Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Morgan

Morgan


A chronological day-by-day history of Morgan.

Thursday 21st October 1897

119 years ago

The Pittsburgh Motor Vehicle Company was organised by Louis Semple Clark along with his brothers John S and James K, his father Charles, mutual friend William Morgan to build the Pittsburgh. In 1900 the firm would relocate to Ardmore, Pennsylvania, as the Autocar Company.

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Friday 4th November 1910

106 years ago

The Morgan Company launched its original three-wheeler at the Olympia Motor Show in London. Built in Malvern, Worcestershire, it was claimed to be the best-engineered and most reliable three-wheeler of its time. It would become the most successful vehicle in its class, setting standards for other manufacturers to follow. The car featured a simple two-speed transmission (fast and very fast), but no reverse gear.

Morgan Runabout Deluxe (1912)

Morgan Runabout Deluxe (1912)

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Wednesday 5th August 1914

103 years ago

A lighting ceremony was held for the world's first electric traffic lights used to control the flow of different streams of traffic. They were installed in Cleveland, Ohio, at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and East 105th Street, by the American Traffic Signal Company. Based on a design by James Hoge, who received U.S. patent 1,251,666 for his “Municipal Traffic Control System” in 1918, it consisted of four pairs of red and green lights that served as stop-go indicators, each mounted on a corner post. Wired to a manually operated switch inside a control booth, the system was configured so that conflicting signals were impossible. According to an article in The Motorist, published by the Cleveland Automobile Club in August 1914: “This system is, perhaps, destined to revolutionize the handling of traffic in congested city streets and should be seriously considered by traffic committees for general adoption.” In the earliest days of the automobile, navigating America’s roads was a chaotic experience, with pedestrians, bicycles, horses and streetcars all competing with motor vehicles for right of way. The problem was alleviated somewhat with the gradual disappearance of horse-drawn carriages, but even before World War I it had become clear that a system of regulations was necessary to keep traffic moving and reduce the number of accidents on the roads. As Christopher Finch writes in his “Highways to Heaven: The AUTO Biography of America” (1992), the first traffic island was put into use in San Francisco, California in 1907; left-hand drive became standard in American cars in 1908; the first center painted dividing line appeared in 1911, in Michigan; and the first “No Left Turn” sign would debut in Buffalo, New York, in 1916. Various competing claims exist as to who was responsible for the world’s first traffic signal. A device installed in London in 1868 featured two semaphore arms that extended horizontally to signal “stop” and at a 45-degree angle to signal “caution.” In 1912, a Salt Lake City, Utah, police officer named Lester Wire mounted a handmade wooden box with colored red and green lights on a pole, with the wires attached to overhead trolley and light wires. Most prominently, the inventor Garrett Morgan has been given credit for having invented the traffic signal based on his T-shaped design, patented in 1923 and later reportedly sold to General Electric.

World's first electric traffic signals - Cleveland, Ohio

World's first electric traffic signals - Cleveland, Ohio

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Thursday 13th May 1915

102 years ago

H F S Morgan was issued with a British patent for a four-wheeled version of the three-wheeled Morgan, but actual production was shelved due to World War I.

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Tuesday 20th November 1923

93 years ago

The U.S. Patent Office granted Patent No. 1,475,074 to 46-year-old inventor and newspaperman Garrett Morgan for his three-position traffic signal. Though Morgan's was not the first traffic signal (that one had been installed in London in 1868), it was an important innovation nonetheless: By having a third position besides just "Stop" and "Go," it regulated crossing vehicles more safely than earlier signals had. He got this idea from witnessing a terrible accident. He thought a signal with a 'warning' light may help at intersections. This warning light is the ancestor of today's yellow light. He eventually sold his traffic signal to GE for $40,000. Morgan is also credited as the first African American in Cleveland to own an automobile.

Patent drawing of Morgan's signal

Patent drawing of Morgan's signal

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Friday 27th March 1936

81 years ago

The first production four-wheeled Morgan was completed after assembling four rather different prototypes.

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Sunday 26th September 1937

79 years ago

US blues singer Bessie Smith (43) was critically injured while travelling along US Route 61 in Mississippi in an old Packard. Her lover, Richard Morgan, was driving and misjudged the speed of a slow-moving truck ahead of him. Tire marks at the scene suggested that Morgan tried to avoid the truck by driving around its left side, but he hit the rear of the truck side-on at high speed. The tailgate of the truck sheared off the wooden roof of Smith's old Packard. Smith, who was in the passenger seat, probably with her right arm or elbow out the window, took the full brunt of the impact. Morgan escaped without injuries. The first people on the scene were a Memphis surgeon, Dr. Hugh Smith (no relation), and his fishing partner, Henry Broughton. In the early 1970s, Hugh Smith gave a detailed account of his experience to Bessie's biographer Chris Albertson. This is the most reliable eyewitness testimony about the events surrounding her death. After stopping at the accident scene, Hugh Smith examined the singer, who was lying in the middle of the road with obviously severe injuries. He estimated she had lost about a half pint of blood and immediately noted a major traumatic injury to her right arm; it had been almost completely severed at the elbow. He stated that this injury alone did not cause her death. Although the light was poor, he observed only minor head injuries. He attributed her death to extensive and severe crush injuries to the entire right side of her body, consistent with a sideswipe collision.Broughton and Smith moved the singer to the shoulder of the road. Smith dressed her arm injury with a clean handkerchief and asked Broughton to go to a house about 500 feet off the road to call an ambulance. By the time Broughton returned, about 25 minutes later, Bessie Smith was in shock. Time passed with no sign of the ambulance, so Hugh Smith suggested that they take her into Clarksdale in his car. He and Broughton had almost finished clearing the back seat when they heard the sound of a car approaching at high speed. Smith flashed his lights in warning, but the oncoming car failed to stop and plowed into his car at full speed. It sent his car careening into Bessie Smith's overturned Packard, completely wrecking it. The oncoming car ricocheted off Hugh Smith's car into the ditch on the right, barely missing Broughton and Bessie Smith.The young couple in the new car did not have life-threatening injuries. Two ambulances arrived on the scene from Clarksdale, one from the black hospital, summoned by Broughton, the other from the white hospital, acting on a report from the truck driver, who had not seen the accident victims.Bessie Smith was taken to Clarksdale's G. T. Thomas Afro-American Hospital, where her right arm was amputated. She died that morning without regaining consciousness. After her death, an often repeated but now discredited story emerged that she had died as a result of having been refused admission to a whites-only hospital in Clarksdale. The jazz writer and producer John Hammond gave this account in an article in the November 1937 issue of Down Beat magazine. The circumstances of Smith's death and the rumor promoted by Hammond formed the basis for Edward Albee's 1959 one-act play The Death of Bessie Smith."The Bessie Smith ambulance would not have gone to a white hospital, you can forget that," Hugh Smith told Albertson. "Down in the Deep South cotton country, no ambulance driver, or white driver, would even have thought of putting a colored person off in a hospital for white folks." Smith's funeral was held in Philadelphia a little over a week later, on October 4, 1937. Her body was originally laid out at Upshur's funeral home. As word of her death spread through Philadelphia's black community, the body had to be moved to the O.V. Catto Elks Lodge to accommodate the estimated 10,000 mourners who filed past her coffin on Sunday, October 3.Contemporary newspapers reported that her funeral was attended by about seven thousand people. Far fewer mourners attended the burial at Mount Lawn Cemetery, in nearby Sharon Hill. Gee thwarted all efforts to purchase a stone for his estranged wife, once or twice pocketing money raised for that purpose.Smith's grave was unmarked until a tombstone was erected on August 7, 1970, paid for by the singer Janis Joplin and Juanita Green, who as a child had done housework for Smith.

Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith

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Monday 3rd February 1947

70 years ago

Charles C Morgan Jr. (83), an official of the American Trucking Association who was an advocate of highway safety and cofounder of the National Truck Driving Rodeo, died.

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Tuesday 12th April 1966

51 years ago

Sydney Allard (55), who won both the Monte Carlo rally and achieved a podium finish at the Le Mans 24 hours race on his first attempt, in cars bearing his own nam, died. Educated at Ardingly College in Sussex. Allard commenced racing in 1929 with a Morgan three-wheeler, later converted to four wheels, which he ran at Brooklands and in early trial events. In 1935 he won his class for unlimited unsupercharged sports cars, at the Brighton Speed Trials in the first of his Ford V-8 engined speciaIs. Further competition success ensured that the Allard Special was put into limited production with Ford V8 and Lincoln V12 motors. In 1937 Allard attempted to climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, in his Allard Special. The car overturned and rolled, but Allard emerged with only bruising. That year, Allard, with Ken Hutchison and Guy Warburton in the ‘Tailwaggers’ Allard-Specials team, competed successfully in trials, sprints, rallies and races.On July 15, 1939, Allard took a class win at the Lewes Speed Trials in a time of 22.12 secs. Allard won the last speed event to be held in England prior to World War Two. Having set the fastest time at the Horndean Speed Trials, his car overturned past the finish line. Both he and his passenger, Bill Boddy, were thrown clear and uninjured. During World War Two Sydney Allard operated a large repair shop fixing army vehicles, including Ford trucks and Jeeps. In 1943 he had 225 employees and was renovating more than 30 vehicles a week. At the end of the war Sydney soon returned to competition, taking part in the Filton Speed Trials on October 28, 1945. He restarted his car company, coping with petrol rationing, material shortages and export quotas. Allard won the 1949 British Hill Climb Championship at the wheel of the Steyr-Allard, fitted with a war surplus air-cooled V8 engine. He was third in the Championship in 1947 and 1948, winning in 1949, second in 1950, and third again in 1951. In 1949, Allard cars won the team prize in the Monte Carlo Rally (L. Potter 4th overall, A.A.C. Godsall 8th, A.G. Imhof 11th) with Sydney Allard finishing in 24th place. In 1950, Allard finished eighth in the Monte Carlo Rally, then raced in the Targa Florio in Sicily where his J2 Allard caught fire after losing control over a railway crossing. He bounced back with a third place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year, again in the J2 Allard, partnered with Tom Cole. A gearbox failure left Allard and Cole driving for hours with top gear only. Allard’s determination and fearless driving captured the imagination of the huge crowd. Sydney then achieved international recognition by winning the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally in an Allard P1, with co-driver Guy Warburton and navigator Tom Lush. Starting from Glasgow he narrowly defeated Stirling Moss, in a Sunbeam-Talbot 90, who finished second overall while competing in his first rally. The P1 was powered by a 4,375 c.c. Ford V8 side-valve motor. Mrs. Eleanor Allard, Sydney’s wife, also competed in this event, accompanied by her sisters Edna and Hilda, but retired. Allard competed again in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951, 1952 and 1953 but did not finish. In 1952 he and Jack Fairman drove the works J2X, chassis number 3055, fitted with a Chrysler hemi engine, where the car retired at 6.30 a.m. In 1953 he shared a Cadillac-engined Allard JR with Philip Fotheringham-Parker, leading the race at the end of the first lap, but on lap four he was the first to retire when the quick-change differential chassis mounting fractured, causing damage to a rear brake pipe. In 1952 and 1953, a sister car was driven at Le Mans by Zora Arkus-Duntov, a one-time Allard employee. Carroll Shelby also raced an Allard-Cadillac J2 in the United States early in his driving career. Thus the successful Allard formula of an American V8 engine in a light chassis inspired the development of the Chevrolet Corvette and the A.C. Shelby Cobra. In the 1960’s, Sydney Allard continued to compete in rallies mostly accompanied by Australian navigator Tom Fisk. They won their class in the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally in a Ford Allardette. Starting from Glasgow they reached Monte Carlo unpenalised. In the 1964 Monte Allard hit a level-crossing in Czechoslovakia in his Ford Cortina and retired. Sydney’s final outing in the Monte Carlo Rally came in 1965. In 1961 Sydney Allard, (considered by many to be the father of British drag racing), built the Allard dragster. Constructed in 23 weeks between January and June 1961, in a small workshop directly beneath Sydney’s office at the Allard main works on Clapham High Street, the car featured a 354-cubic inch Chrysler motor with front-mounted 6-71 GMC supercharger. The car was then invited to appear over the standing start quarter mile at an N.S.A. record meeting at Wellesbourne Aerodrome, near Stratford-Upon-Avon, on October 14, 1961. Denis Jenkinson writing in Motor Sport said: “Sydney Allard pointed the sleek blue dragster down the quarter-mile, let in the clutch, opened up and with a sound like a large bomber going down the runway disappeared through the timing traps in 10.841 sec”. Sadly few spectators witnessed this achievement. According to Jenkinson: “Allard’s temperamental machine eventually did 10.48 sec on its best run,” for the standing-start quarter mile, which took place at Debden, Essex on April 14, 1962. At the time, this was the fastest quarter-mile time ever recorded in the U.K. He passed away at his home, Black Hills, Esher, Surrey on April 12, 1966, the day after the opening of Santa Pod, the first purpose-built dragstrip in England. Fittingly, it was one of the biggest events to date for drag racing in England and several Allard Dragons were in competition that day.

Sydney Allard

Sydney Allard

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Wednesday 16th October 1968

48 years ago

Princess Alexandra performed the opening ceremony of the London Motor Show at Earls Court where the Jaguar XJ6 and Austin 3-litre were introduced. A bigger-engined version of the Morgan 4/4, the Plus Four morphed into the Plus Eight in July of 1968 when the revised model with a Rover V-8 engine was also shown.

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Sunday 26th April 1981

36 years ago

"Rookie" Morgan Shepherd won the NASCAR GN 'Virginia 500' at Martinsville Speedway. Shepherd's Cliff Stewart Pontiac crossed the line 16 seconds ahead of Neil Bonnett's Wood Brothers Ford with Ricky Rudd a lap down in 3rd in the DiGard Buick. It was the first GN win for Pontiac since 1963. Shepherd, 1980 NASCAR Sportsman champ, was making the 15th GN start of his career. Qualifying brought many surprises with Ricky Rudd on the pole, long time independent Buddy Arrington 3rd in his Dodge and short track ace Butch Lindley 4th while rookie Mike Alexander set a new track record in second round qualifying.

Morgan Shepherd - 'Virginia 500' - 1981

Morgan Shepherd - 'Virginia 500' - 1981

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Thursday 10th December 1981

35 years ago

The Rouge Steel Company was formed as a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company. The Rouge Steel Company began as an integral part of Henry Ford's sprawling River Rouge automobile plant, built during the 1920s. The steelmaker remained a lucrative division of Ford until the early 1980s, when it lost profitability due to economic recession and a troubled U.S. auto market. In 1982 Ford Motor Company converted its steel division to form a wholly owned subsidiary. Sold to Marico Acquisition Corporation in 1989, Rouge Steel is currently the eighth-largest steelmaker in the United States, commanding five percent of the flat rolled domestic steel market with a steelmaking capacity of 3.2 million tons. Rouge Steel grew out of Henry Ford's vision of an industrial facility that would bring together the various elements of his automobile production process. Envisioning a manufacturing plant that would transform raw materials into completely finished products, he developed the world's first vertically integrated factory complex. In 1915 Ford stood on the Rouge's future site and declared it the perfect site to integrate iron-making facilities with his moving assembly line: "It's right here where we stand. Up in northern Michigan and Minnesota are great iron ore deposits. Down in Kentucky and West Virginia are huge deposits of soft coal. Here we stand, half way between, with water transportation to our door. You will look the whole country over but you won't find a place that compares with this." Ford began to acquire coal mines, and a battery of coking ovens were installed on the Rouge site. Coal was shipped into the Rouge by means of the Rouge River as well as by rail. The first of the Rouge's giant furnaces--the largest of its kind in the world at that time--was finished in May 1920. Blast furnace "A" was blown in on its inaugural run when Ford's grandson, two-and-a-half-year-old Henry II, struck a match to ignite the furnace's coke charge. "B" blast furnace was added in 1922. Steel was first made at the Rouge in 1923 with an electric furnace, and plans were made for furnaces with much greater production capacities. Ford, working with technical experts from the Morgan Construction Company of Worcester, Massachusetts, began developing large open hearth furnaces as well as blooming mills, rolling mills, and other steel-finishing equipment. Ford placed the development of the Rouge's steel facilities in the charge of John Findlater, who developed them in cooperation with Philip Haglund and Harry Hanson. Two years later, the Rouge's steel-making facilities were operational and the first "heat," or batch, of steel was poured on June 21, 1926. In that year the Rouge produced 321,476 tons of ingot steel, and output was doubled within three years. By 1929 the manufacturing complex covered almost 1,200 acres of land, 350 of which were taken up by the Rouge's steel-making facilities. The Ford Steel Division continued to expand the Rouge's steelmaking capacity, adding a third blast furnace--furnace "C"--in 1948. Though steel-making technologies remained virtually unchanged, new furnaces and mills were added to Rouge's steel finishing operations during the 1960s. A move was made toward the consistent expansion of Rouge's use of scrap steel. In 1964 two basic oxygen furnaces were installed, making use of seventy-five percent "hot metal" from the blast furnaces and twenty-five percent scrap. In 1976 two electric arc furnaces (EAFs) were added to Rouge's operations, capable of producing 850,000 tons of steel per year. The EAF facility, unlike the older blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace combinations, worked in a one-stage process that used only high-grade scrap steel. The EAF operation allowed Rouge a high level of flexibility and prepared the company for sudden increases in demand. The new equipment also allowed the company to maintain production during the periodically necessary process of re-lining the blast furnaces. Rouge Steel moved into the 1970s with state-of-the-art equipment and, as a result, a vastly increased steel-making capacity. The company's outlook was bright: its principal customer, Ford Motor, was doing exceptionally well in the early years of the decade. However, a series of poor decisions by Ford management (including Henry Ford II's decision to cancel the development of a sub-compact model to replace the disastrous Pinto model) and an increasingly competitive U.S. auto market brought about a period of change in Rouge Steel's operations. Compact cars became increasingly popular during the fuel crunch of the late 1970s, and a surge in small imports from Japan intensified competition for car buyers. The combined effects of Rouge Steel's increased steel capacity, import competition, and Ford's shift to smaller vehicles put Rouge's operation in the red. In an effort to increase profitability, Ford gave Rouge Steel the unprecedented task of selling fifty percent of its production on the open market. Rouge had previously sold over eighty-five percent of its steel to Ford, and subsequently had little experience in more competitive markets. On January 1, 1982, chairman of Ford Motor Philip Caldwell announced Ford's conversion of its Ford Steel Division to the Rouge Steel Company. "The new subsidiary will provide additional operating and financial flexibility for future growth of steel operations," Caldwell said. "The establishment of Rouge Steel is the first step in a new Ford plan to view its various businesses as independent entities." Shortly afterward, Ford placed Rouge Steel on the market. In the summer of 1982, a consortium of Japanese companies under the leadership of Nippon Kokan (NKK) began negotiations with Ford for the purchase of Rouge Steel. NKK wanted to buy seventy-five percent of Rouge at a purchase price of several hundred million dollars, and the Japanese firm had proposed a multi-million dollar modernization plan that would include installation of a high-tech continuous steel casting system and a galvanizing operation. Talks between Ford and NKK collapsed in 1983, however, because the Japanese wanted to reduce Rouge's labor costs. Workers at Rouge Steel--organized under the UAW rather than the U.S. Steelworkers because of Rouge Steel's origin within Ford Motor--maintained an hourly rate of pay almost $5 higher than the U.S. industry standard. Following the failed talks with NKK, officials at UAW Local 600 began to negotiate with Ford over proposed wage reductions at Rouge Steel. Philip Caldwell had announced that Ford Motor was suffering its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression: in the four years preceding 1983, Ford had lost $2.1 billion and had eliminated 67,000 workers from a workforce of 158,000. Clearly, operations at the Rouge had to change, and meetings between Caldwell and UAW Local 600 president Michael Rinaldi in the summer of 1983 resulted in wage and benefit reductions for Rouge Steel workers. In return, Ford agreed to spend $300 million for a new continuous casting system and an electro-galvanizing facility and rebuild a coke oven battery. The agreement proved to be a watershed in Rouge Steel's history. Over the next three years, Ford began an intensive program of investment in new equipment for the steelmaker. Over $300 million worth of improved technologies were purchased, including a rebuilt coke-oven battery, a sophisticated continuous casting system, and an electro-galvanizing operation which was opened as a joint venture between Rouge and U.S. Steel, dubbed Double Eagle. The new galvanizing operation was capable of producing 700,000 tons of galvanized sheet metal per year for use in automotive factories, the largest such operation in the world. Installation of the continuous caster was a landmark event, and brought Rouge back into a competition with other U.S. steelmakers. The new facilities reduced the cost of producing slab steel by $40 per ton as well as increasing the quality of the steel produced. The system was installed in cooperation with Hitachi Zozen officials as technical advisor. In 1986 Rouge Steel president Paul Sullivan commented in an interview with Automotive News that "It's sad, but the truth is steel technology has left the U.S. We're no longer leaders, but followers. All the new equipment made in the U.S. today is based on technology that either originated with or was refined by the Japanese." This turn of events was ironic: Henry Ford had envisioned a continuous casting operation as early as the 1920s, according to company historian Alan Nevins. In his official company history, entitled Ford: Expansion and Challenge, Nevins wrote: "Just as [Ford] had modified the methods of manufacturing iron, he meant to improve the making of steel. He was convinced that a flow of production could be established. For example, he envisaged open hearth operations as continuous, raw materials being added from time to time, and the molten metal drawn off as needed and made directly into castings." The Rouge, however, waited almost seventy years for such a system to be installed. Along with heavy investment in new equipment, Ford spent $10 million in 1986 on an innovative re-training program for 232 employees: the Rouge workers were given 30 weeks of instruction in the use and maintenance of the continuous casting equipment, and core groups were sent to steel plants in Japan to train with experienced operators. Another group of Rouge employees worked with LTV of Cleveland, Ohio, and their continuous casting equipment. Most of the re-trained employees had been working with traditional steelmaking methods for up to fifteen years and the training they received stressed flexibility. "The idea was to have a crew in which anybody could do anything," Hivens A. Gill told Iron Age magazine. In order to achieve that flexibility, more traditional UAW work classifications had to be relaxed to provide for only two classes of maintenance workers: mechanical and electrical. In 1988 Rouge Steel finished its fiscal year in the black for the first time in over a decade, and by the end of the year, almost seventy percent of the steelmaker's output was produced in their new continuous casting facility. Improved relations between the Rouge's management and UAW leaders in conjunction with the success of Rouge Steel's updated casting and galvanizing facilities enhanced the steelmaker's position in the highly competitive U.S. market, particularly in the Midwest's aging Rust Belt. Rouge continued to re-invest in upgraded equipment during 1988 and 1989, with $100 million spent in 1988 alone. The company improved the quality of their steel with the purchase of a ladle metallurgical/re-heating facility and an innovative vacuum de-gassing operation, and improved the efficiency of their existing equipment by computerizing hot strip mill controls to improve consistency and installing enhanced equipment on different mill processes. Rouge also converted their powerhouse boilers to permit the use of both coal to natural gas in an effort to reduce power costs. The improved steel-making technologies and worker training at the Rouge made the company more productive than ever before in its history: Rouge Steel produced 69 percent more steel in 1988 than it produced thirty years earlier. Rouge Steel was still up for sale in 1988, despite the turnaround in the company's balance sheets. David Blackwell, president of Rouge Steel in 1988, commented that "Ford has recognized that steel is not their area of expertise and they have determined that steel is not a core part of their business." Ford's decision to sell the plant was based on the assessment that Rouge would be a stronger company and a better supplier as an independent entity. Talks between Ford and interested buyers continued. On December 15, 1989, the Marico Acquisition Corporation acquired eighty percent of Rouge Steel's stock from the Ford Motor Company, and Marico merged with Rouge Steel. Marico, headed by Carl Valdiserri, former executive vice- president of Weirton Steel Corporation, had been formed in 1989 for the express purpose of gaining equity ownership of the Rouge. In addition to Valdiserri, Worthington Industries, Inc.--a Columbus, Ohio-based steel fabricator--gained a strategic equity interest in Rouge Steel. As part of its investment in Rouge Steel, Worthington agreed to a long-term purchase agreement to buy a minimum of fifty percent of its flat-rolled requirements. The deal assured Rouge an opportunity to increase its business as well as guaranteeing Worthington a dependable long-term steel supply at competitive prices. Ford retained an equity interest in Rouge Steel and continued to purchase between thirty and forty percent of the steelmaker's total annual output. Rouge Steel entered the 1990s in a favorable position, considering the weakened condition of the U.S. steelmaking industry. Paul Sullivan, head of Rouge Steel from 1983 to 1986 had called Rouge "a beleaguered company in a distressed industry." With Ford's purchase of up-to-date casting facilities, new labor contracts between the UAW and Rouge's management, and the completion of an extensive modernization of the company's mills in 1988, Rouge Steel had pulled itself from a fifteen-year decline in profitability and efficiency to become an ambitious player in the American steel industry.

Rolling mill Rouge Steel Plant Ford Motor Co,

Rolling mill Rouge Steel Plant Ford Motor Co,

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Sunday 24th May 1987

30 years ago

Kyle Petty survived a race of attrition to score his first superspeedway victory in NASCAR’s premier series, winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, North Carolina, US. Petty, driving the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, took command when Rusty Wallace developed engine problems 17 laps from the finish to secure his second Cup win. Morgan Shepherd was the runner-up, one lap back with third-place Lake Speed. Only 17 of the 42 starters were running at the finish. Joey Logano, Ricky Craven, Brent Sherman, Colt Hammond, Tommy Chong, Jack Smith.

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Saturday 17th September 1988

29 years ago

Michael Waltrip bypassed Tommy Ellis with 12 laps left and led the rest of his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory, prevailing in the Grand National 200 at Dover International Speedway, Delaware, US. Waltrip, who drove a car owned by his brother Darrell, won in just his third start in the series. He led 37 of the 200 laps at the Monster Mile and pulled away to a .685-second triumph over Ellis. Morgan Shepherd finished third.

Michael Waltrip - 1988

Michael Waltrip - 1988

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Saturday 1st July 1989

28 years ago

Davey Allison took control when pole-starter Mark Martin runs out of fuel while leading with five laps left to win the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Florida, US. For Allison, it was the sixth of his 19 wins in NASCAR’s top series. Morgan Shepherd held on for second, .18 seconds behind at the checkered flag, with Phil Parsons third. Martin limped to a 16th-place finish, one lap down.

Davey Allison - 1989 Pepsi 400

Davey Allison - 1989 Pepsi 400

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Sunday 4th November 1990

26 years ago

Dale Earnhardt took the lead in the 51st lap and never looked back, pacing the rest of the 312-lap Checker 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona, US. Ken Schrader finished a close second, 0.67 seconds back, with Morgan Shepherd third. The victory allowed Earnhardt to snatch the points lead away from Mark Martin, who finished 10th on the mile track in the desert. Two weeks later in Atlanta, Earnhardt sealed the fourth of his record-tying seven championships in NASCAR’s premier series.

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Sunday 15th September 1991

26 years ago

Harry Gant turned in a dominant second half of the race to win the Peak Antifreeze 500 at Dover International Speedway, Delaware, US lapping the field for his third win in a row in NASCAR’s premier series. Gant, who led 326 of the 500 laps on the mile track, strung wins together at Darlington, Richmond, Dover and Martinsville during his hot streak, which earned him the unofficial nickname of “Mr. September.” Geoffrey Bodine finished second with Morgan Shepherd third. Just 16 of 40 cars were running at the finish, largely because of a 15-car wreck that thinned the field in the 69th lap.

Harry Gant - 1991

Harry Gant - 1991

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Sunday 22nd September 1991

25 years ago

Harry Gant (51) won the Goody's 500 in Martinsville, Virginia, US, his fourth consecutive victory, to extend his own record as the oldest winner of a NASCAR race. Gant methodically worked his way to the front from the 12th starting spot, bypassing Rusty Wallace to take the lead for the first time in the 196th of 500 laps. Though Gant set the pace for a race-high 226 laps, his path was not nearly as trouble-free as at Dover the week before. In a contest for the lead after a Lap 376 restart, Wallace nudged Gant into a spin in the .526-mile track's third turn. Gant's No. 33 sustained significant front-end damage after third-place Morgan Shepherd became involved, but the 51-year-old drove away from the stack-up. The amount of torn-up sheet metal and smoke around the No. 33's nose seemed terminal, at least to Parsons. "Looks like that right-front tire is going south and the car is going north," he said. "Pretty heavy damage to that car, so Harry Gant will not win his fourth in a row, I'm sad to say." Gant had fallen out of the top 10, but made a fierce charge to prove Parsons wrong. Gant said later that he "ran about 10 laps as mad as a bull," the hood of his battered Olds held down by bungee cords and the right-front fender peeled away. On the ensuing restart, Gant deftly jumped back up to ninth place, causing Parson to doubt his proclamation. When Gant slipped past Terry Labonte for third, Parsons was beside himself: "This is unbelievable! I crossed Harry Gant off. I said he's not going to win four in a row, and I don't know -- he just might still do it." By Lap 448, Gant had come all the way back to the top spot, passing Ernie Irvan and Brett Bodine to take control. After being bumped out of the lead by Bodine one lap later, Gant capitalized when Petree & Co. made quick work of his final pit stop, winning the race off pit road and staying out front the last 47 laps. "I figured we had it in the bag, but then I realized how many laps were still left, and I knew it couldn't be this easy," Gant told reporters later. "… It sure is special. I don't even know what to say about all this anymore."

Harry Gant - 1996 at North Wilkesboro Speedway

Harry Gant - 1996 at North Wilkesboro Speedway

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Monday 27th December 1999

17 years ago

The Morgan 4/4 celebrated its 64th birthday. Built by the Morgan Motor Car Company (founded 1910), of Malvern, Worcester, England, there was a six- to eight-year waiting list for delivery.

A 1995 Morgan 4/4.

A 1995 Morgan 4/4.

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Monday 20th October 2003

13 years ago

Peter Morgan, English sports-car manufacturer and chairman of Morgan Motor Company from 1959, died at the age of 83. He had maintained the family firm’s traditions of handcrafted workmanship and slow organic growth, in spite of pressures to ‘modernise’.

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Friday 6th January 2006

11 years ago

British marque Morgan presented a special model to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of its iconic 4/4. Each of the 142 vehicles produced was individually marked and finished in period style, with a galvanised steel chassis carrying ‘coachbuilt’ bodywork of aluminium panels over an ash frame. The limited-edition cars, priced at £27,950, were powered by a 1.8-litre, 125-bhp (brake horsepower) Ford Duratec engine.

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Saturday 18th April 2009

8 years ago

Mark Martin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at the Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona, and became the first 50-year-old to claim victory at a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Sprint Cup race since Morgan Shepherd did so at a race in Atlanta in 1993, renewing hope for senior citizens everywhere. Besides Martin and Shepherd, only two other drivers age 50 or older have won NASCAR championship events. Mark Martin was born on January 9, 1959, in Batesville, Arkansas, and starting racing cars as a teenager. After winning the American Speed Association (ASA) championship in 1978, 1979 and 1980, Martin began his NASCAR Winston Cup (later known as the Sprint Cup) career in 1981. He had several seasons of moderate success then returned to ASA racing, winning another championship in 1986. In 1989, at the North Carolina Motor Speedway, Martin collected his first Winston Cup victory. He would go on to win more than 35 Cup races in the decades ahead and come in second in the overall Sprint Cup Series point standings four times, in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002. Martin also collected five International Race of Champions (IROC) titles, in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2005. (IROC, which went out of business in 2008, was meant to be a pure test of a driver’s ability, as competitors drove identical stock cars prepped by a single crew of mechanics.) Among Martin’s other accomplishments are the most victories (47) in NASCAR’s secondary Busch series. Standing beside Martin in the 50-and-up winner’s circle is Bobby Allison, who in 1988 won his fourth Daytona 500 at the age of 50 (his son Davey finished the 200-lap, 500-mile race in second place). Bobby Allison, who was born on December 3, 1937, in Florida, drove in his first Daytona 500 in 1961 and went on to win the race in 1978 and 1982, in addition to his 1988 victory. (The youngest driver to claim victory at the Daytona 500 is Jeff Gordon, who did so in 1997 at the age of 25.) The oldest driver to win a Cup race is Harry Gant, who was born on January 10, 1940, and in 1992, at the age of 52, won the Champion Spark Plug 400 at the Michigan International Speedway.

Mark Martin - 2009

Mark Martin - 2009

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Monday 9th July 2012

5 years ago

Steve Morgan of Birmingham, owner of the last Mini to leave Longbridge, incorporated a new “Austin Motor Company Limited”, but was dissolved in 2014. In 2015, the "Austin Motor Company" and the 1930s "Flying A" logo name and patents was purchased by John Stubbs in Braintree, Essex. The company intend to start manufacturing an all new Austin car in 2016.

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