Automobile Chronology

This chronology lists automobile firsts, records, racing and interesting trivia.

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Dec 17A traffic regulation in NY City established the first street to go in one direction only, or “One Way,” as the signs said.Ref: 4
Jul 04First London bus runs.Ref: 10
Jan 02The first wire suspension bridge was opened to traffic -- in Fairmount, PA.Ref: 4
Feb 16Henry and Clement Studebaker found H. & C. Studebaker, a blacksmith and wagon building business, in South Bend, Indiana.Ref: 3
May 16Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir builds first automobile.Ref: 5
Dec 10World's first traffic lights go into service in Parliament Square, London invented by J.P.Knight.Ref: 10
Jan 02World's first (gas) traffic light in Parliament Square, London explodes, injuring constable moving it.Ref: 10
May 08George Selden of Rochester, NY files for first patent for a gasoline-driven automobileRef: 2
Sep 05Jake Gumper of Ft. Wayne, IN buys the first gasoline pump produced in the United States.Ref: 4
Nov 10Paul Daimler, son of Gottleib Daimler, becomes the first motorcyclist when he rides his father's new invention on a round trip of six miles.Ref: 2
Jan 26Karl Benz patents first auto with burning motor.Ref: 5
Jan 29Karl Benz receives a patent for a crude gas-fueled car in Mannhelm, Germany. Ref 
Jul 27First electric car demonstrated in Boston by inventor Philip W. Pratt; tricycle runs on batteries.Ref: 10
Aug 12Bertha, wife of inventor Karl Benz, makes first motor tour.Ref: 5
Nov 27Curtis P. Brady was issued the first permit to drive an automobile through Central Park in NY City. Mr. Brady had to pledge to NY’s finest that he would not frighten the horses in the park.Ref: 4
Apr 19The prototype of the first commercially successful American automobile was completed in Springfield, Mass., by Charles E. Duryea and his brother Frank.Ref: 70
Feb 23Rudolf Diesel receives a German patent for the diesel engine.Ref: 3
Jun 04Henry Ford and several associates complete assembly of first Ford car in garage in Detroit at 2 a.m.Ref: 10
Aug 10Prototype of the first diesel compression ignition engine tested by Dr. Rudolf Diesel in Augsburg.Ref: 10
Aug 14France issues first driving licenses, included required test.Ref: 5
Sep 21Frank Duryea drives first US made gas propelled vehicle (car).Ref: 5
Sep 22Bicycle makers Charles and Frank Duryea show off the first American automobile produced for sale to the public by taking it on a maiden run through the streets of Springfield, Massachusetts.Ref: 2
Dec 05First electric car (built in Toronto) could go 15 miles between charges.Ref: 5
Dec 24Henry Ford completes his first useful gas motor.Ref: 5
Jul 04Elwood Haynes successfully tests one of first US autos at 6 MPH.Ref: 5
Jul 22The first automobile race occurs between Paris and Rouen, France.Ref: 2
Jun 11Charles E. Duryea receives the first US patent granted to an American inventor for a gasoline-driven automobile.Ref: 2
Jun 11World's first car race begins (Paris to Bordeaux and back, 732 miles); Emile Levassor-France wins.Ref: 5
Jun 13Emile Levassor wins first Paris-Bordeaux-Paris auto race (24 kph).Ref: 5
Sep 21First auto manufacturer opens: Duryea Motor Wagon Company in Springfield MA.Ref: 5
Nov 01The first automobile club in the United States, the American Motor League, holds its preliminary meeting in Chicago, Illinois, with sixty members.Ref: 3
Nov 011st magazine devoted to the motor vehicle ("The Horseless Age") was published.Ref: 51
Nov 28The first automobile race in America began, as six cars traveled from Jackson Park in Chicago to Waukegan, IL. J. Frank Dureyea was the winner, traveling at a blazing speed of 7 and 1/2 miles per hour! It took him 7 hrs. 53 minutes to make the trek, averaging 7 MPH. He won $2,000 for the effort.Ref: 4
Jan 28First fine for speeding in motorcar in England as motorist fined for exceeding 2 mph limit in town.Ref: 10
Mar 06Charles B. King tested his automobile on the streets of Detroit, Michigan, becoming the first man to drive a car in the Motor City.Ref: 3
May 09First horseless carriage show in London (featured 10 models).Ref: 5
May 19First auto (Benz) to arrive in Netherlands.Ref: 5
May 30The first documented auto accident occurred -- in New York City. A Duryea Motor Wagon, driven by Henry Wells from Springfield, MA collided with a bicycle ridden by Evylyn Thomas of NYC.Ref: 4
Jun 04"Crazy Henry" Ford drives his first automobile, built in his shed behind his house. Ref 
Aug 22Light Locomotives Act passes in London; motor cars freed from 4 miles per hour speed limit.Ref: 70
Sep 07A.H. Whiting wins the first automobile race held on a racetrack. A crowd of 40,000 people watched Whiting tear around the track at 24 miles per hour in Cranston, RI.Ref: 5
Dec 3125th auto built in US.Ref: 5
Jan 31The final stage of the Marseille-Nice automobile race posed an unusual challenge: a steep slope that motorists had to climb at speed. It was the first speed hillclimb in auto-racing history. The uphill dash was won by M. Pary in a steam-powered DeDion-Bouton automobile.Ref: 3
Sep 10George Smith’s swerving was enough to alarm British police and make him the first person arrested for drunken driving.Ref: 10
Nov 29World's first motorcycle race held in Richmond, Surrey, England; Charles Jarrott wins.Ref: 10
Feb 01The Travelers Insurance Company of Hartford, CT issued the very first automobile insurance policy on this day to Dr. Truman Martin of Buffalo, NY.Ref: 4
Mar 24First US automobile sold.Ref: 5
Jul 30Scientific America carried the first magazine automobile ad. The Winton Motor Car Company of Cleveland, OH invited readers to “Dispense with a Horse.”Ref: 4
Dec 18Automobile speed record set-63 kph (39 mph).Ref: 5
Jan 03An editorial in the New York Times makes a reference to an "automobile". It was the first known use of the word.Ref: 3
Jan 17Camille Jenatzy captured the land speed record in an electric car of his own design: 41.425 miles per hour at Acheres Park, France. On the same day, however, previous record holder Gaston Chasseloup-Laubat raised the record again, posting a speed of 43.690 miles per hour in an electric Jeantaud automobile.Ref: 3
May 20Jacob German of New York City became the first driver to be arrested for speeding. Mr. German was whipping his taxicab all over Lexington Avenue and being a pain in the neck by going over the posted 12 mile-per-hour speed limit!Ref: 4
May 24W. T. McCullough of Boston, MA opened the first public garage. One could rent space for selling, storing and repairing vehicles.Ref: 4
Jul 29First motorcycle race, Manhattan Beach, NY.Ref: 5
Aug 31A Stanley Steamer, driven by F.O. Stanley, became the first car to reach the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. 
Sep 13Henry M. Bliss became the first known American automobile fatality. As Mr. Bliss stepped off a streetcar at Central Park West and 74th Street in New York City, he was hit by a car driven by Arthur Smith. Bliss was rushed to the hospital but died a short time later. Smith was arrested, but was not held.Ref: 39
Oct 09World's first bus with a petrol-driven motor runs in London.Ref: 10
Mar 28The British Royal family receives its fist motor car, a Daimler Mail Phaeton.Ref: 3
Mar 31The W.E. Roach Company is the first automobile company to advertise in a national magazine.Ref: 4
Apr 15An early 50 mile race is won by an electric car in over 2 hrs.Ref: 5
Nov 03The first National Automobile Show opens in Madison Square Garden in New York City. A total of 31 car makers put their autoware on display.Ref: 4
Nov 24The first gasoline-powered Pierce automobile is taken on a test drive through the streets of Buffalo, New York.Ref: 3
Dec 22Mercedes makes its debut. A new 35-horsepower car built by Daimler from a design by Emil Jellinek was completed. The car was named for Jellinek's daughter, Mercedes.Ref: 3
Jan 10The Automobile Club of America installs signs on major highways.Ref: 2
Apr 25New York became the first state to require automobile license plates; the fee was $1.Ref: 70
May 21Connecticut enacts first speed limit law-12 miles per hour in country, 8 in city.Ref: 10
Aug 09The first automobile rally race is held in Ireland, sponsored by the Irish Automobile Club. Twelve automobiles attempted an organized journey from Dublin to Waterford. 
Aug 12Charles A. Yont and W.B. Felker complete the first automobile trip to the 14,110 ft summit of Pikes Peak, Colorado, driving an 1899 locomobile steamer. 
Aug 22Cadillac car company founded in Detroit;named after 18th C. explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.Ref: 10
Sep 09The first long-distance car race began in New York City on this day, ending five days and 464 miles later in Buffalo, New York. David Bishop’s winning Panhard only averaged a speed of 15 miles per hour, but it managed to make the entire journey without breaking down – a remarkable feat. 
Sep 30Compulsory car registration for all vehicles driving over 18 mph took effect throughout France. 
Nov 16Three autos race on Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, fastest speed achieved by Henry Fournier who drives a mile in 51 4/5 seconds.Ref: 5
Mar 04The American Automobile Association (AAA) is founded in Chicago from nine smaller auto clubs the around country.Ref: 5
Jul 04First motorcycle race in America from Boston to New York.Ref: 10
Aug 12International Harvester opens for business. 
Aug 22President Theodore Roosevelt became the first US chief executive to ride in an automobile, in Hartford, Connecticut.Ref: 70
Oct 17First sleek ‘Runabout' Cadillac car shipped from Detroit to dealer in Buffalo NY.Ref: 10
Oct 25The 23-year-old Barney Oldfield made his racing debut at the Manufacturer's Challenge Cup in Grosse Point in a Ford-built racer named the 999. Oldfield and the 999 won.Ref: 3
May 16First transcontinental motorcycle trip begins at San Fransisco (George Wymann).Ref: 5
May 23First automobile trip across US from San Fransisco to NY, ended April 1.Ref: 5
May 30The first American motorcycle hill climb was held -- in Riverdale, NY.Ref: 4
Jun 16Ford Motor Company organized, with John S. Gray as President and Henry Ford as Vice President.Ref: 74
Jun 18First transcontinental auto trip begins in SF; arrives NY 3-mo later.Ref: 5
Jul 06George Wyman arrives in NYC by motorcycle 51 days out of SF.Ref: 5
Jul 23Ford Motor Company of Detroit sells its first car a 2 cylinder Model A.Ref: 2
Aug 01First coast-to-coast automobile trip (SF-NY) completed.Ref: 5
Aug 21Model F. Packard arrives in N.Y. after 52 days on road from S.F. First transcontinental auto race.Ref: 10
Aug 31The first automobile trip from San Francisco to NY City was completed. A Packard made the trip in 52 days.Ref: 4
Sep 07Federation of American Motorcyclists organized in NY.Ref: 5
Jan 12Racing driver Barney Oldfield set a new speed record in a stripped-down Ford automobile. Driving across the frozen surface of Lake St. Clair, he reached a top speed of 91.37 miles per hour.Ref: 3
Apr 01Henry Royce tests his first Rolls Royce.Ref: 10
Jul 21Camille Jenatzy sets world auto speed record at 65.79 MPH.Ref: 5
Jul 22First gasoline driven Studebaker car manufactured in South Bend IN.Ref: 10
Aug 27(or 28th) The first jail sentence in the U.S. for auto speeding is handed down in Newport, Rhode Island. 
Oct 08(Long Island) First Vanderbilt Cup auto race (Hicksville, Long Island, NY).Ref: 5
Nov 21Motorized omnibuses replace horse-drawn cars in Paris.Ref: 2
Jan 311st auto to exceed 100 mph (161 kph), A G MacDonald, Daytona Beach.Ref: 5
Aug 18Newell S. Wright, an attorney, filed to register the Cadillac crest as a trademark. 
Jan 01Dutch law makes driver's license mandatory.Ref: 5
Jan 13The first automobile show of the American Motor Car Manufactureres Association (AMCMA) opens in New York City at the 69th Regiment Armory.Ref: 3
Jan 26American driver Fred Marriott set a new land speed record of 127.659 miles per hour in his steam-powered "Wogglebug" at Ormond Beach, Florida. It was the last time that a steam-powered vehicle would claim a new land speed record.Ref: 3
Mar 15Rolls-Royce Ltd. is officially registered with Charles S. Rolls and F. Henry Royce as directors.Ref: 74
May 21Louis H. Perlman of NY City received his patent for the demountable tire-carrying rim -- similar to the ones we use on our cars, only wider.Ref: 4
Nov 20Rolls Royce motor company formed by Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce.Ref: 10
Jan 21First taxi cabs hit the cobblestones in Britain.Ref: 10
Jan 24In Ormond Beach, Florida, Glenn Curtiss, an engineer who got his start building motors for bicycles, set an unofficial land-speed record on a self-built V-8 motorcycle on this day: 136.29 MPH. No automobile would surpass that speed until 1911.Ref: 3
Feb 22First cabs with taxi meters begin operating in London.Ref: 5
May 28First Auto-Cycle Union Tourist Trophy.Ref: 5
Aug 10Prince Borghese of Italy wins the 8000 mile, 62-day, Peking-to-Paris auto race. Driving like a madman across Asia and Europe, the prince encountered brush fire, got stuck in a swamp, and was pulled over by a policeman in Belgium. The policeman refused to believe that the prince was racing, rather than merely speeding.Ref: 5
Aug 13The first taxicab took to the streets of New York City.Ref: 4
Feb 12The now famous, New York-to-Paris automobile race began via Seattle and Yokohama, Japan. The race started at Times Square in New York City. Six automobiles were entered in the race. George Schuster got the checkered flag after 170 days. He spent 88 of them actually driving.Ref: 4
Feb 25First tunnel under the Hudson River (railway tunnel) opens.Ref: 5
Mar 07Cincinnati’s mayor, Mark Breith stood before the city council and announced, “Women are not physically fit to operate automobiles.”Ref: 4
Mar 28Automobile owners lobby Congress, supporting a bill that calls for vehicle licensing and federal registration.Ref: 2
Apr 24Mr & Mrs Jacob Murdock become the first to travel across the US by car, they leave LA in a Packard & arrive in NYC in 32d-5h-25m.Ref: 5
Jul 30Around the World Autombile Race ends in Paris.Ref: 5
Aug 12First Model T made available to the public.Ref: 74
Sep 16General Motors was founded on this day. The man responsible for the beginning of the huge auto-manufacturing company (maker of Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Chevrolet) was William Crapo ‘Billy’ Durant.Ref: 4
Oct 01Henry Ford introduced the Model T automobile to the market; each car cost $825 and was painted black.Ref: 70
Dec 08Four 80 acre tracts are purchased for $72,000 to build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Ref: 48
Feb 08Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company files for incorporation.Ref: 48
Feb 09The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation is incorporated with Carl G. Fisher as president.Ref: 3
Feb 24The Hudson Motor Car Company, founded by Joseph Hudson in Detroit, Michigan, incorporates.Ref: 3
Jun 22The first transcontinental auto race ended in Seattle, WA.Ref: 4
Aug 15The first auto races are held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Wilfrid "Billy" Bourque and his riding mechanic Harry Holcomb, lose their lives in a 25-mile Prest-O-Lite race in a crash on the north end of the main straightaway in the first fatalities at the IMS.Ref: 48
Aug 19The first race was run at the Indpls Motor Speedway in Indiana. It wasn’t a brick track yet. It started as a crushed stone and tar track.Ref: 4
Dec 14The famous brick surface of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (the "Brickyard") is completed.Ref: 3
Jan 30Work begin on the first board-track automobile speedway. The track is built in lovely Playa del Ray, California.Ref: 4
Mar 16Barney Oldfield sets land speed record of 131.7 mph at Daytona.Ref: 5
Mar 23First race at Los Angeles Motordrome (1st US auto speedway).Ref: 5
Aug 25Walden W. Shaw and John D. Hertz formed the Walden W. Shaw Livery Company, which later became the Yellow Cab Company. 
Dec 03The last brick is layed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Ref: 48
Jan 21First Monte Carlo car rally begins.Ref: 10
Jan 28Frenchman Henri Rougier wins first Rally of Monte Carlo.Ref: 5
Feb 17The first self-starter, based on patented inventions created by GM engineers Clyde Coleman and Charles Kettering, is installed in a Cadillac.Ref: 3
May 30Ray Harroun won the first 500-mile auto race at the Brickyard, the Indpls Motor Speedway. Harroun won the race with an average speed of 74.59 MPH. It took him six hours and 42 minutes to complete the race. He won $14,000 for his effort.Ref: 4
Jul 01Charles Kettering announces his invention of the self-starter for automobiles; crank no longer.Ref: 10
Nov 01Chevrolet Motor Company of Michigan incorporated by William Durant and Louis Chevrolet.Ref: 10
Jan 22Second Monte Carlo auto race begins.Ref: 2
Apr 06Electric starter first appeared in cars.Ref: 5
Jan 11The first sedan-type car was unveiled at the National Automobile Show in New York City. The car was manufactured by the Hudson Motor Company.Ref: 4
Aug 23Automobiles are legally allowed to enter Yosemite National Park, California, for the first time on this day, marking a huge change in the national park system. Prior to 1913, most park visitors traveled by train to the park and then took scheduled stagecoach tours. 
Sep 10Lincoln Highway opens as 1st paved coast-to-coast highwayRef: 5
Dec 01America's first gas station opens by Gulf Refining Co in Pittsburgh.Ref: 70
Dec 01The Ford Motor Company introduced the continuous moving assembly line on this day. Ford's new assembly line could produce a complete car every two-and-a-half minutes.Ref: 3
Jan 05Ford Motor Company proudly announced that there would be a new daily minimum wage of $5 and an (shortened) eight-hour work day.Ref: 4
Jan 14Henry Ford announced the newest advance in assembly line production of cars. The new continuous motion method reduced assembly time of a car from 12½ hours to 93 minutes.Ref: 4
Jul 04First US motorcycle race (300 miles, Dodge City Ks).Ref: 5
Aug 17Charles F. Kettering of Detroit, MI patented the electric, automobile self-starter.Ref: 4
Dec 1010,000,000th model T Ford assembled.Ref: 5
Jul 05Adelina and August Van Buren started on the first successful transcontinental motorcycle tour attempted by two women. The bikers left NY City this day and arrived in San Diego, CA on September 12th.Ref: 4
Nov 16Dario Resta, driving a Peugeot, wins the last Vanderbilt Cup race, held in Santa Monica, California.Ref: 3
Jan 18Bentley Motors was established in London, England.Ref: 3
Feb 17First self-starter, based on GM engineers Clyde Coleman and Chas Kettering, installed in a Cadillac.Ref: 10
Feb 25Oregon introduces the first state tax on gasoline at one cent per gallon, to be used for road construction.Ref: 2
Oct 05Twenty-one year-old Enzo Ferrari made his racing debut, finishing eleventh in the Parmo-Poggia di Berceto hillclimb in a Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali (CMN) vehicle. 
Oct 18Rolls-Royce America is established.Ref: 3
Jan 26The Lincoln Motor Car Company is founded. In two years it will be acquired by Ford.Ref: 3
Feb 01First commercial armored car introduced (St Paul MN).Ref: 5
Mar 20Bugatti delivered its first sixteen-valve luxury car to a customer in Basel, Switzerland.Ref: 3
Oct 12Construction of the Holland Tunnel got underway. The tunnel would provide a direct link between Twelfth Street in Jersey City, NJ and Canal Street in NY City. The tunnel has two tubes more than 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) long. It opened to traffic on November 13, 1927. Oh, and one more thing: The Holland Tunnel was named for Clifford Milburn Holland (1883-1924), the civil engineer who died while directing the tunnel’s construction.Ref: 4
Jan 03The Studebaker Corporation announces that it would no longer build farm wagons.Ref: 3
Sep 10The Ayus Autobahn, the world’s first controlled-access highway and part of Germany’s Bundesautobahn system, opened near Berlin. 
Jan 01Vancouver BC starts driving on the right side of road.Ref: 5
Feb 04Ford Motor Company purchases Lincoln Motor Company for $8 million. Edsel Ford named President of Lincoln.Ref: 45
Aug 23A 23-litre car named “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” wins the first Southsea (England) Speed Carnival in 1922, driven by Count Louis Zborowski at 73.1 miles per hour. 
Feb 02Gasoline mixed with Tetraethyl lead was first sold to the public at a roadside gas station in Dayton, Ohio, owned by Willard Talbott. Coined “ethyl gasoline” by Charles Kettering of General Motors, the blend was discovered by General Motors laboratory technician Thomas Midgley to beneficially alter the combustion rate of gasoline.Ref: 3
Feb 22The 1,000,000th Chevy is produced.Ref: 3
Apr 05Firestone Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, OH began the first regular production of balloon tires.Ref: 4
May 26First Le Mans Grand Prix d'Endurance was run.Ref: 5
Dec 31The Sahara is crossed by an automobile for the first time.Ref: 2
Jan 04First auto crosses the Sahara desert.Ref: 62
Jan 09Ford Motor Co. stock is valued at nearly $1 billion.Ref: 2
Jun 04The 10,000,000th Model T Ford rolls off the assembly line. Ref 
Jun 15Ford Motor Company manufactures its 10 millionth automobile.Ref: 5
Sep 25Malcolm Campbell sets world auto speed record at 146.16 MPH.Ref: 5
May 30Peter DePaolo became first man to average over 100 mph at Indpls 500.Ref: 5
Jun 06Walter Percy Chrysler founded Chrysler Corp (Iacocca was 8 months old)Ref: 5
Jun 06First Chrysler automobile introduced by Walter Chrysler; expensive car to cost $1,500.Ref: 10
Dec 12Arthur Heinman coins term "motel", opens Motel Inn, San Luis Obispo.Ref: 5
Dec 15First road with a depressed trough (Texas) opens to traffic.Ref: 5
Jan 03General Motors introduces the Pontiac brand name. The new Pontiac line was the descendant of the Oakland Motor Car Company, acquired by General Motors in 1909.Ref: 3
Aug 07First British Grand Prix raced at Brooklands.Ref: 10
Sep 25Henry Ford announces the 8 hour, 5-day work week.Ref: 5
Mar 29Major Henry O’Neil de Hane Segrave becomes the first man to break the 200 miles per hour barrier. Driving a 1,000 horsepower Mystery Sunbeam, Segrave averaged 203.79 miles per hour on the course at Daytona Beach, Florida.Ref: 3
May 25The Ford Motor Company announced that its popular automobile model, the Model T, known as the Tin Lizzie, would not be rolling off assembly lines anymore. Instead, the discontinued car would be replaced by the more modern Model A. The first Model T was manufactured in 1908, designed, the Ford Motor Company stated, “as an inexpensive vehicle for the great multitude.” It was also the first item produced on an assembly line (Henry Ford’s new production system). By 1918, half of all motor cars in the entire world were Tin Lizzies.Ref: 4
May 31Ford Motor Company produces last "Tin Lizzie" (begins Model A).Ref: 5
Nov 01Ford introduces its Model A to replace the Model T.Ref: 10
Nov 13After seven years of construction and over $48 million, the Holland Tunnel, NY City’s connection to Jersey City, NJ, opened to traffic. It was named after the chief engineer of construction, Clifford Milburn Holland, who died before the tunnel was completed.Ref: 4
Dec 01Henry Ford's new Model A goes on display at Waldorf Hotel, NY;50,000 ordered.Ref: 10
Dec 02The first Model A is unveiled in NY City’s Waldorf Hotel and in 35 other cities around the U.S., Canada and Europe. The Phaeton sold for $395.00 and the Tudor Sedan for $495.00. The lag between cars available and orders on hand had mounted to 800,000 by the spring of 1928.Ref: 4
May 28Chrysler and Dodge merge in biggest auto industry merger in history.Ref: 5
May 29Fritz von Opel reaches 200 kph in experimental rocket car.Ref: 5
Feb 03Major H.O.D. Seagrave sets a new land speed record of 231.4 mph at Daytona Beach, Florida, driving a car called the Golden Arrow.Ref: 3
Mar 17General Motors acquires German auto manufacturer Adam Opel.Ref: 5
Apr 14Monaco Grand Prix first run.Ref: 10
Aug 30Colonel E. H. Green takes delivery of a new combination gas and electric automobile, built by the General Electric Company. 
Jan 06The first diesel-engine automobile trip is completed. It ran 792 miles -- from Indianapolis, IN to New York City.Ref: 4
Feb 26Seven years after Garrett A. Morgan invented traffic lights, New York City decided it might be a good idea to install some of the newfangled contraptions. The city fathers had been studying traffic plans in other cities and had rejected the wide use of amber lights being used to slow motorists down before they came to a red light. The New York Board ruled that the yellow lights were ineffective. So on this date, after too many complaints had been received from drivers complaining about pedestrians straying into their paths, the first red and green signal lights were placed at Manhattan street corners.Ref: 4
Mar 20Clessie Cummins sets diesel engine speed record of 129.39 kph.Ref: 5
May 30Bill Arnold wins Indpls 500 car race (161.6 kph).Ref: 5
Nov 03The first vehicular tunnel to a foreign country (Detroit-Windsor) opens.Ref: 5
Jan 01Royal Traffic Act in Britain abolishes 20 mph speed limit and brings in driving tests.Ref: 10
Jan 13The bridge connecting New York and New Jersey is named the George Washington Memorial Bridge.Ref: 2
Apr 20Matilda Dodge Wilson, the widow of John Dodge, is named to the board of the Graham-Paige Motors Corporation. She is the first woman board member of a major auto manufacturer.Ref: 3
Oct 24The George Washington Bridge opens, linking New York City with New Jersey across the Hudson River.Ref: 4
Dec 07The last Ford Model A is produced.Ref: 3
Dec 14Bentley Motors is taken over by Rolls-Royce.Ref: 3
Feb 24Malcolm Campbell drives record speed (253.96 mph) at Daytona.Ref: 5
Feb 28Ford's Model A ceases production.Ref: 45
Mar 31Ford publicly unveils its V-8 engine.Ref: 5
Apr 01Ford introduces its new offering: the high-performance Ford V-8, the first Ford with an 8-cylinder engine.Ref: 3
May 23Sir Hubert Ferdinand Opperman sets 24 hour record of 860 miles, 367 yards.Ref: 5
Jun 06The first US federal tax on gasoline was enacted. The rate was a penny per gallon.Ref: 4
Jun 06The first drive-in movie theater opened, in Camden, New Jersey.Ref: 70
Feb 17The first driving course is offered at State College High School in State College, PA.Ref: 3
Mar 15Henry Ford restores the $5 a day wage.Ref: 2
Mar 26The first driving tests are given in EnglandRef: 5
Jun 18US Highway planning surveys nationwide authorized.Ref: 5
Mar 07Malcolm Campbell sets an auto speed record of 276.8 mph in Florida.Ref: 2
Mar 13Driving tests introduced in Great Britain.Ref: 5
Sep 03Sir Malcolm Campbell became the first person to drive an automobile over 300 miles an hour. Campbell drove his Bluebird Special on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah at a speed of 304.331 MPH.Ref: 4
Jan 05Two GM plants in Flint, Michigan, are taken over by the Teamsters Union protesting intolerable work conditionsRef: 62
Jan 15Non-profit Ford Foundation incorporates.Ref: 5
Feb 26Hitler introduces Ferdinand Porsche's "Volkswagen".Ref: 5
Mar 08Daytona Beach, Florida, staged its first race strictly for stock cars on a combination beach and public roadway course.Ref: 3
Oct 22The first test drives of the Volkswagon "Beetle" begin in Germany.Ref: 3
Nov 12Oakland Bay Bridge opens.Ref: 5
Dec 30The United Auto Workers union staged its first "sit-down" strike, at the Fisher Body Plant Number One in Flint, Michigan.Ref: 5
Jan 25Miami-to-Tampa bus overturned in a canal, kills 13.Ref: 5
Mar 01First permanent automobile license plates issued (Connecticut).Ref: 5
Mar 24Bus blew a tire, going out of control, killing 18 (Salem IL).Ref: 5
Aug 27George E.T. Eyston sets world auto speed record at 345.49 MPH.Ref: 5
Sep 30Duesenberg closes its doors forever. 
Dec 21(or 22nd) The Lincoln Tunnel was officially opened to traffic, allowing motorists to drive between New Jersey and Manhattan beneath the Hudson River. (Ref. 3)Ref: 3
Dec 22Lincoln Tunnel (New York NY) opens to traffic.Ref: 5
Jan 19GM began mass production of diesel engines.Ref: 5
Jan 28Driver Rudolf Caracciola set a new land-speed record (not recognized by all organizations) of 268.496 miles per hour on the German Autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt.Ref: 3
Feb 25The first drive-in opens on Crescent Boulevard in Camden New, Jersey.Ref: 3
Aug 18The Toyota Motor Company, Ltd., a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, is established. 
Aug 27Captain George Eyston establishes a land speed record of 345.49 MPH when he sails over the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in a Rolls-Royce-powered Thunderbolt. 
Sep 15John Cobb sets world auto speed record at 350.2 MPH (lasts 1 day).Ref: 5
Sep 16George E.T. Eyston sets world auto speed record at 357.5 MPH.Ref: 5
Dec 01School bus & train collide in Salt Lake City UT.Ref: 5
Sep 03The first and only Yugoslavian Grand Prix was run at Kalemagdan Park in Belgrade, wins by Italian champion Tazio Nuvolari. This race was the last Grand Prix event before World War II. 
Nov 04The 40th National Automobile Show opens in Chicago, Illinois, the first car equipped with air-conditioning is installed in a Packard.Ref: 3
Nov 10The first air-conditioned automobiles went on display at the Auto Show in Chicago.Ref: 4
Dec 13The first production Lincoln Continental is finished.Ref: 3
Aug 26The last LaSalle, manufactured by Cadillac, is built. 
Oct 01The first section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, 160 miles in length and America's first example of a toll superhighway, opens to the public.Ref: 5
Nov 13Willys Motor Co. tested the 1st Jeep.Ref: 51
Dec 30The Arroyo Seco Parkway, the forerunner of the Pasadena Freeway (between Los Angeles and Pasadena), was dedicated by Los Angeles, CA Mayor Fletcher Bowron. It was the first freeway in the western U.S. and was designated as a historic engineering landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1999.Ref: 70
Jun 20Henry Ford recognizes the UAW.Ref: 59
Aug 01Parade magazine called it “...the Army’s most intriguing new gadget.” The gadget was “a tiny truck which can do practically everything.” General Dwight D. Eisenhower said that America couldn’t have won World War II without it. The tiny truck was the Jeep, built at the time by the Willys Truck Company. Parade was so enthusiastic about the Jeep that it devoted three pages to the vehicle.Ref: 4
Jan 31Chrysler, Plymouth, and Studebaker retool for war.Ref: 3
Feb 07The federal government orders passenger car production stopped and converted to wartime purposes.Ref: 3
Jul 05Edsel Ford of Detroit was disappointed to discover that because of strict wartime auto rationing, he was unable to get a car until his application had been approved by the government. Mr. Ford’s family had, incidentally, produced over 30 million automobiles to that day. And, yes, he later had the Edsel named after him.Ref: 4
Aug 11New Waterloo bridge opens to traffic in London.Ref: 10
Oct 29Alaska highway completed.Ref: 5
Nov 21The Alaska highway across Canada formally opens. (XDG, p A4, 11/21/2003)Ref: 83
Dec 15The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities issued the first plastic license-plate tabs.Ref: 4
Jul 03The first civilian passenger car built since February 1942 was driven off the assembly line at the Ford Motor Company plant in Detroit, MI. Automotive production had been diverted to military production for the war (WWII) effort.Ref: 4
Sep 08A bus equipped with a two-way radio was put into service for the first time -- in Washington, DC.Ref: 4
Nov 14Captain Eddie Rickenbacker sold the historic Indpls Motor Speedway. Former Indy winner Wilbur Shaw became the new president and manager of the speedway. The track was purchased by the Tony Holman family a short time later.Ref: 4
Nov 26During snow storm, school bus crashes, killing 15 (Washington).Ref: 5
Dec 10Preston Tucker reveals plan to produce the Torpedo, a new 150 MPH car.Ref: 5
Jan 20The first Kaiser-Frazer automobiles are introduced at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.Ref: 3
Nov 12The first drive-up banking facility opened at the Exchange National Bank in Chicago, IL. There were 10 teller windows with slide-out drawers.Ref: 4
Mar 30Preston Tucker announced his concept for a new automobile to be named "the Tucker".Ref: 3
Sep 16John Cobb sets world auto speed record at 394.2 MPH.Ref: 5
Dec 13Maine Turnpike opens to traffic.Ref: 5
Dec 14The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is founded at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida.Ref: 3
Feb 03The first Cadillac with tailfins is produced.Ref: 3
Feb 21Six days after its first race was held, NASCAR was officially incorporated as the National Association for Stock Car Racing.Ref: 3
Apr 30First Land Rover car exhibited at the Amsterdam Motor Show.Ref: 10
Oct 12First Morris Minor car in Britain produced at Cowley, Oxfordshire designed by Alec Issigonis.Ref: 10
Jan 17The first Volkswagen Beetle arrives in the U.S.Ref: 3
Mar 03Tucker Corporation goes into receivership.Ref: 3
Mar 17The first car to carry the Porsche family name is introduced at the 19th International Automobile Show in Geneva, Switzerland.Ref: 3
Jan 28Preston Tucker, auto maker, found not guilty of mail fraud.Ref: 5
Mar 13General Motors reports net earnings of $656,434,232 (record).Ref: 5
Apr 14Doorne's Auto factory opens in Netherlands.Ref: 5
May 25First passenger cars allowed on new Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel in New York City.Ref: 5
May 31Due to rain, Indpls 500 shortened to 345 miles, Johnny Parson wins.Ref: 5
Sep 01The first Porsche is built. 
Sep 04Darlington Raceway, SC, hosts its first NASCAR Winston Cup Race. (USA Today, p 1E, 8/29/2003)Ref: 13
Nov 02Britain's longest motorway, the M1, opens.Ref: 10
Feb 17Packard introduces its "250" Chassis Convertible.Ref: 2
Dec 05The first push button-controlled garage opened in Washington, DC. A single attendant, without entering a car, could automatically park or return an auto in less than a minute.Ref: 4
Jun 16The Ford Motor Company presented one of TV’s biggest events. Ethel Merman and Mary Martin headlined a gala 50th anniversary show for the automaker.Ref: 4
Jun 30The first Corvette rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, MI. That early ’Vette sold for $3,250.Ref: 4
Sep 08Continental Trailways offers the first transcontinental express bus service in the U.S. The 3,154-mile ride from New York City to San Francisco lasted 88 hours 50 minutes. 
Jan 14The Hudson Motor Car Company merged with Nash-Kelvinator, an auto maker formed in turn by the merger of the Nash automobile firm and the Kelvinator kitchen-appliance company. The new concern was called the American Motors Corporation.Ref: 3
Jan 21The gas turbine automobile was introduced in New York City. This baby packed a lot of punch, with a 370 horsepower, ‘whirlfire’ turbopower jet to power it.Ref: 4
Jun 10General Motors announced that the first successful gas-turbine bus had been produced.Ref: 4
Aug 10Workers at the Studebaker auto plant in South Bend, IN agreed to take pay cuts of from $12 to $20 weekly in an attempt to help the faltering automaker. The plan didn’t help. Studebaker was soon out of business because of increased competition from Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.Ref: 4
Sep 11First Ford Thunderbird, serial number 100,005,rolls off Ford assembly line.Ref: 10
Oct 26Chevrolet introduces the V-8 engine.Ref: 2
Nov 19Two automatic toll collectors were placed in service on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. The nation’s first automatic toll collector accepted only correct change. One needed a quarter to activate the green light.Ref: 4
Nov 23General Motors celebrates manufacture of 50 millionth car in Flint Michigan a gold plated Chevy.Ref: 10
Dec 20Buick Motor Company signed Jackie Gleason to one of the largest contracts ever entered into with an entertainer. Gleason agreed to produce 78 half-hour shows over a two-year period for $6,142,500. How sweet it was!Ref: 4
May 22Oldest man to drive in the Grand Prix (aged 55) finishes 6th.Ref: 5
May 28Bob Sweikert wins Indpls 500 with an average speed of 128.213 mph.Ref: 5
Jun 1182 die, 100 injured in worst Le Mans car crash ever Mercedes driven by Pierre Levegh into crowd.Ref: 18
Jun 27First automobile seat belt legislation enacted (IL).Ref: 5
Aug 03Automobile Association of America ends support of auto racing.Ref: 5
Aug 31The world’s first solar-powered automobile, designed by William G. Cobb, was demonstrated at the General Motors Powerama in Chicago.Ref: 5
Sep 16US Auto Club forms to oversee 4 major auto racing categories.Ref: 5
Dec 14Tappan Zee Bridge in NY opens to traffic.Ref: 5
Feb 08First red London double-decker buses go into service.Ref: 10
Apr 15General Motors announced that the first, free piston automobile had been developed.Ref: 4
Aug 04Wilhelm Herz was clocked at 210 miles per hour at Wendover, UT. He became the first person to race a motorcycle over 200 mph.Ref: 4
Mar 17Dutch ban on Sunday driving lifted.Ref: 5
May 12A.J. Foyt earned his first auto racing victory in KS City, Missouri. He went on to become a four-time winner of the Indpls 500 -- in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977.Ref: 4
Aug 04Juan Fangio wins his final auto race and captured the world auto driving championship -- for the fifth consecutive year.Ref: 5
Aug 18Juan-Manuel Fangio, wins his last auto World Championship at 46.Ref: 5
Aug 26The Ford Motor Company rolled out the first Edsel automobile. 110,847 of the cars were built before Ford pulled the plug due to lack of sales.Ref: 4
Sep 04Ford Motor Co. begins selling its ill-fated Edsel automobile.Ref: 5
Nov 01The Mackinac Straits Bridge, between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, opened to traffic. At the time, it was the world’s longest suspension bridge -- and is still in the top ten -- at five miles long, with a main span of 3,800 feet/1,158 meters.Ref: 4
Feb 07Dutch auto-transmission car DAF 600 introduced.Ref: 5
Feb 22Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500 at the brand-new Daytona International Speedway, driving a new hardtop Olds 88 to a photo-finish with Johnny Beauchamp.Ref: 3
May 20Ford wins battle with Chrysler to call its new car "Falcon".Ref: 5
Sep 02Ford introduces the Falcon. 
Nov 01Britain's first major motorway from London to the North, the M1, opens its first leg.Ref: 10
Nov 19The last Edsel rolled off the assembly line. Ford Motor Company stopped production of the big flop after two years and a total of 110,847 cars.Ref: 4
Dec 12At 22 years and 104 days of age, Bruce McLaren became the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix race as he earned first place at Sebring, Florida.Ref: 4
Aug 2460 people die when bus plunges off bridge into Turvo River, Brazil.Ref: 5
Nov 09Robert McNamara is named the president of Ford Motor Company.Ref: 3
Mar 16Jaguar Cars Ltd. introduces the XK-E, or E-Type, at the Geneva Auto Show.Ref: 3
Aug 09The Chrysler Corporation announces the first 50,000-mile warranty covering all of its 1963 cars and trucks. 
Aug 14French & Italian workers break through at Mount Blanc Vehicular Tunnel.Ref: 5
Aug 20The first Ford Thunderbird is produced. 
Mar 31Los Angeles ends streetcar service after 90 years.Ref: 5
Aug 05Craig Breedlove sets world auto speed record at 407.45 MPH.Ref: 5
Aug 12The first Ford Thunderbirds roll off the assembly line. 
Dec 01Wendell Scott took first place in the Grand National race in Jacksonville, Florida, becoming the first black driver ever to win a NASCAR event.Ref: 3
Dec 09The last American-made Studebaker is produced, and the factory in South Bend, Indiana, closed forever.Ref: 3
Mar 09(or 10th) The first Ford Mustang rolls off the Ford assembly line.Ref: 2
Apr 16The first Ford Mustang is released to the public.Ref: 3
Apr 17Ford Mustang formally introduced ($2368 base).Ref: 5
Jul 17Don Campbell sets record for turbine vehicle, 690.91 kph (429.31 mph).Ref: 5
Oct 15Craig Breedlove sets auto speed record of 846.97 kph.Ref: 5
Nov 12Paula Murphy sets female land speed record 226.37 MPH.Ref: 5
Nov 21NY's Verrazano Narrows Bridge, between Brooklyn and Staten Island, was officially opened to traffic at 3 P.M. The first 50¢ toll was paid by the George Scarpelli, 22, an employee of the Parks department, driving a light blue Cadillac. The coin was pocketed by Larry Chrusano, the toll-collector, who replaced it with his own money. Three workmen killed during the construction of the bridge, designed by 85-year old O.H. Ammann.Ref: 70
Jan 28General Motors reported the biggest profit of any U.S. company in history. Earnings for the #1 of the Big Three automakers in 1964 totaled $1.735 billion. That’s a lot of Corvettes, Chevrolets, Cadillacs, Buicks, Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles, my friend.Ref: 4
May 31Jim Clark becomes first foreigner in 49 years to win Indpls 500.Ref: 5
Aug 11The Ford Bronco is introduced. 
Nov 04Lee Ann Roberts Breedlove, wife of land speed record-holder Craig Breedlove, becomes the first female driver to exceed 300 mph when she sped to 308.50 mph in the Spirit of America - Sonic 1 vehicle over the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.Ref: 3
Nov 15Craig Breedlove, driving his jet-powered Spirit of America - Sonic 1 vehicle, raced to 600.601 mph over the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, and set a new land speed record.Ref: 3
Dec 22Great-Britain sets maximum speed at 70 MPH.Ref: 5
Apr 25Drunk driver kills 10 children in Asse Belgium.Ref: 5
May 04Soviet Government signs accord about building Fiat factory in USSR.Ref: 5
May 30Graham Hill wins Indpls 500 car race (232.2 kph).Ref: 5
Aug 11The Chevrolet Camaro is debuted. 
Jan 062 homemade buses collided on a mountain road in Terpate, Philippines plunging off a cliff, killing 84, injuring 140.Ref: 5
Sep 03Motorists in Sweden began driving on the right rather than the left. (XDG, p 4A, 9/02/2003)Ref: 83
Feb 01John DeLorean was named the top executive at Chevrolet.Ref: 3
Mar 08The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is introduced.Ref: 3
May 14Last Chevrolet Corvair produced.Ref: 5
Feb 13General Motors is reportedly redesigning automobiles to run on unleaded fuel.Ref: 2
Apr 03Miriam Hargrave of England passes her drivers test on 40th try.Ref: 5
Aug 03Mairiam Hargrave of Yorkshire, passes her driving test on 40th try.Ref: 5
Oct 23Gary Gabelich sets auto speed record 622.4 mph (1,002 kph).Ref: 5
Dec 10Lee Iacocca named president of Ford Motor Company.Ref: 45
Feb 04British car maker Rolls Royce declared itself bankrupt.Ref: 5
May 24A commuter bus plunges into Panama Canal, killing 38 of 43 aboard.Ref: 5
Feb 17The 15,007,034th Volkswagen Beetle rolled out of the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, surpassing the Ford Model T’s previous production record to become the most heavily produced car in history.Ref: 3
May 10Overloaded South Korean bus plunges into reservoir, killing 77Ref: 2
Sep 10Emerson Fittipaldi is youngest person to win an auto race World Championship.Ref: 5
Feb 18Richard Petty, the "King of Stock Car Racing," wins the Daytona 500 before a crowd of over 103,000 spectators.Ref: 3
Sep 03David Pearson became the first racecar driver to earn one million dollars in career earnings. Pearson finished second in the Southern 500 stock-car race in Darlington, SC. Other drivers to make the big bucks at the time were Richard Petty, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Sr. and Mario Andretti.Ref: 4
Sep 29The Insurance industry announces auto racers get into more highway accidents.Ref: 5
Oct 14Scottish racecar driver Jackie Stewart announced his retirement from auto racing. He also announced his newfound ability to be a race commentator for ABC-TV.Ref: 4
Oct 24Heavy fog causes 65 car collision killing 9 on NJ Turnpike.Ref: 5
Nov 25Maximum speed limits in the United States were cut to 55 MPH by an act of congress. It was an energy conservation measure and was also intended to save an estimated 9,000 lives each year.Ref: 5
Dec 22A federal speed limit of 55 miles per hour was imposed across the United States.Ref: 3
Jan 02President Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 miles-an-hour (however, federal speed limits were abolished in 1995).Ref: 70
Feb 05Maximum speed on Autobahn reduced to 100 kph.Ref: 5
Feb 06Dutch speed limit set at 100 km due to oil crisis.Ref: 5
Jul 2869 die when packed bus strikes heavy truck (Belem, Brazil).Ref: 5
Aug 11Head-on collision between two buses kills 21 (Ankara, Turkey).Ref: 5
Jan 12Chrysler Corp offers first car rebates.Ref: 5
Feb 07Canada imposes a fifty-five mile per hour speed limit.Ref: 3
Mar 01The Honda Civic was introduced to the United States market as an alternative to the inefficient cars offered by American car companies.Ref: 3
May 27Worst motor vehicle disaster in UK; bus full of elderly women plunges from Dibble's Bridge Yorkshire, killing 38.Ref: 5
Aug 213 truck pile up kills 10, injures 26 on French highway.Ref: 5
Dec 12Chrysler Corp offers first car rebates.Ref: 5
Apr 21A Cadillac convertible, the ‘last’ American-made rag-top automobile, rolled off the assembly line at GM’s Cadillac production facility in Detroit, MI. This ended a tradition that began in 1916. The tradition didn’t stay ended, however. A few years later, Chrysler Corporation, under chairman Lee Iacocca, began production once again of soft-top cars. Then Ford brought back the convertible Mustang and GM got back in the picture with the convertible Pontiac Sunbird and a new, smaller Cadillac version. It seems that the convertible is just too popular to disappear from the American auto scene!Ref: 4
May 30Bobby Unser sets world record for the fastest pit stop (4 seconds).Ref: 5
Feb 06Alain Prieur jumps his motorcycle 65 meter over 16 buses, near Paris.Ref: 5
May 29A J Foyt wins Indpls 500 (average speed of 161.331 mph) for a record 4th time.Ref: 5
May 29Janet Guthrie becomes first woman to drive in the Indpls 500.Ref: 5
Nov 15Workers at the Mahwah plant in New York complete the 100,000,000th Ford to be built in America: a 1978 Ford Fairmont four-door sedan.Ref: 3
Jan 19Last Volkswagen Beetle made.Ref: 10
Apr 10First American-made Volkswagen rolls off assembly line in Pennsylvania; Honda next to open plant.Ref: 10
May 13Joey Chitwood drives a Chevette 5.6 miles on just 2 wheels.Ref: 5
May 28Al Unser became 5th to win Indpls 500 (average speed of 161.363 mph), 3 times.Ref: 5
Jul 13Lee Iacocca was fired as president of Ford Motor Company by chairman Henry Ford II.Ref: 70
Aug 28Donald Vesco rode 21'-long Kawasaki motorcycle at 318.598 mph.Ref: 5
Oct 15Lee Iacocca leaves Ford Motor Company to become president of Chrysler.Ref: 45
Nov 02John J. Riccardo, Chairman of Chrysler Corporation, hired Lee A. Iacocca as Chrysler President. Ten months later, Riccardo resigned and Iacocca was elected Chairman (September 20, 1979).Ref: 4
Jan 10The last convertible Volkswagen Beetle is produced.Ref: 3
Nov 01US Government loans Chrysler Corporation $1.5 billion after it had lost $460M in 3rd QuarterRef: 5
Dec 03The last Pacer is produced by the American Motor Company.Ref: 3
Dec 17Driver Stan Barrett became the first person in the world to travel faster than sound on land. He drove the Budweiser Rocket car at a top speed of 739.666 in a one-way run at Rogers Dry Lake, California. The ultrasonic speed set an unofficial record, but an official record requires trips in both directions, whose speeds are averaged.Ref: 3
Dec 18Stanley Barrett first to exceed land sonic speed (739.666 MPH).Ref: 5
Dec 21The U.S. Congress approved $1.5 billion in loans to the financially threatened Chrysler Corporation in an effort to save the battered automotive giant. President Jimmy Carter signed the bill on January 7, 1980. Under the stewardship of Lee Iacocca, Chysler rebounded quickly. By the late 1980s the auto maker was posting record profits.Ref: 3
Jan 01Chrysler UK renamed Talbot.Ref: 5
Jan 06President Jimmy Carter signed a bill authorizing $1.2 billion in federal loans to save the failing Chrysler Corporation. It was the largest federal bailout in history.Ref: 3
Jan 11Honda announces it will build Japan's first U.S. passenger-car assembly plant in Ohio.Ref: 2
Feb 16Continuous traffic jam extends 176 km north of Lyons, France.Ref: 5
Feb 17Buddy Baker wins Daytona 500 (177.6 MPH/285.8 kph).Ref: 5
Mar 13A jury in Winamac, Indiana, finds the Ford Motor Company innocent of reckless homicide in the fiery deaths of three young women riding in a Ford Pinto.Ref: 5
Mar 13Ford Motor Chairman Henry Ford II announces he is stepping down.Ref: 6
Sep 05Switzerland’s St. Gotthard Auto Tunnel, the longest underground motorway in the world, opened. Traffic moved along the 10+ miles that took ten years to build and cost $417 million.Ref: 4
Jan 01Roger Smith becomes CEO of General Motors.Ref: 5
Feb 17Chrysler Corp reports largest corporate losses in US history.Ref: 5
May 24Bobby Unser was first to the checkered flag for his third major victory since 1968. He won the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ the Indpls 500. The victory, however, was short lived, as race stewards took the win away from Unser the next day and awarded it to Mario Andretti. It was the first time a driver had been stripped of the championship. Race officials, looking at videotape, said that Unser had violated the caution light rule and penalized him one lap.Ref: 4
May 25Al Unser becomes first Indpls 500 winner to be disqualified.Ref: 5
Jul 16After 23 years of familiarity with the name, Datsun, executives of Nissan, the Japanese automaker, played with our minds and changed the name of their cars to Nissan. Nissan didn’t begin to show up on nameplates in the US until the 1985 models were released.Ref: 4
Oct 08USAC appeals panel restores disputed Indy 500 victory to Al Unser.Ref: 5
Jan 08Johnny Cash Parkway opens in Hendersonville Tennessee.Ref: 5
May 30Closest Indpls 500, Gordon Johncock beats Rick Mears by 0.16 seconds.Ref: 5
Jul 12The last of the distinctive-looking Checker taxicabs rolled off the assembly line in Kalamazoo, MI. The company had produced those cabs since 1922.Ref: 4
Jul 3146 kids & 7 adults die as 2 buses & several cars collide in France.Ref: 5
Sep 01Max speedometer reading mandated at 85 MPH.Ref: 5
Sep 09Henry Ford II retires once and for all, swearing off all involvement with the Ford Motor Company. He had been president since 1945. 
Oct 29Car maker John DeLorean is indicted for drug trafficking, later acquitted.Ref: 5
Jan 31Wearing seatbelts in cars made compulsory in Britain.Ref: 10
Sep 05Elmer Trettr sets record for highest terminal velocity at 201.34 mph end of a 440 yard motorcycle run from a standing start.Ref: 5
Oct 04Briton Richard Noble raced to a new one-mile land speed record in his jet-powered Thrust 2 vehicle. The Thrust 2, a 17,000-pound jet-powered Rolls-Royce Avon 302 designed by John Ackroyd, reached a record 633.468 mph over the one-mile course in Nevada's stark Black Rock Desert, breaking the 631.367 mph speed record achieved by Gary Gabelich's Blue Flame in 1970.Ref: 5
Feb 12Cale Yarborough, becomes first Daytona 500 qualifier, above 200 MPH.Ref: 5
May 20Barb Bunkowsky wins LPGA Chrysler-Plymouth Charity Golf Classic.Ref: 5
Aug 22The last Volkswagen Rabbit rolled off the assembly line in Westmoreland, PA. Over 11 million of the economical cars had been produced.Ref: 4
Jan 01US's first manadatory seat belt law goes into effect (NY).Ref: 5
Jan 07GM launches the Saturn Corporation as a wholly owned but independent subsidiary.Ref: 3
Jan 08General Motors announces plans for Saturn Corporation, a subsidiary that will manufacture sub-compact cars.Ref: 17
Jan 19The New York Times announced that Lee Iacocca’s book, Iacocca, was the best selling hard cover book of 1984. It wasn’t topped in sales until the arrival of Rush Limbaugh’s first tome in the early ’90s.Ref: 4
Jan 31The final Jeep, the workhorse vehicle that came home a hero from World War II, rolls off the assembly line at the AMC plant in Toledo, OH.Ref: 4
Mar 04Virtual ban on leaded gas ordered by EPA.Ref: 5
May 02The General Motors X-Cars rolled off the assembly line in Detroit, MI for the final time on this day. The cars were a dismal failure, despite being a hit in the beginning. The X-Cars were subject to massive recalls which cost G.M. many millions of dollars.Ref: 4
May 11Scott Brayton turned in the fastest lap ever at the Indpls Motor Speedway. Brayton was traveling at 214.199 MPH in the third lap of qualifying. He had already set records in the first two trips around the track. Brayton’s average speed of 212.345 broke the record previously set by Tom Sneva in the 1984 time trials.Ref: 4
May 11Duane ‘Pancho’ Carter grabbed the pole position for the Indpls 500. Carter entered the history books with a speed of 212.583 MPH for four qualifying laps around the 2.5 mile track at Indy.Ref: 4
May 26A.J. Foyt made it to his 30th Indpls 500 as he got his sluggish Indy-car to start. Following the race, he announced that he would retire from auto racing after the 1987 Indy race. And he did.Ref: 4
May 26Danny Sullivan wins Indpls 500 by 24 seconds following a spin.Ref: 5
Jun 27Route 66, which originally stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif., passed into history as officials decertified the road.Ref: 70
Jul 02General Motors announced that it was installing electronic road maps as an option on some of its higher-priced car models. The system used a dashboard computer and maps stored on cassette tapes. Guess how popular the idea was? Time’s up! It wasn’t. But stand by. With global-positioning satellite map imagery available, motorists are entering a new era in map reading.Ref: 4
Jul 29Spring Hill, TN was selected as the new home of the Saturn automobile assembly plant. General Motors announced that it expected to produce up to 500,000 Saturns a year beginning in 1989. Some 14,000 jobs were created to operate the new auto plant.Ref: 4
Aug 26The Yugo, manufactured in Yugoslavia, was first introduced to the U.S. market on this day. 
Sep 087 die in a car & train crash in San Jose Calif.Ref: 5
Mar 02Protesters try to stop Land Rover motor company being sold to US.Ref: 5
Apr 13Spanish Grand Prix decided by 0.014 of a second.Ref: 5
May 01Race car driver Bill Elliott set a stock car speed record with his Ford Thunderbird in Talladega, AL. Elliott zipped around the track at 212.229 mph.Ref: 4
May 30Bobby Rahal is first to average over 170 mph in the Indpls 500.Ref: 5
Aug 23Darrell Waltrip became the first racecar driver to earn $7 million, making him the best-paid driver in NASCAR.Ref: 4
Sep 08Nissan Motor Company Ltd. opens its Sunderland, England plant, the first Japanese automobile factory in Europe. 
Nov 09Bobby Rahal won his first national auto racing driving title. He had earned $300,000 for six victories, including an Indy 500 win.Ref: 4
Nov 17Racecar driver Rick Mears set a U.S. closed-course record at the Michigan International Speedway. Mears was timed at an average speed of 233.934 mph, breaking the record set by Mark Donahue in 1975.Ref: 4
Jan 06After a 29-year lapse, the Ford Thunderbird was again presented with the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award. This was the first repeat winner of the award.Ref: 4
Mar 09Chrysler Corporation offers to buy American Motors Corporation on this day. The car maker offered up to $1 billion dollars for the financially troubled AMC.Ref: 4
Apr 03Bill Elliott sets NASCAR qualify record of 212.809 mph at Talladega.Ref: 5
May 06Mario Andretti sets the one-lap speed record at Indpls 500 at 218.204 MPH.Ref: 5
May 24Al Unser Sr, 47, wins his 4th Indpls 500.Ref: 5
Jul 13Federal judge throws out Bette Midler's $10 million suit against Ford Motor Co, who used a sound alike voice for their TV commercialsRef: 5
Jul 27Freeway shooting incidents were the talk of Los Angeles. Since June 18th there had been nine incidents involving vehicles and guns. Two motorists were actually shot to death and four others were injured. Police psychologists blamed “self-centered attitudes, violence in films and even the breakdown of family...” for the ‘road rage’. Authorities recommended that drivers avoid confrontation. In other words, don’t honk your horn, flash your headlights or wave your middle finger at that S.O.B.! It could be fatal.Ref: 4
Aug 02Michael Andretti runs fastest Indy car race in history (171.49 MPH).Ref: 5
Sep 20Alain Prost wins record 28th Formula one auto race.Ref: 5
Oct 22Canadian Garry Sowerby and American Tim Cahill complete the first trans-Americas drive, driving from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in a total elapsed time of twenty-three days, twenty-two hours, and forty-three minutes. The pair drove the 14,739-mile distance in a 1988 GMC Sierra K3500 4-wheel-drive pickup truck powered by a 6.2-liter V-8 Detroit diesel engine.Ref: 3
Dec 14Chrysler pleads no contest to selling driven vehicles as new.Ref: 5
Feb 14Bobby Allison at 50 becomes oldest driver to win Daytona 500.Ref: 5
Mar 01Pontiac announces the end of the Fiero automobile.Ref: 5
Apr 04Eddie Hill becomes first to drag race a ¼ mile in under 5 seconds.Ref: 5
May 11Mario Andretti records fastest Indpls 500 lap (221.565 mph).Ref: 5
May 1427 people, mostly teenagers, are killed when their church bus collides with a pickup truck going the wrong way on the highway near Carrollton KY. The truck driver, Larry Mahoney, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in prison. He was released in September, 1999. (XDG, p 4A, 5/14/2003)Ref: 83
Jul 27Boston's worst traffic jam in 30 years.Ref: 5
Dec 30Mercedes-Benz pays $20.2-M fine failed to meet '86 government fuel standard.Ref: 5
Jan 07The Dodge Viper is introduced at the North American International Automobile Show.Ref: 3
Apr 27Mandatory seatbelt law goes into effect in Italy.Ref: 5
May 17Longest Cab Ride Ever: 14,000 miles cost $16,000!.Ref: 5
May 28Emerson Fittipaldi wins the Indpls 500 with an average speed of 167.581 mph.Ref: 5
Sep 01Toyota Launches Lexus. 
Sep 01The Feds require air bags. 
Nov 11Jaguar becomes a subsidiary of Ford.Ref: 3
Mar 15The first Ford Explorer rolls off the assembly line.Ref: 3
May 2774th Indpls 500 runs; Arie Luyendyk wins with an average speed of 185.981 mph.Ref: 5
May 28Longest wheelie (David Robilliard with 5 hours 12 minutes 33 seconds (Channel Islands).Ref: 5
Dec 1113 die in 83 vehicle accident in Chattanooga TN (I-75), due to fog.Ref: 5
Mar 17New Jersey raises turnpike tolls 70%.Ref: 5
Sep 04Rte 35 Theater in Hazlit, the last drive-in in NJ, closes.Ref: 5
Oct 22General Motors announces 9 month loss of $2.2 billion.Ref: 5
Dec 18General Motors announced it would close 21 North American plants over the next four years and slash tens of thousands of jobs in a sweeping restructuring of the world's largest company.Ref: 4
May 24Al Unser Jr. became the first second-generation winner of the Indpls 500.Ref: 70
Nov 08Daredevil Jacky Vranken of Belgium sets a record for the highest speed ever attained on the rear wheel of a motorcycle. At St. Truiden Military Airfield in Belgium, Vranken reached 157.87 MPH while performing an extended "wheelie" with his Suzuki GSXR 1100 motorcycle.Ref: 3
Nov 15After 200 victories, seven championships and more than 1,000 career starts, Richard Petty ended his career as a driver. In his final race, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he drove his red and blue SIP Pontiac to a 35th-place finish in the Hooters 500.Ref: 4
Feb 08General Motors sued NBC, alleging that the program "Dateline NBC" had rigged two crashes to show that GM pickups were prone to fires. NBC settled the lawsuit the following day.Ref: 70
Feb 09NBC News announced it had settled a defamation lawsuit brought by General Motors over the network's "inappropriate demonstration" of a fiery pickup truck crash on its "Dateline NBC" program.Ref: 70
Sep 06Automakers Renault of France and Volvo of Sweden announced they merge; however, Volvo canceled the deal the following December. (XDG, p 4A, 9/06/2003)Ref: 83
Sep 07The Chrysler Corporation introduced its new Neon at the Frankfurt Auto Show. 
May 02Bus crashes into a tree at Gdansk Poland, 30 killed.Ref: 5
May 06Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterrand formally opened the Channel Tunnel between their countries.Ref: 70
May 29Al Unser Jr wins 78th Indpls 500 in 3:06:29.006 (255.89 kph).Ref: 5
Jan 02Bus crashes in Luzon Philippines, 29 killed.Ref: 5
Nov 28President Clinton signed a bill that ended the federal 55 mph speed limit.Ref: 70
Feb 18Daytona 500 race.Ref: 5
Mar 01Plans approved allowing traffic cameras High Harrington & Shap England.Ref: 5
Apr 25Ford Motor Company announced a recall of about eight million cars, minivans and pickups because of an ignition switch fire hazard.Ref: 6
May 26Indpls 500 race; Buddy Lazier wins with an average speed of 147.956 mph.Ref: 5
Jun 23Rusty Wallace ran out of gas while racing in the Miller 400 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI. Fortunately for Wallace, his tank ran dry after he had crossed the finish line to win the race.Ref: 4
Feb 16At age 25, Jeff Gordon is youngest winner in Daytona 500 history.Ref: 5
Sep 25British fighter pilot Andy Green set a new land speed record in their Thrust SSC vehicle, jet-powering to an impressive 714.144 mph over the one-mile course. (TWA, 1998)Ref: 95
Oct 15British Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green drove (piloted?) the first land-based vehicle, the Thrust Supersonic, (at Black Rock Desert, NV) to break the sound barrier: a two-way average speed of 763.035 mph – mach 1.020.Ref: 4
Dec 18A unique bridge-and-tunnel expressway across Tokyo Bay opened. The Trans-Tokyo Bay Motorway was named the Tokyo Bay Aqualine, a toll highway that spans the narrowest gap of Tokyo Bay. It opened to traffic this day, after 31 years of studies and construction at a total cost of 1.44 trillion yen (some $10.8 billion at the time). The 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) expressway, connecting Kisarazu City of Chiba Prefecture and Kawasaki City of Kanagawa Prefecture, makes it possible to make a round-trip of the bay by car. Of the total length, 4.4 kilometers (2.7 miles) from the Kisarazu side is a bridge and 9.5 kilometers (5.9 miles) from the Kawasaki side is an undersea tunnel, which is the world’s longest undersea tunnel, running 60 meters (197 feet) deep under the surface of the water.Ref: 4
Jan 29Thick Fog causes highway carnage in Belgium & Netherlands, 6 die.Ref: 5
Feb 15Dale Earnhardt finally won the Daytona 500. Earnhardt won the race on the 50th Anniversary of NASCAR, the 40th Anniversary of the Daytona 500 and his 20th running of the Daytona 500. During a post-race interview he took a stuffed toy monkey and threw it on the ground and said, “Now I have that monkey off my back!”Ref: 4
Mar 30Rolls-Royce is purchased by German automaker BMW in a $570 million deal.Ref: 70
May 07The parent company of Mercedes-Benz agreed to buy Chrysler Corp. for more than $37 billion.Ref: 70
May 24Indpls 500 race; Eddie Cheever Jr. wins with an average speed of 145.155 mphRef: 5
Oct 15British land-speed record broken by Richard Brown of 216.55 mph on rocket powered motorcycle.Ref: 10
Jan 28Ford Motor Co announced it was buying the Volvo car division in a $6.45B deal. (XDG, p 5A, 1/28/2004)Ref: 83
Jul 09The Wall Street Journal runs an article on page B1 on Toyota's Prius and Honda's Insight, hybrid cars running on gasoline and electricity that will get 55 to 80 miles to a gallon and run 850 miles between fill-ups that should be available in the US by June of 2000. The vehicles will cost about $20,000.Ref: 33
Feb 20Defending Winston Cup champ Dale Jarrett won his third Daytona 500 in eight years, passing surprise contender Johnny Benson for the lead four laps from the end. Jarrett’s $1,277,975 share of the purse, coupled with a million-dollar bonus from series sponsor Winston, gave him the largest single-day payoff in the history of the sport.Ref: 4
Mar 27DaimlerChrysler AG announced it would buy 34 percent of Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp.Ref: 64
May 25The government proposed a rating system telling consumers how prone vehicles are to rolling over.Ref: 6
Aug 09Bridgestone/Firestone Incorporated announced it was recalling six and a-half million tires that had been implicated in hundreds of accidents and at least 46 deaths.Ref: 70
Oct 09The United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Company reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, hours after a handful of workers walked off the job when a strike deadline passed.(Ref 6)Ref: 6
Sep 25General Motors announced the 2002 model year would be the last for the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird. (XDG, p 4A, 9/25/2002)Ref: 83
Jan 11Ford Motor Company announces it was eliminating 35,000 jobs, closing five plants and dropping four models. (XDG, p 4A, 1/11/2003)Ref: 83
Feb 17Ward Burton takes advantage of Serling Martin's blunder for his first victory in the Daytona 500. (Marlin, who appeared in control of the race, was penalized for getting out of his car an pulling briefly on a damaged fender during the stoppage.) (XDG, p 4A, 2/17/2003)Ref: 83
May 26Helio Castroneves wins his second straight Indianapolis 500, despite a protest filed by Paul Tracy. (XDG, p 4A, 5/26/2003)Ref: 83
Jan 16A report issued by The Road Information Program (TRIP) shows that traffic from 1991 to 2001 increased 37% while system mileage grew only 5%. (USA Today, p 9A, 1/17/2003)Ref: 13
Feb 16Michael Waltrip races past leader Jimmie Johnson to win the rain-shortened Daytona 500 for the second time in three years. (XDG, p 4A, 2/16/2004)Ref: 83
Jul 31According to a page 1 snippet on the Wall Street Journal, the last Volkswagon Beetle rolled of the last line in the world. Hitler's "people's car" ends its 68-year run in Mexico with "Bug" No. 21,529,464.Ref: 33
Aug 31Darlington Raceway, SC, hosts its last NASCAR Winston Cup Race. (USA Today, p 1E, 8/29/2003)Ref: 13
Feb 15Dale Earnhardt Jr wins his first Daytona 500. (XDG, p 13, 2/16/2003)Ref: 83
Last Update: October 27th, 2005
© 2000-2005   Kenneth Fussichen