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THIS DAY IN AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY

 

APRIL

APR 25,2001

44-year-old Italian race car driver Michele Alboreto is killed on a track in Germany during a test drive. Alboreto collected five Grand Prix wins on the Formula One (F1) circuit, where he competed during the 1980s and early 1990s, and also claimed victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in 1997.He made his F1 debut in 1981 and took home his first victory at the Caesars Palace Grand Prix Las Vegas in 1982. From 1984 to 1988, Alboreto drove for the Ferrari team, the first Italian to do so in more than a decade.

APR 11,1907

The Rockford Automobile & Engine Company of Rockford, Illinois, US registered 'The Federal' as a trademark. The Federal marque, occasionally known as the Rockford, was produced 1907-09 in three different cities, but the firm ultimately failed.

APR 10, 1909

The Rolls Royce Silver Rogue, driven by Percy Northey to victory in the 1908 Scottish Reliability Trial, was sold as a used car in London, England.

APR 9, 1905

The first aerial car ferry was put in operation over the ship canal from Lake Avenue, Duluth, Minnesota, to Minnesota Point, Minnesota, US. Cars were suspended in the air from a super structure that loomed 135 feet clear of Lake Superior. The aerial ferry spanned 393 feet in length while its car platform measured 34 feet by 50 feet. The ferry could accommodate six cars and two glassed-in passenger cabins with a carrying capacity of 125,000 pounds. The platform itself hung 12 feet above the water line. A round trip on the aerial car ferry from Duluth to Minnesota Point lasted 10 minutes. 

APR 8, 1901

The first formal automobile race in Great Britain was staged at the Crystal Palace in London and won by Charles Jarrott driving an 8-hp Panhard et Levassor. 

APR 5, 1921

The Chevrolet Brothers Manufacturing Company was formed by Louis and Arthur Chevrolet to market their Frontenac high performance overhead-valve cylinder head conversion kits.

APR 2, 1872

George B. Brayton of Boston, Massachusetts. received a US patent for a petrol-powered engine (No. 125,166). Its principle of continuous ignition later became the basis for the turbine engine. A pressurised air-fuel mixture from a reservoir was ignited upon entering a water-cooled cylinder. The Brayton engine was tried in watercraft, one of John Holland's submarines and one for a few months installed in a carriage (1872-3).

APR 1, 1826

Samuel Morey of Oxford, New Hampshire, US was issued a patent for his 'gas and vapour engine'. Morey demonstrated his engine in New York and Philadelphia and there are eyewitness reports for both. In Philadelphia, he demonstrated it powering a boat and a wagon. Unfortunately, when he decided to demonstrate the car on the street, he fell off after starting the engine and the vehicle powered across Market Street into a ditch. This was the second car ride in the world, and the first in the United States. Despite these mostly successful demonstrations, Morey did not find any buyers.

 

MARCH

MAR 27, 1907

The Prague Automobile Factory Ltd was organised to produce the PAT-PAF

MAR 26, 1923

The Master Tire & Rubber Corporation was organised in Delaware.

MAR 25, 1901

The first diesel motor went on show in Great Britain.

MAR 22, 1905

he California Legislature (US) approved an act requiring registration of all motor vehicles with the Secretary of State.

MAR 21, 1899

The 75 mile (120.7 km) Nice-Castellane-Nice road race was won by Albert Lemaître driving a Peugeot 20 hp, at an average speed of 26.02 mph (41.87 km/h). He was driving the latest version of rear engined, 2 cylinder, (140 mm bore x 190 mm stroke) Peugeot, in which he also achieved a standing start mile in 1 minute 35 seconds.

MAR 20, 1925

The Opel 4/12 bhp "Laubfrosch" (German for tree frog) was exhibited at the Geneva Auto Show. It had 4-cylinder pressure-lubricated engine, an electric starter, a 3-speed gearbox with reverse gear and could reach speeds of 45 mph. Opel launched it on to the market at a price of DM 3000.

MAR 19, 1687

René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, North American explorer and namesake of the 1927-40 General Motors automobile, was murdered in present-day Texas, US.

MAR 18, 1929

General Motors (GM) announced its plans to acquire Opel AG, one of Germany's largest car companies. When Alfred P. Sloan became president of GM in 1923, there was already a GM of Canada, but all other foreign markets were still being served through export. Throughout the 1920s the economic nationalism of European countries made international expansion difficult for the U.S. car companies. Ford attempted to crack foreign markets by setting up manufacturing subsidiaries in other countries. GM's Sloan decided that purchasing existing companies in countries with desirable markets was a better policy. In 1925, GM purchased Vauxhall Motors of Great Britain. Sloan's policies allowed GM to expand its market without attracting attention as a foreign company. On this day in 1929, GM announced its plans to buy the Adam Opel A.G. GM still runs Opel under the Opel name. Alfred Sloan is credited with turning GM from one of the most successful car companies in America into what was once one of the greatest industrial giants in the world.

MAR 15, 1897

Scottish immigrant, Alexander Winton founded the Winton Motor Carriage Company of Cleveland, Ohio. Winton was the first American company to sell a motor car. Their first automobiles, called "horseless carriages," were built by hand and assembled piece by piece. Each vehicle had fancy painted sides, padded seats, a leather roof, and gas lamps. After 12 years in the bicycle manufacturing business, Winton began producing cars with his name on them in 1896. A fiery Scotsman, Winton took the challenge to build the world's fastest automobile personally. Like Ransom Olds, he raced his own cars. Racing at Daytona Beach is said to have begun with a match race between Winton and Olds in 1902, which the two men declared a draw. A year later, Winton won a multi-car race at Daytona, driving his Winton Bullet to an average speed of 68 mph and becoming the first person to break the mile-per-minute barrier. Alexander Winton's personal rivalries did not stop with Ransom Olds. In 1901, Henry Ford, after being passed over for a mechanic's job with Winton's company, defeated Winton in his first and last car race. Ford's future notoriety would depend heavily on the publicity won in his encounter with his one-time potential employer. James Ward Packard also maintained a personal rivalry with Winton. After having purchased a Winton, Packard complained about the car's reliability. Winton reportedly politely urged Packard to build his own car. Packard responded by starting his own company. In the first decade of American car racing Wintons and Packards, driven by Barney Oldfield and Ralph DePalma, respectively, would fuel the sport's greatest rivalry. In 1903, Winton drove his car from San Francisco to New York to prove the reliability of his vehicles. It was the automotive industry's most dramatic achievement up to that point. A popular anecdote sums up Winton's involvement in the early automotive industry. Faced with mechanical problems in an early Winton, a Cleveland area resident reportedly towed his Winton through the streets of Cleveland with a team of mules exhibiting a sign reading, "This is the only way you can drive a Winton." In response, Winton hired a farm wagon carrying a jackass to follow his detractor, exhibiting a sign that read, "This is the only animal unable to drive a Winton."

 

 

 

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