This Day

June 11, 1986 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off premiers, Ferrari steals the show
This Day

June 11, 1986 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off premiers, Ferrari steals the show

The American cult classic film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off premiered on this day in 1986, featuring a 1961 Ferrari in a starring role. Written and directed by John Hughes, the comedy follows high school senior Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) as he pretends to be sick to get out of going to school. He uses his time to hangout in downtown Chicago with his girlfriend Sloane Peterson (Mia Sara) and best friend Cameron Frye (Alan Ruck). The stakes of playing hooky are raised immensely when Ferris convinces Cameron to “borrow” his father’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California to cruise the city. The teenage joy ride ends when… well, if you haven’t seen it, this article won’t spoil it. While the film featured three replicas, tight shots of the car were of a real California, of which only 100 we...
June 10, 1947 – The Saab prototype debuts
This Day

June 10, 1947 – The Saab prototype debuts

On this day in 1947, Swedish airplane manufacturer Saab AB introduced the press to their first prototype automobile at the company's headquarters. It was dubbed the Ursaab, which translates to “Original Saab.” This vehicle led to the first production Saab in 1949, the Saab 92. History Is Colorful! Saab AB had been producing warplanes for WWII, but launched an automobile design project in 1945. The project was code named X9248, later becoming formally known as Project 92, as this was the next production vehicle following Project 91, a single engine trainer aircraft. Saab wanted to produce a vehicle that would compete with the small German vehicles, such as those from Opel and Adler. Transverse two-cylinder two-stroke. By Ballista, CC BY-SA 3.0 A 16 person team was assembled to...
June 9, 1898 – The oldest winning F1 driver is born
This Day

June 9, 1898 – The oldest winning F1 driver is born

Luigi Fagioli, the oldest driver to ever win a Formula One race, was born on this day in 1898 in Osimo, Italy. It was there he developed a passion for the relatively new invention of the automobile. As a young boy he discovered a talent for driving after entering hill climbing and sports car racing events. He climbed the ranks and began Grand Prix racing in 1926. His continued successes behind the wheel earned him an invitation to race the Grand Prix Circuit for Maserati in 1930. His career took off. His Grand Prix wins included Coppa Ciano in 1930, the Italian Grand Prix in 1933 and 1934,  Coppa Acerbo in 1933 and 1934, and the Monaco Grand Prix in 1935. Fagioli is the only driver to win a Formula One race that was born prior to the 20th century. Fagioli faced some serious health...
June 8, 1948 – The first car with a Porsche badge debuts
This Day

June 8, 1948 – The first car with a Porsche badge debuts

Ferdinand Porsche, an automotive consultant, designer and engineer, debuted his first vehicle at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900. In 1936 the Nazi party recruited him to design an affordable vehicle for the German people, which evolved into Volkswagen. Following WWII, Ferdinand was arrested for war crimes and his son Ferry took over the family firm. While struggling to keep it afloat, a wealthy Italian approached Ferry, announcing his wish for a new race car. The family business went to work, creating the Type 360 Cisitalia. The car would fund Ferdinand's bail, but by then he had already approved a new project being spearheaded by his son, the 356/1 prototype. It became the first car to officially bear the Porsche name, and too its maiden voyage on this day in 1948 during its road certi...
June 7, 1992 – NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. died
Automotive, This Day

June 7, 1992 – NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. died

America’s prohibition era surely fueled the rise of NASCAR, but it took one man to make it official. Drivers who delivered illegal alcohol needed fast cars to outrun police, so they regularly tuned their vehicles for more power and better handling. Following prohibition, these drives still possessed a need for speed. They began to organize races, pitting their hopped up cars against each other, often in hopes of bringing home a cash prize. Daytona mechanic Bill France Sr., loved what the racing scene, but believed it could use more structure. With the assistance of a few partners, he developed a points system and race schedule for stock car racing. Above: The first NASCAR-sanctioned race was held on Daytona Beach in 1948 for modified-sportsman cars. (Photo by ISC Archives via Getty I...
June 6, 1925 – Chrysler is founded
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June 6, 1925 – Chrysler is founded

On this day in 1925 Walter Chrysler founded Chrysler Corporation when he reorganized the Maxwell Motor Company as the new company. Before doing so, W. Chrysler had been hired by Maxwell-Chalmers, an ailing automobile brand, just a few years before. They had high hopes that Chrysler could save the company, as he had recently had success revitalizing Willys-Overland. Among the first steps Chrysler took was shutting down production of the Chalmers automobile in 1923.  Above: A Maxwell automobile, from which Chrysler was born In January of the next year the Chrysler Six was launched under the Maxwell brand. The six-cylinder car was highly engineered, and included such features as a high compression engine and a replaceable oil filter, which were both rare at the time. One of the most i...
June 5, 1909 – The first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is up in the air
This Day

June 5, 1909 – The first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is up in the air

It’s easy to assume that the first competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be a race involving automobiles, or at least motorcycles. It was not. On this day in 1909 the first competitive event at the raceway began. To catch this race, you had to look up. The event was a manned gas balloon race, in which the winner was determined by most distance covered from the take off point. Track founder Carl Fisher, a balloon enthusiast himself, was anxious to generate revenue for himself and other investors in the track. To get the money rolling he held the balloon race before completion of the automobile track.  Due to his fascination with aviation, Fisher wanted to participate in the race himself. In order to do so, and so he could host the National Balloon Championship, h...
June 4, 1896 – Henry Ford drives the Quadricycle for the first time
This Day

June 4, 1896 – Henry Ford drives the Quadricycle for the first time

On this day in 1896 Henry Ford test drove his first automobile, the Quadricycle, for the first time He rolled the two cylinder, four horsepower buggy that sat on four bicycle tires out of his workshop after more than two years of experimentation and building. In his first tests he achieved speeds of more than 20 miles per hour during his initial test drives. The Quadricycle featured a 2 speed transmission, without reverse, a chain driven, ethanol powered engine, and no brakes. Ford sold his first Quadricycle for $200 to Charles Ainsley. He later built two more, one in 1899, and another in 1901. He bought his first one back for $60 and it now resides at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
June 3, 1864 – The founder of Oldsmobile is born
This Day

June 3, 1864 – The founder of Oldsmobile is born

Ransom Eli Olds, the founder of Oldsmobile, was born on this day in 1864 in Geneva, Ohio. He originally found the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in Lansing, Michigan, on August 21, 1897. In 1899 Samuel L. Smith, a copper and lumber business man, bought the company. He renamed it Olds Motor Works and moved it from Lansing to Detroit. Smith, as President, kept Olds on the team as vice president and general manager. By 1901 Olds produced 11 prototype vehicles, at least one powered by gasoline, one by electricity and one by steam. Unfortunately, a March 1901 fire burned the factory to the ground. The story goes that a single Curved Dash Runabout prototype emerged from the flames, leading to its production. However, more than 300 orders for the cars had been placed before the fire broke out. Ab...
June 2, 1954 – Volvo unveils its first sports car prototype
This Day

June 2, 1954 – Volvo unveils its first sports car prototype

Volvo founder Assar Gabrielsson had a fascination with new technology and regularly traveled the world to identify new products and processes that could benefit Volvo. In 1951 he came across a company called Glasspar, which was located in Montecito, California, that made fiberglass boats and sportscars. Fiberglass was relatively new at the time, and Gabrielsson became obsessed with it. To introduce the material to Sweden, he struck a deal with Glasspar to design and build a sports car, while training Volvo’s staff on the fiberglass manufacturing process. Back in Europe, Volvo engineers would lead the development of the new vehicle’s chassis. Fast forward to this day in 1954, and the Volvo unveiled the prototype Volvo Sport P1900. Above: The Volvo Sport prototype (source: Volvo)Top: Vol...