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This Day

October 24, 1975 – DeLorean is founded – Flux Capacitor not included
This Day

October 24, 1975 – DeLorean is founded – Flux Capacitor not included

DeLorean DMC-12 There was only one car that didn’t need roads! Prominent American automotive executive John Z. DeLorean founded DeLorean Motor Company on this day in 1975. His company built a single model, the DMC-12, which first appeared as prototype in October 1976. DMC began production in 1981 and closed up shop just two years later. The car has since earned a cult following, largely due to its role as a time machine in the “Back to the Future” movies. John DeLorean with a a prototype. Via DeLorean Motor Company. A majority of the approximate 9,200 cars produced in those two years rolled out of an assembly plant in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland. Though the original design called for a mid engine, the production cars had a rear mounted Peugeot-Renault-Volvo fuel injected V6. A 5 ...
October 23, 1911 – A spot of English T, English Model T that is
This Day

October 23, 1911 – A spot of English T, English Model T that is

A Model T Depot Hack in England. The Ford Motor Company began  intercontinental production on this day in 1911 when the first English Ford Model T left a factory in Trafford Park, Manchester, England, the first Ford assembly plant outside of North America. Three years after production started here, Britain’s received its first moving assembly line at the plant. This allowed the factory to pump out more than 20 Ford Model T cars per hour.  Trafford Park Ford plant An expansion of the plant after World War I significantly increased manufacturing capabilities. By the beginning of the 1920s, 41 percent of all registered cars in Britain were Fords. To further improve production numbers, Henry Ford demanded a a plant with better access to a deep water port. His dream came true with the...
October 22, 1955 – Ford Thunderbird sales begin
This Day

October 22, 1955 – Ford Thunderbird sales begin

On the heels of the Chevrolet Corvette debut in January 1953, Ford unveiled the concept for the Thunderbird to the public just one month later. Believing Chevy would begin Corvette begin production in the near future, Ford kicked development of the Thunderbird into high gear. A full scale, painted clay model that closely resembled the production T-Bird debuted by May. Final approval would come the following September after minor tweaks. Engineers scrambled to build a brand new car in near record time. Just one year after introducing the idea of the car, the Ford Thunderbird wowed the public at the Detroit Auto Show on February 20, 1954. Production would begin the following September and on this day in 1954 the Thunderbird went on sale. Above: 1960 Ford Thunderbird. By Reinhold Möl...
October 21, 1897 – Autocar, the oldest surviving American vehicle company, is founded
This Day

October 21, 1897 – Autocar, the oldest surviving American vehicle company, is founded

Louis Semple Clarke completed his first vehicle in mid-1897. He named the three wheeled, one-cylinder gas engine powered buggy Autocar No. 1. It immediately became apparent to the inventor how important the automobile would become. LS, as most knew him, recruited his brothers John and James, his father Charles and friend William Morgan to found the Pittsburgh Motor Vehicle Company on this day in 1897. The team built a second vehicle the next year, this time with four wheels. They called it the Pitssburgher. Knowing they were on to something great, the team sought a larger production facility. In 1899 the business moved from Pittsburgh to Ardmore, Pennsylvania and renamed Autocar Company. Today it exists as the oldest surviving vehicle company in the United States. Above: 1987 Auto...
October 20, 1902 – The first Cadillac is completed, maybe…
This Day

October 20, 1902 – The first Cadillac is completed, maybe…

According to the book “Henry Leland - Master of Precision,” the final assembly of the first Cadillac took place on this day in 1902, however this date is disputed. Another source points to October 17 as the day the first car reached completion. One account states car number three left the factory ton October 16 of that year. So, with that in mind, on, or around, this date in 1902, the first Cadillac rolled out of the plant. The Founding of Cadillac Henry Leland bred Cadillac from the failedHenry Ford Company, after Henry Ford disembarked the company due to a dispute with his investors. The dying company's financial backers called upon Leland, a detroit engineer, to appraise the Ford manufacturing plant and its equipment. They planned to sell it all off in hopes of getting some ...
October 19, 1965 – MGB GT goes on sale
This Day

October 19, 1965 – MGB GT goes on sale

MG released the unitary construction MGB in 1962, replacing the seven year old MGA. While it didn't feature the traditional body and frame assembly of its predecessor, the two cars did share many components. The brakes and suspension are traced to the MGA, while the four cylinder B-Series engine dates to the late 1940s. The MGB essentially wrapped company highlights of the of the past 15 years into a slim new package. MG achieved real design innovation on this day in 1965 with the release of the MGB GT for the next model year. The MG MGB GT offered a new cabin design by Pininfarina that combined the utility of a station wagon with the sportiness of a hatchback. The 2+2 seating increased capacity by two compared to its roadster sibling. While the GT was slightly slower off the line ...
October 18, 1934 – Automatic transmission patented
This Day

October 18, 1934 – Automatic transmission patented

Oscar H. Banker, an Armenian-American inventor born in 1895, filed for a patent for a new type of automatic transmission on this day in 1934. The automatic transmission wasn’t a new idea at the time, but it had hardly been perfected. General Motors and REO each debuted a semi-automatic transmission the same year, but both were found to be quite unreliable. Even though Banker’s patent, which used hydraulic force and had no need for a manual clutch mechanism, was viewed as more durable, safe and easy to use, it took years for any automaker to give his invention a shot. General Motors offered the first mass produced automatic transmission vehicles using queues from Banker’s design with the release of the 1940 Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs. Above: Oscar Banker. Top: 1940 Oldsmobile by Sicn...
October 17, 1968 – Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen and a ’68 Mustang, debuts
Automotive, This Day

October 17, 1968 – Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen and a ’68 Mustang, debuts

The film Bullitt debuted on this day in 1968. In brief, I'll let film critic Roger Ebert explain the plot, using an excerpt from his 1968 review. "McQueen plays a San Francisco cop assigned as bodyguard to a syndicate witness. The witness gets shotgunned -- in the most brutally direct 10 seconds of film I can remember -- and McQueen becomes a political football. Robert Vaughn (better than usual) is the politician who puts the heat on, and it's up to McQueen to hide the victim's body until he can untangle the case." Alright, so what does this have to do with cars? Besides McQueen being a professional race car driver and lover of all things with wheels, the movie's highlight is a 10 minute car chase. This isn't your average Hollywood burn out. It's perhaps the best chase scene to eve...
October 16, 1958 – Chevrolet releases the El Camino
This Day

October 16, 1958 – Chevrolet releases the El Camino

On this day in 1958 Chevrolet introduced the El Camino for the 1959 model year, two years after Ford debuted its car-truck mix, the Ranchero. Chevrolet stylist Chuck Jordan reported that Chevrolet general manager Harley Earl had suggested a coupé pickup as early as 1952. It was a nod to the fact that GM had been producing the Ute, a car/truck vehicle, in Australia since the 1930s. The origins of the mass produced coupe utility truck can be traced to a 1932 letter. An Australian farmer penned the note to Ford Motor Company asking for a vehicle she and her husband could drive to church on Sundays and haul pigs on Mondays. Her letter inspired Ford designer Lew Brandt to craft the 1934 coupe utility released by Ford. Mind you, only Australian dealers sold these vehicles new, along with...
October 15, 1924 – Lee Iacocca is born
Features, This Day

October 15, 1924 – Lee Iacocca is born

On this day in 1924 Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca was born. He would become one of the most influential men in modern American automotive history. In his career he would achieve many incredible feats throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s at Ford and Chrysler.  Due to a childhood illness, Lee was barred from service during WWII. Though this may have saved his life, Lee recalled wanting nothing more than to fly a bomber over Nazi Germany. Unable to join the fight, Lee took the opportunity to study engineering at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He would later attend Princeton before joining Ford’s own educational engineering program. Following his graduation from the Ford institution he became an engineer with the company. He soon found a better fit in sales and marketing afte...