8-14 July: Motoring Milestones

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

130 years ago this week, Gottlieb Daimler was issued with a German patent for his V-2 gasoline engine [9 July 1889]………. 120 years ago this week, Giovanni Agnelli purchased the Welleyes prototype, the patents held by Giovanni Battista Ceirano and the services of Artistide Faccioli, leading to the founding of the Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Fiat) [11 July 1899]………John D Davis and his wife, Louise Hitchcock Davis, left New York City in an attempt to make the first transcontinental automobile trip – after numerous mechanical and other problems they abandoned the attempt near Toledo, Ohio, US [13 July 1899]……..110 years ago this week, the sixth Glidden Tour began in

Charles J. Glidden in Mankato, Minnesota, at the 1909 Glidden Tour

Detroit, Michigan with a planned route to Kansas City, Missouri, US [12 July 1909]. A Studebaker-EMF went out 2 hours early to mark the route by dropping confetti on its way. A Pierce-Arrow won, continuing a multi-event win streak in this AAA-sanctioned event. Not truly a race, the event had a designated “pace” to arrive at the right time with penalties for repairs along the way. The first tour proved itself to be a success and, thanks to a little help from Boston millionaire Charles Glidden, subsequent tours began to achieve national attention. An early advocate of car travel, Glidden had always passionately supported automobiles. His exploits to showcase their capabilities were renowned for being epic and included the first ever round-the-world trip in 1901…….90 years ago this week, BMW announced in full-page advertisements that it had started business as a car manufacturer [9 July 1929]. A small car with the type designation 3/15 PS, nicknamed Dixi, was presented to guests in Berlin. The two-door car body was made entirely of steel and driven by a water-cooled, 15-bhp, 750-cc, 4-cylinder engine. The frame consisted of pieces of pressed sheet metal riveted together, with rigid front and rear axles. ‘Bigger inside than outside’ became the advertising slogan for BMW……….80 years ago this week, German driver Hermann Paul Müller won the French Grand Prix driving an Auto Union Typ D [9 July 1939]………..70 years ago this week, the second race of the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock season was held at the Daytona Beach Road Course

Gober Sosebee – 1949

(Florida, US) [10 July 1949]. Gober Sosebee won the pole. Sosebee led the first 34 laps and was passed by Red Byron of Atlanta with six laps remaining. Byron won the 166-mile NASCAR Strictly Stock race on the sands of the 4.15-mile Daytona Beach and Road Course. There were on 21 of the 28 starters running at the finish. Byron won the caution free race with an average speed of 80.883 mph. Louise Smith, one of three female drivers to start the race flipped early on, but with the help of spectators, uprighted her Ford and continued on to a 20th-place finish. The other female racers entered, Sara Christian in a Ford finished 18th and Ethel Mobely in a Cadillac finished 11th. Pre-race favorites Curtis Turner, Bob Flock and Glenn Dunnaway all DNF’d. This race took two hours, three minutes and 13 seconds to complete 40 laps. The lead was swapped twice by Sosebee and Byron……..50 years ago this week, the one millionth Citroen DS rolled off the production line: a DS 21 with gold bodywork [10 July 1969]……. The Trenton Speedway, New Jersey, US staged its first event, the Northern 300 NASCAR race, which was won by David Pearson in a Ford [12 July 1969]………40 years ago this week, a car bomb destroyed a Renault motor car owned by the famed “Nazi hunters” Serge and Beate Klarsfeld at their home in France. A note purportedly from ODESSA claimed responsibility [9 July 1979]……….Peugeot announced the revival of the ‘Talbot’ trade name [10 July 1979]. They acquired the rights to the name on buying Simca, to market the products of the Chrysler Europe subsidiaries, which it had bought the previous year……..Clay Regazzoni, the oldest man in the field won the British Grand Prix,

Clay Regazzoni

giving Frank Williams his first grand prix win [14 July 1979]. Alan Jones had led early on before his engine overheated. Regazzoni’s podium antics were subdued, standing back as Rene Arnoux and Jean-Pierre Jarier splashed around the champagne – the team’s Saudi Arabian sponsors insisted there could be no association with alcohol and so he resorted to lemonade………30 years ago this week, Alain Prost in a McLaren-Honda MP4/5 won the French Grand Prix [9 July 1989]. The race is most famous for the multiple first corner collision involving Nigel Mansell, Maurício Gugelmin, Thierry Boutsen and other cars when Gugelmin locked the brakes of his March and hit the back of Boutsen’s Williams, launching itself upside down onto the back of Mansell’s Ferrari, causing chaos and resulting in a complete restart. There was actually a little noticed second accident at the first turn as René Arnoux used Jonathan Palmer’s Tyrrell to retard the progress of his Ligier JS33, launching his front wheels in the air. Amazingly with Gugelmin still in his car, the French marshals then tipped the March back onto its wheels, the car coming down with a thud……..The Honda Motor Car Company Ltd announced plans to build a factory in Swindon, Wiltshire, England [13 July 1989]. Honda’s decision to invest in production facilities in Swindon came as a result of Honda’s collaboration with British Leyland (BL). (Note Much of the engine manufacturing equipment was shipped to Japan and has most recently been used in the production of the companies F1 power plant) (later the Rover Group), which started in 1979. Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd (HUM) was established in 1985 and production at the engine plant began in 1989. In 1992, production of the Honda Accord (cover image – which had the same design but different engines to the Rover 600 Series) began in Swindon, and a second engine line was installed. In 1994, production of the Honda Civic began in Swindon – the same year that the Rover-Honda venture ended due to Rover’s takeover by BMW. Despite this, the 1995 Rover 400 Series was based on the new Honda Civic. In August 2000, it was revealed that United Kingdom–manufactured Honda cars would be exported to Japan for the first time. In the same year, the plant also began production of CR-V SUV, which had been on sale in the UK since 1997………..20 years ago this week, Donington Park services on the M1 (England) opened [8 July 1999]………A Los Angeles jury ordered General Motors to pay $4.9 billion to 6 people burned when their 1979 Chevrolet Malibu fuel tank exploded on Christmas Eve 1993 following a rear end collision [9 July 1999]. In August a judge reduced the award to $1.2 billion. A judge later reduced the punitive damages to $1.09 billion, while letting stand $107 million in compensatory damages; General Motors continued to appeal……… Jacques Villeneuve and Alessandro Zanardi both stalled on the grid causing a restart at the British Grand Prix [11 July 1999]. While the red flags were out, Michael Schumacher crashed his Ferrari at Stowe corner due to brake failure, breaking his leg. This would keep him out of Formula One until the Malaysian Grand Prix, ending his championship hopes. David Coulthard won the race in a McLaren-Mercedes MP4-14 after he started from third position. Eddie Irvine finished second for the Ferrari team and Williams driver Ralf Schumacher came in third. Following a difficult season Damon Hill performed well to finish 5th in his home race and seemed happy enough to carry on for the rest of the season. He had also briefly led the race for a lap, which was the last time he would lead a Grand Prix. This was Toranosuke Takagi’s final classified Formula One race finish. He failed to finish each of his subsequent eight races…….10 years ago this week, Mark Webber’s maiden Formula 1 win came at the German Grand Prix and despite a drive-through penalty when he clipped Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn on the first corner [12 July 2009]. It was not a good day for Barrichello and team-mate Jenson Button whose early-season dominance was becoming a memory. They struggled with a three-stop strategies, finishing sixth and fifth respectively.

 

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