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May 27, 1923 – The winner of the first 24 Hours of Le Mans is…
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May 27, 1923 – The winner of the first 24 Hours of Le Mans is…

1923 #1 #2 #5 #6 #8 #9 The inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans ended on this day in 1923. This first of its kind automobile endurance race, held in Le Mans, France, began the day before with 33 cars on the track. All but three would still be driving when the race came to an end. The winners of the first 24 Hours of Le Mans race were Frenchmen André Lagache and René Léonard, who drove a Chenard-Walcker Sport. They completed 128 laps, while second place finished at 124.  Above: The #10 Chenard-Walcker of Dauvergne and BachmannTop: The start of the 1923 24 Hours of Le Mans The winner of the race was originally to be determined after three years of competition, combining the distance traveled at the race each year. This idea was abandoned after the first three year period. The race ha...
May 6, 1889 – First car in Paris is outshone by Eiffel Tower opening
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May 6, 1889 – First car in Paris is outshone by Eiffel Tower opening

On this day in 1889, Gottlieb Daimler debuted the first motorcar in Paris, France, at the onset of the Paris World Exhibition. This event is well known for a much bigger, in all senses of the word, attraction: the grand opening of the Eiffel Tower. Not to be outdone, Daimler enhanced his display by lining it with 30 light bulbs powered by a Daimler engine connected to generator. At the time electric lighting was revolutionary, as was the automobile. It's fair to assume his display was shocking to most. However, the car didn't garner as much attention as he wished. His vehicle, known as the Paris wire-wheel car, featured a twin cylinder V-engine reminiscent of modern motors. A four speed manual gearbox, the first of its kind, put power to the wheels. First gear allowed the vehic...
February 5, 1878 – Founder of Citroën is born
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February 5, 1878 – Founder of Citroën is born

The youngest of five children, André-Gustave Citroën was born in Paris on this day in 1878. He developed a passion for engineering as he watched the construction of the Eiffel Tower, leading him to study at École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France. During a visit to Warsaw in 1900, he witnessed a carpenter building a new type of gear system, later buying its patent to further developed it. This lead to the invention of double helical gears, commonly used in rear axles, transaxles, camshaft timing gears and other applications. Above: André-Gustave Citroën. Top: First mass produced Citroen, a 10 hp Type A In 1906, Citroën became director of Mors automobiles, launching a fruitful automotive career. His success in the industry led him to found Citroën automobile company in 1919. C...
September 6, 1891 – Peugeot debuts the Type 3 Quadricycle
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September 6, 1891 – Peugeot debuts the Type 3 Quadricycle

On this day in 1891 the Peugeot Type 3 Quadricycle debuted. The company manufactured 64 of these internal combustion powered vehicles between 1891 and 1894. It marked the second attempt by Peugeot to build a petrol powered auto, though multiple steam powered prototypes had come first. After company founder Armand Peugeot consulted with early automobile engineers Gottlieb Daimler and Emile Levassor, he became convinced internal combustion was the future of transportation. His Type 3 featured an engine designed by Daimler that produced 2hp, giving the vehicle an approximate top speed of 11 mph. To debut the Type 3 Armand Peugeot ran a demonstration model in the inaugural Paris-Brest-Pariscycle race beginning on this day in 1891. The car ran for 2,045 kilometres (1,271 miles), from...
July 9, 1979 – A Renault explodes in attempt to kill Nazi hunters
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July 9, 1979 – A Renault explodes in attempt to kill Nazi hunters

A Renault belonging to famed Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld exploded at their home in France on this day in 1979. The Klarsfeds were the target of a car bomb supposedly planted by ODESSA, an international organization established by former SS Nazi officers. The bomb missed their target and the Klarsfelds were saved. They continued seeking out Nazi officers to bring them to justice for war crimes. Above: The Klarsfelds visiting Jerusalem in 2007. By Personal photographer - https://www.klarsfeldfoundation.org/, CC BY 3.0Top: A Renault 12 TL from the era of the car bombing. Serge was the son of a Jew killed at Auschwitz and Beate was the daughter of a Wehrmacht soldier. They pursued infamous Nazis such as Gestapo member Klaus Barbie who had earned the nickname "Butcher of L...
October 3, 1935 – Peugeot introduces the 402
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October 3, 1935 – Peugeot introduces the 402

Peugeot debuted the model 402 at the Paris Motor Show on this day in 1935. The vehicle featured a number of innovations, including headlights placed behind the front grille and recessed safety door handles. Peugeot even advertised the car with an available automatic transmission and a diesel engine. When the car launched there were two chassis lengths available. A third length later became available, resulting in some sixteen different body styles. More than 75,000 402s left the factory over its seven year production run. Above: A small amount of coupe versions of the 402 were built. By By Kévin Pourtout - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0. Top: Peugeot 402. During World War II fuel was unavailable for civilian use in vehicles. In 1939 Peugeot was already investigating the possibility of ad...
August 6, 1991 – Peugeot leaves North America
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August 6, 1991 – Peugeot leaves North America

Sales of Peugeot and other European automakers took a significant downturn in the US and Canada in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This resulted in the release of the Peugeot 405 (pictured), a last ditch effort by the company to remain viable in North America. It proved unsuccessful, selling less than 1,000 units. When total Peugeot sales only hit 4,261 in 1990 and 2,240 between January and July of the following year, the company decided to pull out of the US and Canadian markets after 33 years. The fateful announcement was made official this day in 1991.
September 25, 1725 –  The inventor of the automobile is born, and later crashes…
Automotive, This Day

September 25, 1725 – The inventor of the automobile is born, and later crashes…

The first automobile accident... Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, the man credited with building the first known working, self-propelled mechanical vehicle capable of carrying a driver, was born on this day in 1725. At the age of 40, Cugnot, a French military engineer and inventor, began to develop a steam powered vehicle capable of transporting cannons for the French Army. This led to the 1769 debut of a scaled-down version of a “fardier a vapeur,” translated to steam dray. A fardier is a massive two wheeled, horse drawn cart used to transport heavy equipment, but Cugnot's version utilized a third wheel where the horses would normally be. Cugnot's 1770 fardier à vapeur, as preserved at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris.  In 1770 he built a full size version designed to carry...

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