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September 26, 1957 – The Vespa 400 is launched; gets 48 MPGs, is inconvenient
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September 26, 1957 – The Vespa 400 is launched; gets 48 MPGs, is inconvenient

Vespa 400 French scooter company ACMA introduced the Vespa 400 microcar in Monaco on this day in 1957. Company execs created much fanfare for the launch, as ACMA had invited three celebrity racing drivers to the press event. In its first year more than 12,000 were sold, but that number dropped significantly to 8,717 in 1959. Sales continued to slump until 1961 when popularity fell so far production ceased. Many people believe the fuel efficient, space saving car failed due to the minor inconvenience drivers went through to mix oil with the gasoline when filling up the car’s two stroke engine. You ever see Jerry Seinfeld in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee? It’s really good. Seinfeld owns a bunch of crazy cars. He might even have one of these, I’m not sure, haven’t had a chance to as...
September 21, 1903 – Preston Tucker is born
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September 21, 1903 – Preston Tucker is born

On this day in 1903 American car designer, engineer and inventor Preston Tucker was born in Capac, Michigan. While best known for the Tucker 48, his legacy in the auto industry has a far greater reach. Tucker got his start in the car business as an office boy for Cadillac before joining the local police force at age 19. As a copper he had his first opportunity to drive high powered police cars and motorcycles, sprouting an interest in automobile development. His mother had him removed from the force after pointing out he was below the agency’s age limit to be an officer. He then took a job managing a gas station and working on the Ford assembly line. His gas station would later become a small Studebaker dealership before again joining the police force. During his last spell as an offi...
September 16, 1920 – The first Lincoln automobile
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September 16, 1920 – The first Lincoln automobile

Henry Leland founded Lincoln Motor Company in 1917 to produce Liberty V12 aircraft engine for the US involvement in World War I. Leland, who also founded Cadillac in 1903, was able to fund the company after receiving a $10 million government contract to produce the engines. By the time the war concluded, the company's Detroit plant had been the final assembly location of more than 6,500 airplane motors made of parts sourced from Ford, Cadillac, Packard and other automakers. Since their contract ended with the war, Leland and his son planned a transition into building luxury automobiles. While retooling their facility they officially reorganized as an automaker in January of 1920. Just nine months later, on this day in 1920, the first Lincoln automobile, a 1921 Model L, left the factor...
September 3, 1875 – Ferdinand Porsche is born
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September 3, 1875 – Ferdinand Porsche is born

Ferdinand Porsche, International Motorsports Hall of Fame member and Car Engineer of the 20th Century, was born on this day in 1875 in current day Czech Republic. Aside from founding Porsche, this is the man responsible for some of the world’s most beloved and distinguished automobiles. His first automotive creation, an electric-gas hybrid vehicle known as the Lohner-Porsche Mixte, debuted in 1898. It was the first mass produced hybrid vehicle to combine these two power sources and it was manufactured from 1900 to 1905. A 1902 draft saw Porsche enter military service where he served as chauffeur to Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the crown prince of Austria. His assassination would ignite WWI a decade later. Above: The Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid. Top: Ferdinand Porsche with a...
August 9, 1996 – The inventor of the jet engine dies
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August 9, 1996 – The inventor of the jet engine dies

Gloster E28-39 prototype Frank Whittle spent much of his childhood with his nose tucked into books on engineering, turbines and the theory of flight. His readings bred a keen interest in the relatively new subject of airplanes. So much so, that at age 15 he enlisted in the Royal Air Force. The RAF, then only 5 years old, accepted the youngster after he scored highly on the entrance exam. He reported to RAF Halton as an Aircraft Apprentice in a training program for RAF ground crew. Only two days after his service began he failed the medical exam due to his small stature. Thankfully, puberty struck, but even a growth spurt wouldn’t be enough to help him achieve his dream of flying. Above: Frank WhittleTop: Gloster E.28/39 Within six months Whittle grew three inches and added ...
August 2, 1967 – 1970 Chevelle Clay Model documented
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August 2, 1967 – 1970 Chevelle Clay Model documented

With the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle being one of the most well-known and sought after muscle cars, it's funny to think what could have been. These shots from Super Chevy magazine, the first dated August 2, 1967, apparently offer a glimpse into the alternate designs the mid-sized muscle car could have carried for the 1970 model year. Is it just me, or does that first shot look more like a Monte Carlo or another heavy Chevy? In any case, we ended up with the iconic Chevelle we know today. What details catch your eye?
July 12, 1933 – The Dymaxion car
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July 12, 1933 – The Dymaxion car

With a name that rings of bully characters in ‘80s coming of age movies, Buckminster Fuller, born in 1895, was quite the opposite. The Massachusetts raised philosopher, engineer and architect lived his life as, well, as he put it, “an experiment to find what a single individual can contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity.” His way of living resulted in a number of inventions, among them the Dymaxion car, a name that combines  dynamic, maximum, and tension. The first prototype of the unique vehicle rolled out of a Bridgeport, Connecticut, factory on this day in 1933. Above: The Dymaxion car, c. 1933. Top: The Dymaxion. By Starysatyr - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 The car came three years after the completion of his Dymaxion house. Fuller’s house (see what I did the...
5 Missing Cars Worth Big Bucks that are Waiting to be Found
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5 Missing Cars Worth Big Bucks that are Waiting to be Found

Grab your shovel, we're going treasure hunting! There's no sunken ships, buried chests or X's on maps to guide this adventure. Oh, no, our mission is all about finding automotive gold. You've heard the tales, true and false, about automotive archeologists finding the industry equivalent of Tut's tomb, right? Well, it could still happen to you. The following five automotive icons have no final record of meeting the wrecker, which means these missing cars may still be out there, waiting to be found and cherished once again. 1956 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket From 1949 to 1961 the General Motors Motorama was the must-attend auto event of the year. Held annually in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show, these massive productions were a mix of show, entertainment and ...
July 8, 1969 – Dodge strike rocks Detroit; adds focus to civil rights movement
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July 8, 1969 – Dodge strike rocks Detroit; adds focus to civil rights movement

On this day in 1968 the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM), which consisted of black auto workers, went on a wildcat strike to protest working conditions at Dodge’s Hamtramck assembly plant. A wildcat strike is one that is supported or endorsed by the leadership of the Union of which the workers are members of, in this case the United Auto Workers.  At the time of the strike it was estimated that 70 percent of the workers at the plant were black, yet it was exceedingly rare for black men or women to rise to any sort of management position or higher within the auto industry.  The strike was observed by some 4,000 workers, lasted two and half days and prevented the production of 3,000 cars. In the subsequent Local 3 union election, DRUM ran as an alternative slate, but it did ...
The Mystery Tucker 48s
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The Mystery Tucker 48s

Burned. Boxed. Buried. Warning, this story may make your stomach churn. While I've long been a fan of the Tucker story and the cars, this installment of that Tucker tale has evaded me, until now. I dove into this rabbit hole as soon as I laid eyes on old photos of a crispy 1948 Tucker 48 floating around the web. It wasn't long before I learned this Tucker, one of 51 completed at the factory, ended up buried in someone's yard. Chances are, it's nothing but rust at this point, but if you're on the hunt for a missing Tucker, you're in luck. Tucker 1023 before the fire. (TACA) The Burned Tucker Above & top: 1023 after the fire (TACA) On September 29, 1978, as Tucker 1023 was awaiting restoration in a Florida warehouse, a fire broke out. The devastation was fast and fierc...

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