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.
The first car specially built for presidential use was the 1939 Lincoln V12 convertible called the "Sunshine Special", used by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The limousine was originally equipped with a siren, running lights, a 2-way radio, extra-wide running boards, and grab handles for Secret Service agents.
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 first windscreen washer offered for automobiles was in 1936, as an aftermarket option to be installed on cars after they were bought.
In October 1897 Henry Sturmey, Editor of Autocar, successfully drove a Coventry built Daimler with Mulliner body (of which he himself designed) from John o’ Groats to Lands End in order to promote the Daimler Company and demonstrate the cars durability. The actual running time over 99 miles was 93.5 hours, or nearly 10 mph average speed. Sturmey described the journey as trouble-free. Such chores as putting in new inlet valves, wiring lose tyres, taking links out of worn drive chains etc., were just part of the game!