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30 July – 5 August Motoring Milestones

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

Isaac de Rivaz

190 years ago this week, internal combustion engineer pioneer Isaac de Rivaz (76) died [30 July 1828]. He designed several successful steam powered carriages, or charettes as he called them in the French language. His army experience with cannon had led him to think about using an explosive charge to drive a piston instead of steam. In 1804 he began to experiment with explosions created inside a cylinder with a piston. His first designs were for a stationary engine to power a pump. The engine was powered by a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gases ignited to create an explosion within the cylinder and drive the piston out. The gas mixture was ignited by an electric spark in the same manner as a modern internal combustion engine. In 1806 he moved on to apply the design to what became the world’s first internal combustion engine driven . In 1807 de Rivaz placed his experimental prototype engine in a carriage and used it to propel the vehicle a short distance. This was the first vehicle to be powered by an internal combustion engine. On 30 January 1807 Isaac de Rivaz was granted patent No. 731 in Paris. A patent in the State of Valais (now Swiss) patent office also dates it to 1807. Operating independently, the French brothers Nicéphore and Claude Niépce built an internal combustion engine called the Pyreolophore in 1807, which they used to power a boat by the reaction from a pulsed water jet. The honour of whose design was the first internal combustion engine is still debated. The Niépce patent is dated 20 July 1807……..130 years ago this week, Bertha Benz (née Ringer) without her husband Karl’s knowledge, drove her sons, Richard and Eugen, fourteen and fifteen years old, in one of Benz’s newly-constructed “Patent Motorwagen” automobiles — from Mannheim to Pforzheim — becoming the first person to drive a motor car over more than a very short distance [5 August 1888]. The distance was more than 60 miles (c. 106 km)…….. 120 years ago this week, Scientific American carried the first magazine motor-vehicle advertisement [30 July 1898]. The Winton Motor Car Company of Cleveland, Ohio invited readers to ‘dispense with a horse’. By 1900 the company had the world’s largest car-making factory, but by 1904 the manufacturing centre of the country was Detroit, Michigan. Winton were expensive, purchased by the upper middle class, a market which the company ultimately lost to competition, causing them to cease production in 1924…….The Llandudno Motor Touring Company began bus excursions between Llandudno, Penmaenmawr, Bethesda, Penrhyn and Llanrwst, Wales [2 August 1898]……..On a visit to the Winton plant with his brother James, William D. Packard was taken for a test-drive in one of the company’s vehicles, accompanied by George L. Weiss, a Winton executive [4 August 1898]. Packard ended up purchasing the Winton, to his later regret. The Packards’ disappointing experience with the Winton prompted them to build their own car and establish the Ohio Automobile Company in 1900, which would later become the Packard Motor Company……..110 years ago this week, George Schuster arrived in Paris in the Thomas Flyer to win the New York to Paris Race having covered 13,341 miles – the German Protos had arrived 4 days earlier, but was penalised 30 days for rules violation [30 July 1908].The race, which was the first of its kind among automobiles, commenced in Times Square on February 12, 1908. Six cars representing four nations were at the starting line for what would become a 169-day ordeal. The national flags of Germany, France, Italy and the United States flew, with the Protos representing Germany, the Zust representing Italy, three cars (De Dion-Bouton, Motobloc and Sizaire-Naudin) representing France, and Thomas Flyer competing for the United States. At 11:15 AM a

gunshot signaled the start of the race. Ahead of the competitors were very few paved roads, and in many parts of the world no roads at all. Often, the teams resorted to straddling locomotive rails with their cars riding tie to tie on balloon tires for hundreds of miles when no roads could be found. The American Thomas Flyer was in the lead crossing the United States arriving in San Francisco[2] in 41 days, 8 hours, and 15 minutes. It was the first crossing of the US by an automobile in winter. The route then took them to Valdez, Alaska by ship. The Thomas crew found impossible conditions in Alaska and the race was rerouted across the Pacific by steamer to Japan where the Americans made their way across to the Sea of Japan. Then it was on to Vladivostok, Siberia by ship to begin crossing the continents of Asia and Europe. Only three of the competitors made it past Vladivostok: the Protos, the Züst, and the Flyer. The tundra of Siberia and Manchuria was an endless quagmire with the spring thaw making progress difficult. At several points, forward movement was often measured in feet rather than miles per hour. Eventually, the roads improved as Europe approached and the Thomas arrived in Paris on July 30, 1908 to win, having covered approximately 16,700 km. The Germans, driven by Hans Koeppen, arrived in Paris four days earlier, but had been penalized a total of 30 days for not going to Alaska and for shipping the Protos part of the way by railcar. That gave the win to the Americans with George Schuster (the only American to go the full distance from New York to Paris) by 26 days. The Italians arrived later in September 1908. The race was of international interest with daily front page coverage by the New York Times (a cosponsor of the race with the Parisian newspaper Le Matin). The significance of the event extended far beyond the race itself. Together with the Peking to Paris race which took place the year before it established the reliability of the automobile as a dependable means of transportation, eventually taking the automobile from an amusement of the rich to a reliable and viable means of long distance transportation for the masses. It also led to the call for improved roads to be constructed in many parts of the world. winning driver George Schuster was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame on October 12, 2010. The winning Thomas Flyer is on display in Reno, Nevada at the National Automobile Museum, alongside the trophy………90 years ago this week, the Chrysler Corporation acquired Dodge Brothers from Dillon Read for $170 million [31 July 1928]…….. The De Soto marque was founded by Walter P. Chrysler, and introduced for the 1929 model year [4 August 1928]…….. 60 years ago this week, British racing driver, Peter Collins (26), the ‘Gay

Cavalier’, died in the at Nurbringring [3 August 1958]. Collins trying hard to keep up with the leaders went into the Pflanzgarten section of the circuit, entered a turn too fast causing his Ferrari to run wide and strike a ditch on the left side of the road. Though Collins was thrown clear as the car somersaulted, he struck a tree, sustaining critical head injuries. Collins sadly died later that afternoon in hospital. The race was won by Tony Brooks driving a Vanwall…….. 50 years ago this week, Jackie Stewart, racing a Matra-Ford with a broken wrist, won the German held at the Nürburgring in mist and torrential rain rendering the track treacherous and visibility virtually non-existent [4 August 1968]. He won the race by a margin of four minutes in what is widely considered to be one of the greatest victories in the history of . Stewart thought it was not his greatest race — which he believed was the 1973 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where Stewart unlapped himself on the entire field……..40 years ago this week, Okinawa at the end of World War II was under control of the United States and drove on the right hand side of the road. When it was returned to Japan, Okinawa changed back to driving on the left. The change took place at 06:00 on 30 July 1978 and is one of very few places to have changed from right to left hand traffic in the late twentieth century…….on the same day [30 July 1978] Mario Andretti won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in his Lotus. Starting on the pole he won by 15.3 seconds over Jody Schecter in the Wolf. Jacques Laffite was third in his Ligier. Andretti’s teammate, Peterson set fastest lap but his gearbox packed up on lap 36, forcing his retirement………The financially stressed Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini was placed under the “controlled administration” of the Italian government official Alessandro Artese [1 August 1978]…….. 20 years ago this week, Mark Martin won the inaugural 40-lap “IROC at Indy” International Race of Champions event [31 July 1998]. Jeff Gordon won his second Allstate 400 at the Brickyard the next day [1 August 1998]. IROC at Indy was an auto race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, from 1998 through 2003, as a support race to the Brickyard 400. It was part of the International Race of Champions series, and served as the season finale each of the six years it was run. In March 1992, IROC drivers Dave Marcis and Dick Trickle were invited to test at the Speedway. At the time, the Speedway was considering hosting an IROC event during the month of May, during activities leading up the Indianapolis 500. The test was considered successful, but several improvements would have to be made to the track before it was safe for modern stock cars to race there. After consideration, it was determined that it would not be economically feasible to hold an IROC race at the time, and plans for that event were put on hold. Instead, the Speedway moved forward on plans to host a NASCAR race, the Brickyard 400, which would debut in 1994. After the Brickyard 400 was deemed to be a huge success, and since the sufficient track improvements had been made, the Speedway re-opened talks to bring an IROC to Indy. The event was held for the first time in 1998. As with all IROC races, there were no qualification sessions held. Grid positions were determined on a handicap basis, with starting positions opposite to the current points standings. All cars were identically prepared stock cars, based upon the Pontiac Trans Am. The cars were prepared and serviced by the series, rather than by a team which employed the driver. By winning the IROC event from 1998–2000, Mark Martin became the first driver to “three-peat” any single annual event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Due to dwindling interest, the IROC race was removed from the IMS schedule after 2003 and, following the 2006 season, the IROC series itself folded……..10 years ago this week, contested over 70 laps, the Hungarian Grand Prix was won by Heikki Kovalainen for the McLaren team, from a second position start [3 August 2008]. Timo Glock finished second in a Toyota, with Kimi Räikkönen third in a Ferrari. It was Kovalainen’s first Formula One victory, which made him the sport’s 100th driver to win a World Championship race, and it was Glock’s first podium finish.

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