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Old 15th October 2008, 22:36   #196
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Default 16th October

October 16, 1951
In 1948, Hudson launched its new Monobuilt design, an innovation that is still found in most cars to this day. The Monobuilt design consisted of a chassis and frame that was combined in a unified passenger compartment, producing a strong, light-weight design, and a beneficial lower center of gravity that didn't affect road clearance. Hudson coined this innovation "step-down design" because, for the first time, passengers had to step down in order to get into a car. Most cars today are still based on the step-down premise. On this day in 1951, Hudson introduced the Hornet, and put some sting into the step-down design. The Hornet was built with a 308 cubic-inch flat head in-line six cylinder motor, producing generous torque and a substantial amount of horsepower. And it was with this popular model that Hudson first entered stock car racing in 1951. After ending their first season in a respectable third place, Hudson began a three-year domination of the racing event. In 1952 alone, Hudson won 29 of the 34 events. A key factor in Hudson's racing success was the innovative step-down design of their cars. Because of their lower centers of gravity, Hornets would glide around corners with relative ease, leaving their clunky and unstable competitors in the dust.
The Hornet "dominated stock car racing in the early-1950s, when stock car racers actually raced stock cars." During 1952, Hornets driven by Marshall Teague, Herb Thomas and Tim Flock won 27 NASCAR races driving for the Hudson team. In AAA racing, Teague drove a stock Hornet that he called the Fabulous Hudson Hornet to 14 wins during the season. This brought the Hornet's season record to 40 wins in 48 events, a winning percentage of 83%.
Overall, Hudson won 27 of the 34 NASCAR Grand National races in 1952, followed by 22 of 37 in 1953, and 17 of 37 in 1954 "an incredible accomplishment, especially from a car that had some legitimate luxury credentials."
The original Fabulous Hudson Hornet can be found today fully restored in Ypsilanti, Michigan at the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum. It is also depicted in the movie 'CARS' as Doc Hudson.

October 16, 1958
Chevrolet introduced the El Camino on this day, a sedan-pickup created to compete with Ford's popular Ranchero model. Built on the full-size Chevrolet challis, the big El Camino failed to steal the Ranchero's market and was discontinued after two years. But four years later, in 1964, the El Camino was given a second life as a derivative of the Chevelle series, a line of cars commonly termed "muscle cars." The Chevelles were stylish and powerful vehicles that reflected the youthful energy of the 1960s and early 1970s, and sold well. The Chevelle Malibu Super Sport was the archetypal muscle car, featuring a V-8 as large as 454 cubic inches, or 7.4 liters. Chevelles came in sedans, wagons, convertibles, and hardtops, and, with the reintroduction of the El Camino in 1964, as a truck. The station wagon-based El Camino sedan-pickup had a successful run during its second manifestation as a Chevelle, and proved an attractive conveyance for urban cowboys and the horsey set.
Many El Caminos are still used as daily drivers, and some are used in various racing venues. The 1980s version is the most common of any of that generation of body styles, though the late 60s command the highest prices and inspire the most replicas from Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Johnny Lightning.
The Discovery Channel program Monster Garage once turned an El Camino into a Figure-8 racer (dubbed the "Hell-Camino").
The drift team Bubba Drift uses a 1986 El Camino as the only drifting truck. It is unusual in that it uses an automatic transmission instead of a manual transmission.
On a production note, it has been constantly rumored for years now that GM may bring back the El Camino. During the 1995 model year, GM had a concept El Camino based on the full-size Caprice station wagon using the grille of a 1994-96 Impala SS; this concept was destined for production but terminated due to GM's profitable SUV sales. GM already has a vehicle ready in Australia in the form of the Holden Ute.

Hudson Hornet
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Fabulous Hudson Hornet during its heydays
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Fabulous Hudson Hornet resting at the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum
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Diecast model of Hudson Hornet
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El Camino, a 1968 example
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Fullblown Customs Hell Camino (not to be confused with Discovery Channel's version)
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Old 16th October 2008, 22:11   #197
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Default 17th October

October 17, 1902
The first Cadillac was completed on Oct. 17, 1902 and was given its maiden test drive by Alanson P. Brush, the twenty-four-year-old Leland and Faulconer engineer who had contributed substantially to the car's design and who would later build the Brush Runabout.

October 17, 1973
On this day, 11 Arab oil producers increased oil prices and cut back production in response to the support of the United States and other nations for Israel in the Yom Kippur War. The same day, OPEC, (The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), approved the oil embargo at a meeting in Tangiers, Morocco. Almost overnight, gasoline prices quadrupled, and the U.S. economy, especially its automakers, suffered greatly as a result. The U.S. car companies, who built automobiles that typically averaged less than 15 miles per gallon, were unable to satisfy the sudden demand for small, fuel-efficient vehicles. The public turned to imports in droves, and suddenly Japan's modest, but sturdy, little compacts began popping up on highways all across America. Even after the oil embargo crisis was resolved, American consumers had learned an important lesson about the importance of fuel efficiency, and foreign auto manufacturers flourished in the large American market. It took years for the Big Three to bounce back from the blow; eventually they gained ground with the introduction of their own Japanese-inspired compacts in the 1980s.

October 17, 1994
Taxicab driver Jeremy Levine returned to London, England, from a round-trip journey to Cape Town, South Africa, on this day. Passengers Mark Aylett and Carlos Aresse paid 40,000 pounds, or approximately $65,000, for the 21,691-mile trip, setting a world record for the longest known taxicab ride. The route, through Eastern Europe, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and down into Africa, was recently adopted by the Historic Endurance Rallying Organization for their London to Cape Town Classic Reliability Trial. The race, held for the first time in 1998, is a competitive event for all types of classic and historic cars made before 1978. Divided into six age categories, from vintage to '70s, the event challenges racers to brave demanding terrain and conditions as they witness some of the most dramatic and breathtaking scenery in the world.

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Old 17th October 2008, 21:48   #198
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Default 18th October

October 18, 1919
On this day in 1919, Rolls-Royce America, Inc., was established, and their luxurious motor cars would prove a favorite means of transport for America's elite during the roaring 1920s.

October 18, 1939
Group of men who had dedicated their lives to the progress of the motor vehicle industry, met in New York City to create an organization that would perpetuate the memories of the early automotive pioneers as well as the contemporary leaders in the industry. From the beginning, this organization originally called "Automobile Old Timers" -- was dedicated to honoring automotive people from all industry segments and from around the world. Now its more famously known as Automotive Hall of Fame. Over 200 individuals have been inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Dedicated to: Recognizing outstanding achievement in the automotive and related industries; Preserving automotive heritage; Educating future generations of industry participants.

October 18, 1977
On September 5, Hanns Martin Schleyer, a Daimler-Benz executive and head of the West German employers' association, was kidnapped in Cologne by the Red Army Faction (RAF) during an assault in which his driver and three police were killed. The Red Army Faction was a group of ultra-left revolutionaries who terrorized Germany for three decades, assassinating at least 30 corporate, military, and government leaders in an effort to topple capitalism in their homeland. Six weeks after the kidnapping of Schleyer, Palestinian terrorists, who had close ties with the RAF, hijacked a Lufthansa airliner to Somalia, and demanded the release of 11 imprisoned RAF members. On October 17, after the pilot was killed, a German special forces team stormed the plane, releasing the captives and killing the hijackers. The RAF's imprisoned leaders responded by committing suicide in their jail cell in Stammheim, and Schleyer's murder was ordered. The next day, October 18, Hanns Martin Schleyer was found dead in Alsace, France.

Automotive Hall of Fame building, in Dearborn, Michigan
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Hanns-Martin Schleyer after his kidnap
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Place of kidnapping
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Hanns-Martin Schleyer body was found in France in the trunk of this car.
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Old 18th October 2008, 19:47   #199
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Default 19th October

October 19, 1920
Harley-Davidson Motor Co. registered "Harley-Davidson" trademark first used in June 1906 for motorcycles, bicycles, side cars and parcel cars.
[SIZE=3][/SIZE]
October 19, 1958
Briton Mike Hawthorn, driving a Ferrari Dino 246, clinched the Formula One World Championship at the Moroccan Grand Prix at Ain-Diab near Casablanca on this day. But the triumph of Britain's first World Championship was marred by the death of British driver Stuart Lewis-Evans, who died a few days later from injuries sustained during an accident in the race, and by the tragic death of Hawthorn himself, who died in a road accident just two months later

October 19, 1982
John DeLorean began his automotive career with Packard in the 1950s, and was recruited to Pontiac in 1959. A rising star at Pontiac, DeLorean pioneered the successful GTO and Grand Prix, and by the late 1960s had risen to the top position in a company that was behind only Chevrolet and Ford in sales. In 1970, DeLorean was moved to manage the Chevrolet Division, and by 1973 Chevy was selling a record 3,000,000 cars and trucks, with DeLorean seeming a top candidate for General Motors' (GM) next presidency. But in late-1973, he walked away from his $650,000 job at GM, boasting he was "going to show them how to build cars." After raising nearly $200 million in financing, DeLorean formed the DeLorean Motor Company in 1974, and constructed a car factory in Northern Ireland. Interest in DeLorean's sleek and futuristic DMC-12 car was high, but by the early 1980s the company was in serious financial trouble. Failing to find additional investors, the proud DeLorean became involved in racketeering and drug trafficking in a desperate attempt to save his beleaguered company. On this day in 1982, after being caught on film during an FBI sting operation trying to broker a $24 million cocaine deal, DeLorean was arrested on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. But two years later a federal jury ruled that he was a victim of entrapment, and DeLorean was acquitted of all charges. Nevertheless, the debacle ruined his credibility, and John DeLorean's fall from the top of the automotive industry was complete. He died from a stroke at the age of 80, on March 19, 2005.

Mike Hawthorn
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John DeLorean and the prototype of the DMC-12
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Old 19th October 2008, 22:42   #200
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Default 20th October

October 20, 1965
On this day in 1965, the last PV544 was driven off the Volvo assembly line at its Lundy plant in Sweden by longtime Volvo test driver Nils Wickstrom. Gustaf Larson, the engineer who had co-founded Volvo with businessman Assar Gabrielsson in 1927, was present at the ceremony. An impressive total of 440,000 Volvo PV544s had been produced during its eight-year run, over half of which had been exported. The Volvo PV544 was first introduced in 1958 as an updated version of its popular predecessor, the PV444. Like the PV444 with its laminated windscreen, the PV544 featured an important safety innovation--it was the first car to be equipped with safety belts as standard fitting. But the PV544 was also a powerful automobile, boasting a 4-speed manual transmission option and power up to 95bhp. Shortly after its introduction, the 544 became one of the most successful rally cars, dominating rally racing into the 1960s. Yet, the PV544 was also affordably priced, and its first-year sales put Volvo over the 100,000-exported automobiles mark. The PV544 was successfully reintroduced every year until 1965, when it was decided by Volvo that production of the model would cease.

A 1962 Pv544
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Old 21st October 2008, 14:45   #201
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Default 21st October

October 21, 1891
On this day, a one-mile dirt track opened for harness races at the site of the present-day Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. Harness racing proved a popular event at the annual Tennessee State Fair, but it was nothing compared to the excitement generated by the fair's first automobile race, held at the fairgrounds in 1904. For the next 50 years, motor racing events were the highlight of the annual state fair, drawing top American drivers to compete, and launching the careers of others. In 1956, the track was paved and lighted, and the tradition of weekly Saturday night racing at the fairgrounds was born. And in 1958, NASCAR came to Nashville with the introduction of the NASCAR Winston Cup to be run on a brand-new half-mile oval. The legendary driver Joe Weatherly won the first Winston Cup, beating the likes of Fireball Turner, Lee Petty, and Curtis Turner in the 200-lap event. Between 1958 and 1984, the fairgrounds hosted 42 NASCAR Winston Cups, and Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip were the overall leaders in victories, with nine and eight Winston Cups respectively. The last Winston Cup race to descend onto the Tennessee State Fairgrounds was a 420-lap event won by driver Geoff Bodine. But despite the departure of the Winston Cup, the Nashville Speedway continued to improve on its racetrack, and illustrious racing events such as the Busch Series are held on the historic track every year.

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Old 21st October 2008, 14:50   #202
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Default 22nd October

October 22, 1903
Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM) filed suit against Ford Motor Company as an unlicensed (by ALAM) manufacturer of internal combustion vehicles (controlled 1895 Selden patent); claimed patent applied to all gasoline-powered automobiles; ALAM launched PR campaign, threatened to sue those who bought Ford automobiles.

October 22, 1906
Henry Ford became President of Ford Motor Company.

October 22, 1936
In 1934, German automaker Ferdinand Porsche submitted a design proposal to Adolf Hitler's new German Reich government, calling for the construction of a small, simple, and reliable car that would be affordable enough for the average German. Only about one in 50 Germans owned cars at the time, and the motor industry had only a minor significance in Germany's economy. Nazi propagandists immediately embraced the idea, coining "Volkswagen," which translates as "people's car," at an automobile show later in the year. Hitler himself hoped the "people's car" would achieve the kind of popularity in Germany as Ford's Model T had in the United States, and began calling the Volkswagen the "Strength Through Joy" car. Porsche received a development budget from the Reich's motor industry association, and began working on the Volkswagen immediately. Porsche completed the first prototype in secret in October of 1935. The simple, beetle-shaped automobile was sturdily constructed with a kind of utilitarian user-friendliness scarcely seen in an automobile before. On this day in 1936, the first test-drives of the Volkswagen vehicle began, and employees drove the VW 3-series model over 800 kilometers a day, making any necessary repairs at night. After three months of vigorous testing, Porsche and his engineers concluded, in their final test verdict, that the Volkswagen "demonstrated characteristics which warrant further development." In 1938, the first Volkswagen in its final form was unveiled, a 38-series model that The New York Times mockingly referred to as a "Beetle." However, the outbreak of World War II prevented mass-production of the automobile, and the newly constructed Volkswagen factory turned to war production, constructing various military vehicles for the duration of the conflict. After the war, the Allies approved the continuation of the original Volkswagen program, and, under the leadership of Heinrich Nordhoff in the late 1940s and 1950s, sales of the Volkswagen Beetle began to take off. In the 1960s and early 1970s, sales of the compact Volkswagen Beetle worried even America's largest automakers, as the Third Reich's simple people's car became a popular symbol of the growing American counterculture.

October 22, 1987
Canadian Garry Sowerby and American Tim Cahill completed the first trans-Americas drive on this day, driving from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in a total elapsed time of 23 days, 22 hours, and 43 minutes. The pair drove the 14,739-mile distance in a 1988 GMC Sierra K3500 four-wheel-drive pickup truck powered by a 6.2-liter V-8 Detroit diesel engine. Only on one occasion did Sowerby and Cahill trust another form of transportation to their sturdy Sierra: the vehicle and team were surface-freighted from Cartagena, Colombia, to Balboa, Panama, so as to bypass the dangerous Darien Gap of Colombia and Panama.

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Old 23rd October 2008, 00:04   #203
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Default 23rd October

October 23, 1970
On this day at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, American Gary Gabelich attained a record 631.367mph average speed in The Blue Flame, a rocket-powered four-wheeled vehicle. Momentarily achieving 650mph, Gabelich's vehicle was powered by a liquid natural gas, hydrogen peroxide rocket engine that produced a thrust of up to 22,000 pounds. Gabelich's achievement ended the domination of Craig Breedlove, the American driver who set a series of astounding victories in jet-powered vehicles during the 1960s, breaking the 400mph, 500mph, and 600mph barriers in 1963, 1964, and 1965, respectively. The Blue Flame's land-speed record stood until 1983, when Briton Richard Noble raced to a new 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 633.468mph over the one-mile course in Nevada's stark Black Rock Desert.

October 23, 1973
Toyota U.S.A. held its first (three-day) national news conference in Los Angeles, CA to discuss the fuel efficiency of its automobiles (5 days after 11 Arab oil producers increased oil prices and cut back production in response to the support of the United States and other nations for Israel in the Yom Kippur War); American consumers suffered gasoline rationing, a quadrupling of prices, huge lines at gas stations - foreign auto manufacturers flourished in the large American market.

Gary Gabelich
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The Blue Flame
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Old 24th October 2008, 02:25   #204
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Default 24th October

October 24, 1908
On this day, the Locomobile Old 16, driven by George Robertson, became the first American-made car to beat the European competition when it raced to victory in the fourth annual Vanderbilt Cup held in Long Island, New York. The Vanderbilt Cup, an early example of world-class motor racing in America, was created in 1904 to introduce Europe's best automotive drivers and manufacturers to the U.S. George Heath won the first Vanderbilt Cup in a French-made Panhard automobile, beginning a French domination of the event that would last until Old 16's historic victory. Old 16 was first built in 1906 by the Connecticut-based Locomobile Company, and showed promise when it raced to a respectable finish in the second Vanderbilt Cup. With some modifications, Old 16 was ready to race again in 1908. Americans pinned their hopes on the state-of-the-art road racer to end the European domination of early motor racing. Designed simply for speed and power, Old 16 had an 1032 cc, 4-cylinder, 120 hp engine with a copper gas tank, and a couple of bucket seats atop a simple frame with four wooden-spoked wheels completed the design. At the fourth Vanderbilt Cup, Robertson pushed Old 16 to an average speed of 64.38 mph, dashing around the 297-mile course to the cheers of over 100,000 rowdy spectators, who lined the track dangerously close to the speeding motor cars. With a thrown tire in the last lap and a frantic fight to the finish against an Italian Isotta, America's first major racing victory was a hair-raising affair. Old 16 is one of the oldest American automobiles still in existence, and is currently on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

October 24, 1944
French automaker and accused Nazi collaborator Louis Renault died on this day in a Paris military prison hospital of undetermined causes. Born in Paris, Renault built his first automobile, the Renault Type A, in 1898. Inspired by the DeDion quadricycle, the Type A had a 270 cc engine (1.75hp), and could carry two people at about 30mph. Later in the year, Renault and his brothers formed the Societe Renault Freres, a racing club that achieved its first major victory when an automobile with a Renault-built engine won the Paris-Vienna race of 1902. After Louis' brother, Marcel, died along with nine other drivers in the Paris-Madrid race of 1903, Renault turned away from racing and concentrated on mass production of vehicles. During World War I, Renault served his nation with the "Taxis de la Marne," a troop-transport vehicle, and in 1918, with the Renault tank. Between the wars, Renault continued to manufacture and sell successful automobiles, models that became famous for their sturdiness and longevity. With the German occupation of France during World War II, the industrialist, who had served his country so well during World War I, mysteriously offered his Renault tank factory and his services to the Nazis, perhaps believing that the Allies' cause was hopeless. The liberation of France in 1944 saw the arrest of Louis Renault as a collaborator, and the Renault company was nationalized with Pierre Lefaucheux as the new director. The 67-seven-year-old Renault, who likely suffered torture during his post-liberation detainment, died soon after his arrest.

Locomobile Old 16
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Louis Renault
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Old 24th October 2008, 23:12   #205
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Default 25th October

October 25, 1902
Racing was in Barney Oldfield's blood long before he ever had the opportunity to race an automobile. Born in Wauseon, Ohio, Oldfield's first love was bicycling, and in 1894, he began to compete professionally. In his first year of racing, the fearless competitor won numerous bicycling events and, in 1896, was offered a coveted position on the Stearns bicycle factory's amateur team. Meanwhile in Dearborn, Michigan, the entrepreneurial inventor Henry Ford had completed his first working automobile and was searching for a way to establish his name in the burgeoning automobile industry. In the early days, it was not the practical uses of the automobile that attracted the most widespread attention, but rather the thrill of motor racing. Recognizing the public's enthusiasm for the new sport, Ford built a racer with Oliver Barthel in 1901. Ford himself even served as driver in their automobile's first race, held at the Grosse Point Race Track in Michigan later in the year. Although he won the race and the kind of public acclaim he had hoped for, Ford found the experience so terrifying that he retired as a competitive driver, reportedly explaining that "once is enough." In 1902, he joined forces with Tom Cooper, the foremost cyclist of his time, and built a much more aggressive racer, the 999, that was capable of up to 80hp. On this day in 1902, the 23-year-old Barney Oldfield made his racing debut in the 999's first race at the Manufacturer's Challenge Cup in Grosse Point. The race was the beginning of a legendary racing career for Oldfield, who soundly beat his competition, including the famed driver Alexander Winton. The cigar-chomping Oldfield went on to become the first truly great American race-car driver, winning countless victories and breaking numerous speed and endurance records. But Oldfield's victory in the 999 was also Ford's first major automotive victory, and together they went on to become the most recognized figures in early American motoring--Ford as the builder and Oldfield as the driver.

Henry Ford standing beside Oldfield's first car in 1902

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Old 25th October 2008, 23:43   #206
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Default October 26

October 26, 1908
Champion incorporated Champion Ignition Company, in Flint, MI, with backing of Buick Motor Co., for manufacturing of spark plugs. Spencer Stranahan, former partner refused to sell rights to "Champion" name.

October 26, 1954
Chevrolet introduced the V-8 engine.

October 26, 1955
Sprint car racer and record-holder Sammy Swindell was born on this day. The second-winningest driver in Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series history, with 229 "A" Feature victories, Swindell holds the record for Chili Bowl midget championships, compiled the first clean sweep in Outlaws history in 1995, and is the only driver to win "A" features at two different tracks on the same day--at the New York State Fair Speedway and Rolling Wheels Raceway on October 12, 1991. In 1998, Sammy broke the single lap world record at the Springfield Mile when he ran a 24.719-second lap over a one-mile oval at 145.637mph. Among the most thrilling forms of automotive racing, sprint car racing also features arguably the most unique type of racing vehicle. Nearly 800 horsepower of power, displacing 410 cubic inches, is crammed into a stripped-down frame where any part that doesn't contribute to the car's performance, including driver's comfort, is left off. With a power-to-weight ratio comparable to a Formula 1 racer, the lightweight sprint cars are constructed for one of the toughest arenas in racing: tight half-mile dirt or clay ovals that demand frantic steering and hair-raising sprints from the sport's daredevil drivers. But the most recognizable part of a sprint car is its five-foot square aluminum wing mounted above the roll cage. The wing provides negative lift that sticks the sprint car to the track, increasing its pace to perilous levels in excess of 100mph. First developed in the 1960s, winged sprint cars were opposed by sanctioning bodies like the USAC, prompting the formation of the independent World of Outlaws tour in 1978. Sammy Swindell won his third World of Outlaws championship in 1997, his first since winning back-to-back titles in 1981 and 1982.

October 26, 1980
General Motors announced a $567 million loss, biggest quarterly drop ever posted by an American company; pre-tax losses for quarter topped out at $953 million.

Sammy Swindell
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Swindell racing in the World of Outlaws
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Old 27th October 2008, 20:48   #207
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Default 27th October

October 27, 1945
After the Allied victory in the World War II, Porsche, like other German industrialists who participated in the German war effort, was investigated on war-crime charges. On this day, Ferdinand Porsche was arrested by U.S. military officials for his pro-Nazi activities, and was sent to France where he was held for two years before being released. Meanwhile, the Allies approved the continuation of the original Volkswagen program, and Volkswagen went on to become a highly successful automobile company. As his brainchild Volkswagen grew, Porsche himself returned to sports-car design and construction, completing the successful Porsche 356 in 1948 with his son Ferry Porsche. In 1951, Ferdinand Porsche suffered a stroke and died, but Ferry continued his father's impressive automotive legacy, achieving a sports car masterpiece with the introduction of the legendary Porsche 911 in 1963.

Hitler inspecting the VW Bug
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Old 27th October 2008, 21:04   #208
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Default 28th October

October 28, 1918
The Tatra was christened on this day. The company later known as Tatra constructed its first automobile in 1897, a vehicle largely inspired by the design of an early Benz automobile. Based in the small Moravian town of Nesselsdorf in the Austro-Hungarian empire, Tatra began as Nesselsdorf Wagenbau, a carriage and railway company that entered automobile production after chief engineer Hugo von Roslerstamm learned of the exploits of Baron Theodor von Liebieg, an avid Austrian motorist who drove across Eastern Europe in a Benz automobile. The Baron himself took the Nesselsdorf Wagenbau's first automobile, christened the President, on a test drive from Nesselsdorf to Vienna. He was impressed with the design and pushed von Roslerstamm and Nesselsdorf Wagenbau to enter racing.
The company put its faith in the talented young engineer Hans Ledwinka, and under his leadership the Rennzweier and the Type A racers were produced, demonstrating modest racing success and encouraging the beginning of large-scale production of the Type S in 1909. The company continued to grow until 1914, when, with the outbreak of World War I, it shifted to railroad-car construction. On this day in 1918, just two weeks before the end of the war on the Western front, the Moravian town of Nesselsdorf in the old Austro-Hungarian empire became the city of Koprivnicka in the newly created country of Czechoslovakia, necessitating a name change for the Nesselsdorf Wagenbau.
Soon after the war, Hans Ledwinka and the newly named Koprivnicka Wagenbau began construction of a new automobile under the marque Tatra. The Tatra name came from the Tatra High Mountains, some of the highest mountains in the Carpathian mountain range. Ledwinka settled on Tatra in 1919 after an experimental model with 4-wheel brakes passed a sleigh on a dangerously icy road, prompting the surprised sleigh riders to reportedly exclaim: "This is a car for the Tatras." In 1923, the first official Tatra automobile, the Tatra T11, was completed, and Ledwinka's hope for an affordable "people's car" had come to fruition. The rugged and relatively small automobile gave many Czechoslovakians an opportunity to own an automobile for the first time, much as Ford's Model T had in the United States. In 1934, Tatra achieved an automotive first with the introduction of the Tatra 77, an innovative model that holds the distinction of being the world's first aerodynamically styled automobile powered by an air-cooled rear-mounted engine.

Tatra Logos
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Old 30th October 2008, 02:34   #209
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October 29, 1954
The last true Hudson was produced on this day. The Hudson Motor Car Company was founded in 1909 by Joseph L. Hudson, and by its second year ranked 11th in the nation for automobile production. Although rarely a top-seller, Hudson was responsible for a number of important automotive innovations, including the placement of the steering wheel on the left side, the self-starter, and dual brakes. In 1919, the Hudson Essex was introduced, a sturdy automobile built on an all-steel body that sold for pennies more than Ford's Model T. Hudson production peaked in 1929 with over 300,000 units, including a line of commercial vehicles. During the early 1930s, Hudson became increasingly involved in motor sports, and the Hudson Essex-Terraplane cars set records in hill climbing, economy runs, and speed events. After World War II, the modest automobile company set its sights on stock racing, launching its new Monobuilt design in 1948. The Monobuilt design consisted of a chassis and frame that were combined in a unified passenger compartment, producing a strong, lightweight design, and a beneficial lower center of gravity that didn't effect road clearance. Hudson coined this innovation "step-down design" because, for the first time, passengers had to step down in order to get into a car. Most cars today are still based on the step-down premise.

In 1951, Hudson introduced the powerful Hornet, a model that would dominate stock car racing from 1952 to 1954. In 1952 alone, Hudson won 29 of the 34 events. A key factor in Hudson's racing success was the innovative step-down design of its cars. Because of their lower centers of gravity, Hornets would glide around corners with relative ease, leaving their clunky and unstable competitors in the dust. During this period, Hudson hoped that its stock-racing success would help its lagging sales, but the public preferred watching the likes of Marshall Teague racing around in a Hornet to actually purchasing one. In 1954, the Hudson Motor Company and the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation merged to form the American Motors Corporation, and Hudson, which had been suffering severe financial problems, signed on as the weaker partner. Soon after, it was announced that all 1955 models would be made in Nash's facilities, and that most of Hudson's recent innovations would be discontinued. On this day, the last step-down Hudson was produced. Although the Hudson name would live on for another two years, the cars no longer possessed the innovative elegance and handling of models like the Hornet of the early 1950s.

October 29, 2006
Final Ford Taurus rolled off assembly line in Atlanta, GA after about 7 million built. The last Ford Taurus rolled off the assembly line around 7:00am, destined for delivery to S. Truett Cathy, owner of Chick-fil-A, a restautrant chain. Mr. Cathy's original restaurant was located across from the Ford Atlanta plant. There was no official event or function of any kind to mark the end of production.
The discontinuation of the Taurus was controversial. While many believed that the Taurus was discontinued because it could no longer compete in the growing Japanese sedan market, others believed that if Ford wanted to save the car, they could have easily done so. Autoblogs went as far as calling the Taurus the biggest fall from grace in history, and even blamed Ford's current financial problems on their failure to keep the Taurus competitive.
However, after Alan Mulally took position as Ford's CEO, rumors were rampant that he was interested in reviving the Taurus. The rumors of a possible Taurus revival were confirmed in mid 2007, when the revamped versions of the Five Hundred and Freestyle were unveiled as "Taurus" and "Taurus X" at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show, a decision that was influenced strongly by Mulally. In a later interview, Mulally explained that the fact that the Taurus was well known and had a positive brand equity associated with it strongly influenced his decision to revive the name.

Ford Taurus (original)
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The 2008 Ford Five Hundred prototype, which was renamed "Taurus" upon Alan Mulally's request.
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Old 30th October 2008, 02:38   #210
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Default 30th October

October 30, 1963
The first Lamborghini, the 350GTV (made by tractor maker Ferruccio Lamborghi to compete with Ferrari) debuted at Turin auto show.
Sports car maker Ferruccio Lamborghini was born in Renazzo di Cento, Italy, on April 28, 1916. After studying mechanical engineering in Bologna, Lamborghini served as a mechanic for the Italian Army's Central Vehicle Division in Rhodes during World War II. Upon his return to Italy, he worked on converting military vehicles into agricultural machines, and, in 1948, began building and designing his own tractors. His well-designed agricultural machinery proved a success, and with this prosperity Lamborghini developed an addiction for luxury sports cars. In the early 1960s, he purchased a Ferrari 250 GT, made just a few miles away in Enzo Ferrari's factory. After encountering problems with the car, Ferruccio reportedly paid Enzo a visit, complaining to him about his new Ferrari's noisy gearbox. Legend has it that the great racing car manufacturer Ferrari responded in a patronizing manner to the tractor-maker Lamborghini, inspiring the latter to begin development of his own line of luxury sports cars--automobiles that could out perform any mass-produced Ferrari.
On this day in 1963, the Lamborghini 350GTV debuted at the Turin auto show. But Lamborghini had not completed the prototype in time for the deadline, and the 350GTV was presented with a crate of ceramic tiles in place of an engine. With or without the engine, Lamborghini's first car was not particularly well received, and only one GTV was ever completed. But the former tractor-maker was not discouraged, and in 1964 the drastically redesigned 350GT went into production, and Lamborghini managed to sell over 100 of the expensive cars. The GT was a quiet and sophisticated high-performance vehicle, capable of achieving 155mph with a maximum 320hp. The elegant Lamborghini 350GT indeed provided a smoother ride than most of its Ferrari counterparts, and Ferruccio's old tractor factory, located just a few miles from the Ferrari factory, began constructing some of the most exotic cars the world had ever seen, such as the Miura, the Espada, and the legendary Countach.

The 350GTV
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