966. In 1968 Toyota established its first European CKD assembler, Salvador Caetano I.M.V.T. of Portugal. Toyota is the world’s first automobile manufacturer to produce more than 10 million vehicles per year. It did so in 2012 according to OICA, and in 2013 according to company data. As of July 2014, Toyota was the largest listed company in Japan by market capitalization (worth more than twice as much as #2-ranked SoftBank) and by revenue. Toyota is the world’s market leader in sales of hybrid electric vehicles, and one of the largest companies to encourage the mass-market adoption of hybrid vehicles across the globe. Cumulative global sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrid passenger car models passed the 9 million milestone in April 2016…….. The first 8-bhp Ford Model 7Y rolled off the Dagenham assembly lines in east London [31 August 1937]. The standard model cost £117 10s. Sir Percival
Perry, chairman of Ford of Britain, claimed the 7Y to be all new, with the exception of the engine, and even that was treated to a 4-point mounting rather than the 3-point mounting as in the previous Y-type. A Deluxe 7Y Eight was produced costing £127 10s, which included the following items as standard equipment: twin windscreen wipers, ashtrays, a clock mounted in the fascia, a metal spare-wheel cover, an interior lamp, a map pocket, plated hubcap centres, a windscreen frame, trafficators, a glovebox lid, and windscreen and side-window openings……. 60 years ago this week, US officials tested the ‘Drunkometer’, which measured the amount of alcohol on the breath [29 August 1957]. To use the drunk-o-meter, the person being tested blew into a balloon. The air in the balloon was then released into a chemical solution. If there was alcohol in the breath, the chemical solution changed colour. The greater the colour change, the more alcohol in the breath. The level of alcohol in a person’s blood could then be estimated by a simple equation….. on the same day [29 August 1957] Edgar L Longaker (75), inventor of the automobile ignition battery, died in Norristown, Pennsylvania, US……. The 3-year driving licence was introduced under the Road Traffic Act 1956 [1 September 1957]. The fee for a replacement licence, if lost or defaced, rose by 150% from 1 shilling (5p) to 2/ 6d (12.5p)……. The following day [2 September 1957] speedy Thompson won the Southern 500 held at the Darlington Raceway, South Carolina, United States averaging 100.094 mph. It was the first Southern 500 to average better than 100 mph. Bobby Myers was fatally injured in a three-car crash on the 28th lap…… 50 years ago this week, chaos reigned as Sweden switched from driving on the left side of the road to driving on the right in keeping with the rest of continental Europe [3 September 1967]……. 40 years ago this week, English driver Mike Parkes (45) who participated in 7 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 18 July 1959, died [28 August 1977]. He achieved two podiums, and scored a total of 14 championship points. He also secured one pole position. When not racing cars, Parkes worked as an automotive engineer……. 20 years ago this week, Jeff Burton posted a dominant victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Darlington Raceway, South Carolina, US outrunning Mike McLaughlin by 5.011 seconds at the end of the Dura Lube 200 [30 August 1997]. Burton started 10th and led 118 of 147 laps for his sixth career win in the series. Dick Trickle finished third…….10 years ago this week, the all-new Hyundai i30 went on sale in the UK [31 August 2007]……. Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya vowed to do his best to bring India into Formula One after teaming up with Spyker’s director of Formula One Michiel Mol to make an 80 million euro bid for the cash-strapped team. “Team India is on the F1 grid,” declared Mallya in a press conference [1 September 2007]. Mallya’s dream became reality when his Force India team took the grid for the 2008 Australian Grand Prix…. On the same day [1 September 2007] the Southern California Gas Company purchased the first motor vehicles powered by natural gas. Spurred on by a new California law promoting the commercialisation of alternative fuel vehicles, the company put fifty of the new vehicles into service and began promoting the natural gas vehicles (NGVs) as a viable
option for the future. Compressed natural gas costs 25-30 % less than gasoline and has an octane rating of 130 – meaning it burns much cleaner than even premium unleaded gasoline. The NGVs could also go 10,000 miles between oil changes, 40,000 miles between tune-ups, and 75,000 miles between spark plugs. However, the most compelling argument for natural gas wass its environmental advantages. NGVs reduced NOx emissions and reactive hydrocarbons by as much as 95%. The new vehicles also reduce carbon monoxide by 85% and carcinogenic particulate emissions by 99%…… A National Express (UK) coach on service 777 overturned on the southbound M1 as it turned into Newport Pagnell service areas [3 September 2007]. There were 30+ injuries, six of them serious, including the driver who had to be cut free. Police arrested the coach driver on suspicion of drink driving and dangerous driving.