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September 26, 1982 – Knight Rider debuts
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September 26, 1982 – Knight Rider debuts

On this day in 1982 the TV show Knight Rider made its prime time debut. The show starred David Hasselhoff as crime fighter Michael Knight who drove a customized 1982 Pontiac Trans AM named K.I.T.T., which stood for Knight Industries Two Thousands. The following is a previously written description of the car from Wikipedia: K.I.T.T. was designed by Michael Scheffe using Pontiac's 1982 Trans Am. Michael Scheffe had worked for Mattel designing toys, and had done some design work on Blade Runner. Scheffe had around 18 days to create his first mock up of K.I.T.T. for the network.  Stuntman Jack Gill says the car was dropped about an inch and a half from GM's stock height. The car also had around $2,000,000 worth of modifications. Spare cars were always on hand, and Universal eventually ...
September 25, 1963 – First ads run for Chevrolet Chevelle
This Day

September 25, 1963 – First ads run for Chevrolet Chevelle

Should you have opened your newspaper on this day in 1963, you may have come across an ad for a brand new Chevrolet, the Chevelle. Officially introduced by Bunkie Knudsen at a press conference the next day, the Chevelle was the only all new US car for the 1964 model year. (But what about the '64 1/2 Mustang!? Ford marketed and VINed the first Mustangs as 1965 models). Chevelle, Hebrew for "My god is a vow," or bold and beautiful, filled the gap between the smaller Chevy II and Chevrolet's full sized models. In its first year, 338,286 units left dealer lots. Top: The first Chevrolet Chevelle newspaper ads ran on this day in 1963 Above. 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malbu Coupe. By Barnstarbob CC BY-SA 3.0 Chevelle two door, four door, convertible and wagon variants came to market throu...
September 24, 1948 – Honda Motor Company is incorporated
This Day

September 24, 1948 – Honda Motor Company is incorporated

In 1937 Soichiro Honda founded a company to produce piston rings for Toyota. The walls soon came tumbling down, quite literally. At first, Toyota forced him to forfeit the contracts due to poor quality of his parts. While enhanced manufacturing research led them to be reinstated, another catastrophe lurked. During WWII a US bomb fell on one of Honda's factories, his other plant collapsed in an earthquake in 1945. His business dreams in ruin, he sold off salvageable parts and machinery. With the funds, he went in another direction, founding the Honda Technical Research Institute in 1946. This led to the development of a motorized bicycle powered by Honda’s first mass produced engine. It's success led to the incorporation of Honda Motor Company on this day in 1948. Above: 1949 Honda ...
September 23, 1972 – Crystal Palace sees its last professional race
This Day

September 23, 1972 – Crystal Palace sees its last professional race

The Crystal Palace circuit, a motor racing circuit in Crystal Palace Park in south London, England, saw its final professional race on this day in 1972. Club events would continue through 1974 before the track closed indefinitely.  Above: Surviving portion of Crystal Palace circuit. By Christopher Hilton, CC BY-SA 2.0 Top: Racing at Crystal Palace circuit The circuit opened in 1927 with a motorcycle race on May 21. The original one mile track primarily followed existing paths around the lake on the property. The road surface was made up of tarmac bends and hard packed gravel straightaways. At the end of 1936 track improvements began, which increased the course’s length to two miles.  The first London Grand Prix was held there on July 17, 1937, being won by Prince B...
September 22, 1893 – Duryea Brothers test first car
This Day

September 22, 1893 – Duryea Brothers test first car

On this day in 1893, brothers Frank and Charles Duryea debuted their first automobile on the streets of Springfield, Massachusetts. That initial drive came to a sudden halt after just a few hundred feet when their self-engineered transmission failed. Frank made a slight adjustment to the design and had the car back up and running, covering a half a mile later in the day. This event is often regarded as the first time an American manufactured, gasoline powered car was driven in the country. Above: Duryea Patent. Top: Duryea Brothers They build a second Duryea Wagon in 1894, using it to enter the Chicago Times Herald race the next year. The Duryea completed the 54 mile course ahead of the pack, winning the first automobile race in America. The Duryea Motor Wagon Company offici...
September 21,1959 – Plymouth Valiant starts rolling off the line
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September 21,1959 – Plymouth Valiant starts rolling off the line

1960 Plymouth Valiant. By Emdx - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 It could have been the Falcon, given its code name during development, but Henry Ford II called dips on the bird. So, Chrysler settled on Valiant for its all new entry into the compact car market dominated by the VW Beetle at the end of the 1950s. As headlights illuminated the end of days for tail fins and excess chrome, Chrysler produced its first Valiant on this day in 1959. It would debut as a stand alone model for 1960, before receiving Plymouth script for 1961. In '62 and '63 it returned to lone wolf status, but it's Plymouth badge became permanent the next year. It would survive for four generations, with Plymouth Valiant production ending in 1976.
September 20, 1979 – Lee Iacocca elected chairman of Chrysler
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September 20, 1979 – Lee Iacocca elected chairman of Chrysler

Industry giant Lido “Lee” Anthony Iacocca was elected chairman of Chrysler on this day in 1979, 10 months after joining the company as president. It was Lee’s career at Ford Motor Company that would lead him to the top of Chrysler. As a vice president at Ford more than a decade prior Iacocca was instrumental in the introduction of the Ford Mustang. From there he forecast the need for fuel efficient, domestically made cars, which led to the development of the Pinto. He became president of Ford in 1970 but Henry Ford II fired him unceremoniously in 1978. He attributed the event to fundamentally different business ideologies than those of Ford II (even though Ford saw a profit of more than $2 billion in Iacocca’s final year). Above: Iacocca leaning on Mustang (NY Times). Top: Iacocca with...
September 19, 1887 – What do the numbers on the gas pump mean?
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September 19, 1887 – What do the numbers on the gas pump mean?

On this day in 1887 Dr. Graham Edgar, developer of the octane rating system, was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas. During the pioneering era of the early automobile it was impossible to tell if a gasoline would cause engine knocking due to irregular combustion caused by a nonstandard refining processes and the use of numerous types of fuels within gas engines. The only real way to find out if a particular fuel would work in a certain car was to fill it up and crank it and just see what happens. In 1926, while working for a division of General Motors, Edgar solved this issue by developing the octane rating system. He found that the chemical isooctane would not knock in any engine, under any operating conditions, while n-heptane would always knock in any engine. By mixing isooctane and n-...
September 18, 1970 – Jimi Hendrix dies and his Corvette goes missing
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September 18, 1970 – Jimi Hendrix dies and his Corvette goes missing

Hendrix in his silver 1969 Corvette More than 50 years after his passing on this day in 1970, Jimi Hendrix remains one of the most influential rock and roll musicians to have ever shredded the six string. His licks, literally, given he'd play with his teeth from time to time, are as mesmerizing as a sexy sports car. Perhaps that is why he purchased a Chevrolet Corvette as soon as his musical talents began to pay off. The story goes that he ordered a International Blue Corvette from a Cleveland dealership in 1968, at a time when he didn't even have a driver's license. Well, his skills behind the wheel proved subpar compared to his abilities with an axe, and he ultimately crashed it after a night of partying. While the Jimi Hendrix Corvette wreck may be the most memorable, let's not forg...
September 17, 1909 – GM executive Ed Cole is born
This Day

September 17, 1909 – GM executive Ed Cole is born

On this day in 1909, General Motors executive Ed Cole was born in Marne, Michigan. The son of a dairy farmer, Cole spent his youth designing, building and selling homemade radios. Later he went to work as a field representative for a tractor manufacturing company. His first job in the auto industry saw him manning the counter at an auto parts store, which he did while attending Grand Rapids Community College. He’d later enroll in the General Motors Institute (now Kettering University in Flint, MI), where he pursued an education in engineering. The GM leadership saw the potential in Cole and decided it best to keep him around after graduation. His consistent quality output at GM led him to being assigned co-head of development, alongside Henry Barr, for the 1949 Cadillac V8 engine. ...

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