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.
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A random selection of firsts from the world of motoring.
In 1934, Michelin introduced a run flat tyre that was based on technology developed for local commuter trains and trolleys. It had a safety rim inside the tyre which if punctured would run on a special foam lining. The tyre was sold for military use and for specialised vehicles like bank armoured cars. It was advertised as "semi-bullet proof". While the tyre performed as advertised it was far too expensive to be a feasible option for private automobile users.
Daimler was the first company formed in Britain to produce petrol motor cars, which was floated in December 1896 by a financier named Lawson who tried to establish a motor monopoly on Britain. Although the company was meant to manufacturer cars to the designs of the German Daimler company, whose English manufacturing license was acquired by Lawson, the first cars they made, in 1897, were copied from the French Panhard-Levassor design. The engines were of Daimler type as Panhard-Levassor were the licensees of Daimler patents.
The first traffic signs were erected in Britain in December 1879. They were installed by the Bicycle Union and consisted of a wooden post with an enameled iron plate bearing the warning: “To cyclists – this hill is dangerous”. In 1901 the first signs directed specifically at motorcar drivers were introduced in Gloucester. The first internationally standardized signs (a red triangle surrounding a plate with an agreed symbol) were agreed upon in 1909 in France.
Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII became the first “royal” motorist when he was driven in a Serpollet steam car belonging to Gaston Menier, the chocolate manufacturer, at Bad Homburg in the summer of 1905.
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.