Momentous motoring events that took place during this week in history …..
120 years ago this week, the Roots Oil Motor & Motor Car Company Ltd., was registered in London, England by J D Roots to manufacture Roots & Veneables motorcars [7 July 1897]…….. 110 years ago this week, the first official motor-race meeting (for prize money of £5,000) was held at the newly opened Brooklands racing track in Surrey, England [6 July 1907]. Nicknamed the ‘Motoring Ascot’ by the press, Brooklands was the world’s first purpose-built motor-racing circuit. There were no established rules to follow and many of the procedures were initially based on horse-racing traditions. Cars assembled in the ‘paddock’ were ‘shod’ with tyres and weighed by the ‘Clerk of the Scales’ for handicapping, and drivers were even instructed to identify themselves by wearing coloured silks in the manner of jockeys. H. C. Tryon won the first race in a Napier, a race in which 22 different makes of cars were entered….. On the same day [6 July 1907] the first 1908 Packard Thirty Model UA was produced. It had a water-cooled, four-cylinder, T-head engine delivering 30 hp (NACC) at 650 rpm.displacing 431.9 cubic inches (7078 cubic centimeters)] with a bore 5 in (127 mm) and a stroke of 5.5 in (139.7 mm). A plate clutch was blocked with the engine. Power was transmitted by a long shaft with universal joints to the three-speed sliding-gear manual gearbox with reverse. This was located in a housing at the rear axle which also contained the differential. The car used shaft drive from the beginning, although many other high-powered cars at this time relied on double-chain drive. Prices at introduction started with $4200 for open models and went up to $5500 for the limousine and $5600 for the landaulet. A 1911 Four-door Landaulet cost $5,750. Standard equipment included oil lamps, a tool kit, and two extra demountable rims. The closed cars also included speaking tubes, adjustable ventilators, and a dome light that had a separate battery. There was a speedometer and an air-pressure gauge. Wheelbase was 123 1/2″ for the standard chassis…….. 90 years ago this week, held at Monthlèry over 48 laps of a 12.50 km course for a total distance of 600.00 km, the French Grand Prix was won by Robert Benoist driving a Delage [3 July 1927]……. The Hon Mrs Victor Bruce
accompanied by her husband plus a journalist and an engineer departed from London driving an AC Six car (PF6465) borrowed from Selwyn Edge [9 July 1927]. They drove through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and finally planted a Union Jack flag about 250 miles (400 km) north of the Arctic Circle. It was farther north than anyone had previously driven, a record that remained unbroken until the 21st century.…… 80 years ago this week, the second and last Vanderbilt Trophy race was staged at the Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, Long Island, New York and was won by Bernd Rosemeyer in a Typ C Auto Union [5 July 1937]…. On the same day [5 July 1937], Commander Walter George Windham (73), credited with many firsts in British automobile and aviation history, died in Builth Wells, Radnorshire, Wales. Between 1884 and 1888 he circumnavigated the world four times under sail, and participated in the first London to Brighton Rally in 1896. He was a King’s Messenger between 1900 and 1909, driving the first motor vehicle into Whitehall Court, carrying foreign dispatches, on 12 November 1902, and carrying the Anglo-Russian Entente from Saint Petersburg to London in 1907. In 1908 he offered a gold cup to the first airman to fly the English Channel, and this trophy was won by Louis Blériot in 1909. Two weeks later, on 10 August 1909, Hubert Latham flew a letter addressed to Windham from France to England, believed to be the first letter ever transported by air. Windham controlled the first aerial meeting in England, held at Doncaster; and at Bournemouth, in 1910, he entered a monoplane and a biplane which he had constructed, winning a prize in the competition. In December 1910, Windham made the first passenger flight in Asia and, in 1911, he founded the world’s first two airmail services: the first, established in February 1911, from Allahabad crossing the Ganges, and the second, established in September 1911, between Hendon and Windsor. Special stamps and envelopes were issued. He served in the Royal Indian Navy during the First World War, rising to the rank of Commander. Walter Windham was invested as a Knight Bachelor in 1923 and made a Freeman of the City of London in 1933……70 years go this week, the Tucker 48 was shown in an exclusive preview at the Hotel Statler in Washington DC. Only 51 cars were made before the company folded on March 3, 1949, due to negative publicity initiated by the news media, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and a heavily publicized stock fraud trial (in which allegations were proven baseless in court with a full acquittal). Speculation exists that the Big Three automakers and [7 July 1947]. Michigan senator Homer S. Ferguson also had a role in the Tucker Corporation’s demise. The 1988 movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream is based on the saga surrounding the car’s production. The film’s director, Francis Ford Coppola, is a Tucker owner and displays his vehicle on the grounds of his winery. The 48’s original proposed price was said to be $1,000, but the actual selling price was closer to $4,000. A 1948 Tucker sedan was featured in the July 26, 2011, installment of NBC’s It’s Worth What? television show. The car’s estimated value at that time was US$1,200,000. The car is commonly referred to as the “Tucker Torpedo”. This name was never used in conjunction with the actual production car, and its name was officially “Tucker 48”. Some components and features of the car were innovative and ahead of their time. The most recognizable feature of the Tucker ’48, a directional third headlight (known as the “Cyclops Eye”), would activate at steering angles of greater than 10 degrees to light the car’s path around corners. At the time, 17 states had laws against cars having more than two headlights. Tucker fabricated a cover for the cyclops center light for use in these states. The car had a rear engine and rear-wheel drive. A perimeter frame surrounded the vehicle for crash protection, as well as a roll bar integrated into the roof. The steering box was behind the front axle to protect the driver in a front-end accident. The instrument panel and all controls were within easy reach of the steering wheel, and the dashboard was padded for safety. The windshield was made of shatterproof glass and designed to pop out in a collision to protect occupants. The car’s parking brake had a separate key so it could be locked in place to prevent theft. The doors extended into the roof, to ease entry and exit. Each Tucker built differed somewhat from the previous car, as each car built was basically a “prototype” where design features and engineering concepts were tried, improved, or discarded throughout the production cycle. The door releases on the interior of the Tucker came from the Lincoln Zephyr. The steering columns used in the Tucker were donated by Ford and are from the 1941 Lincoln. Preston Tucker held a patent for a collapsible steering column design. A glove box was added to the front door panels instead of the more conventional location in the dashboard to provide space for the “crash chamber” that the Tucker is now famous for. This is a padded area ahead of the passenger seat, free from obstructions, providing the front seat passengers an area to protect themselves in the event of an accident. The engine and transmission were mounted on a separate subframe which was secured with only six bolts. The entire drive train could thus be lowered and removed from the car in minutes. Tucker envisioned loaner engines being quickly swapped in for service in just 30 minutes. Tucker envisioned several other innovations that were later abandoned. Magnesium wheels, disc brakes, fuel injection, self-sealing tubeless tires, and a direct-drive torque converter transmission were all evaluated or tested, but were dropped on the final prototype due to cost, engineering complexity, and lack of time to develop. Tucker initially tried to develop an innovative engine, with help from Ben Parsons, then owner and president of the Fuelcharger Corporation, and would later be Tucker’s VP of engineering. It was a 589 cubic inches (9.65 L) flat-6 cylinder with hemispherical combustion chambers, fuel injection, and overhead valves operated by oil pressure rather than a camshaft. An oil pressure distributor was mounted in line with the ignition distributor and delivered appropriately timed direct oil pressure to open each valve at proper intervals. The oil pressure fed to each valve was “timed” by intake and exhaust eccentrics and measured by spring-loaded plungers. Built of aluminum and magnesium castings with steel-plated cylinder linings, the huge pistons required up to 60 volts to turn over the starter, nearly triple the power of a normal starter. This unique engine was designed to idle at 100 rpm and cruise at 250-1200 rpm through the use of direct-drive torque converters on each driving wheel instead of a transmission. It was designed to produce almost 200 hp (150 kW; 200 PS)1 and 450 lb·ft (610 N·m) of torque at only 1800 RPM. When cruising at 60 mph (97 km/h), it would only turn at approximately 1000 rpm. These features would have been auto industry firsts in 1948, but as engine development proceeded, problems appeared. Six prototypes of the 589 engine were built, but it was installed only in the test chassis and the first prototype……. 60 years ago this week, the Fiat 500 was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show [4 July 1957]. It was cheap and practical,
measuring only 2.97 metres (9 ft 9 in) long, and originally powered by an appropriately sized 479-cc, 2-cylinder, air-cooled engine. The 500 redefined the term ‘small car’ and is considered one of the first city cars……. 50 years ago this week, outdueling Darel Dieringer in a race long battle, Richard Petty drove his Plymouth to victory in the NASCAR Grand National ‘Northern 300’ on the 1 mile paved Trenton Speedway, New Jersey [9 July 1967]. The crowd of 19,500 was thrilled for most of the race as Petty and Dieringer dueled for the lead in heavy traffic. The lead swapped 8 times among Petty, Dieringer and Jim Paschal, with Paschal leading for only 1 lap. Petty took the lead for good on lap 254 and led the rest of the way, crossing the line 28 seconds ahead of Dieringer’s Junior Johnson Ford. Paschal wound up 3rd, 3 laps back in the Tommy Friedkin Plymouth. It was Petty’s 61st career GN win….. On the same day [9 July 1967] Jochen Rindt won the F2 Rouen Grand Prix in France at the wheel of a Brabham BT23……. 40 years ago this week, Mario Andretti was on pole with James Hunt second and Gunnar Nilsson third on the grid at the French Grand Prix [3 July 1977]. Hunt got the best start and led into the first corner from John Watson and Jacques Laffite, with Andretti dropping down to fourth. However, Watson passed Hunt on the fifth lap and started to build a gap until Andretti got up to second and began to reel him in. During the final few laps, leader Watson and Andretti were running nose-to-tail but Watson held him off till the last lap when his engine missed a beat and immediately Andretti was past. Andretti thus took the win ahead of a crestfallen Watson and Hunt…… “The Spy Who Loved Me,” starring Roger Moore as the suave super spy James Bond, known for his love of fast cars and dangerous women, had its London premiere [7 July 1977]. The film features one of the most memorable Bond cars of all time, a sleek, powerful Lotus Esprit sports car that does double duty as a submarine……. 30 years ago this week, Herbert Edward Hill (86), the developer of the constant velocity joint that made front-wheel-drive practicable, died [3 July 1987]…… the following day [4 July 1987] Bobby Allison blasted out of the middle of the pack and roared past Ken Schrader with two laps to go, to win the Pepsi Firecracker 400 at Daytona. Allison was running 13th with five laps to go, but made up the deficit and drove to an impressive triumph……. 25 years ago this week, Nigel Mansell won the French Grand Prix in a Williams-Renault FW14B [5 July 1992]…….20 years ago this week, Russian carmaker Lada announced the end of imports to the United Kingdom after 23 years and some 350,000 sales of its low-priced, low-specification cars, which at their peak sold in excess of 30,000 cars a year, but managed just over 6,000 sales in 1996 [4 July 1997]……. 10 years ago this week, the Royal Mail issued six Grand Prix stamps to celebrate one hundred years of UK motorsport and the 50th anniversary of Stirling Moss winning the British Grand Prix [3 July 2007]. The six stamps featured Moss’s 1957 Vanwall, Graham Hill’s 1962 BRM P57, Jim Clark’s 1963 Lotus 25 Climax, Jackie Stewart’s 1973 Tyrrell 006/2, James Hunt’s 1976 McLaren M23 and Nigel Mansell’s 1986 Williams FW11……. 50 years to the day [4 July 2007] after Giacosa’s famous car debuted, the redesigned Fiat 500 was introduced in
Turin, with 250,000 people in attendance. It was also displayed in the squares of 30 cities throughout Italy. The new 500 was based on the mechanical elements of the popular Fiat Panda, but modified significantly. Though its retro styling evoked its iconic predecessor, the strong performance and extensive safety features (including seven airbags) were all its own…… The fourth Generation BMW M3 made its debut [7 July 2007]. Similar to the previous M3 generations that introduced a new engine, the fourth generation M3 did the same: the BMW S65 V8 engine. The engine produces 414 bhp (309 kW; 420 PS) at 8300 rpm, with peak torque of 295 lb·ft (400 N·m) at 3900 rpm. A six-speed manual transmission is standard. As of April 2008, BMW offers a new seven speed Getrag double-clutch gearbox, called M-DKG (Doppel-Kupplungs-Getriebe) or M-DCT (Double Clutch Transmission) as an option, which reduces shift pauses to less than a tenth of a second and shortens the car’s 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time by 0.2 seconds vs. manual. It features both automatic and manual modes. Testing by Car and Driver magazine has shown that the 2011 M3 equipped with an M-DCT transmission accelerated from 0–60 mph in 3.9 seconds and went on to record a 12.4 second quarter mile time.This is almost half a second quicker than 2008–2010 M3 models with the same engine and transmission…… Kimi Räikkönen won the British Grand Prix after overtaking pole position driver Lewis Hamilton during the first round of pit stops and took control of the race. Second place was taken by Fernando Alonso and Hamilton was third [8 July 2007]…. The next day [9 July 2007] civilian Jack Carroll, who was filmed as he drove a tank over a car at an army barracks, was banned from driving for a year and given community service by magistrates in Northallerton. North Yorkshire (England).