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This Day

October 14, 1965 – Oldsmobile debuts the Toronado
This Day

October 14, 1965 – Oldsmobile debuts the Toronado

The 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado was introduced on this day in 1965. The vehicle is historically significant because it was the first mass-produced front wheel drive American car since the Cord ended production in 1937. The Toronado won the 1966 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award in the U.S., and placed third in the 1966 European Car of the Year contest, a feat no other American automobile had accomplished before or since. The path to earning those accolades all started with a painting. Top: 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado By Karrmann - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0Above: 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado. By Marcin Zieliński - Own work, CC BY 2.5 Oldsmobile designer David North completed a design painting in 1962 titled, "Flame Red Car." Originally nothing more than an exercise, his design would prove to be j...
October 13, 1957 – The Edsel Show
This Day

October 13, 1957 – The Edsel Show

What do you get when you mix a handful of the era's biggest celebrities, a brand new car company promising to be the hot new thing, and an hour long special on a popular TV channel (there were only three at the time)? The Edsel Show! The one hour CBS special, designed to promote Ford Motor Company's new Edsel line, premiered on this day in 1957 in place of Ford's usual sponsored program, The Ed Sullivan Show. Hosted by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Louis Armstrong, and Lindsay Crosby, with performances by The Four Preps and Bob Hope, the show snagged a huge audience, even earning an Emmy nomination for best single program of the year. Snap shot taken during filming of The Edsel Show. The success on screen did not translate to the dealerships. Since many viewed t...
October 12, 1868 – Audi founder is born
This Day

October 12, 1868 – Audi founder is born

On this day in 1868 in the village of Winningen, Rhenish Prussia, August Horch came into the world, and with him, a future bright in automotive engineering and a lasting legacy. After receiving a degree in engineering, Horch worked for Karl Benz from 1896 until he founded A. Horch & Co. in 1899 in Cologne, Germany, desiring to build his own cars. Following a dispute with investors Horch left his own company and set up a competing automaker, this time called Horch Automobil-Werke GmbH. Legal action soon denied him use of the Horch name on his new vehicles, as it was still a registered trademark of his former partners. Horch and his new financiers gathered at his home to discuss new names. Horch’s son was studying Latin nearby when he piped up with the suggestion Audi,  the ...
October 11, 1928 – Alfonso de Portago is born
This Day

October 11, 1928 – Alfonso de Portago is born

Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Angel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, Marquis of Portago, better known as Alfonso de Portago, was a Ferrari race car driver, Olympic bobsledder and stunt pilot from Spain, who was born on this day in 1928. Although a storied race car driver, one of his first transportation feats wasn’t by land but by air, when the millionaire heir flew his plane beneath a bridge at age 17, winning a $500 bet.  Above: Alfonso racing at the 1957 Cuban Grand Prix in Havana. Top: Alfonso and co-driver Edmund Nelson at the 1957 Mille Miglia. They'd die later that day. After meeting a Ferrari importer in 1953, Alfonso began a successful racing career. He took first at many prestigious events. Notable wins include the Tour de France automobile race...
October 10, 1974 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is born
This Day

October 10, 1974 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is born

Retired NASCAR racer and team owner Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was born on this day in 1974 for parents Brenda and Dale Sr. Growing up in North Carolina, the youngster didn't have the easiest childhood. His parents divorced shortly after he was born and he lived with his mom until her house burned down around his sixth birthday. With nowhere to go, Dale's mom gave up custody to his father, who spent the race season on the road with his new wife. During this time Dale Jr. received care from an elder sister, but by age 12 he was too much to handle and his father sent him to military school. Above: Dale Jr at Daytona in the #88. By Freewheeling Daredevil - Flickr, CC BY 2.0. Top: Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 83 NAVY Chevrolet in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series. After God knows how many ...
October 9, 1992 – Peekskill Meteorite hits a Chevrolet
This Day

October 9, 1992 – Peekskill Meteorite hits a Chevrolet

Something out of this world happened on this day in 1992 when a meteorite struck a parked 1980 Chevrolet Malibu in Peekskill, New York. Thousands of people looked on that evening as a meteor, later discovered to be 4.4 billion years old, lit up the sky over the East Coast of the United States. Upon hearing what teenager Michelle Knapp, owner of the Malibu, described as a “three car crash,” she ran outside to discover a hole had been blown in her car’s trunk. Despite the damage, her $300 Malibu was soon worth $10,000 to a meteorite dealer. She was also able to sell the sulphur smelling, 26 pound meteor itself for $69,000 to a group of collectors.  Above: The Peekskill meteorite car sitting at a collector’s garage. By Ryan Thompson/Flickr. Top: Michelle Knapp with her Malibu af...
October 8, 1983 – Motorsports racer & entertainer Travis Pastrana is born
This Day

October 8, 1983 – Motorsports racer & entertainer Travis Pastrana is born

You may know him from winning the first ever X Games MotoX Freestyle event in 1999? Maybe it was his multiple motorcross racing championships? Or you follow his lively rally racing career. Perhaps, you just know him as the host of Nitro Circus. One way or another, if you're a fan of things with wheels, you've probably heard of Travis Pastrana, who was born on this day in 1983. While Pastrana earned his reputation on two wheels, he's no stranger to all types of vehicles. He has participated in the Global RallyCross Championship, NASCAR Xfinity Series, Monster Jam or other series revolving around supercross, motocross, freestyle motocross, and rally racing. Of course, he's also fond of non car related stunts. Remember when he jumped out of a plane without a parachute? Above: Pastr...
October 7, 1945 – The first postwar Cadillacs
This Day

October 7, 1945 – The first postwar Cadillacs

As Americans transitioned into peacetime following Japan’s September 1945 surrender, the demand for new automobiles skyrocketed. While cars weren’t the only thing on people’s shopping lists, automakers’ inability to keep up with orders shined a light on the public's desire for a fresh set of wheels. But car companies faced numerous issues at the end of the war, material shortages being a primary concern. While Ford Motor Company had managed to begin rolling vehicles off the assembly line in July,  it took months for other companies to do the same. Ford, as with all major automakers, rushed 1942s out of the factory as 1946 models with little, if any, changes. Such was the case with Cadillac, which manufactured its first post-war car on this day in 1945. Top: 1946 Cadillac Serie...
October 6, 1910 – A winning Alfa Romeo designer is born
This Day

October 6, 1910 – A winning Alfa Romeo designer is born

Alfa Romeo 158/159 Alfettas raced in 54 Grand Prix races and won 47 of them. This madethem some of the most successful vehicles to ever hit a race track. Orazio Satta Puliga, born on this day in 1910, had just joined Alfa Romeo in 1938 when he was put to work as a designer on this revolutionary race car. Equipped with a 1.5 liter straight 8 supercharged engine, the car was originally developed for the pre-World War II voiturette formula series. With the end of World War II came the new Formula One series, introduced in 1947. This car would go on to dominate the first two seasons. Above: Alfa Romeo engineers from left to right:Orazio Satta Puliga, Giuseppe Busso, Giuseppe Luraghi and Carlo Chiti. Top: Type 159 Throughout Orazio's career he would be responsible for numerous other Alfa...
October 5, 1964 – Limo JFK was shot in returns to presidential service
This Day

October 5, 1964 – Limo JFK was shot in returns to presidential service

You'd think a federal government would opt for scrapping a car a president was shot in. Most countries would, right? The US of A is not one of them. After President Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963, the presidential Lincoln Continental went to Hess & Eisenhardt to receive upgrades. There it underwent a number of modifications, including armor plating, bullet-resistant glass and a bulletproof permanent roof. Upon its reconstruction, the JFK Lincoln returned to presidential service on this day in 1964. It would provide rides for presidents and their guests until 1978. The JFK car now resides at the Henry Ford Museum near Detroit. Above: The presidential limo as it sits at the Henry Ford Museum. By Alvintrusty - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0. Top: JFK riding in the car minutes befo...