This Day

July 21, 1987 – The Ferrari F40 debuts
This Day

July 21, 1987 – The Ferrari F40 debuts

When the Ferrari F40 made its public debut on this day in 1987, 89 year old Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari offered an impassioned speech. He proclaimed, "A little more than a year ago, I expressed my wish to the engineers. Build a car to be the best in the world. And now the car is here."  The F40, built to commemorate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary, was the last Ferrari approved for production by Enzo himself. It had no radio, no electric windows or power seats, and certainly no cup holder. What the no frills Ferrari did have was sleek lines and a whole lot of speed. Topping out at an unofficial 201 mph (321 km/h), it was the first production car to break the 200 mph mark. Between 1987 and 1992, when production of non-racing models was halted, approximately 1,315 Ferrari F40s left ...
July 20, 1894 – Transportation baron E.L. Cord is born
This Day

July 20, 1894 – Transportation baron E.L. Cord is born

Yesterday we discussed an invention that revolutionized automotive design, pop up headlights that were first featured on the 1936 Cord 810. Today, we're talking about the man who gave that car its name. Errett Lobban Cord, born on this day in 1894, was a race car driver, mechanic and car salesman -- and a transportation baron, entertainment executive and state law maker. Top: E.L. Admiring the Cord 810Above: 1929 Cord L-29. By Jim Evans - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 Born in Missouri, Cord grew to be a jack of all trades. Aside from working on, racing and selling cars, he ventured into numerous other areas of business. At one point or another in his early career, Cord hauled ore, sold real estate, fixed electronics, and even drove a bus. None of these jobs shook out quite how he wa...
July 19, 1934 – Patent filed for retractable headlights for Cord
This Day

July 19, 1934 – Patent filed for retractable headlights for Cord

A 1936 Cord 810 Westchester sedan, one of about 125 classic automobiles displayed at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn, Indiana. Painted in an original Cadet Grey color, this Cord was owned by Josh Malks, who showed it off in travels around the world. Malks nicknamed it "Moonshadow." With a V-8 Lycoming engine that produced 125 horsepower, the Cord had a top speed of about 80 mph. There are few automobiles that feature such innovation as the 1936/7Cord 810/812. Designed by a host of industry superstars, including Gordon M. Buehrig and Alex Tremulis, who would later offer his skills to the 1948 Tucker, the Cord 810 combined luxury, speed and futurism, and ultimately, failure. The car is said to have been originally conceived as a Duesenberg, which was also owned by...
July 18, 1936 – The Wienermobile debuts
This Day

July 18, 1936 – The Wienermobile debuts

The first Oscar Mayer Wienermobile left the General Body Assembly plant in Chicago, Illinois on this day in 1936. Designed by Oscar Mayer’s nephew, Carl Mayer, the Wienermobile remains a marketing and advertising device in the form of a hot dog shaped automobile.  Top: One of the first WienermobilesAbove: A modern version of the Wienermobile Since its inception, there have been 11 versions built, all driven by “Hotdoggers.” While the cars tended to get bigger over the years Oscar Mayer, built a small version in 2008, based off of a Mini Cooper S hardtop. This Day in Automotive History logo shirt! Get it here!
July 17, 2007 – Mercedes-Benz announces SLR McLaren Roadster
This Day

July 17, 2007 – Mercedes-Benz announces SLR McLaren Roadster

Just as McLaren was becoming the favorite to win the driver and constructor F1 titles in 2007, Mercedes-Benz announced the release of a roadster edition of its SLR McLaren on this day in 2007. The car would hit the market the following September for a cool £200,000.  The roadster offered astonishing performance for a road-going car. It was built in the same factory as its F1 racing siblings, which allowed for a pleasant mix of F1 technology and comfort features of a true touring car. The body was primarily constructed of carbon fiber, as well as carbon fiber enforced disk brakes and suspension components. Its AMG V8 kompressor engine produced 626 hp, pushing the car to a top speed of 332 km/h (206 mph).  Above: Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster. By Thesupermat - Own work, ...
July 16, 2006 – Michael Schumacher wins 8th French GP, sets F1 record
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July 16, 2006 – Michael Schumacher wins 8th French GP, sets F1 record

Michael Schumacher made Formula One history on this day in 2006 when he became the first driver to win the same Grand Prix eight times when he took the checkers at that year's French Grand Prix. He had previously won the race in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2004. Schumacher also set a record for most career hat tricks at this Grand Prix, earning his 22nd pole position, win and fastest lap all in the same race.
July 15, 1914 – Dodge Brothers make their last Ford part
This Day

July 15, 1914 – Dodge Brothers make their last Ford part

John Dodge and his younger brother Horace were inseparable as children growing up in Michigan. Little changed in adulthood. Their father ran a machine shop and both took an interest in the trade from a young age. Their skills led them to start a bicycle company in 1896, which they later sold. With the capital they started a printing machine company in Windsor, Ontario, but this too would soon be sold. They returned to Detroit, where they'd spent many years in their youth, to start a machine shop. It wasn't long before they found themselves overloaded with orders from many of the cities new automobile businesses. Above: Henry Ford driving a 1903 Ford, which the Dodge Brothers built parts forTop: John and Horace Dodge in the back of the first Dodge Brothers car (1914) An order pla...
July 14, 1955 – VW Karmann Ghia debuts
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July 14, 1955 – VW Karmann Ghia debuts

Volkswagen publicly introduced the production version of its new Karmann Ghia on this day in 1955 at the Kasino Hotel in Westphalia, Germany. The KG hit the market as a 2+2 sports car coupe, or after 1957, available as a convertible. It combined the mechanicals and chassis of the Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle with styling by Italy's Carrozzeria Ghia and hand-built bodywork by German coachbuilding house Karmann. Above & Top: Images from the Kasino Hotel Karmann Ghia introduction The Type 14 prototype, the KG's internal label, originally debuted at the 1953 Paris Auto Show as a styling experiment. It garnered enough attention that executives moved it toward production. When the final design, as a 2+2, debuted at the Kasino Hotel, it received a grand welcoming. (Just look at these ...
July 13, 1805 – The first self propelled amphibious vehicle is tested
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July 13, 1805 – The first self propelled amphibious vehicle is tested

Oliver Evans was an American inventor who was essential to the development of steam locomotion. After building a high pressure steam engine capable of sawing marble in the early 1800s, he set out to find financing for a steam powered carriage. When the Philadelphia Board of Health announced concerns about the problem of removing sandbars and dredging in the city’s dockyard, Evans was quick to offer a solution. He convinced the board to fund the build of an amphibious, steam powered dredging machine.  Above: Engraving of Oliver EvansTop: Sketch of the steam powered dredging machine His efforts birthed the first self-propelled vehicle in the United States, which he tested for this first time on this day in 1805. It was also the first known self-powered amphibious vehicle in the wo...
July 12, 1933 – The Dymaxion car
Features, This Day

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...