This Day in Automotive History for January 17

1903 Cadillac

On January 17, 1903, the automotive world witnessed the public premiere of Cadillac’s inaugural car at Madison Square Garden in NYC, unveiling the groundbreaking Cadillac Runabout with its single-cylinder engine. The vehicle closely resembled the original Ford Model A, and for good reason.

On January 17, 1921 the first-ever US-built Rolls Royce rolled off the assembly line, signaling the commencement of Rolls-Royce production in the United States, redefining luxury in the automotive landscape.

George Selden, the original US patent holder for the automobile, passed away on January 17, 1922. His right to earn royalties on every automobile produced in the United States was challenged by Henry Ford, who ultimately won the case, freeing automakers from the overarching grasp of his claim.

january 17 automotive history vw beetle lands in USA

January 17, 1949 marked the arrival of the iconic Volkswagen Type 1 on American soil, introducing the beloved “people’s car” to the US market and setting the stage for its cultural impact and popularity. It would soon become known as the VW Beetle.

Automotive History in the 1950s

The automotive stage dazzled on January 17, 1953, as the Corvette prototype made its debut at GM’s Motorama auto show in New York, laying the foundation for the birth of an American sports car legend that would captivate enthusiasts worldwide.

1955 Packard Clipper. By JOHN LLOYD – CC BY 2.0

January 17, 1955 saw the introduction of the 1955 Packards to the US public, showcasing the brand’s first V-8 engines and revolutionary Torsion-Level suspension, elevating the driving experience to new heights.

January 17, 1956, became a historic day for Ford enthusiasts as the common stock went on sale, with a staggering 10.2 million shares snapped up on the first day, representing 22 percent of the company and solidifying Ford’s position as a powerhouse in the automotive industry.

Porsche Carrera GTS

January 17, 1964 marked the delivery of the first Porsche Carrera GTS. It soon established its dominance on the track, translating to a legacy of unmatched performance and design.

Memphis’ Highway 51 South underwent a transformation on January 17, 1998, when it was renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard. The name pays homage to the legendary musician’s cultural impact and providing fans with a symbolic route to Graceland.

On January 17, 1999, the automotive landscape witnessed a transformative alliance as French car producer Renault acquired a 20% interest in Japanese powerhouse Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., setting the stage for collaborative ventures and technological advancements that would shape the global automotive market.

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