This Day in Automotive History

Thread Starter #17
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8th March

March 8, 1936
Daytona Beach, Florida, staged its first race strictly for stock cars on a combination beach and public roadway course. The race is remembered as the impetus for today's NASCAR. However, race or no race, NASCAR never would have come into being without the efforts of Bill France. Having moved to Daytona in 1934, Bill France opened a garage there. He fixed and raced cars, finishing fifth in Daytona's original race. The city claimed it lost money on the event and enthusiasm for city-sponsored racing waned. The next year the Daytona Elks persuaded the city to stage a Labor Day road race for stock cars. The city lost money again. At that point, Bill France and local club owner Charlie Reese took over the promotion for the Daytona race. With Reese's money and France's work, the race established itself as a successful enterprise. Racing halted during the war, but afterward France returned to Daytona Beach and persisted at race promotion. Reese died in 1945. France went on to promote races all over the South. In 1946, he staged a National Championship race at the Old Charlotte Speedway. A news editor objected to France's calling a race a National Championship without any organized sanctioning body. France responded by forming the National Championship Stock Car Circuit (NCSCC) in 1946. On December 14, 1947, France called a meeting to reorganize the growing NCSCC. Racing officials gathered at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach to hear France call for major changes in the operation of the circuit. He demanded more professionalism and suggested that the organization provide insurance for drivers and strict rules for the race cars and tracks. A new organization to be incorporated later that year as the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) emerged from the meeting, with Bill France, former mechanic, as president.

March 8, 1969
The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was introduced on this day in 1969. The Firebird Trans Am was just one in a series of muscle cars released by Pontiac in the 1960s, including the Grand Prix and the GTO. It all began in 1959 when Pontiac hired a young car designer named John DeLorean. DeLorean's designs increased sales for Pontiac by 27 percent between 1962 and 1968. The Grand Prix and the Firebird accounted for half of the gain. On the basis of its muscle cars, Pontiac ruled the youth market of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Trans Am, originally a limited model Firebird, would become a symbol in the muscle car niche of automobile manufacturing.

NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. (right) and Bill France Jr. (his eldest son, left) look over plans for the new Daytona International Speedway with contractor Don Smith in 1957.
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Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
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Source:
The History Channel
Wikipedia
nascar.com​
 
Thread Starter #19
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9th March

March 9, 1901
On this day, a fire destroyed the Olds Motor Works factory in Detroit, Michigan. Legend holds that Olds employee James Brady pushed a Regular Runabout, affectionately called the Curved Dash, out of the building to safety. Over the course of the previous year, Olds had developed over 11 models for cars, all of which varied greatly in price and design. He had reportedly not decided which Olds models on which to focus the company's production capability, but, as the fire destroyed all but one prototype, fate decided that the Runabout would be the first major production Olds. The Runabout, a small buggy with lightweight wheels and a curved dashboard powered by a one-cylinder engine, not dissimilar from today's lawnmower engines, became the Olds Motor Company's primary automobile. The Runabout maxed out at 20mph. Olds later viewed the fire as a miracle, a sign that the Runabout would make his fortune. He expressed his enthusiasm for the little car, "My horseless carriage is no passing fad. It never kicks, never bites, never tires on long runs, never sweats in hot weather, and doesn't require care when not in use. It eats only when it's on the road. And no road is too tough for the Olds Runabout." In preparation for his success, Olds contracted other companies for parts to comprise his Runabout and, in doing so, he revolutionized the automobile industry. Previously, all cars had been built from start to finish on one site. Olds' methods allowed for an assembly line in which parts were produced outside his factory and systematically assembled in his own factories. Among Olds subcontracted partners were the Dodge Brothers; Henry Leland, who founded Lincoln and Cadillac; and Fred Fisher, whose family produced bodies for General Motors. The Olds Runabout sold for $650.

March 9, 1950
Racer Danny Sullivan was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on this day. Sullivan dominated Indy Car racing in the 1980s driving Penske cars. Danny Sullivan won the 1985 Indy 500 after a full-circle spin on the track.

March 9, 1964
First Ford Mustang rolled off assembly line.

Danny Sullivan
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The very first Mustang to roll of assembly line in 1964. Sold in an auction for estimated $5.5 million.

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Source:
The History Channel
Wikipedia
People Magazine​
 
Thread Starter #22
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March 10, 1927
Robert Kearns, inventor who won suits against auto giants is born in Gary, Indiana. He patented a design for a type of windshield wiper and later won multi-million dollar judgments against Chrysler and Ford for using his concept without permission. Kearns’ invention, the intermittent windshield wiper, enabled wipers to move at timed intervals, rather than constantly swiping back and forth. Intermittent wipers aided drivers in light rain or mist and today are a standard feature of most cars. Kearns’ real-life David versus Goliath story about taking on the auto giants was made into a movie titled “Flash of Genius” that opened in 2008 and starred Greg Kinnear.



March 10, 1972
Matthew Roy Kenseth, an American stock car driver was born in Cambridge, Wisconsin. Matt currently drives the #17 DeWalt Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Roush Fenway Racing. He is currently the defending Daytona 500 champion, having won a rain-shortened race in 2009, the first Daytona 500 win for the Roush Fenway Racing team. Kenseth followed that up with a win at California Speedway moving his win list up to 19 in Sprint Cup.


March 10, 1975

Lyne Bessette, a Canadian professional bicycle racer was born in Lac Brome, Quebec. A two-time member of the Canadian Olympic team (2000 and 2004), she has twice won the prestigious Tour de l'Aude Feminin (1999 and 2001) as well as the 2001 Women's Challenge.

March 10, 2003
Barry Sheene, a British former World Champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer died of cancer of the stomach and esophagus.
Sheene is credited with the invention the motorcycle back protector, with a prototype model he made himself out of old helmet visors, arranged so they could curve in one direction, but not the other. Sheene gave the prototype along with all rights to the Italian company Dainese - they and other companies have manufactured back protectors since then.

Robert Kearns
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Robert Kearns' patent
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Movie Flash of Genius starring Greg Kinnear , Based on the life of Robert Kearns
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Matthew Roy Kenseth
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Matthew Kenseth's 2009 Cup car
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Lyne Bessette
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Barry Sheene. MBE
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Source:
The History Channel
Wikipedia​
 
Thread Starter #23
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11th March

March 11, 1885
Sir Malcolm Campbell, land-speed record holder, is born in Chiselhurst, Kent, England, on this day. Campbell's thirst for speed was evident early in his life. He won three gold medals in the London-Edinburgh motorcycle trials as a young man. However, Campbell gained his greatest fame by way of his quest to attain the landspeed record. Over the course of two decades, he battled with Major H. O. C. Segrave for sole possession of the land-speed title. He received worldwide attention when he flew his Bluebird to South Africa in search of a flat racing surface superior in safety to the beach at Daytona. He ended up at Verneuk Pan, a massive salt flat in South Africa's interior. Verneuk Pan, flat as it was, proved to be too rough a surface for Campbell's tires; but having already made the extraordinary trip, Campbell's people built a road on the flat and raced the car. Over the course of his career, Campbell set six land-speed records in various types of vehicles, all christened "Blue Bird." After eclipsing the 300mph barrier on land at the age of 50, Campbell turned his attention to boat racing and broke a number of water-speed records. For his lifetime of achievement in international speed events, Campbell was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Campbell passed his thirst for speed on to his son, Donald, who was the first person to set both land and water speed records in the same year.

March 11, 1927
On this day, the Flatheads Gang staged the first armored truck holdup in U.S. history on the Bethel Road, seven miles out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the way to Coverdale. The armored truck, carrying $104,250 of payroll money for the Pittsburgh Terminal Coal Company, drove over a mine planted under the roadbed by the road bandits. The car blew up and five guards were badly injured. It was staged by their ring leader, Paul Jaworski.

March 11, 1968
Jerod O. Shelby, the founder of the American supercar automobile manufacturer Shelby SuperCars, was born in Richland, Washington. He is not related to car designer Carroll Shelby.

March 11, 2009
The Toyota Motor Company announces on this day that it has sold over 1 million gas-electric hybrid vehicles in the U.S. under its six Toyota and Lexus brands. The sales were led by the Prius, the world’s first mass-market hybrid car, which was launched in Japan in October 1997 and introduced in America in July 2000.

Sir Malcolm Campbell
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Sir Malcolm Campbell with his Blue Bird after the record setting run in Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
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Paul Jaworski, the ring leader.
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A crowd of curious onlookers gathers in front of the Detroit News after the robbery
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Headlines of the robbery
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Jerod Shelby along with his creation.
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SSC Aero TT
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Toyota Prius 1996 prototype.
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Source:
The History Channel
Wikipedia
Getty Images​
 

350Z

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You’ve a marvelous collection of Automobile History and it is surely an asset for community as well as members. Keep it coming and please don’t feel that we aren’t commenting means we aren’t reading! :smile:

Drive Safe,
350Z
 

Akash

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great collection of the Automotive history. Great work man and excellent pics too.
 
Thread Starter #26
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12th March

March 12, 1831
Clement Studebaker was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on this day. Clement and his brother, Henry Studebaker, founded H. & C. Studebaker, a blacksmith and wagon building business in South Bend, Indiana. The Studebaker brothers made their fortune manufacturing carriages for the Union army during the Civil War. By the end of the war, the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company had become the world's largest manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages. With the advent of the automobile, Studebaker converted its business to car manufacturing, becoming one of the larger independent automobile manufacturers. Another major war would affect the company's fortune almost a century after its founders had benefited from the demand caused by the Civil War. During World War II, Studebaker manufactured aircraft engines, trucks, and amphibious vehicles for the war effort and emphasized their patriotic role by releasing cars called "The President," "The Champion," and "The Commander." Like many of the independents, Studebaker fared well during the war by producing affordable family cars. As their advertisement claimed, "Studebaker is building an unlimited quantity of airplane engines, military trucks and other material for national defense... and a limited number of passenger cars which are the finest Studebaker has ever produced." However, after the war, the Big Three, bolstered by their new government-subsidized production facilities, were too much for many of the independents, and Studebaker was no exception. Post WWII competition drove Studebaker to its limits, and the company merged with the Packard Corporation in 1954. The merger did not help matters and production of Packards ended in 1958. After a brief respite with the introduction of the popular, compact Studebaker Lark in 1959, the company again suffered financial troubles. Finally, in late 1963, Studebaker was forced to close its South Bend, Indiana, plant. An Ontario plant remained open until 1966, when Studebaker produced its last car, a blue and white Cruiser.

March 12, 1921
Gianni Agnelli, Italian industrialist and grandson of FIAT founder Giovanni Agnelli was born in Villar Perosa, near Turin He was the principal shareholder of Fiat. As the head of Fiat, he controlled 4.4% of Italy's GNP, 3.1% of its industrial workforce, and 16.5% of its industrial investment in research.

March 12, 1952
Mercedes introduced the 300SL to the press on this day. With a sleek rounded body, gull-wing doors and a detachable steering wheel, the 300SL created quite a buzz. As a race car, the 300SL enjoyed paramount success, capturing victories at Le Mans, the German Grand Prix, and the Carrera PanAmericana in Mexico. However, despite its racing success, the 300SL race car will forever be remembered for its role in car racing's greatest tragedy. Careening out of control in the 1955 race at Le Mans, the 300SL crashed into the gallery. Eighty spectators died and, in respect to the victims of the accident, Mercedes-Benz pulled its cars out of racing competition for nearly three decades. Two years after the introduction of the 300SL, Mercedes introduced the 300SL coupe to the public. A stylish sports car also characterized by its gull-wing doors, the coupe was a consumer version of the 300SL race car. With a six-cylinder engine and a top speed of 155mph, the two-door coupe created a sensation among wealthy car buyers who actually waited in line to buy it. However, because of the impracticality of the gull-wing doors, the company only manufactured 1,400 300SL coupes. Nevertheless, the 300SL coupe is widely considered one of the most impressive sports cars of the decade.

Clement Studebaker
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Studebaker Brothers
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Gianni Agnelli
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Gianni Agnelli with his Grandfather Giovanni Agnelli Sr., Circa 1940
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Mercedes 300SL
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Mercedes SLS AMG, is the retro design based on 300SL, but none of the reporter managed to mentioned this when this cars was showcased in AutoExpo, Delhi. Its sad Indian Auto journalist are there just to earn fame and money and works as PR for auto companies They just does not do their homework right. They just lack the love of automobiles. Its a sheer shame.
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Source:
The History Channel
Wikipedia
studebakerhistory.com​

PS: Thanks for reading.
 
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Thread Starter #28
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13th March

March 13, 1944
Charles Sorensen resigned as the vice president of the Ford Motor Company on this day. Sorensen had been Henry Ford's longtime right-hand man. Tall and handsome, Sorensen became a darling of the national press corps during World War II. He was in charge of Ford's wartime production; and the Willow Run plant that produced B-24 Liberator bombers was Sorensen's project. Originally, Ford had been contracted to produce subassemblies for United Aircraft, but Sorensen demanded that Ford be able to produce entire planes. He promised the government 500 planes per month, a figure nearly three times as great as United Aircraft's production potential. In return, he was rewarded with a huge contract which included $200 million for the construction of the Willow Run facility. Willow Run, after a rocky beginning, became a heroic success story, a symbol of America's role as the "great arsenal of democracy." The plant eventually reached a production level of one bomber per hour. With Willow Run's success came attention for Sorensen. In 1940, he appeared in Time and Newsweek, and in 1942, Fortune Magazine ran a long adulatory article entitled "Sorensen of the Rouge." Sorensen himself admitted that his popularity may have caused his departure from Ford, "My ability to keep out of the public eye was one reason I stayed as long as I did at Ford while others left." In 1943, Henry Ford promoted Harry Bennet, his longtime labor enforcer, to a position above Sorensen. Realizing that he had fallen from favor, the graceful Sorensen resigned from Ford.

March 13, 1946
UAW and General Motors agreed to a settle a strike which had lasted from November 1945 until March of 1946; 175,00 strikers agreed to head back to work; walkout engineered by UAW chief Walter Reuther; agitated for higher pay for GM's 320,000 employees, looked to consolidate his power in auto union; in coming months leaders in various industries proved successful in drive for price increases, led to inflation, wiped out workers' wage gains.

March 13, 1969
On this day, the Walt Disney studio released The Love Bug. Directed by Robert Stevenson, the film starred "Herbie," a lovable Volkswagen bug with a personality. Abused by the evil race-car driver "Thorndyke" (David Thomlinson), Herbie is rescued by the young good-guy race-car driver "Jim" (Dean Jones). Grateful for his rescue, Herbie rewards the hapless Jim by winning one race after another on his driver's behalf. The excitement begins when the ruthless Thorndyke plots to get Herbie back by any means necessary. Based on a story by Gordon Buford, The Love Bug inspired several sequels, including Herbie Rides Again, Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo, Herbie Goes Bananas, and Herbie: Fully Loaded. By becoming one of the biggest grossing films of 1969, The Love Bug allayed any fears that the Disney Studio would collapse without the presence of the recently deceased Walt Disney. The movie became a children's film classic and enhanced the Volkswagen Beetle's image as a quirky car endowed with more than solid engineering.

March 13, 1980
Henry Ford II resigned as Chairman of the Ford Motor Company after naming Philip Caldwell his successor. With Ford's resignation, the era of the Ford family as an automotive dynasty temporarily ended. Henry II was, like his grandfather, a tough and formidable leader. He reorganized the company and instituted a modern bookkeeping system. His father, Edsel, had been considered a dreamer by Henry I. Edsel had spent much of his energy designing cars and improving Ford's labor relationships. He hadn't been a hard-edged businessman and often drew his father's criticism on those grounds. Like the archetypal ruling families of England, the Ford family followed its own generational legacy: Henry the Great, Edsel the Confessor, and Henry II. It sounds like Shakespeare.

Harry Fergusen, Henry Ford, Edsel Ford, Charles Sorensen, George B. Sherman, J.L. Williams, and Eber C. Sherman. (Left to right)
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Disney's The Love Bug
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Henry Ford II signing off on the 8000th B - 24 bomber built in March 1945. Willow Run
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Philip Caldwell (centre, with Ronald Reagen and legendary Lee Iaccoca) , the first person to run the Ford Motor Company who was not a member of the Ford family.
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Source:
The History Channel
Wikipedia​
 
Thread Starter #29
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14th March

March 14, 1914
Stock-car racer Lee Arnold Petty was born near Randleman, North Carolina, on this day. Now famous as the father of Richard Petty--the all-time "winningest" racer in NASCAR history--Lee Petty was no slouch in his own day. In 1959, Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500 at the brand new Daytona International Speedway driving a new hardtop Olds 88 to a photo finish with Johnny Beauchamp. The Pettys would switch to Plymouths midway through the season that year. Lee and Richard Petty drove Plymouths, Chryslers, and Dodges for most of their remaining careers. Together the father-and-son team combined for 254 wins, including eight Daytona 500s. However, Lee and Richard also took father and son competition to its extremes. The embodiment of stock car racing's hard-nosed past, Lee Petty never lost a race on account of being too kind to his competitors, even if his competitors were family. Richard Petty remembers his quest to win his first NASCAR race at the Grand National Exposition in Toronto, "Cotton Owens was leading and daddy was second. They came up on me and I moved over to let them pass. Cotton went on, but daddy bumped me in the rear and my car went right into the wall." Richard finished in 17th place. In 1959, Richard thought he had won his first race after finishing first in the Grand National at Lakewood, Georgia. However, Lee, who finished second in the event, protested his son's victory. The protest was upheld, and Lee won the race. Before you call Richard Petty "The King," remember "The King" isn't an absolute monarch when his daddy is around. Richard's son Kyle is also a successful NASCAR racer, and no doubt benefits from the family's competitive edge.


March 14, 1924

John “Jack” Mack, who co-founded Mack trucks along with his brothers, what would become one of North America’s largest makers of heavy-duty trucks is killed when his car collides with a trolley in Pennsylvania.
In the early afternoon of March 14, Jack Mack was enroute to a business meeting in Weatherly, Pennsylvania in his Chandler coupe. His car became involved in an accident with a trolley car of the Lehigh Valley Transit Company, which was crossing the road diagonally. Jack was killed almost instantly when his light car, being pushed off the road ahead of the trolley, was caught against a heavy pole and crushed like an egg shell. His body was interred in Fairview Cemetery in Allentown, just above the former Mack plant on 10th Street.


March 14, 1962
GM produced 75-millionth US-made car.

Lee Petty after winning the first Daytona 500 in 1959, the first of a career-high 11 victories
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Lee Petty's #42 Dodge Coronet
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John “Jack” Mack
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Source:
The History Channel
Wikipedia
macktrucks.com​
 
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15th March

March 15, 1906
On this day, Rolls-Royce Ltd. was officially registered with Charles S. Rolls and F. Henry Royce as directors. In 1904, Henry Royce, the founder of his self-titled electrical and mechanical engineering firm, built his first car. In May of that year, he met Charles Rolls, whose company sold cars in London. The two men agreed that Royce Limited would manufacture a line of cars to be sold exclusively by C.S. Rolls & Co. The cars bore the name Rolls-Royce. Success with their partnership led to the formation of the Rolls-Royce Company. In 1906, just after the company was
organized, it released the six-cylinder 40/50 horsepower Silver Ghost. The car was enthusiastically heralded by the British press as "the best car in the world." From its formation to the start of World War I in 1914, Rolls-Royce focused on one product--the Silver Ghost. The war forced new demands on the British economy, and Rolls-Royce shifted its manufacturing emphasis to airplane engines. Henry Royce's designs are credited with having provided half of the total horsepower used in the Allies' air war against Germany, and World War II transformed Rolls-Royce into a major force in aerospace engineering. In 1931, Rolls-Royce absorbed Bentley, and, since then, it has produced all cars bearing that name. Together Rolls-Royce and Bentley are synonymous with luxurious handmade cars.

March 15, 1911
On this day, Gustave Otto, the son of internal combustion engine pioneer Nikolaus Otto, organized Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik Muchen. Otto's Munich-based this aero-engineering firm would later merge with Karl Rapp's firm to form the Bayerische Motoren-Werke, or BMW.

March 15, 1968
On this day construction starts on the north tunnel of the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel on Interstate 70 in Colorado. Located at an altitude of more than 11,000 feet, the project was an engineering marvel and became the world’s highest vehicular tunnel when it was completed in 1979. Four months after opening, one million vehicles had passed through the tunnel; today, some 10 million vehicles drive through it each year.

March 15, 1990
The Ford Explorer was introduced to the public on this day. One of the first generation sports utility vehicles released by the Big Three in the early 1990s, the Ford Explorer became one of the company's best-selling models almost immediately. Like sports cars before them, "Sport Utility Vehicles" (SUVs) became the chosen automobiles for the glamorous world of entertainment, and their virtues were even extolled in pop music. Ice Cube rapped, "I put the petal to the floor of my two-tone Ford Explorer," in his song "Down For Whatever." However, SUVs have come under fire recently for the relatively high proportion of deaths resulting from accidents involving them and their fuel guzzling habits.

Charles S. Rolls and F. Henry Royce
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Midland Hotel in Manchester where Rolls and Royce met, (Image: Circa 1910)
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Midland Hotel (Image: Circa 2007)
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Gustav Otto Flugmaschinenfabrik, Muchen (Munich)
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Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnel
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91 Ford Explorer
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Source:
The History Channel
Wikipedia​
 

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