29 June – 5 July: Motoring Milestones

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

Charles Goodyear

160 years ago this week, Charles Goodyear (59), American inventor of vulcanised rubber, died a pauper [1 July 1860]. Goodyear began his career as a partner in his father’s hardware business, which went bankrupt in 1830. He then became interested in discovering a method of treating india rubber so that it would lose its adhesiveness and susceptibility to extremes of heat and cold. He developed a nitric acid treatment and in 1837 contracted for the manufacture by this process of mailbags for the U.S. government, but the rubber fabric proved useless at high temperatures. For the next few years he worked with Nathaniel M. Hayward (1808–65), a former employee of a rubber factory in Roxbury, Mass., who had discovered that rubber treated with sulfur was not sticky. Goodyear bought Hayward’s process. In 1839 he accidentally dropped some India rubber mixed with sulfur on a hot stove and so discovered vulcanization. He was granted his first patent in 1844 but had to fight numerous infringements in court; the decisive victory did not come until 1852. That year he went to England, where articles made under his patents had been displayed at the International Exhibition of 1851; while there he unsuccessfully attempted to establish factories. He also lost his patent rights there and in France because of technical and legal problems. In France a company that manufactured vulcanized rubber by his process failed, and in December 1855 Goodyear was imprisoned for debt in Paris. Meanwhile, in the United States, his patents continued to be infringed upon. Although his invention made millions for others, at his death he left debts of some $200,000. He wrote an account of his discovery entitled Gum-Elastic and Its Varieties (2 vol.; 1853–55)…….120 years ago this week, Vincenzo Lancia made his racing debut, winning a speed trial at Padua, Italy in a 6-hp Fiat [1 July 1900]. The winner of the quadricycle class in the Padua-Vicenza-Padua was Ettore Bugatti in what would be his last known racing competition as a driver…….The first Padova to Bovolenta automobile, voiturette and motorcycle race in Italy began [2 July 1900]. The first day had a 10-kilometre (6.2 mile) straight race between the cities of Padova and Bovolenta in Italy, followed by a 1-kilometre (0.62 mile) race in Padova the next day. L. Gastè won in a three-wheeler vehicle Soncin (8 mins 2 sec), followed by Ettore Bugatti in a Prinetti & Stucchi quadricycle and Vincenzo Lancia in a Fiat 6HP……..110 years ago this week, the seventh Glidden tour ended in Chicago, and was won by Ray McNamara in a Premier [30 June 1910]. The original Glidden Tours were held from 1902 through 1913. They were named after Charles J. Glidden, a financier and automobile enthusiast, who presented the AAA with a trophy first awarded to the winner of the 1905 tour…….100 years ago this week, the 500,000th Dodge automobile was produced [1 July 1920]….. Tony Vandervell, the man behind the successful Vanwall Grand Prix car was runner-up at the Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb, at the first meeting held there after World War I [3 July 1920]. With a Clement-Talbot, he was only 2.2 seconds behind works driver, C Bird, whose Indianapolis Sunbeam made the fastest climb of the day……..Du Pont’s Duco Satin Finish proxylin enamel paint was announced [4 July 1920]. This quick drying paint was introduced by Oakland in 1923 and revolutionised automobile production techniques……..90 years ago this week, Carl Wickman’s bus empire Northland Transportation Company extended its bus service across the United States and became known as The Greyhound Corporation and adopted the running dog as its trademark [1 July 1930]…….70 years ago this week, the first four-seat Triumph Mayflower, noted for its razor-edge styling, rolled off the production line [30 June 1950]. The 1.25-litre, 4-cylinder, side-valve engine was capable of 65 mph and cost £374 (plus £104 18s 4d purchase tax). The Mayflower used a version of the pre-war Standard Flying Ten’s side-valve engine updated by having an aluminium cylinder head and single Solex carburettor. The engine developed 38 bhp (28 kW) at 4200 rpm. The 3-speed gearbox, with column shift, came from the Standard Vanguard and had synchromesh on all the forward ratios. There was independent suspension at the front using coil springs and telescopic dampers, but a solid axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, also based on the Vanguard’s design, was at the rear. Lockheed hydraulic brakes were fitted. The Mayflower was the first car with unitary construction to be manufactured either by Standard or by the Triumph company that existed before Standard bought its assets. The body was designed by Leslie Moore, chief body designer of Mulliners of Birmingham with input from Standard’s Walter Belgrove. The body shells were built by Fisher and Ludlow at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. The Mayflower had traditional “razor edge” styling similar to that of the Triumph Renown imitating the style then still used by Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars. Standard’s managing director Sir John Black believed this would be especially appealing to the American market. One advantage of the car’s upright styling was that it could seat four people in comfort despite its small size,although there were complaints about the rear seat being constrained by the rear axle and being too narrow as a result. A Mayflower tested by British magazine The Motor in 1950 had a top speed of 62.9 mph (101.2 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–50 mph (80 km/h) in 26.6 seconds. A fuel consumption of 28.3 miles per imperial gallon (10.0 L/100 km; 23.6 mpg‑US) was recorded. The test car cost £505 including taxes…….The eighth race of the 1950 NASCAR season was run at Monroe County Fairgrounds in Rochester, New York [2 July 1950]. Curtis Turner won the pole. Turner passed the field and cruised to an easy win in the 100-mile Grand National event. It was his fourth career win. Turner, starting his Oldsmobile on the pole, jumped out to an early lead and led the entire 200 laps on the half-mile dirt track. He wound up three laps in front of runner-up Bill Blair, who edged out Lee Petty in a stretch duel. Jimmy Florian was fourth and Bill Rexford fifth. Turner averaged 50.614 mph as three caution flags broke the action for seven total laps. Following the race, Turner and Petty fought at the inspection station. Each was fined $100 by NASCAR. Dick Burns was badly shaken when his Mercury left the track and struck a light pole in the 133rd lap. The event was the first Grand National race in which a father-son duo competed together. Roscoe “Pappy” Hough and his son Lee finished 18th and 25th. Turner’s victory pushed him atop the point standings by two points over Lloyd Moore. Petty stood third in points, 24.5 points out of first place, but he was stripped of all 809 points a week later, when NASCAR officials discovered he that competed in a non-sanctioned race………. Juan Manuel Fangio put on a stunning display, including a 116 mph practice lap, to win the French Grand Prix at Reims, driving a Alfa Romeo 158 [2 July 1950].  A total of 22 cars entered the event, four of which did not start the race. Gianfranco Comotti did not attend the event, Eugène Chaboud did not start in his own car, instead sharing Philippe Étancelin’s Talbot-Lago, and the two Scuderia Ferrari entries of Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari withdrew in practice. With Ferrari not starting their 3-litre cars, the main opposition was to come from the Talbots, complete with dual ignition engines with 12 spark plugs. But they suffered from radiator problems and overheated to allow Fangio and Fagioli to lead home another Alfa demonstration run, whilst Farina succumbed to fuel pump trouble. Peter Whitehead took a deserved podium with 3rd place despite a fractured head gasket in the last two laps…….. 60 years ago this week, William C. Newberg was fired as President of the Chrysler Corporation because of alleged conflicts-of-interest caused by owning stock in various corporate suppliers [30 June 1960]….. and on the same day [30 June 1960], skid marks 290 metres (950 ft) in length were made by a Jaguar car involved in an accident on the M1 near Luton – the longest recorded on a public road. Evidence given in the subsequent High Court case indicated a speed ‘in excess of 100 mph before the application of the brakes’……… 50 years ago this week, Kelly Petillo (68), winner of the 1935 Indianapolis 500, died [30 June 1970]. Petillo competed in the Indianapolis 500

Kelly Petillo

on ten occasions, winning the race in 1935 in a year that marked the first win by a car powered by an Offenhauser engine. Petillo went on to win the 1935 AAA National Driving Championship. In 1937, Petillo participated in the Vanderbilt Cup but engine problems forced him out of the race. In 1942, Petillo sustained a concussion and lacerations after a road accident when his car collided with a freight train. Petillo was denied entry to the 1946 Indianapolis 500, and sued the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for $50,000. Off the track, Petillo had numerous run-ins with the law, including charges of attempted rape and attempted murder. Police arrested him in victory lane after winning a race at Owosso Speedway, on charges of assault to commit murder seven days earlier. He was sentenced to ten years in the Indiana State Prison. He was released on parole in 1955, but went missing. He was re-captured in 1957, incidentally, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was returned to prison until 1959, after which he was denied entry to the Indianapolis 500 in 1959 and 1960, officially due to age. After his exclusion in 1959, he again filed a lawsuit for $50,000 against the speedway and the United States Auto Club……..The last Volvo Amazon was produced [3 July 1970]. When introduced in 1950, the car was named the Amason (with an ‘s’), deriving from the fierce female warriors of Greek mythology, the Amazons. German motorcycle manufacturer Kreidler had already registered the name, and the two companies finally agreed that Volvo could only use the name domestically (i.e., within Sweden), modifying the spelling to Amazon. Subsequently, Volvo began its tri-digit nomenclature and the line became known as the 120 Series…….. Clermont-Ferrand staged the French Grand Prix, which was won by Jochen Rindt in a Lotus-Cosworth 72C. It was the last Formula One race to be held on public roads with no Armco lining around the circuit [5 July 1970]…… 40 years ago this week, a bus plunged into a canal near Mirpur, Pakistan, and at least 90 people drown as a result [29 June 1980]….. on the same day [29 June 1980], Alan Jones driving a Williams-Cosworth FW07B won the French Grand Prix held at Paul Ricard Circuit. This race also saw the final appearance of Shadow Racing Cars…….British Leyland (BL) launched the Morris Ital [1 July 1980]. It took its name from the Ital Design studio of Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro, who had re-engineered the Morris Marina, which had been produced since 1971. Although the Ital had revised exterior styling, it retained the Marina’s 1.3- and 1.7-litre petrol engines and rear-wheel-drive chassis, as well as the dashboard and interior of the Marina. The Ital was the last production car to wear the Morris badge, although there was a Morris-badged van version of the Metro produced until 1984….. on the same day [1 July 1980], a consortium headed by Aston Martin-Lagona failed in its attempt to buy British Leyland’s MG Works at Abingdon…….30 years ago this week, the Lexus LS400 was launched in the UK [5 July 1990]…….20 years ago this week, Ford officially took ownership of Land Rover from the BMW Group [30 June 2000]…. Jeff Burton held off the competition to win the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. This was the final broadcast for the CBS network of NASCAR [1 July 2000]…….. Radiance, a sleek solar car built by the Queen’s University Solar Vehicle Team of Ontario, Canada, began a 29 day, 4,376.62 miles (7043.5 km) journey across Canada from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver, British Columbia [I July 2000]. The car was built for the annual World Solar Challenge between Darwin and Adelaide in Australia, and achieved second place in 1999.

 

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