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9-15 May: Motoring Milestones

Motoring Milestones

9-15 May

Cars, people and events in this week’s Motoring Milestones include: Stirling Moss, Subaru, George Michael and the Spanish Grand Prix

120 Years ago today, the first horseless carriage show was held in London, featuring just 10 models [9 May 1896]….. 100 Years ago today, Charles Kettering and Edward Deeds agreed to sell their Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco) to the United Motors Corporation, a holding company founded by William C. Durant in his attempt to regain control of General Motors (GM) [11 May 1916]. Deeds and Kettering both left the National Cash Register Company–where Kettering had invented the motor that made the electric cash register possible–in order to start Delco. Originally a research and development company, Delco began manufacturing in order to meet the demand for the self-starter that Kettering invented for Durant’s Cadillac Corporation. After Durant regained control of GM in the spring of 1916, he moved to make certain that GM would have primary

Charles Kettering in his workshop
Charles Kettering in his workshop

availability to Delco’s parts. In a dramatic restructuring which pulled together some of GM’s most vital part suppliers, Durant integrated five previously independent companies under the name of the United Motors Corporation. All of these companies would later fall under the GM name….. 90 Years ago today, Earl DeVore won the 250 mile AAA Championship race on the 1.25 mile board Charlotte Speedway, North Carolina [10 May 1926]. DeVore was driving a Miller in what proved to be the only Champ win of his career…… 80 Years ago today, the X° Gran Premio Di Tripoli was run over 40 laps of the Autodromo Di Mellahaa circuit [10 May 1936]. Stuck was leading the race after having opened up a comfortable gap to his team mate Varzi. Rosemeyer had retired when his car caught fire. But then Auto Union’s new team manager Dr. Feuereissen began to give strange team orders, Stuck was ordered to slow down and Varzi to speed up. Achille Varzi put in a new lap record on the last lap and passed a very surprised Stuck just before the finish line.The whole thing ended with great bitterness and fury for both drivers when they found out the truth. Varzi, who had done nothing wrong, was humiliated in public at the victory party when the Governor of Libya, Marshal Balbo, proposed a toast for the real winner of the race, i.e. for Stuck….. On the same day [10 May 1936], just 9 cars competed in the Finnish Grand Prix held over 50 laps of the 2.0 km Eläintarharata circuit. Eugen Björnstad won in an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza….. 60 Years ago today, Stirling Moss driving a Maserati 250F, starting from the middle of the front row, took the lead at Gasworks on the first lap and led every lap of the

Stirling Moss - 1956 Monaco Grand Prix
Stirling Moss – 1956 Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco Grand Prix [13 May 1956]. On lap 86 Perdisa’s brakes locked when being lapped by Moss, the resulting contact caused Moss’ bonnet to lift allowing second placed Fangio to close the gap by two seconds each lap but Moss won with a 6 second cushion…… Robb Gravett, British retired racing driver and team owner, a winner of the 1987 Willhire 24 Hour, and the 1990 British Touring Car Championship winner with his own Trakstar team, in a Ford Sierra prepared by Australian magnate Dick Johnson was born [10 May 1956]….. Kenneth Eriksson Swedish World Rally Championship rally driver who drove for several manufacturer teams, including the Subaru World Rally Team, Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Škoda,  was born two days later [12 May 1956]. He was the 1986 Group A Champion in the competition’s only year, his best performance, overshadowed by the fatalities that occurred in that season….. 50 Years ago today, debut of the Subaru 1000, the first vehicle to use the basic drive system that is the salient feature of today’s Subaru vehicles the front-wheel drive (FWD) system with Horizontally-Opposed Engine [14 May 1966]. At that

Subaru 1000
Subaru 1000

time, with its superior handling and stability, FWD was a technology that many engineers were watching. However, there were problems with FWD systems: the steering would become heavy, vibrations were transmitted too easily, and with the in-line engine placed laterally, the left-right balance was so bad the vehicle rolled easily. These technical problems were not easy to solve, and no other manufacturer in Japan had been able to make the needed breakthrough…. Chuck Rodee (38) sadly died on the same day [14 May 1966] while attempting to qualify for the 1966 Indianapolis 500. He spun on a second lap warm-up and backed the car into the wall exiting Turn 1. The impact appeared minor but the rigid chassis transferred virtually the entire force of the crash to the driver. Rodee suffered a ruptured aorta and lapsed into a coma. He was pronounced dead after emergency surgery failed to save him….. 30 Years ago today, Joe Strummer of The Clash was banned from driving after being convicted of drink driving [12 May 1986]….. Elio de Angelis (28) died [15 May 1986], during Brabham testing in at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France. He is sometimes referred to as Formula One’s “last gentleman player,” and although he was probably not the most talented driver ever, he was certainly among the most popular….. 20 Years ago today, The fastest qualification for the Indianapolis 500, taken as an average speed for four laps, is 381.392 km/h (236.986 mph), was set by Arie Luyendyk (Netherlands) in a Reynard-Ford-Cosworth [12 May 1996]….. 10 Years ago today, George Michael was involved in his second minor car crash in a month after a tabloid photographer found Michael asleep in his parked car in central London [11 May 2006]. The singer crashed into a bollard after he woke up and was driving away….. General Motors announced that it would cease production of the original H1 Hummer [12 May 2006]….. The Spanish Grand Prix (formally the XLVIII Gran Premio

Start of the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix
Start of the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix

Telefónica de España) was held at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain [14 May 2006]. The race, contested over 66 laps, was the sixth round of the 2006 Formula One season, and the 48th running of the Spanish Grand Prix. Victory was taken by Renault driver, and polesitter, Fernando Alonso at his home race. Michael Schumacher finished the race in second position for the Ferrari team, and the second Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella completed the podium by finishing in third position.

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