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.
Rumble strips, also known as sleeper lines, rumple strips, audible lines, "the corduroy", and growlers, are a road safety feature to alert inattentive drivers of potential danger, by causing a tactile vibration and audible rumbling transmitted through the wheels into the vehicle interior. Rumble strips were first implemented on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey in 1952.
The first production automatic parking system, the Intelligent Parking Assist System (IPAS), was developed by Toyota Motor Corporation in 1999 - initially for the Japanese market hybrid Prius and Lexus models. The technology assisted drivers in parking their vehicle. On vehicles equipped with the IPAS, via an in-dash screen and button controls, the car steers itself into a parking space with little input from the user. The first version of the system was deployed on the Prius Hybrid sold in Japan in 2003.
Oklahoma City, USA was the site for the world’s first parking meter, where it was installed in July 1935. An invention of Gerald A. Hale and Professor H.G. Thuesen of Oklahoma State University, the first person to be arrested for a parking meter offence was the Reverend C.H. North of the Third Pentecostal Church of Oklahoma City in August 1935. Britain’s first parking meters made their appearance outside the American Embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square on 10 July 1958.
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.
Britain’s first two-level viaduct, the Tinsley Viaduct, opened in 1968, carries the M1 and the A631 1033 metres over the Don Valley, from Tinsley to Wincobank, also crossing the Sheffield Canal, the Midland Main Line and the former South Yorkshire Railway line from Tinsley Junction to Rotherham Central. Although originally designed to carry 6 lanes, during the strengthening work the M1 was permanently reduced to 4 lanes following an EU directive on load bearing capacity to allow for the introduction of 40-ton trucks in the UK. The viaduct is balanced on rollers to allow for thermal expansion and contraction, and the route weaves slightly in order to make its way past obstacles. The viaduct, due to its construction, is very flexible. Movement may be felt on the lower deck as the traffic passes overhead. The Meadowhall Shopping Centre lies in the valley to the west; to the east is the Blackburn Meadows sewage works.