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.
Making automobiles easier to start made them easier to steal, creating the need for car keys. Early electric starters just had push buttons, but one Indiana automaker included a key-controlled ignition switch on a 1914 model called the Inter-State. Car key ignitions came into wide use in 1949, when Chrysler added them to all of its cars. Ironically, automakers have been going the other direction in recent years and replacing key-controlled ignitions with push-button ones on many models. But unlike the early systems, modern keyless ignitions won't start unless you to have a special key fob that sends a signal to the auto to prove that you're authorised to drive.
The first drive-thru restaurant was created in 1947 by Sheldon "Red" Chaney, operator of Red's Giant Hamburg in Springfield, Missouri. Located on the famous Route 66, the restaurant served customers until its closure in 1984.
The Automobile Club de France, the first motor sports club, was formed in 1895 out of the committee which had organised the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris Race.
The first heaters specifically designed for cars appeared in the after-market around 1907 and used a vehicle's exhaust for warmth.Typically installed by plumbers, they'd use pipes to route exhaust gas through the car's cabin to give off heat. But these systems often leaked, smelled bad and even caused some asphyxiation deaths. The earliest modern heating system appeared on some 1933 Fords. Using a heat exchanger, they safely transferred warmth from the car's exhaust to fresh air that came out of a dashboard vent.
The first speed hillclimb was held in January 1897, over a 3-mile course from Nice to La Turbie, near Monte Carlo, and formed the final stage of the race from Marselle to Nice. It was won by M Pary driving Andre Michelin’s 15hp De Dion Bouton steam car, which averaged just under 20 mph from an 18hp De Dion Bouton steamer driver by the Comte de Chasseloup-Laubat, and the 6hp petrol-driven Peugeot of Lemaitre, which took more than 20 minutes longer to complete the course than the winning car. The success of Michelin’s car over Chasseloup-Laubat’s similar but more powerful machine was attributed to the fact that the first was using pneumatic tyres, the second running on solid tyres.