6-12 April Motoring Milestones

Discover the most momentous motoring events that took place this week in history ………

Los Angeles “The Boards”Motordrome

110 years ago this week, the Los Angeles “The Boards” Motordome, the first speedway with a board track, opened near Playa Del Rey, California, with a nine day series of races and exhibitions [8 April 1910]. The wooden track had a circumference of 5,281 feet. Board tracks were paved with 2×4’s and were steeply banked at angles as high as 45 degrees allowing car-racing daredevils to reach speeds up to 100mph with no hands on the steering wheel.The L.A. Motordome, affectionately known as “The Boards,” was a huge success. By 1915, nearly a half-dozen board tracks had popped up around the country. By 1931, there were 24 board tracks in operation including tracks in Beverly Hills, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and Atlantic City. The Beverly Hills track stood approximately where the prime-time shopping blocks of Rodeo Drive are located now. No tracks have ever approximated the speeds allowed on the heavily banked boards. Board tracks began to fade from existence during the Depression. The lifetime for 2×4’s exposed to racing tires is approximately five years after which deadly splinters and potholes begin to dot the track’s smooth surface. During the Depression, the expensive upkeep of the board tracks made them impractical. The last decade of board racing was a sight to behold. Cars tore down straightaways at 120 mph while carpenter’s patched the tracks from beneath. It wasn’t unheard of for mischievous children to peek their heads up through holes in the board tracks to watch their favourite racers with a squirrel’s eye view. Entertainment just isn’t what it used to be!……100 years ago this week, Marie Luhring of the International Harvester Company was admitted as the first female member of the Society of Automobile Engineers [9 April 1920]……. Malcolm Campbell in the 1912 Lorraine-Dietrich “Blue Bird” won the first official race held at Brooklands following World War I, after extensive track repairs [11 April 1920]……. 90 years ago this week, René Dreyfus driving a Bugatti T35B won the Monaco Grand Prix at Monte Carlo. All six finishers at the Monaco Grand Prix were driving Bugattis [6 April 1930]……… The Automobile Association (AA) issued its one millionth badge [7 April 1930]……. The very first

Bridgestone – 1930

Bridgestone tyre was produced, by the Japanese “Tabi” Socks Tyre Division [9 April 1930]…….80 years ago this week, the 28 millionth Ford was produced, a Deluxe Fordor Sedan with a body by Ford built at the Edgewater, New Jersey plant [8 April 1940]…….70 years ago today, the Pau Grand Prix, a Non-Championship Formula One motor race was held at the Pau circuit, in Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France [10 April 1950]. It was the first race of the 1950 Formula One season, and was conducted on the same day as the 1950 Richmond Trophy. Maserati driver Juan Manuel Fangio won the race, contested over 110 laps, after starting from pole position. Luigi Villoresi finished second in a Ferrari, and Louis Rosier third in a Talbot-Lago…… on the same day [10- April 1950], The 2nd Richmond Trophy, a non-championship Formula One race held at Goodwood Circuit, West Sussex, England. It was a short race of only 11 laps and was won by Reg Parnell in a Maserati 4CLT/48 and Tazio Nuvolari competed in his last automobile race, winning the 1.5 litre class at the Circuit of Monte Pellegrino in a Cisitalia……..60 years ago this week, Jack Hinkle, driving a Maserati Tipo 60, won the preliminary race of the Carrera del Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, US [9 April 1960]…….50 years ago this week, Pedro Rodriguez completely dominated in the rain, driving his Porsche 917 to victory in the 1000 Kilometer World Sports Car Championship race on the Brands Hatch circuit [12 April 1970]. Rodriguez and co-driver Leo Kinnunen, who only did the minimum required time in the car, finished 5 laps ahead of another Porsche 917, this one driven by Vic Elford and Denny Hulme………40 years ago this week, the longest regularly scheduled bus route – 3389 miles from Perth to Brisbane, Australia, taking 75 hours 55 minutes – was inaugurated by ‘Across Australia Coach Lines’ [9 April 1980]……. William Clay Ford was named Vice Chairman of the Ford Motor Company [10 April 1980]……..30 years ago this week, Davey Allison edged Mark Martin by eight inches in a thrilling last lap to win the Valleydale 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Tennessee, US [8 April 1990]. Allison led 109 of 500 laps in a Robert Yates Racing Ford for his seventh victory in NASCAR’s top series. Ricky Rudd finished third after spinning out Sterling Marlin on the final lap……. Easter weekend, marked the first holiday in nearly 40 years that Germans were free to visit family on the other side of the border separating East Germany from West Germany [12 April 1990]. Though traffic was heavy throughout the weekend, the 18-million-car backup reported at the border on this day holds the Guinness World Record for most cars in a traffic jam………20 years ago this week, DaimlerChrysler became the first car manufacturer in the world to offer fuel cell vehicles for sale after announcing plans to build and sell 20 city buses with fuel cell drives during the next three years [6 April 2000]……. Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari F1-2000 won the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola [9 April 2000].

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