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.
Czech automaker Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriksgesellschaft added bumpers to its "Prasident" model in 1897, but they're said to have fallen off after a short trip. British engineer Frederick R Simms, a friend of Mercedes-Benz co-founder Gottlieb Daimler, ultimately received the first patent for car bumpers in 1905.
The prototype Rover two-seater (JET 1), built in 1949, was the world’s first gas-turbine-powered private car. JET1, an open two-seat tourer, had the engine positioned behind the seats, air intake grilles on either side of the car, and exhaust outlets on the top of the tail. t held a world speed record for a gas turbine powered car in 1952 with a speed of 152.691 mph. Rover won the Dewar Trophy in 1951 for this work, in recognition of its outstanding pioneering achievement. It was the first time this trophy had been awarded since 1929.
Most experts agree that Vauxhall built the first true sports car, the 1910 Prince Henry. It offered the race car thrills, but with much more civilised accommodation. It was a replica of the 3.0-litre car Vauxhall had successfully campaigned in the 1910 Motor Trial, a 1,200 mile race across Prussia. The Prince Henry – named after Prussia’s ruler – had further competition success, both in trials and at the Brooklands circuit. Few survive and are highly prized.
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.
According to Bloomberg columnist Stephen Carter (a Yale University Law School intellectual-property professor), the first bumper stickers appeared in the late 1920s to advertise products.