. This is a discussion on This Day in Automotive History within The Automotive Library. Part of The Auto Talk category; December 8, 1945
After World War II ended with Japan's surrender on September 3, 1945, Japan remained under Allied occupation ...
December 8, 1945
After World War II ended with Japan's surrender on September 3, 1945, Japan remained under Allied occupation ruled by an occupation government. Its war industries were shut down completely. On this day in 1945, the Toyota Motor Company received permission from the occupation government to start production of buses and trucks--vehicles necessary to keep Japan running. It was the first rumble of the postwar auto industry in Japan.
December 8, 1964
Great Britain's worst auto accident ever killed three people and injured 120 in a pileup of more than 100 vehicles near Wigan, England.
December 8, 1981
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, the automotive division of the huge Mitsubishi conglomerate of Japan, began selling cars in the U.S. under its own name. Previously, Mitsubishi had done business in the States only in partnerships with American automakers.
December 9, 1921
On this day, a young engineer at General Motors named Thomas Midgeley Jr. discovers that when he adds a compound called tetraethyl lead (TEL) to gasoline, he eliminates the unpleasant noises known as "knock" or "pinging" that internal-combustion engines make when they run. Midgeley could scarcely have imagined the consequences of his discovery: For more than five decades, oil companies would saturate the gasoline they sold with lead--a deadly poison.
In 1911, a scientist named Charles Kettering, Midgeley's boss at GM, invented an electric ignition system for internal-combustion cars that made their old-fashioned hand-cranked starters obsolete. Now, driving a gas-fueled auto was no trouble at all. Unfortunately, as more and more people bought GM cars, more and more people noticed a problem: When they heated up, their engines made an alarming racket, banging and clattering as though their metal parts were loose under the hood.
The problem, Kettering and Midgeley eventually figured out, was that ordinary gasoline was much too explosive for spark-ignited car engines: that is, what we now call its octane, a measure of its resistance to detonation, was too low. To raise the fuel's octane level and make it less prone to detonation and knocking, Midgeley wrote later, he mixed it with almost anything he could think of, from "melted butter and camphor to ethyl acetate and aluminum chloride but most of these had no more effect
He found a couple of additives that did work, however, and lead was just one of them. Iodine worked, but producing it was much too complicated. Ethyl alcohol also worked, and it was cheap--however, anyone with an ordinary still could make it, which meant that GM could not patent it or profit from it. Thus, from a corporate point of view, lead was the best anti-knock additive there was.
In February 1923, a Dayton filling station sold the first tankful of leaded gasoline. A few GM engineers witnessed this big moment, but Midgeley did not, because he was in bed with severe lead poisoning. He recovered; however, in April 1924, lead poisoning killed two of his unluckier colleagues, and in October, five workers at a Standard Oil lead plant died too, after what one reporter called "wrenching fits of violent insanity." Almost 40 of the plant's workers suffered severe neurological symptoms like hallucinations and seizures.
Still, for decades auto and oil companies denied that lead posed any health risks. Finally, in the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency required that carmakers phase out lead-compatible engines in the cars they sold in the United States. Today, leaded gasoline is still in use in some parts of Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East.
December 9, 1941
The Automobile Racing Drivers Club of America (ARDCA) closed its doors due to World War II, which created shortages of fuel, tires, and other automotive necessities--including men to drive the cars. After the war, the ARDCA never got started again.
December 9, 1963
The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, started during the Civil War, was the world's largest manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages. When automobiles came along, Studebaker converted its business, becoming a well-known automaker. But the brand couldn't keep up with its competitors, despite a 1954 merger with the Packard Motor Car Company. On this day in 1963, the last American-made Studebaker was produced, and the factory in South Bend, Indiana, closed forever. Three years later Studebaker's Canadian factories shut down, and the Studebaker passed into history.
That Studebaker looks not cared for, Is it in some museum?
I got a picture of a beautifully restored 1964 one, Probably the ride is lowered and its got some nice looking wheels too. Its the first picture. I also am attaching some more pictures from different angles as I love that car very much. And I also believe the one with the 42sx plates is the Studebaker Daytona.
Last edited by jalex; 8th December 2010 at 09:33 PM.
December 10, 1845
English inventor R.W. Thompson received a British patent for his new carriage wheels, which had inflated tubes of heavy rubber stretched around their rims--the world's first pneumatic tires. They became popular on horse-drawn carriages, and later prevented the first motorcar passengers from being shaken to pieces.
December 10, 1868
First traffic control light in London used gas-lighted lantern.
December 10, 1915
The 1,000,000th Model T Ford was produced on this day in 1915. It was a triumph of Henry Ford's assembly-line innovations, and the dawn of a new American era. The speed and efficiency of Ford's factories made automobiles cheaper than ever. Average families could afford their own cars. The modern motorized world was being born.
December 10, 1970
Lee Iacocca became president of Ford Motor Company on this day. Iacocca joined Ford as an engineer in the 1940s, but quickly moved into marketing, where he gained influence quickly as a supporter of the Ford Mustang. Iacocca was eventually ousted from Ford on October 15, 1978. He went on to become president of the struggling Chrysler Corporation, which was saddled with an inventory of gas-guzzling road yachts, just as the fuel shortage began. Iacocca made history by talking the government into offering Chrysler $1.5 billion in loans. The bailout worked, with the help of Iacocca's streamlining measures. Chrysler recorded record profits in 1984.
December 11, 1894
The world's first auto show, the Exposition Internationale de Velocipidie et de Locomotion Automobile, opened in Paris, France. Four makes of automobiles were on display.
December 11, 1941
On this day in 1941, Buick lowered its prices to reflect the absence of spare tires or inner tubes from its new cars. Widespread shortages caused by World War II had led to many quotas and laws designed to conserve America's resources. One of these laws prohibited spare tires on new cars. Rubber, produced overseas, had become almost impossible to get. People didn't mind the spare-tire law too much, though. They were too busy dealing with quotas for gasoline, meat, butter, shoes, and other essentials.
December 12, 1916
The Studebaker Corporation, a leading automaker that began as the world's biggest manufacturer of horseless carriages, began construction of a new factory in South Bend, Indiana. Studebaker was a leading automaker througout the first half of the twentieth century.
December 12, 1922
William L. Kissel and John F. Werner, of Hartford, WI, received a patent for a "Convertible Automobile Body", removable hard top that could turn a closed car into an open touring car (precursor to convertibles); assigned to Kissel Motor Car Company.
December 12, 1955
On this day in 1955, the Ford Foundation made the biggest donation to charity the world had yet seen: $500,000,000 to hospitals, medical schools, and colleges. The Ford Foundation supported many other charities, and is still active today.
December 13, 1939
The first production Lincoln Continental was finished on this day (prototypes of the touring car had already been driven). The Lincoln Continentals of the 1940s are commonly considered some of the most beautiful production cars ever made. Today, the Lincoln Continental remains one of the world's most popular luxury cars.
December 13, 1957
The last two-seater T-bird was produced on this day. Through 1957, Ford's Thunderbirds were jaunty, two-seater sports cars that boasted removable hard tops and powerful V-8 engines. The 1958 Thunderbird (nicknamed the "square bird") was a four-passenger car, 18 inches longer and half a ton heavier than the previous year's model. The new luxury Thunderbird packed a 300hp V-8, making it one of the most muscular cars on the road. And one of the most popular. It sold more cars in 1958 than 1957, despite a nationwide slump in auto sales. Ford discontinued the Thunderbird after the 1997 model year, by which time it bore little resemblance to the stylish early "Bird" versions. To the delight of Thunderbird aficionados, it was reintroduced in 2002, with a brand-new and noteworthy design that incorporated elements of 1955-57 and 1961-62 models, including "porthole" windows, rounded lights and a hood scoop.
December 13, 2003
On this day in 2003, Seattle preservationists load the city's iconic Hat 'n' Boots Tex Gas Station onto a tractor-trailer and drive it away from the spot where it had stood for almost 50 years. The hat, a 44-foot–wide Stetson, went first; the 22-foot–tall cowboy boots followed it one at a time. (The giant hat had always been mostly for show--it had perched atop the filling station's office, luring drivers off the highway. The boots, on the other had, were eminently functional: The left one housed the men's restroom and the right one housed the women's.) The buildings were famous examples of mid-century roadside Pop Art--eagle-eyed viewers can even see them in the opening credits of the film "National Lampoon's Vacation"--and the move, to a nearby park, saved them from demolition.
Developer Buford Seals intended the Hat 'n' Boots (built in 1955) to be the centerpiece of a gigantic shopping center that he called the Frontier Village. It sat alongside Route 99, the Pacific Northwest's major north-south highway, and Seals was confident that people would flock to his mall if only he could find a way to attract their attention. So, he hired artist Lewis H. Nasmyth to design the enormous structure, and the two men built it themselves out of steel beams, plaster and chicken wire. It cost $150,000, almost all the money Seals had. After the filling station was finished, he managed to scrape together enough cash to build the (ordinary-looking) Frontier Village Supermarket, but the mall's remaining 184 stores never materialized.
For a while, the gas station had better luck than either the shopping center or the supermarket, which quickly went out of business. In fact, for the first five years it was open, the Hat 'n' Boots sold more gasoline than any other station in Washington. Rumor has it that Elvis even pumped gas there! But the completion of the bigger, more modern Interstate 5 just a few miles away drained most of Route 99's traffic, and the Hat 'n' Boots became more of a tourist curiosity than anything else. It closed in 1988.
When they reached their new home in Oxbow Park, the disintegrating boots were restored almost immediately. In 2007, Seattle city officials paid $150,000 to revitalize the hat as well.
December 14, 1909
The famous brick surface of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (the "Brickyard") was finished on this day. The speedway had its grand opening three days later, when the brickwork was ceremoniously completed by Governor Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana, who cemented the last "golden" brick.
December 14, 1931
Bentley Motors was taken over by Rolls-Royce on this day. Bentley Motors, a maker of luxury automobiles founded in 1920, was, like Rolls-Royce, one of the finest names in the business. As a Rolls-Royce subsidiary, Bentley was guided by the Rolls-Royce esthetic. Gradually, Bentley automobiles acquired elements of classic Rolls-Royce design until automobiles of the two marques became virtually indistinguishable.
December 14, 1947
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was founded at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was the first formal organization for stock-car racing, a sport said to have begun with souped-up bootlegger hot rods during Prohibition. Starting in 1953, the major automakers invested heavily in racing teams, producing faster cars than ever before: good results on the stock-car circuit were believed to mean better sales on the showroom floor. In 1957, however, rising costs and tightened NASCAR rules forced the factories out of the sport, and the modern era of the NASCAR superspeedway began.
December 14, 1983
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi handed over the keys of a white Maruti 800 to one Harpal Singh. Many especially political leaders and bureaucrats attended the launch ceremony of Maruti 800, but the person who dreamt of India's first people's car was missing, late Sanjay Gandhi. His smiling portrait lay hanged on the stage.
Mr. Harpal Singh, Maruti’s first customer, proudly received the keys of the Maruti 800 car from the Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi on December 14, 1983
December 15, 1854
First practical street cleaning machine put into operation in Philadelphia; chain driven by turning of cart's wheels turned series of brooms attached to cylinder mounted on cart.
December 15, 1941
An AFL council adopted a no-strike policy in war industries, which included automotive plants being converted to military production (domestic automobile manufacturing stopped completely from 1941 to 1944). The U.S. was gearing up for the worst years of World War II.
December 15, 1967
On this day in 1967, the Silver Bridge across the Ohio River collapsed during rush hour. Dozens of cars fell into the icy water. Forty-six people lost their lives in the accident, and many others were injured. Today, better construction and safety rules make accidents like this one less common.
December 16, 1949
A Swedish company by the name of Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget produced its first motorcar. In 1965, the concern changed its name to Saab Aktiebolag, and a few years later simply to Saab. The first Saab automobiles were engineered with the precision of fighter planes--the company's other main product. Today Saab is known for producing safe, reliable, high-performing vehicles. In 1990, General Motors bought Saab's car operations, excluding its bus, truck, and military jet businesses. Ten years later, GM acquired the rest of Saab's automotive operations.
December 16, 1979
Libya joined four other OPEC nations in raising the price of crude oil. Since the U.S. bought much of its oil from Libya, the price hike had an almost immediate effect on American gas prices. Gas became costly, and the cost of motoring rose. Heating-oil prices also jumped--a tough blow at the beginning of winter.
December 17, 1963
On this day in 1963, the U.S. Congress passed the Clean Air Act, a sweeping set of laws designed to protect the environment from air pollution. It was the first legislation to place pollution controls on the automobile industry.
December 17, 1979
Driver Stan Barrett became the first person in the world to travel faster than sound on land. He drove the Budweiser Rocket car at a top speed of 739.666 in a one-way run at Rogers Dry Lake, California. The ultrasonic speed set an unofficial record, but an official record requires trips in both directions, whose speeds are averaged.
December 18, 1898
Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat set the world's first official land-speed record in Acheres Park near Paris: 39.245mph in his Jeantaud automobile, powered by an electric motor and alkaline batteries. The Jeantaud is widely believed to be the first automobile steered by a modern steering wheel rather than a tiller. The tiller was quickly replaced by the steering wheel in the early 1900s.
December 18, 1984
The first Chevy Nova is introduced by New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc., a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors. This car later met with marketing trouble in South America, where its name read as "No Go" to Spanish speakers.
December 19, 1924
The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost manufactured in England was sold in London. The Silver Ghost, a custom touring car, was introduced in 1906, and was called by some the "Best Car in the World." The Silver Ghost was followed by the Twenty, the Phantom, the Silver Cloud, the Silver Shadow, and the Silver Wraith.
December 19, 1979
Senate approved Chrysler Loan Guarantee Act of 1979, a $1.5 billion loan for Chrysler Corporation.
December 19, 1994
Great Britain's prestigious Rolls-Royce, a luxury automobile maker, announced that its future cars would feature 12-cylinder motors manufactured by Germany's BMW. It was an ironic change; in earlier years, Rolls-Royce made a name for itself in automobile and aircraft engines.
December 20, 1892
Alexander Brown and George Stillman of Syracuse, New York, patented an inflatable automobile tire. Before the pneumatic tire, wheels were often made of solid rubber. This made travel a bumpy experience. After all, the streets of 1892 were made of dirt or cobblestone. Some horse-drawn carriages had been made with inflatable tires, but Brown and Stillman got the first patent for pneumatic automobile tires.
December 20, 1945
Tire rationing in the U.S. ended on this day as World War II wound to a close, and widespread shortages in the States began to ease.
December 21, 1926
General Motors Corporation registered "Pontiac" trademark.
December 21, 1937
The Lincoln Tunnel was officially opened to traffic, allowing motorists to drive between New Jersey and Manhattan beneath the Hudson River.
December 21, 1979
The U.S. Congress approved $1.5 billion in loans to the financially threatened Chrysler Corporation in an effort to save the battered automotive giant. President Jimmy Carter signed the bill on January 7, 1980. Under the stewardship of Lee Iacocca, Chysler rebounded quickly. By the late 1980s, the automaker was posting record profits.
Ironically, due to recent crisis not only Chrysler, other two automaker, Ford and GM, most famously known as if Big Three are in a similar situation. On December 19, George W. Bush announced that he had approved the bailout plan, which would give loans of $17.4 billion to U.S. automakers.