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Old 29th November 2008, 22:09   #241
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Default 29th November

November 30, 1866
Work on the first underwater highway tunnel in the United States began on this day in Chicago, Illinois. Over a three-year period, workers and engineers tunneled underneath the Chicago River, finally completing the 1,500-foot tunnel at a cost of over $500,000. The tunnel had two roadways, each 11-feet tall and 13-feet wide, and a separate footway 10-feet wide and 10-feet tall. In 1907, the tunnel was lowered to provide better air circulation, and for the first time it began to allow regular automobile traffic.

November 30, 1960
On this day, the first Scout all-terrain vehicle rolled off the assembly line at International Harvester's Fort Wayne plant. The history of International Harvester dates back to the early 1800s, when the company sold Cyrus McCormick's mechanical reaper. Around the turn of the century, the company took the name of International Harvester (IH), and, in 1907, produced the Auto Buggy, an early motorized truck marketed to farmers. During the next few decades, IH specialized in industrial vehicles and agricultural machinery. During the 1950s, IH truck production flourished with the rapid emergence of interstate highways. In 1959, IH began work on a new 4x4 utility vehicle, which would be offered to the average American as an alternative to the popular Jeep vehicle. Designed by Ted Ornas, the first Scout was introduced to the public as a versatile, affordable vehicle for both passenger and cargo transport. It was available in both two- and four-wheel drive and featured a four-cylinder engine, with three-speed, floor-mounted transmission. The Scout became the best-selling vehicle in IH history, enjoying a full 10 years of production before being replaced by the improved Scout II in 1971.

International Harvestor Scout 80
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Old 1st December 2008, 00:55   #242
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Default 1st December

December 1, 1913
The 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. The efficiency and speed of Ford's production lines allowed the company to sell cars for less than any competitor.

December 1, 1915
John D. Hertz founded original Yellow Cab taxicab service in Chicago. The color (and name) yellow selected as result of survey by University of Chicago which indicated it was easiest color to spot.

December 1, 1921
The Detroit Steam Motors Corporation announced the Trask steam car, a favorite project of automobile distributor O.C. Trask. A steam-driven automobile had reached the world-record speed of 127.66mph in 1906, causing a steam-car craze that lasted through the 1920s. The last steam-powered cars in the U.S. were made in 1926.

December 1, 1942
The U.S. government imposed gasoline quotas to conserve fuel during the shortages of World War II. The armed forces overseas had fuel aplenty, but stateside, gasoline became costly and hard to get. People started using bicycles and their own two feet to get around.

John D. Hertz
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Old 2nd December 2008, 00:11   #243
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December 2, 1899
John R. Cobb, a dominant British racer and three-time land-speed record-holder, was born in Hackbridge, Surrey, south of London, England. During the early 1930s, Cobb dominated British racing, setting a series of lap records at the famous Brooklands racetrack in England, including an unbroken record of 143.44mph in 1935. In 1938, at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, he set a new land speed record of 350.194mph in a Railton racer, breaking the 345.489mph record set by George Eyston two weeks before. Eyston, driving a Thunderbolt, went on to regain the land speed title that year. However, in 1938, Cobb returned to Bonneville to wrest the title from Eyston for good, this time racing to 369.741mph. Cobb's record speed stood until 1947, when Cobb himself returned to Utah in another Railton and set a new record of 394.196mph, although one of his unofficial runs was in excess of 400mph. In 1952, Cobb was killed at the age of 52 while trying to set a new water-speed record on Loch Ness in Scotland. His impressive land-speed record stood until 1963, when Craig Breedlove, driving a jet-propelled vehicle, broke a record that no other drivers of cars with internal combustion engines could touch.

December 2, 1902
The first working V-8 engine was patented in France by French engine designer Leon-Marie-Joseph-Clement Levavasseur. The engine block was the first to arrange eight pistons in the V-formation that allowed a crankshaft with only four throws to be turned by eight pistons. Today, V-8 engines are extremely common in automobiles that need powerful motors.

John R. Cobb
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Levavasseur working on an aircraft engine.
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Old 2nd December 2008, 23:21   #244
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December 3, 1917
Quebec Bridge opens near Quebec, Canada. At the time, it was the world's longest cantilever truss span in which stiff trusses extend from the bridge piers, without additional support.

December 3, 1979
The last Pacer is produced by the American Motor Company. The bubble-topped Pacer was a reasonably popular economy car, though its Jetson-styled body attracted flack from car critics and stand-up comedians alike.

Quebec Bridge
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AMC Pacer
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Old 3rd December 2008, 22:55   #245
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December 4, 1915
Automobile tycoon Henry Ford set sail for Europe on this day in 1915 from Hoboken, New Jersey, aboard the Ford Peace Ship. His mission: to end World War I. His slogan, "Out of the trenches and back to their homes by Christmas," won an enthusiastic response in the States, but didn't get very far overseas. Ford's diplomatic mission was not taken seriously in Europe, and he soon returned.

December 4, 1971
General Motors recalled 6,700,000 vehicles that were vulnerable to motor mount failure. It was the largest voluntary safety recall in the industry's history.

December 4, 1984
General Motors (GM) announced that it would stop production of diesel engines. According to GM, diesel motors get excellent mileage and produce plenty of power, but tend to be noisy and produce heavy exhaust. Tightening emissions laws drove GM to abandon diesels altogether.

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Old 4th December 2008, 20:32   #246
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Default 5th December

December 5, 1932
The first Ford Model C automobile was introduced on this day in 1932. It boasted the first four-cylinder engine made by Ford with a counter-balanced crankshaft. The Model C was largely eclipsed, however, by Ford's other 1932 offering: the Ford V-8. The V-8 was the first eight-cylinder Ford automobile, and boasted the first V-8 engine block ever cast in a single piece. The V-8 sold well, but Ford's fortunes had fallen from their peak. The one-time industry giant was trailing General Motors and Chrysler in sales.

December 5, 1951
Parking Services Inc. openedfirst push button-controlled Park-O-Mat garage opened in Washington, DC (open building with 16 floors and 2 basement levels); no ramps, no aisles and no lanes; used a "vehicle parking apparatus" such that single attendant, without entering a car, could automatically park or return an auto in less than a minute; two elevators parked 72 cars on a lot 25 by 40 feet.

December 5, 1977
The Plymouth Horizon was introduced on this day. It was the first American-made small car with front-wheel drive. Technical advances in drive technology had reduced the size and cost of front-wheel drive systems.

Ford Model C
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1933 Ford V8
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Plymouth Horizon or Dodge Omni
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Old 5th December 2008, 22:18   #247
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Default 6th December

December 6, 1955
On this day in 1955, the US Federal government standardized the size of license plates throughout the U.S. Previously, individual states had designed their own license plates, resulting in wide variations.

December 6, 1955
Volkswagenwerk G.M.B.H. Corporation, Wolfsburg, Germany, registered "Volkswagen" trademark.

December 6, 1976
Lady speedster Kitty O'Neil set a new women's land-speed record on this day in 1976. Driving the rocket-car Moticator SM1, O'Neil reached a top speed of 524.0mph in the Alvard Desert. Her average round-trip for the course was 512.7mph--the official women's record.

Kitty O'Neil
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Old 7th December 2008, 00:28   #248
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Default 7th December

December 7, 1931
The last Ford Model A was produced on this day. The Ford motor works were then shut down for six months for retooling. On April 1, 1932, Ford introduced its new offering, the high-performance Ford V-8, the first Ford with an 8-cylinder engine.

December 7, 1965
Chevrolet produced its 3,000,000th car for the year. It was the first time Chevrolet had produced an annual total surpassing 3,000,000 vehicles.

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Old 7th December 2008, 22:20   #249
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Default 8th December

December 8, 1945
After World War II ended with Japan's surrender on September 3, 1945, Japan remained under Allied occupation ruled by an occupation government. Its war industries were shut down completely. On this day in 1945, the Toyota Motor Company received permission from the occupation government to start production of buses and trucks--vehicles necessary to keep Japan running. It was the first rumble of the postwar auto industry in Japan.

December 8, 1964
Great Britain's worst auto accident ever killed three people and injured 120 in a pileup of more than 100 vehicles near Wigan, England.

December 8, 1981
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, the automotive division of the huge Mitsubishi conglomerate of Japan, began selling cars in the U.S. under its own name. Previously, Mitsubishi had done business in the States only in partnerships with American automakers.

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Old 8th December 2008, 19:54   #250
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Default 9th December

December 9, 1941
The Automobile Racing Drivers Club of America (ARDCA) closed its doors due to World War II, which created shortages of fuel, tires, and other automotive necessities--including men to drive the cars. After the war, the ARDCA never got started again.

December 9, 1963
The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, started during the Civil War, was the world's largest manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages. When automobiles came along, Studebaker converted its business, becoming a well-known automaker. But the brand couldn't keep up with its competitors, despite a 1954 merger with the Packard Motor Car Company. On this day in 1963, the last American-made Studebaker was produced, and the factory in South Bend, Indiana, closed forever. Three years later Studebaker's Canadian factories shut down, and the Studebaker passed into history.

The Last Studebaker, Lark
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Old 9th December 2008, 21:33   #251
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Default 10th December

December 10, 1845
English inventor R.W. Thompson received a British patent for his new carriage wheels, which had inflated tubes of heavy rubber stretched around their rims--the world's first pneumatic tires. They became popular on horse-drawn carriages, and later prevented the first motorcar passengers from being shaken to pieces.

December 10, 1868
First traffic control light in London used gas-lighted lantern.

December 10, 1915
The 1,000,000th Model T Ford was produced on this day in 1915. It was a triumph of Henry Ford's assembly-line innovations, and the dawn of a new American era. The speed and efficiency of Ford's factories made automobiles cheaper than ever. Average families could afford their own cars. The modern motorized world was being born.

December 10, 1970
Lee Iacocca became president of Ford Motor Company on this day. Iacocca joined Ford as an engineer in the 1940s, but quickly moved into marketing, where he gained influence quickly as a supporter of the Ford Mustang. Iacocca was eventually ousted from Ford on October 15, 1978. He went on to become president of the struggling Chrysler Corporation, which was saddled with an inventory of gas-guzzling road yachts, just as the fuel shortage began. Iacocca made history by talking the government into offering Chrysler $1.5 billion in loans. The bailout worked, with the help of Iacocca's streamlining measures. Chrysler recorded record profits in 1984.

R.W. Thompson
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Old 11th December 2008, 00:04   #252
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Default 11th December

December 11, 1894
The world's first auto show, the Exposition Internationale de Velocipidie et de Locomotion Automobile, opened in Paris, France. Four makes of automobiles were on display.

December 11, 1941
On this day in 1941, Buick lowered its prices to reflect the absence of spare tires or inner tubes from its new cars. Widespread shortages caused by World War II had led to many quotas and laws designed to conserve America's resources. One of these laws prohibited spare tires on new cars. Rubber, produced overseas, had become almost impossible to get. People didn't mind the spare-tire law too much, though. They were too busy dealing with quotas for gasoline, meat, butter, shoes, and other essentials.

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Old 11th December 2008, 23:23   #253
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Default 12th December

December 12, 1916
The Studebaker Corporation, a leading automaker that began as the world's biggest manufacturer of horseless carriages, began construction of a new factory in South Bend, Indiana. Studebaker was a leading automaker througout the first half of the twentieth century.

December 12, 1922
William L. Kissel and John F. Werner, of Hartford, WI, received a patent for a "Convertible Automobile Body", removable hard top that could turn a closed car into an open touring car (precursor to convertibles); assigned to Kissel Motor Car Company.

December 12, 1955
On this day in 1955, the Ford Foundation made the biggest donation to charity the world had yet seen: $500,000,000 to hospitals, medical schools, and colleges. The Ford Foundation supported many other charities, and is still active today.

Studebaker Brothers carriage on display in the Studebaker show room, Salt Lake City, 1908
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Old 12th December 2008, 16:09   #254
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Default 13th December

December 13, 1939
The first production Lincoln Continental was finished on this day (prototypes of the touring car had already been driven). The Lincoln Continentals of the 1940s are commonly considered some of the most beautiful production cars ever made. Today, the Lincoln Continental remains one of the world's most popular luxury cars.

December 13, 1957
The last two-seater T-bird was produced on this day. Through 1957, Ford's Thunderbirds were jaunty, two-seater sports cars that boasted removable hard tops and powerful V-8 engines. The 1958 Thunderbird (nicknamed the "square bird") was a four-passenger car, 18 inches longer and half a ton heavier than the previous year's model. The new luxury Thunderbird packed a 300hp V-8, making it one of the most muscular cars on the road. And one of the most popular. It sold more cars in 1958 than 1957, despite a nationwide slump in auto sales. Ford discontinued the Thunderbird after the 1997 model year, by which time it bore little resemblance to the stylish early "Bird" versions. To the delight of Thunderbird aficionados, it was reintroduced in 2002, with a brand-new and noteworthy design that incorporated elements of 1955-57 and 1961-62 models, including "porthole" windows, rounded lights and a hood scoop.

'39 Lincoln Continental
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'57 Ford T-bird
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Old 13th December 2008, 21:16   #255
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Default 14th December

December 14, 1909
The famous brick surface of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (the "Brickyard") was finished on this day. The speedway had its grand opening three days later, when the brickwork was ceremoniously completed by Governor Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana, who cemented the last "golden" brick.

December 14, 1931
Bentley Motors was taken over by Rolls-Royce on this day. Bentley Motors, a maker of luxury automobiles founded in 1920, was, like Rolls-Royce, one of the finest names in the business. As a Rolls-Royce subsidiary, Bentley was guided by the Rolls-Royce esthetic. Gradually, Bentley automobiles acquired elements of classic Rolls-Royce design until automobiles of the two marques became virtually indistinguishable.

December 14, 1947
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) was founded at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida. It was the first formal organization for stock-car racing, a sport said to have begun with souped-up bootlegger hot rods during Prohibition. Starting in 1953, the major automakers invested heavily in racing teams, producing faster cars than ever before: good results on the stock-car circuit were believed to mean better sales on the showroom floor. In 1957, however, rising costs and tightened NASCAR rules forced the factories out of the sport, and the modern era of the NASCAR superspeedway began.

December 14, 1983
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi handed over the keys of a white Maruti 800 to one Harpal Singh. Many especially political leaders and bureaucrats attended the launch ceremony of Maruti 800, but the person who dreamt of India's first people's car was missing, late Sanjay Gandhi. His smiling portrait lay hanged on the stage.

Mr. Harpal Singh, Marutiís first customer, proudly received the keys of the Maruti 800 car from the Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi on December 14, 1983
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