This Day

July 31, 1971 – The first drive on the moon
This Day

July 31, 1971 – The first drive on the moon

Apollo 15 LRV on the moon In a truly out of this world event, US astronauts David Scott and James Irwin became the first people to drive an automobile on a martian surface on this day in 1971. The not so casual cruise occurred during the Apollo 15 NASA mission to the moon, with the buggy taking to the lunar dust the day after their craft made a successful landing.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc1I6iU4C8E The Lunar Roving Vehicles (LRV) were built by Boeing under contract from NASA. The first came to a total cost of $38,000,000. The moon buggies weighed in at about 460 pounds each, and were foldable for easy transport. LRVs were used during the final three Apollo missions to the moon, 15, 16 and 17. The vehicles allowed astronauts to cover greater distances during surve...
July 30, 1898 – The first printed automobile advertisement
This Day

July 30, 1898 – The first printed automobile advertisement

The original Winton automobile ad A new edition of Scientific American landed on newstands on this day in 1898, and within its pages one could find the very first magazine advertisement for an automobile. Cleveland, Ohio, based Winton Motor Carriage Company ran the ad, which asked readers to “Dispense with a horse and save the expense, care and anxiety of keeping it. To run a motor carriage costs about ½ cent a mile.”  1898 Winton Alexander Winton, like many bicycle makers at the time, began experimenting with single-cylinder engines in 1896. He was soon manufacturing motors suitable for powering horseless carriages, leading him to incorporate his new car company the following year on March 15. The first Winton vehicles were hand assembled and included padded seating, a leather r...
July 29, 1909 – General Motors buys Cadillac
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July 29, 1909 – General Motors buys Cadillac

When General Motors (GM) purchased Cadillac on this day in 1909 for $4.5 million in GM stock, Cadillac was already the top seller of luxury automobiles in the United States. The history of Cadillac begins with the failure of Henry Ford’s second attempt at starting a car company. When Detroit engineer and machinist Henry Leland was approached by Ford’s former investors to appraise their facility and equipment, he instead convinced the men to continue with their plans to build a car company. His idea was to use his own engine design and the investors' blueprints for what was to originally be the first car from the Henry Ford Company.  Above: 1903 CadillacTop: 1908 Cadillac Model S. By DougW at English Wikipedia Henry Leland You can still make history from behind a mask! Only $...
July 28, 1924 – Ferrari racer Luigi Musso is born – with him, a deadly rivalry
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July 28, 1924 – Ferrari racer Luigi Musso is born – with him, a deadly rivalry

Musso in his Ferrari c.1958 Italian race car driver and Ferrari team member Luigi Musso was born on this day in 1924 in Rome, Italy. He entered several smaller races in the early 1950s, driving open top sports cars, before making his Formula One debut in January of 1954 driving a Maserati. At the end of the 1955, he moved to Ferrari where a fierce rivalry with teammates Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins blossomed. All three men would die due to auto accidents before the decade was over, all within one year of each other.  Musso Musso was fatally injured in an accident during the 1958 French Grand Prix at Reims, France when his Ferrari somersaulted off course during the 10th lap of the 50 lap race while chasing Mike Hawthorn.  Musso's Ferrari went into a ditch and flipped, resulting...
July 27, 1948 – Bentley Boy Woolf Barnato dies
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July 27, 1948 – Bentley Boy Woolf Barnato dies

On this day in 1948, British auto racer “Bentley Boy” Woolf Barnato passed away at the age of 52.  Barnato began his racing career in 1921, just two years after Bentley was founded, when he imported a Locomobile from the US to race at the Brooklands Easter meeting. Not long after, he earned the chance to drive a prototype Bentley 3 liter, and he became hooked on the brand. His love of Bentley led to him heavily investing in the company, a move that would keep the automaker afloat.  Using a large inheritance, Barnato purchased a controlling share of the struggling Bentley Motors in the mid 1920s, saving it from bankruptcy. It would be from behind the wheel of a Bentley that he would win the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times, in 1928, 1929 and 1930. These victories helped to secure the...
July 26, 1998 – Disaster strikes at Michigan International Speedway
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July 26, 1998 – Disaster strikes at Michigan International Speedway

On lap 175 of 250 of the CART series U.S. 500 on this day in 1998 Adrian Fernandez hit the wall at Michigan International Speedway, causing a tire and suspension parts to break loose and fly into the crowd. The wreck resulted in the deaths of three fans. An additional six people suffered injuries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnHpeP4s5L4 Adrian Fernandez 1998 wreck at Michigan International SpeedwayTop: Moment of impact. Image courtesy ESPN Fernandez's hit the wall going upwards of 200 mph. The race was placed under caution but was not stopped, much to the dismay of reporters covering the event. In an effort to prevent further tragedies the fencing was extended to 17 feet high around any grandstand areas.
July 25, 1959 – A hovercraft crosses the English Channel
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July 25, 1959 – A hovercraft crosses the English Channel

The air was calm, the sun was out, and the seabirds were cawing, but nobody could hear them. The birds’ cries were drowned out by the motors of the first practical hovercraft, which was idling on the banks of the English Channel in Calais, France. It was on this day in 1959 that the first practical hovercraft, dubbed the SR.N1, or Saunders-Roe Nautical 1, would make a daring attempt to cross the Channel. It was no coincidence the event was taking place 50 years to the day that Louis Bleriot became the first person to fly across it in an airplane.  Captain Peter Lamb, navigator John Chaplin and Christopher Cockerell, the inventor of the momentum curtain as applied to the hovercraft principle, waved goodbye as a crowd looked on, everyone unsure what would transpire during the craft’s...
July 24, 2000 – Fourth generation Dodge Caravan begins production
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July 24, 2000 – Fourth generation Dodge Caravan begins production

Since Lee Iacocca introduced the Chrsyler minivans for the 1984 model year, the vehicle has earned a reputation for being among the best kid shuttlers around. Quickly copied by Ford and GM, it's hard to beat the timeless designs of Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth vans. However, as time goes on, designs change. On this day in 2000 the fourth generation of the Dodge Caravan began to roll down the production line in Windsor, Ontario, the same plant the first generation was built at. Above: Lee Iacocca introducing the new Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan in 1983Top: Fourth generation Dodge Caravan The 2001 Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country had been in development since 1996. Besides looks, the biggest change to the vehicle over the previous generation was its actual size, as it...
July 23, 2006 – The Cougar Ace car carrier lists, 4,703 Mazdas later crushed
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July 23, 2006 – The Cougar Ace car carrier lists, 4,703 Mazdas later crushed

The Cougar Ace On this day in 2006 the MV Cougar Ace, a Singapore-flagged car carrier vessel, was just south of the Aleutian Islands in the North Pacific Ocean while traveling from Japan to Vancouver, British Columbia with a cargo of 4,812 vehicles. During an exchange of ballast water, the ship developed a 60 degree list to port. There are reports of a large wave striking the ship during the ballast transfer, but it is unknown what effect this had on the stability of the ship, if any. Nearly on its side, the 23 crew members had to be rescued by the US Coast Guard and the Alaska Air National Guard the following day. Of the 4,812 vehicles on board, 4,703 of them were Mazdas. The total value of the vehicles was listed at $117 million. Salvage efforts led to the vessel being righted and...
July 22, 1934 – Car loving crook John Dillinger shot dead in Chicago
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July 22, 1934 – Car loving crook John Dillinger shot dead in Chicago

Public enemy number 1, John Dillinger, was shot and killed outside the Biograph Theather on this day in 1934. After an eight year stint behind bars, Dillinger spent the his last year on earth robbing banks, holding up restaurants and stealing fast cars. Dillinger often spoke of his love for fine automobiles, and when he wasn't stealing them, he had no problem laying down the cash for a top notch set of wheels. Dillinger, often given some sort of false Robin Hood label, was a star in the eye of the public despite his murderous crime spree. With so many infatuated with the fugitive, car companies were quick to capitalize on news of Dillinger's preference in certain automobiles. Above: The 1933 Essex Terraplane 8 purchased by John Dillinger in 1934 on display at the ACD museum. Photo ...