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Old 3rd September 2008, 22:31   #151
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Default 4th August

September 4th 1891
Fritz Todt, the head designer of the German autobahn, was born in Pforzheim, Germany, on this day. Todt's creation was the first true system of national superhighways, and was held up by Germany as a proud symbol of the modernity of their engineering. However, the autobahn system emerged from World War II as a battered version of its earlier self. The newly formed nations of East and West Germany set about repairing the old system, though at different rates. Booming increases in motor traffic propelled extensions and enhancements in West Germany, while improvements were more gradual in East Germany. Over the years, the autobahn regained its status as a model expressway and became famous for its nonexistent speed limit.

September 4th 1922
William Lyons (21) and William Walmsley (9) launched Swallow Sidecar Company in Blackpool, UK, to produce sidecars for motorcycles; financed with bank overdraft of 1000 guaranteed by their respective fathers.

September 4th 1997
The very last Ford Thunderbird rolled off the assembly line in Lorain, Ohio, leaving many of the car's fans disappointed. One Ford dealer even held a wake for the beloved Thunderbird, complete with flowers and a RIP plaque. Originally conceived as Ford's answer to the Corvette, the Thunderbird has enjoyed an illustrious place among American cars. It was promoted as a "personal" car, rather than a sports car, so it never had to compete against the imports that dominated the sports car market. The name of the enormously successful car was eventually shortened to "T-Bird".

Fritz Todt with the Fuhrer
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Swallow Sidecars
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Old 4th September 2008, 22:03   #152
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Default 5th August

September 5th 1930
Cross-country trips were no longer considered big news in 1930, but Charles Creighton and Jam Hargises ' unique journey managed to make headlines. The two men from Maplewood, New Jersey, arrived back in New York City on this day, having completed a 42-day round trip to Los Angeles - driving their 1929 Ford Model A the entire 7,180 miles in reverse gear.

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Old 5th September 2008, 21:09   #153
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Default 6th September

September 6th 1900
Andrew L. Riker set a new speed record on this day, driving an electric car. His time of 10 minutes, 20 seconds established a new low for the five-mile track in Newport, Rhode Island, proving that the electric car could compete with its noisier petroleum-fueled cousins. In fact, the electric car remained competitive until 1920, often preferred for its low maintenance cost and quiet engine. However, developments in gasoline engine technology, along with the advent of cheaper, mass-produced non-electrics like the Model T, proved to be the death knell of the electric car. However, rising fuel costs in the late 1960s and 1970s renewed interest in the electric car, and several working models have recently been sold in small numbers.

September 6th 1915
The first tank prototype was completed and given its first test drive on this day, developed by William Foster & Company for the British army. Several European nations had been working on the development of a shielded, tracked vehicle that could cross the uneven terrain of World War I trenches, but Great Britain was the first to succeed. Lightly armed with machine guns, the tanks made their first authoritative appearance at the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, when 474 British tanks managed to break through the German lines. The Allies began using the vehicles in increasing numbers throughout the rest of the war. After World War I, European nations on all sides continued to build tanks at a frantic pace, arming them with even heavier artillery and plating. This competitive stockpiling came to a lethal head on the battlefields of World War II.

September 6th 1949
By the end of World War II, Germany's Volkswagen factory was in shambles, along with much of Europe. The machines stood silent, the assembly lines lay still, and rubble littered the hallways. It was in this state that the British occupation forces took control of the Volkswagen factory and the town of Wolfsburg. The next four years were spent in an attempt to return to normal life, and the wheels of industry eventually began to turn in the old Volkswagen factory. With Heinrich Nordhoff as managing director and the German economy rejuvenated by currency reform, Volkswagen had become the largest car producer in Europe by 1949. On this day, the Allied military authorities relinquished control of the former Nazi regime's assets, including the Volkswagen factory - marking the final transition back to everyday life.

September 6th 1995
Chrysler Corporation received permission from Vietnamese government to assemble vehicles in Vietnam, allowed Chrysler to construct production facility in Dong Nai Province, Southern Vietnam, with aim of manufacturing 500 to 1,000 Dodge Dakota pick-up trucks for Vietnamese market annually.
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Old 6th September 2008, 19:55   #154
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Default 7th September

September 7th 1899
Over a dozen motorcars, decorated with hydrangeas, streamers, lights, and Japanese lanterns, lined up to take part in America's first automobile parade. A throng of spectators showed up in Newport, Rhode Island, to witness the event, arriving in cabs, private carriages, bicycles, and even by foot to witness the spectacle, attracted by the novelty and rumors surrounding the event. The nature of the motorcar decorations had been shrouded in mystery prior to the parade, for each participant had wished to surprise and outdo the others.

September 7th 1993
The Chrysler Corporation introduced its new Neon at the Frankfurt Auto Show on this day. The sporty compact indicated a new direction for Chrysler and quickly gained fame through its multi-million dollar "Hi" campaign. The slick ads emphasized friendliness - friendly handling, comfortable seats, reliable safety features - punctuated with a simple "Hi. I'm Neon."

Chrysler Neon
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Old 7th September 2008, 22:38   #155
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Default 8th September

September 8, 1953
Continental Trailways offered 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 and 50 minutes, of which only 77 hours was riding time. The cost was $56.70. Today Greyhound charges $183 for the same trip.

September 8, 1960
Aguri Suzuki, Japanese racing phenomenon, was born on this day. He is one of the most successful Japanese race car drivers in history, a favorite of fans around the world. He began his winning career in the Japanese Kart Championship, but eventually moved on to Formula 1 racing--achieving 1 podium, and scoring a total of 8 championship points. He is married with one son and enjoys ultra-light flying, golf, and water sports.

September 8, 1986
Continuing its enormous expansion of the 1970s and early '80s, the Nissan Motor Company Ltd. opened its Sunderland, England, plant, the first Japanese automobile factory in Europe. Established in 1933 as the Jidosha Seizo Company, Nissan remained a mid-size automobile manufacturer until it entered the world market in the 1960s, when its sales grew by leaps and bounds. Nissan, as well as several other Japanese manufacturers, continued to grow through the next decade, propelled by the increasing popularity of their fuel-efficient cars. Nissan eventually opened plants in Australia, Peru, Mexico, the United States, and Germany.

Continental Trailways
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Aguri Suzuki
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Old 8th September 2008, 22:43   #156
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Default 9th September

September 9, 1982
On this day, Henry Ford II retired once and for all, swearing off all involvement with the Ford Motor Company.
When Henry Ford II, grandson and namesake of Henry Ford, succeeded his father as president of the Ford Motor Company in 1945, the firm, still recovering from the unexpected death of its president Edsel Ford, was losing money at the rate of several million dollars a month. The automotive giant was crumbling. Fortunately for the company, Henry Ford II turned out to be a genius of industrial management. He quickly set about reorganizing and modernizing the company, firing the powerful Personnel Chief Harry Bennett, whose strong-arm tactics and anti-union stance had made Ford notorious for its bad labor relations. He also brought in new talent, including a group of former U.S. Air Force intelligence officers, among them Robert McNamara, who quickly became known as the "Whiz Kids." During his tenure as president, Henry Ford II nursed the Ford Motor Company back to health, greatly expanding its international operations and introducing two classic models, the Mustang and the Thunderbird. Still, even an industrial management genius could grow tired of a president's demanding schedule.

Henry Ford II of the cover of Jan 1956 Life Cover
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Old 9th September 2008, 21:37   #157
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Default 10th September

September 10, 1897
Even without Breathalyzers and line tests, George Smith's swerving was enough to alarm British police and make him the first person arrested for drunken driving. Unfortunately, Smith's arrest did nothing to discourage the many other drunk drivers who have taken to the road since. Although drunk driving is illegal in most countries, punished by heavy fines and mandatory jail sentences, it continues to be one of the leading causes of automobile accidents throughout the world.

September 10, 1921
The Ayus Autobahn, the world's first controlled-access highway and part of Germany's Bundesautobahn system, opened near Berlin on this day. Once regarded as a symbol of modernity and a model of German engineering, the autobahn system was nearly destroyed during World War II. At the start of the postwar era, the newly formed nations of East and West Germany set about repairing the superhighway network. The system was greatly extended and improved in West Germany, which had a higher growth rate of motor traffic than its Eastern neighbor, although repairs and extensions were also made to the system in East Germany. Over the years, the autobahn has regained its status as a model expressway, famed for its nonexistent speed limit.

September 10, 1942
Following the example of several European nations, President Franklin D. Roosevelt mandated gasoline rationing in the U.S. as part of the country's wartime efforts. Gasoline rationing was just one of the many measures taken during these years, as the entire nation was transformed into a unified war machine: women took to the factories, households tried to conserve energy, and American automobile manufacturers began producing tanks and planes. The gasoline ration was lifted in 1945, at the end of World War II.

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Old 10th September 2008, 22:24   #158
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Default 11th September

September 11, 1903
The oldest major speedway in the world, the Milwaukee Mile, opened today as a permanent fixture in the Wisconsin State Fair Park. The circuit had actually been around since the 1870s as a horseracing track, but the proliferation of the automobile brought a new era to the Milwaukee Mile. However, the horses stuck around until 1954, sharing the track with the automobiles until the mile oval was finally paved. At one point, the horses and autos also had to make room for professional football. The Green Bay Packers played in the track's infield for almost 10 years during the 1930s, winning the National Football League Championship there in 1939.

September 11, 1918
Often called the "war of the machines," World War I marked the beginning of a new kind of warfare, fought with steel and shrapnel. Automotive manufacturers led the way in this new technology of war, producing engines for planes, building tanks, and manufacturing military vehicles. Packard was at the forefront of these efforts, being among the first American companies to completely cease civilian car production. Packard had already been the largest producer of trucks for the Allies, but the company began devoting all of its facilities to war production on this day, just a few months before the end of the war. Even after Packard resumed production of civilian vehicles, its wartime engines appeared in a number of vehicles, from racing cars and boats to British tanks in the next world war.

September 11, 1970
The Ford Pinto was introduced on this day at a cost of less than $2,000, designed to compete with an influx of compact imports. But it was not the Pinto's low cost that grabbed headlines. Ford's new best-selling compact contained a fatal design flaw: because of the placement of the gas tank, the tank was likely to rupture and explode when the car was involved in a rear end collision of over 20mph. In addition, it was eventually revealed that Ford knew about the design flaw before the Pinto was released. An internal cost-benefit analysis prepared by Ford calculated that it would take $11 per car to correct the flaw at a total cost of $137 million for the company. When compared to the lowly estimate of $49.5 million in potential lawsuits from the mistake, the report deemed it "inefficient" to go ahead with the correction. The infamous report assigned a value of $200,000 for each death predicted to result from the flaw. Ford's irresponsibility caused a public uproar, and it 1978, a California jury awarded a record-breaking $128 million to a claimant in the Ford Pinto case.

September 11, 2001
Coordinated attacks result in the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York City, destruction of the western portion of The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and an unplanned passenger airliner crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which happened after airplane passengers fought back on the plane. In total, 2,974 people are killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Milwaukee Mile
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Milwaukee Mile Panaroma with new alumunium stand.
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Ford Pinto
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Last edited by SirAlec : 10th September 2008 at 22:34.
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Old 11th September 2008, 22:31   #159
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Default 12th September

September 12, 1918
Cannonball Baker, born Erwin G. Baker, discovered his special talent soon after buying his first motorcycle--he was capable of exceptional stamina and endurance on the road. His lean frame sat naturally atop his Indian V-twin, and his toughened stance and leather riding trousers seemed to announce to the world that he was ready to outride all challengers. Made a celebrity by his 3,379-mile cross-country motorcycle trek, "Cannonball" became a symbol of the American motorcycle rider, synonymous with wild cross-country journeys. His fame led to other tours and promotional trips, and he completed his most extensive tour on this day--a 17,000 mile, 77-day trip to all 48 state capitals--yet another testament to his legendary endurance.

September 12, 1988
Ford and Nissan announced plans to design and build a new minivan together in the hope of cashing in on an expanding market. The announcement came during the heyday of the minivan craze, when Dodge Caravans dotted the highways and station wagons became a thing of the past. Instantly popular, the spacious minivan replaced the wagon as the family car of choice, putting the old wood-paneled Country Squires to shame. But with the rise of the sport utility vehicle in the '90s, the minivan also began to fade.

Erwin Cannonball Baker on his Indian
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Old 12th September 2008, 12:16   #160
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Hi SirAlec,

We may not reply much to your thread, but let me tell you that some amongst us follow it regularly. Lots to learn.

Your effort is truly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 13th September 2008, 02:45   #161
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Default 13th September

September 13, 1899
The first recorded fatality from an automobile accident occurred on this day, after an oncoming vehicle fatally struck Henry Bliss on the streets of New York. Bliss, a 68-year-old real estate broker, was debarking from a southbound streetcar at the corner of Central Park West and 74th Street when driver Arthur Smith ran him over. Smith was arrested and held on $1,000 bail while Henry Bliss was taken to Roosevelt hospital, where he died.

September 13, 1916
The Hudson Motor Car Company's first engine, the "Super Six," was an astounding success. It was the auto industry's first balanced, high-compression L-head motor, and it became so popular that the name "Super Six" became the unofficial brand name of Hudson. Initially, Hudson launched a series of publicity stunts to promote its new engine, including a "Twice Across America" run from San Francisco to New York and back, which began on this day.

September 13, 1977
General Motors (GM) introduced the first diesel automobiles in America on this day, the Oldsmobile 88 and 98 models. A major selling point of the two models was their fuel efficiency, which GM claimed to be 40 percent better than gasoline-powered cars. By compressing air, rather than an air-fuel mixture, the diesel engine achieves higher compression ratios, and consequently higher theoretical cycle efficiencies. In addition, the idling and reduced power efficiency of the diesel engine is much greater than that of its spark engine cousin. However, the diesel engine's greater efficiency is balanced by its higher emission of soot, odor, and air pollutants.

Henry Bliss, the first person to die in auto accident.
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Article on a newspaper recording the incident.
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A plaque laid on the exact site on September 13th, 1999 commemorating his 100th death anniversary.
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Hudson Super Six M
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Oldsmobile 88 delta with diesel V8 engine.
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Old 13th September 2008, 20:31   #162
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Default 14th September

September 14, 1927
Isadora Duncan, the controversial but highly influential American dancer, was instantly strangled to death in Nice, France, when her trademark long scarf got caught in the rear wheel of a Amilcar driven by factory mechanic Benoit Falchetto, whom she called 'Buggati' and this lead to misconception that the unfateful car was a Buggati, but in actual it was an Amilcar.
Duncan was 49. The scarf was hand painted silk from the Russian-born artist Roman Chatov. The accident gave rise to Gertrude Stein's mordant remark that "affectations can be dangerous."

September 14, 1960
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was founded on this day at the Baghdad Conference of 1960, established by five core members: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. Originally made up of just these five, OPEC began as an attempt to organize and unify petroleum policies, securing stable prices for the petroleum producers. The organization grew considerably after its creation, adding eight other members and developing into one of the most influential groups in the world. The first real indication of OPEC's power came with the 1973 oil embargo, during which long lines and soaring gasoline prices quickly convinced Americans of the reach of OPEC's influence. OPEC's member countries currently supply more than 40 percent of the world's oil.

September 14, 1965
My Mother the Car, one of the shortest running television shows in history and first about a Car, premiered on this day. The show featured Ann Sothern as the reincarnation of the main character's mother - in the form of a classic 1928 Porter Automobile. Apparently, the idea of automobile reincarnation didn't appeal to the public then, and the series was canceled a few weeks after its debut.

September 14, 1982
Princess Grace of Monaco, also known as Grace Kelly, died on this day of injuries sustained in a car crash. The accident was one of the most tragic in modern memory, the car plunged down a 45-foot embankment after the Princess suffered a stroke and lost control of the car. Known as America's princess, Kelly's life had been a true fairy tale. She was born into a rich Irish Catholic family in Philadelphia where she attended private schools before enrolling in the Academy of Dramatic Art in New York. She soon rose to stardom both on Broadway and in Hollywood, winning the public's affection in such films as Rear Window and The Country Girl. However, she abandoned her acting career in order to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco, making her a real-life princess.

Isadora Duncan
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The unfateful 1925 Amilcar
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OPEC headquarter
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My Mother the Car, Series
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1928 Porter used in My Mother the Car
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Grace Kelly memorial
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Grace Kelly Accident Site
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Old 14th September 2008, 23:02   #163
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Default 15th September

September 15, 1909
Charles F. Kettering of Detroit, Michigan, applied for a patent on his ignition system on this day. But the ignition system was only the first of Kettering's many automobile improvements, a distinguished list that includes lighting systems, lacquer finishes, antilock fuels, leaded gasoline, and the electric starter. His company Delco (Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company) was a leader in automotive technology and later became a subsidiary of General Motors. Kettering himself served as vice president and director of research for GM from 1920 to 1947.

September 15, 1909
Ford sues George B. Selden on this day.George Selden is rarely mentioned in accounts of automobile history, often lost among names like Ford, Daimler, and Cugnot. However, Selden reigned as the "Father of the Automobile" for almost 20 years, his name engraved on every car from 1895 until 1911. He held the patent on the "Road Engine," which was effectively a patent on the automobile - a claim that went unchallenged for years, despite the many other inventors who had contributed to the development of the automobile and the internal combustion engine. Almost all of the early car manufacturers, unwilling to face the threat of a lawsuit, were forced to buy licenses from Selden, so almost every car on the road sported a small brass plaque reading "Manufactured under Selden Patent." Henry Ford was the only manufacturer willing to challenge Selden in court, and on this day a New York judge ruled that Ford had indeed infringed on Selden's patent. This decision was later overturned when it became plain that Selden had never intended to actually manufacture his "road engine." Selden's own "road engine" prototype, built in the hope of strengthening his case, only managed to stagger along for a few hours before breaking down.

Charles F. Kettering with his invention.
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George B. Selden
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Selden Road Engine patent
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Old 15th September 2008, 22:03   #164
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Default 16th September

September 16, 1903
Frederick Henry Royce, of Rolls-Royce Ltd., successfully tested his first gasoline engine on this day. The two-cylinder, 10hp engine was one of three experimental cars designed by Royce during the automobile's early years, when gasoline-powered engines competed on equal footing with electric and steam engines. In fact, Royce's first company, Royce Ltd., built electric motors.

September 16, 1908
William C. Durant founded the General Motors Corporation (GM) on this day, consolidating several motor car companies, including Buick, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac, to form this Goliath of the automotive industry. GM's success was assured in 1912 when Cadillac introduced the electric self-starter, quickly making the hand crank obsolete and propelling sales. Throughout the next few years, the company continued to grow, buying out Chevrolet, Delco, the Fisher Body Company, and Frigidaire. In 1929, GM surpassed Ford to become the leading American passenger-car manufacturer, and by 1941, the company was the largest automotive manufacturer in the world. But the 1970s and 1980s brought darker times, and the company suffered under severe competition from imports. GM responded with attempts at modernization, but its efforts have yielded mixed results thus far; the company was forced to close a large number of plants in the U.S. during the early 1990s after several years of heavy losses.

Statue of Sir Henry Royce, standing outside the company's HQ at Moor Lane, Derby
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Historic Rolls and Royce meet depiction on a hand painting
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Rolls-Royce, one of three prototype
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William C. Durant
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William C. Durant (front seat light colored cap) in a Buick Model F during the 1906 Glidden Tour.
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Old 16th September 2008, 19:32   #165
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Default 17th September

September 17, 1903
First coast-to-coast tour was completed on this day. At a time when driving across country was akin to climbing Mt. Everest, Lester L. Whitman and Eugene I. Hammond completed their coast-to-coast expedition on this day to national acclaim. Whitman and Hammond's journey, the third trans-U.S. automobile trip in history, contained a small detour, however. The two drivers decided to include a side trip from Windsor to Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada, in order to dub their trek "international."


September 17, 1986
In 1985, a car that had evolved from a first-class chassis was introduced in the form of the Bentley Turbo R. Superior suspension for road handling, firmer shock absorbers, and crisper steering were meant to entice sporting motorists--just in case the Turbo R's top speeds were not enough. Still, Bentley's turbo-charged model needed nothing but speed on this day, breaking 16 records for speed and endurance at the Millbrook, Bedfordshire, high-speed circuit in England.

Bentley Turbo R
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