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.
A chronological day-by-day history of Radical.
Northern voters overwhelmingly endorsed the leadership and policies of President Abraham Lincoln when they elect him to a second term as President of the United States. With his re-election, any hope for a negotiated settlement with the Confederacy vanished. One of Lincoln’s supporters was a 21 year old Henry Leland who would refer to his first presidential vote as the inspiration for naming his luxury marque that be established in 1920. In 1864, Lincoln faced many challenges to his presidency. The war was now in its fourth year, and many were questioning if the South could ever be fully conquered militarily. Union General Ulysses S. Grant mounted a massive campaign in the spring of that year to finally defeat the Confederate army of General Robert E. Lee, but after sustaining significant losses at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, the Yankees bogged down around Petersburg, Virginia. As the fall approached, Grant seemed no closer to defeating Lee than his predecessors. Additionally, Union General William T. Sherman was planted outside of Atlanta, but he could not take that city. Some of the Radical Republicans were unhappy with Lincoln’s conciliatory plan for reconstruction of the South. And many Northerners had never been happy with Lincoln’s 1862 Emancipation Proclamation, which converted the war from one of reunion to a crusade to destroy slavery. Weariness with the war fueled calls for a compromise with the seceded states. The Democrats nominated George B. McClellan, the former commander of the Union Army of the Potomac. McClellan was widely regarded as brilliant in organizing and training the army, but he had failed to defeat Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Virginia.McClellan and Lincoln quarreled constantly during his tenure as general in chief of the army, and Lincoln replaced him when McClellan failed to pursue Lee into Virginia after the Battle of Antietam in Maryland in September 1862. In the months leading up to the 1864 election, the military situation changed dramatically. While Grant remained stalled at Petersburg, Mobile Bay fell to the Federal navy in August, Sherman captured Atlanta in September, and General Philip Sheridan secured Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in October. On election day, Lincoln carried all but three states (Kentucky, New Jersey, and Delaware), and won 55 percent of the vote. He won 212 electoral votes to McCellan’s 21. Most significantly, a majority of the Union troops voted for their commander in chief, including a large percentage of McClellan’s old command, the Army of the Potomac. Perhaps most important was the fact that the election was held at all. Before this, no country had ever held elections during a military emergency. Lincoln himself said, “We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.” Five months after Lincoln’s re-election, the collapse of the Confederacy was complete.
Abraham LincolnShow Article
Byron J Carter applied for a patent on his friction drive transmission. It was designed to replace the conventional transmission to provide, among other things, more precise control of a car's speed. Carters radical new transmission used friction discs, instead of gears, so arranged as to be instantly changed to any desired speed. The discs in Carters transmission were able to move both forward or backward and could be used as a brake to stop the machine by reversing a lever. It was the precursor to todays disc brakes.Show Article
The Ford Thunderbird went on sale as a 1955 model, and sold briskly; 3,500 orders were placed in the first ten days of sale. Ford had only projected building 10,000; eventual 1955 sales were 16,155. As standard, the 1955 Thunderbird included a removable fiberglass top; a fabric convertible top was an option, although commonly specified. The only engine option was a 292 Y-block V8. The exhausts exited through twin "bullets" above the rear bumper, as was the fashion. For the 1956 model, Ford made some changes. To give more trunk space, the spare wheel was mounted outside, Continental-style; the exhausts were moved to the ends of the bumper. Air vents were added behind the front wheels to improve cabin ventilation. To improve rear-quarter visibility with the removable hardtop in place, "porthole" windows were added to it. An optional 312 Y-block V8 was made available for those that wanted more performance.1956 sales were 15,631, the lowest of all three 2-seater Thunderbird model years. For 1957, a more radical restyle was performed. The front bumper was reshaped, with heavier sides, "bullets" at the ends of the grille, and the section below the grille dropping down. The grille was larger. The tailfins were made larger, more pointed, and canted outward; larger round tail-lights were fitted. The spare wheel moved inside the trunk again, which had been redesigned to allow it to be mounted vertically and take up less space. The side "Thunderbird" script moved from the fins to the front fenders. Engine options increased, because Ford went racing with the Thunderbird that year. As well as the standard 292 and 312 engines, versions of the 312 were produced in higher states of tune, and even a McCulloch supercharged version. 1957 sales were 21,380, including three extra months of production because the 1958 models were late.
1955 Ford Thunderbird brochureShow Article
The radical Bugatti 251 GP racer, with a straight-8 engine mounted transversly behind the driver, made its press debut.Show Article
Ford announced that the design of the Edsel would be far more radical than any of its other products and that equally radical sales and marketing techniques would be used to promote it. The Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary American car buyers and sold poorly losing the Ford Motor Company millions of dollars.Show Article
After thirteen years of trying, Sam Hanks finally won the Indianapolis 500, and then, amidst tears, became the second winner, after Ray Harroun in 1911, to announce his retirement in victory lane. Hanks' win came in a radical "lay-down" roadster chassis design created by engineer George Salih that, with the engine tilting 72-degrees to the right, gave the car a profile of a mere 21 inches off the ground. Salih built the car next to his California home, and was rewarded with victory as both designer and owner after stepping out on a financial limb in entering the car himself.Show Article
Mickey Thompson, aka "Mr. Speed," broke Bernd Rosemeyer's 22-year-old record for the standing mile and standing kilometre, when he drove his "Assault" car to record speeds of 149.93 and 132.94, respectively. Thompson's illustrious career began when, as a boy of 11, he attempted to build a street rod out of collected Chevy parts. Ten years later he made his first trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats. Though Thompson raced in all kinds of events, including off-road racing, he is best known for his achievements in engineering and racing speed trial cars. He set 295 records at Bonneville alone, and he was the first man to drive a car faster than 400 mph. Thompson enjoyed mixed success at the Indy 500, where he first fielded cars in 1962. Teaming with British chassis designer John Crosthwaite, Thompson built the first Indy Car with a rear-mounted V-8 and fully independent suspension. Thompson's car engines were bored and stroked to 255 cubic inches, but they had 70 hp less than the racing Offy's that dominated the Indy field that year. Of Thompson's three small cars, only one qualified for the race. His car ran much of the race not far from the lead until a mechanical failure forced it from the race. Thompson won the Mechanical Achievement Award for his original design. The next year, while the Lotus-Fords had integrated his innovations, Thompson gave the field even more to think about by widening his car bodies, tires, and wheels. The Lotus-Fords took the spotlight with their power, but one of Thompson's cars finished an impressive ninth place. Nineteen sixty-four spelled tragedy for Thompson's Indy Cars, and the outcome of the race forced him from the sport. After introducing radical new car bodies, Thompson's team had problems from the start. In the end, only Dave MacDonald qualified a Thompson car. Early in the race, MacDonald lost control of his car, crashing into Eddie Sachs and killing both of them. Thompson's designs came under heavy criticism after the accident, and he stayed away from Indy Cars. In the late 1960s, Mr. Speed made numerous assaults on speed records at Bonneville. In the 1970s, Mickey became interested in off-road racing after he watched the off-road Mint 400 race from his airplane. "It was the most exciting race I'd ever seen," Thompson told a reporter. He went on to design an off-road vehicle before forming SCORE (Short Course Off-Road Events). Thompson, almost single-handedly, turned off-road racing into an indoor event. At the time of his tragic death in 1988, Thompson had led a full life of racing. He reportedly met his wife, Trudy, in a drag race; she won, so he married her. The couple was gunned down outside their home in California. In 2004, Thompson's former business partner, Michael Goodwin, was convicted for the murders.
Mickey ThompsonShow Article
Armstrong Siddeley was a British engineering group that operated during the first half of the 20th century, ceased the production of motor cars. It was formed in 1919 and is best known for the production of luxury motor cars and aircraft engines. The company was created following the purchase by Armstrong Whitworth of Siddeley-Deasy, a manufacturer of fine motor cars, that were marketed to the top echelon of society. After the merge of companies this focus on quality continued throughout in the production of cars, aircraft engines, gearboxes for tanks and buses, rocket and torpedo motors, and the development of railcars. Company mergers and takeovers with Hawker Aviation and Bristol Aero Engines saw the continuation of the car production but the production of cars ceased in August 1960. The company was absorbed into the Rolls-Royce conglomerate who were interested in the aircraft and aircraft engine business and eventually the remaining spares and all Motor Car interests were sold to the Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club Ltd who now own the patents, designs, copyrights and trademarks, including the name Armstrong Siddeley. The first car produced was a fairly massive machine a fairly massive machine, a 5-litre 30 hp. A smaller 18 hp appeared in 1922 and a 2-litre 14 hp was introduced in 1923. 1928 saw the company's first 15 hp six; 1929 saw the introduction of a 12 hp vehicle. This was a pioneering year for the marque, during which it first offered the Wilson preselector gearbox as an optional extra; it became standard issue on all cars from 1933. In 1930 the company marketed four models, of 12, 15, 20, and 30 hp, the last costing £1450. The company's rather staid image was endorsed during the 1930s by the introduction of a range of six-cylinder cars with ohv engines, though a four-cylinder 12 hp was kept in production until 1936. In 1933, the 5-litre six-cylinder Siddeley Special was announced, featuring a Hiduminium aluminium alloy engine; this model cost £950. Car production continued at a reduced rate throughout 1940, and a few were assembled in 1941. The week that World War II ended in Europe, Armstrong Siddeley introduced its first post-war models; these were the Lancaster four-door saloon and the Hurricane drophead coupe. The names of these models echoed the names of aircraft produced by the Hawker Siddeley Group (the name adopted by the company in 1935) during the war. These cars all used a 2-litre six-cylinder (16 hp) engines, increased to 2.3-litre (18 hp) engines in 1949. From 1949 to 1952 two commercial variants of the 18 hp cars were produced, primarily for export. The Utility Coupé was a conventional coupe utility style vehicle, while the Station Coupé was effectively a dual cab vehicle, although it still retained only two doors. However, it did have two rows of seating to accommodate up to four adults. From 1953 the company produced the Sapphire, with a 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine. In 1956, the model range was expanded with the addition of the 234 (a 2.3-litre four-cylinder) and the 236 (with the older 2.3-litre six-cylinder engine). The Sapphire 346 sported a bonnet mascot in the shape of a Sphinx with namesake Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire jet engines attached. The 234 and 236 Sapphires might have looked to some of marque's loyal customers like a radical departure from the traditional Armstrong Siddeley appearance. However, in truth, they were simply too conservative in a period of rapidly developing automotive design. If the "baby Sapphire" brought about the beginning of the end for Armstrong Siddeley, it was because Jaguar had launched the unitary-construction 2.4 saloon in 1955, which was quicker, significantly cheaper, and much better-looking than the lumpy and frumpy 234/236 design. The last model produced by Armstrong Siddeley was 1958's Star Sapphire, with a 4-litre engine, and automatic transmission. The Armstrong Siddeley was a casualty of the 1960 merger with Bristol; the last car left the Coventry factory in 1960.
Armstrong Siddeley SapphireShow Article
Flaminio Bertoni, Italian, automobile designer, responsible for some of the most radical reconceptualisations of automobiles ever died aged 61 years. Working at Citroën for decades, Bertoni designed the Traction Avant (1934), 2CV, the H van, the DS, and the Ami 6.
Citroen H VanShow Article
Walter Reuther, president of the UAW since 1946, died in an airplane crash at age 62. Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, to German immigrants, Reuther's socialist leanings were fostered by his father, Valentine. A master brewer, Valentine had left Germany to escape the repressive Lutheran authorities there, and to avoid what he viewed as the increasing militarization of his homeland. He imbued his three sons, Walter, Victor, and Roy, with the values of labor organization and social equality. Walter dropped out of high school to become an apprentice die maker at the Wheeling Steel Company. Before he could finish his training, he moved to Detroit during the heavy production years of the Model T, and talked his way into a job as a die maker in a Ford factory. Reuther returned to high school while working at the Ford plant, and he maintained his interest in Socialism and organised labor. During the Depression, he and his brothers traveled to Germany to visit their relatives. The trip proved formative as the totalitarian conditions in Germany, and the bitter split between the National Socialists and the Left, disappointed the brothers terribly. They even briefly ran pamphlets for the Socialist underground there. They continued on to Russia, where Walter employed his skill as a die maker in Russian auto plants that had purchased Ford machinery. They remained in Gorki from 1933 to 1935. Reuther was greatly moved by the camaraderie of the autoworkers there. "To a Ford employee especially," he said, "[the social and cultural life] was absorbing." Reuther returned to Detroit, and began his career as an activist and labor organiser. At first considered a radical and a Communist, Reuther worked his way up the ranks of the UAW as the union became a more and more legitimate force. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal reached out to the leftist elements of the labor movement, and in response Reuther's left moved centre to meet the Democratic Party. Reuther played vital roles in the formation of the UAW and in the merger of the AFL-CIO. He championed integrationist policies when few other labor organisers cared, "The UAW-CIO will tell any worker that refused to work with a coloured worker that he could leave the plant because he did not belong there." During Reuther's benevolent reign atop the ranks of the UAW, autoworkers became members of the middle class, as measured by earnings, employment security, medical care, and retirement pensions.
Walter ReutherShow Article
Toyota displayed TTC-C and TTC-V systems and also the Gas Turbine Century at the opening of the 21st Tokyo Motor Show. Nissan exhibited the Steam Engine Cedric and showed its NAPS system using a multi-media show. Honda displayed its ESV with CVCC engine. Mitsubishi stressed high performance and low pollution by combining its Astro Engine and emission cleaning system MCA. Mazda displayed the rotary engine REAP and reciprocating engine CEAP system. Isuzu exhibited the Gemini Coupe which cleared the 1975 regulations by introducing GM technology for air injection EGRplus a catalytic converter. Fuji Heavy Industries announced the Leone Sports equipped with the SEEC-T system that cleared the 1976 regulation and attracted wide attention. The only new models displayed were the Toyota Corolla Sprinter Liftback, Silvia, and Cosmo s revival model. The rest of the exhibits had radical technological innovations under their hoods, but looked unchanged and mostly modest.
The Ford Sierra was released. It replaced the Ford Cortina/Taunus, and was itself replaced by the Mondeo. Its radical aerodynamic styling was ahead of its time and was a lasting influence, but more conservative buyers found it unappealing. Possibly for this reason, and the early lack of a booted saloon, it never quite achieved the popularity of the Cortina or the Taunus, although sales were still strong.
Ford Sierra Mk1 5-door hatchbackShow Article
The first SEAT Ibiza rolled off the assembly line in the Zone Franca plant, the first entirely Spanish car of the new SEAT generation. The Ibiza's sales success gave the SEAT marque a platform to build on, as it looked to increase sales in following years. This version, while it established the now classic Ibiza shape, was advertised as having "Italian styling and German engines": having its bodywork been designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro's Italdesign, and being prepared for industrialisation by the German manufacturer Karmann. It was based on the SEAT Ronda, a small family car, which in turn was based on the Fiat Ritmo. The gearbox and powertrain were developed in collaboration with Porsche, thus named under licence System Porsche. Despite Porsche's direct involvement in the Ibiza's engines, it was only after paying a royalty of 7 German marks per car sold back to Porsche that SEAT gained the right to put the 'System Porsche' inscription on the engine blocks. By the time Giugiaro was assigned to the Ibiza project, his previous proposal for the second generation of the Volkswagen Golf had been rejected by Volkswagen. So when SEAT approached him with the proposal for a spacious supermini class contender, that particular project was reincarnated as the first generation of the SEAT Ibiza. Using a compact car as basis, in terms of size, it was larger than most superminis like the Ford Fiesta and Opel Corsa/Vauxhall Nova, but smaller than any small family car such as the Ford Escort and Opel Kadett/Vauxhall Astra. The luggage capacity started from 320 litres and increased to 1,200 litres after folding rear seats. It was launched on the United Kingdom market in September 1985, when the brand was launched there, along with the Malaga saloon. It largely competed with budget offerings like the Hyundai Pony, and gave budget buyers a more modern alternative to the outdated offerings from Lada, Škoda, Yugo and FSO. After a slow start, sales picked up and reached the 10,000-a-year milestone by the end of the decade. The interior space was good but styling was fairly unimaginative even though it was known for having a rather quirky interior instrument layout, marked by a lack of control stalks. The indicators were operated by a rocker-switch, and the headlights by a sliding switch. It had three principal trim levels (L, GL and GLX) with bodyworks of 3 and 5 doors and several versions such as Base, Special, Disco, Chrono, Designer, Fashion, SXi etc. As power outputs dropped due to more stringent emissions requirements, a 1.7-litre version of the engine was developed for the Sportline version. For the same reason, a 109 PS (80 kW) turbocharged version of the 1.5-litre engine was developed for the Swiss market and presented in March 1989. In the meantime, SEAT had already signed a cooperation agreement with Volkswagen (1982) and in 1986 the German car maker became SEAT's major shareholder. Though a light restyling of the Ibiza Mk1 came in late 1988 with a moderate facelift in the exterior, a less radical interior and many changes in the mechanical parts, the most profound restyling was launched in 1991 under the name New style, although by now an all-new Ibiza was being developed. The following year, in February 1992, SEAT launched the Ibiza "Serie Olímpica" to celebrate SEAT's participation in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona as a sponsor, and the SEAT Ibiza Mk1 along with the SEAT Toledo Mk1 became the official cars of the Games. The larger sedan version SEAT Málaga was a closer relative to the SEAT Ronda, although it shared engines with the Ibiza.
The last Pontiac Fiero was produced. The Fiero was designed by George Milidrag and Hulki Aldikacti as a sports car. The Fiero was the first two-seater Pontiac since the 1926 to 1938 coupes, and also the first and only mass-produced mid-engine sports car by a U.S. manufacturer. Many technologies incorporated in the Fiero design such as plastic body panels were radical for their time. Other features included hidden headlamps and, initially, integrated stereo speakers within the driver and passenger headrests. A total of 370,168 Fieros were produced over the relatively short production run of five years; by comparison, 163,000 Toyota MR2s were sold in their first five years. At the time, its reputation suffered from criticisms over performance, reliability and safety issues. The word fiero means "very proud" in Italian, and "wild", "fierce", or "ferocious" in Spanish. Alternative names considered for the car were Sprint (which ended up on a Chevrolet car instead), P3000, Pegasus, Fiamma, Sunfire (a name which would later be applied to another car), and Firebird XP. The Fiero 2M4 (two-seat, mid-engine, four-cylinder) was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1984. The 1984 Fiero was the Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500 for 1984, beating out the new 1984 Chevrolet Corvette for the honor.
Pontiac Fiero (1984-88)Show Article
The Ford Scorpio (Granada in Germany) was launched in Europe; it replaced the Consul and previous Granada. Codenamed DE-1 during its development (since it was intended to straddle the European D and E segments), the Scorpio was heavily based on the Sierra, sitting on a stretched version of its floorpan, and using a similar styling philosophy set by both the Sierra and the third generation Escort. Under the bonnet were well-proven engines, starting with the venerable Pinto engine unit in 1.8 L and 2.0 L capacities, as well as the V6 Cologne engine in 2.4 L, 2.8 L, and later 2.9 L displacements. By the summer of 1989 the Pinto engines had begun to be gradually replaced, with an 8-valve DOHC engine replacing the 2.0 L model. The Scorpio was intended to maintain Ford's position in Europe as the principal alternative to a Mercedes or BMW for those looking to own an executive car. It was also launched more than a year ahead of new competitors from Rover and Vauxhall. To this end Ford built on the already extensive specification available on the outgoing MkII Granada (which for the period, was very well equipped, with features such as leather heated electrically adjustable seats, air conditioning, electric sunroof and trip computer either standard or available as options) by adding some additional features unusual on a mass-market car. Improvements available included: heated windscreen, cruise control and, later all-wheel drive. The most notable advance was the fitment of anti-lock braking system, the first time this feature had been made standard across the whole range on a mass-produced car. The car was widely praised as being very comfortable and spacious, particularly in respect of its rear legroom. Unlike the Granada, it was initially only available as a hatchback, and not as a saloon or estate. This proved to be a mistake for Ford, which later introduced a saloon version early in 1990. An estate version finally appeared in early 1992, when the whole range underwent a facelift, with new styling which hinted at the new Mondeo, which would replace the Sierra a year later. There were few engineering changes over the years, notably the introduction of the DOHC engines in 1989, and the Scorpio Cosworth with a 2.9 L 24-valve Cosworth V6 in December 1990. The Cosworth was both large and fast, which consequently gave it poor fuel consumption. Many owners often commented at the fact that 25 miles per gallon was about as much as you could get out of a car with this engine. Prop-shaft deterioration over time was also considered to be a problem on early Mark I and II Cosworths. In the UK and Ireland, following the initial market resistance towards the Sierra - something which had been attributed to its radical styling - Ford elected to keep the Granada name in those markets, making the Scorpio effectively a Mk III Granada. The "Scorpio" name was instead used as a trim designation rather than the model name, being positioned higher than Ford's traditional Ghia top of the range model. These models were marketed as "Granada Scorpio", but were badged simply as "Scorpio", with an elongated "Granada" underneath.
Following the Citroën DS3 and DS4, the brand unveiled the DS5 in Shanghai. Bold and sculptural, the Citroën DS5 was a perfect fit with the DS line with its radical choices in architecture, styling and sophistication.
Citroen DS5Show Article