Tag: british

July 4, 1903 – The first female racer
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July 4, 1903 – The first female racer

On this day in 1903 Dorothy Levitt became the first British woman reported in the press to compete in an automobile motor race. Driving a 12 horsepower Gladiator, Levitt took first place in her class at the Southport Speed Trials, but there is more to her initiation to auto racing than meets the eye. Her entry into the race was billed as a publicity stunt arranged by her boss at Napier Car Company. He had taught his Levitt, who was his secretary, to drive an automobile just before entering her in the race, knowing her appearance would draw interest in his cars. Turns out his stunt led to her discovering a natural ability behind as a driver, as well as a speed boat racer and airplane pilot. Levitt set a number of early records, including the "longest drive achieved by a lady dri...
April 12, 1888 – Cecil Kimber, founder of MG, in born
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April 12, 1888 – Cecil Kimber, founder of MG, in born

On this day in 1888 Cecil Kimber was born in London to Henry and Fanny Kimber. In 1928 he would be responsible for the founding of MG, though his interest in automobiles was preceded by a love of motorcycles. Following a riding accident he took to four wheel vehicles, first purchasing a 10 hp Singer in 1913. A year later he took a job with Sheffield-Simplex, a British car and motorcycle maker, as assistant to the chief designer. Above: The author's VW powered 1952 MG TD kit car. Top: This 1925 MG, with Cecil at the wheel, is dubbed Old Number One, but it wasn’t the first MG produced, but the first manufactured specifically for racing competition. It made its debut at the 1925 Lands End Trial. After bouncing around with a few different automakers he landed a long term position with ...
October 19, 1965 – MGB GT goes on sale
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October 19, 1965 – MGB GT goes on sale

MG released the unitary construction MGB in 1962 to replace 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 small new package. Some historians claim real design innovation occurred on this day in 1965 when MG released the MGB GT for the following model year. Above: 1966 MG MGB GT. By Vauxford - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 Top: 1966 MGB GT in white (public domain) 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....
April 12, 2020 – F1 great Stirling Moss has died
Automotive

April 12, 2020 – F1 great Stirling Moss has died

Stirling Moss, British Formula One driver and International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee, died today, April 12, 2020. His racing career spanned from 1948 to 1962, during which time he won 212 of the 529 races he entered, including 16 Formula One Grands Prix. Though he drove 84 different makes of car over the course of his racing career, he preferred to race British cars, stating, "Better to lose honourably in a British car than win in a foreign one." https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=Tl8qU0RprNU&feature=emb_logo Moss, who seemed to always come up just short, has been described as "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship." In a seven-year span between 1955 and 1961 Moss finished as championship runner-up four times and in third place the ...
February 4, 1913 – Richard Seaman, British racing great, is born
This Day

February 4, 1913 – Richard Seaman, British racing great, is born

One of the greatest pre-war British Grand Prix racers, Richard Seaman, was born on this day in 1913. Coming from a wealthy family made Seaman's entrance into racing somewhat seamless. At the age of 21 he took his MG to the European mainland to gain experience in the sport. He found himself to be a natural behind the wheel, winning numerous races early in his career, but it would not be long before he out-drove his own skill level. After demonstrating massive success on the race course, Dick, as he went by, was invited to Nürburgring to run a trial for the Mercedes Silver Arrow team. Against his mother's wishes, who did not want her son to race for a "Nazi" team, Dick signed on as a driver. To him, it was a matter of quality. With the German government financing the racing programs at M...
December 7, 1979 – The Last MG Midget
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December 7, 1979 – The Last MG Midget

On this day in 1979 the final MG Midget rolled off the assembly line. The car was first introduced in 1961 as a more spendy badge-engineered Austin-Healey Sprite. It had identical mechanicals as the Sprite, but in 1962 the 948cc engine was upgraded to 1098cc. The car would go through various changes until production seized. There were 73,899 of the final generation Midget produced, with the last 500 for the home market being painted black.
November 24, 1951 – A mighty British merger
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November 24, 1951 – A mighty British merger

An agreed merger between Austin and Morris on this day in 1951 formed British Motor Corporation (BMC), the largest automaker in Britain and the fourth largest in the world, falling behind General Motors, Chrysler and Ford. The new company would continue to operate both brands as unique, claiming they would not produce the same models. However, the introduction of the Mini at the end of the decade saw both marques offering a version. Photo: A 1959 Morris Mini-Minor. This car, with registration number 621 AOK, was the first Mini off the production line to be badged Morris. It was never sold, and is now kept at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon, UK. Photographed at the Gaydon Mini Festival 2007. By DeFacto - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5
October 23,1911 – A spot of English T
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October 23,1911 – A spot of English T

The Ford Motor Company began intercontinental production on this day in 1911 when the first Model Ts 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 first moving assembly line was installed at the plant, allowing the factory to pump out more than 20 vehicles per hour. Exterior of Trafford Park plant An expansion of the plant after World War I significantly increased production. By the beginning of the 1920s 41 percent of all registered cars in Britain were Fords. To further improve production numbers a plant with better access to a deep water port was ordered by Henry Ford. This new manufacturing building was completed on the River Thames in Dagenham in 1923. Ford stil...
September 28, 1949 – A small car with a big name comes to market
Automotive, This Day

September 28, 1949 – A small car with a big name comes to market

British company Jowett Cars debuted their first and only sports car, the Jupiter, on this day in 1949 at the London Motor Show. The Jupiter was designed in just four months by Austrian engineer Dr. Robert Eberan von Eberhorst and Jowett’s own body stylist Reg Korner. Only about 900 Jupiters had been produced when production ended in 1954, which was enough to achieve great success in auto racing. The flat four, 1486 cc powered Jupiters would take a class wins at the 1950 Le Mans 24 Hour race and the 1951 Monte Carlo International Rally, an overall win in the 1951 Lisbon International Rally, and a class one-two win in the public road race at Dundrod in Northern Ireland in September 1951, just to name a few victories. Cover image: A Jowett Jupiter, circa 1952. Photographed in Congleto...
September 23, 1972 – The last race at the Crystal Palace
Automotive, This Day

September 23, 1972 – The last race at the Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace circuit, a motor racing circuit in Crystal Palace Park in south London, England, saw its final professional organized race on this day in 1972. Club events would continue through 1974 before the track officially closed. The circuit opened in 1927 with a motorcycle race on May 21. The original one mile circuit primarily followed existing paths through the lake. The road surface was made of tarmac bends and hard packed gravel straightaways. At the end of 1936 track improvements begun, which increased the track’s length to two miles. The first London Grand Prix was held at the circuit on July 17, 1937 and was won by Prince Bira in his ERA R2B with an average speed of 56.5 MPH. Later that year, during the International Imperial Trophy meeting, also won by Bira, the B...