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 random selection of firsts from the world of motoring.
Anti-lock braking systems were first developed for aircraft. An early system was Dunlop's Maxaret system, introduced in the 1950s and still in use on some aircraft models. This was a fully mechanical system. It saw limited automobile use in the 1960s in the Ferguson P99 racing car, the Jensen FF and the experimental all wheel drive Ford Zodiac, but saw no further use; the system proved expensive and, in automobile use, somewhat unreliable. The first car (worldwide) to have ABS fitted as standard (across the entire range) was the Ford Granada Mk 3 (of 1985).The German firm Bosch had been developing anti-lock braking technology since the 1930s, but the first production cars using Bosch's electronic system became available in 1978. They first appeared in trucks and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. ABS Systems were later introduced on motorcycles.
The first motor sports club, the Automobile Club du France, was formed in 1895 out of the committee which had organised the Paris – Bordeaux – Paris Race.
In March 1970, Citroën introduced rain-sensitive intermittent windscreen wipers on their SM model. When the intermittent function was selected, the wiper would make one swipe. If the windscreen was relatively dry, the wiper motor drew high current, which set the control circuit timer to delay the next wipe longest. If the motor drew little current, it indicated that the glass was wet, setting the timer to minimize the delay.
Crash test dummies have helped to make cars vastly safer than they used to be, but there are grim beginnings to this innovation. Researchers in 1930s America wanted to study how much force the human body could withstand, so threw a corpse down a lift shaft. Human bodies are still used in academic crash test studies today.
Britain’s first automobile fog lights were produced by Desmo of Birmingham in 1928. Previous to this accessory manufacturers offered ‘fog discs’ in yellow celluloid which fitted over the headlamp.