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Old 27th January 2009, 23:21   #301
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Default 28th January

January 28, 1896
The first speeding fine handed to British motorist for exceeding 2mph in a built-up area.

January 28, 1937
The prototype of the Rolls-Royce Wraith made its first test run on this day. The first model of the postwar period was called the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, and it became the principal luxury sedan sold by Rolls-Royce in the decades following World War II.

January 28, 1938
Driver Rudolf Caracciola set a new land-speed record (not recognized by all organizations) of 268.496 mph on the German Autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. His record remains the highest speed ever achieved on a public road. Later in the same day, a young driver named Bernd Rosemeyer died in a crash on the Autobahn in an attempt to surpass Caracciola's record.

Rudolf Caracciola
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Last edited by SirAlec : 27th January 2009 at 23:22.
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Old 29th January 2009, 23:45   #302
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Default 30th January

January 30, 1920
The Toyo Kogyo Company, Ltd., was founded in Hiroshima, Japan, on this day. Jujiro Matsuda, group of investors took over failing Abemaki tree cork company; renamed Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd., founded in Hiroshima, JapanIn 1960, the company began manufacturing Mazda automobiles.

January 30, 1942
The last pre-war automobiles produced by Chevrolet and DeSoto rolled off the assembly lines today. Wartime restrictions had shut down the commercial automobile industry almost completely, and auto manufacturers were racing to retool their factories for production of military gear.

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Old 30th January 2009, 19:41   #303
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Default 31st January

January 31, 1897
The 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 hill climb in auto-racing history. The uphill dash was won by M. Pary in a steam-powered DeDion-Bouton automobile.

January 31, 1942
The last pre-war automobiles produced by Chrysler, Plymouth, and Studebaker rolled off the assembly lines today. Wartime restrictions had shut down the commercial automobile industry almost completely, and auto manufacturers were racing to retool their factories for military gear.

January 31, 1960
In a special racing series for small-bodied cars at the Daytona International Speedway, the Valiant captured the top seven positions in the 10-lap race. The Valiant was introduced by Chrysler in 1959 (the 1960 models) as a separate make. Its light handling and curvaceous European styling set the Valiant apart from other American compact cars. Over the following years, the Valiant became part of the Plymouth line, and its styling became more typically American. It retained its record for reliability and speed, however, and still has a fan club today.

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Old 31st January 2009, 17:49   #304
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Default 1st February

February 1, 1898
The Travelers Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut, extended coverage to an automobile owner, making them the first company to issue an automobile insurance policy to an individual. Dr. Truman J. Martin of Buffalo, New York, paid a premium of $11.25 for the policy that covered $5,000 to $10,000 of liability. In 1925, Massachusetts became the first state to mandate automobile insurance, "requiring owners of certain motor vehicles and trailers to furnish security for their civil liabilities." Today, auto insurance is a fact of life for American drivers as nearly every state requires some insurance for the operator of a motor vehicle. In a country where the driver's license serves as the primary form of identification, the challenge of selecting a coverage policy and paying the car insurance premium has become a rite of passage for many young Americans.

February 1, 1921
Carmen Fasanella of Princeton, New Jersey, obtained his cab driver's license at the tender age of 17. Mr. Fasanella would go on to drive his taxi for the next 68 years and 243 days, setting an unofficial record for the longest continuous career for a cabbie. Incidentally, the term "cab" comes from "cabriolet," a single-horse carriage used by coach drivers.

February 1, 1969
On this day in 1969, John DeLorean was named the top executive at Chevrolet. DeLorean had risen precipitously through the ranks at Pontiac, where he pioneered the successful GTO and Grand Prix models. As the general manager of Chevrolet, DeLorean sold a record 3,000,000 cars and trucks in 1973. Poised as a top candidate for the presidency of General Motors (GM), DeLorean walked away from Chevrolet in late 1973 to start his own company. He brashly predicted he would "show [GM] how to make cars." DeLorean raised nearly $200 million to finance his new venture, the DeLorean Motor Company. He built a factory in Northern Ireland and began production on the sleek, futuristic DMC-12 car. Interest in the car was high, but the company ran into serious financial trouble. Refusing to abandon his project, DeLorean involved himself in racketeering and drug trafficking in a desperate attempt to make the money that would save his company. In 1982, after being caught on film trying to broker a $24 million cocaine deal, DeLorean was arrested on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. A federal jury later ruled that DeLorean had been the victim of entrapment, and he was acquitted of all charges. Nevertheless, DeLorean's career and reputation were ruined.

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Old 1st February 2009, 19:05   #305
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Default 2nd February

February 2, 1880
The first electric streetlight was installed in Wabash, Indiana. The city paid the Brush Electric Light Company of Cleveland, Ohio, $100 to install a light on the top of the courthouse. A month later the city commissioned four more lights to be installed. Residents of Wabash became the first Americans to wear their sunglasses at night.

February 2, 1922
Morris Markin established Checker Cab Manufacturing Company. He also moved to Kalamazoo, MI from Illinois and took over factories previously used by the Handley-Knight and Dort automobile companies.

February 2, 1923
Gasoline mixed with Tetraethyl lead was first sold to the public at a roadside gas station owned by Willard Talbott in Dayton, Ohio. 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. Reportedly, in seven years of research and development General Motors labs tested at least 33,000 compounds for their propensity to reduce knocks. Leaded gasoline would fill the world's gas tanks until emissions concerns lead to the invention of unleaded gasoline.

February 2, 1992
A Nissan R91 became the first Japanese car to win an international 24-hour race, winning the "24 Hours of Daytona" event in Daytona Beach, Florida. Japanese engineering quality became the standard for consumer compact vehicles in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was not until the late 1980s and early 1990s, however, that Japanese manufacturers were able to compete with European and American manufacturers at the highest levels of automotive performance technology. Nissan's victory in the 24-hour race proved that Japanese automobiles had achieved the highest level of performance and engineering.

Morris Markin
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Nissan R91
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Old 3rd February 2009, 18:10   #306
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Default 3rd February

February 3, 1881
On this day in 1881, Joseph A. Galamb, a Ford Motor Company engineer and a member of the team of engineers that developed the Model T, was born in Mako, Hungary. The Model T design would change automotive history with its reliability, affordability, and capacity for mass production. "If you freeze the design and concentrate on production," Ford explained, "as the volume goes up, the cars are certain to become cheaper." Thanks to men like Joseph Galamb, the design for the "Tin Lizzy" met her maker's expectation to bring automobiles to the masses and guaranteed that the New World would become even newer for the next wave of immigrants. On February 3, 1981, the citizens of Mako, Hungary, paid tribute to Galamb, honoring the 100th anniversary of his birth.

February 3, 1919
Clessie Lyle Cummins incorporated Cummins Engine.


February 3, 1929
Major H.O.D. Seagrave set a new land speed record of 231.4mph at Daytona Beach, Florida, driving a car called the Golden Arrow. Seagrave and Sir Malcolm Campbell dueled for land speed supremacy from 1925 to 1935, when Campbell decisively ended the competition by driving his Bluebird III over the 300mph mark at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. These two competitors established Great Britain as the dominant force in land speed technology, a supremacy it maintained until jet engine technology became the norm for land speed race cars.

February 3, 1948
The first Cadillac with tailfins was produced on this day, signaling the dawn of the tailfin era. Tailfins served no functional purpose, unless you consider attracting attention functional. General Motors increased the size of the Cadillac's "tailfeathers" every year throughout the 1950s. In 1959, the model's sales slumped dramatically, sounding the death knell for the tailfin. The 1960s, consumers announced, would be a practical decade.

Joseph A. Galamb
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Clessie Lyle
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Old 3rd February 2009, 18:28   #307
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Default 4th February

February 4, 1913
On this day, Louis Henry Perlman of New York received a patent for the first demountable tire-carrying rim. Until Perlman's invention, changing a tire meant changing the wheel. Today, demountable tire-carrying rims are fashionable accessories that express their driver's individuality.

February 4, 1922
The Ford Motor accompany acquired the Lincoln Motor Company for $8 million on this day. Henry Ford's son, Edsel, was subsequently named president of Lincoln. The move signaled Henry Ford's first acknowledgement of diversification as a desirable marketing strategy. Throughout the 1920s, Ford Motors suffered from its unwillingness to match the diverse range of automobiles offered by General Motors. Ford regained some of its market share in 1927 when it released the new Model A, a car whose styling leaned heavily on the traditional sleek look of the Lincoln automobile.

February 4, 1941
On this day, 76-year-old Ransom Eli Olds received his last automobile patent for an internal combustion engine design. An innovator throughout his career, Olds built the first American steam-powered vehicle as early as 1894. In 1897, Olds received a patent for his "motor carriage," a gasoline-powered vehicle that he built the year before. He is also credited with having developed the first automobile production line. In an effort to meet the production demands for the Olds Runabout, Olds contracted with the likes of the Dodge brothers for the parts to his cars, which he then assembled in his own factory space. Olds' assembly line was able to produce a higher volume of automobiles in a shorter period of time than was possible using the traditional method of building each vehicle individually. Olds Motor Works sold 425 Runabouts in its first year of business, 2,500 the next year, 5,000 in 1904, and the rest is automobile history.

February 4, 1971
Rolls Royce declared itself bankrupt (state ownership) due to early problems with three-shaft turbofan concept of RB211 aero-engine for Lockheed L-1011 Tri-Star wide body airliners.

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Old 4th February 2009, 22:51   #308
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Default 5th February

February 5, 1878
On this day, Andre Gustave Citroen was born. Of Dutch Jewish ancestry, Citroen became one of France's leading carmakers.

February 5, 1918
Thomas A. Edison received a patent for a "Starting and Current-Supplying System for Automobiles".

February 5, 1947
On this day, NASCAR racer Darrell Waltrip was born in Owensboro, Kentucky. In 1986, Waltrip became the first stock-car driver to earn $7 million. Having gotten his start in the business racing go-carts at the tender age of 12, the 52-year-old Waltrip did not retire from the NASCAR circuit until 2000. Waltrip was Winston Cup champion three times and won 84 races in his career.

February 5, 1952
The first "Don't Walk" sign was installed in New York City on this day. The city erected the signs in response to the growing awareness of pedestrian fatalities in the increasingly crowded Manhattan streets. Pedestrian fatalities are essentially an urban problem, so city dwellers, next time you see a Don't Walk sign, please don't run. In 1997, 5,307 pedestrians died as a result of automobile accidents. Fatal collisions between pedestrians and motor vehicles occur most often between six p.m. and nine p.m., a period that roughly coincides with rush hour. In 1998, in hopes of minimizing gridlock, New York City began strictly enforcing its jaywalking laws during rush hour. Pedestrians are subject to a $50 fine if they walk, or run, when faced with a Don't Walk sign.

Andre Gustave Citroen with Henry Ford (courtesy pro.corbis.com)
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Darrell Waltrip
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Old 6th February 2009, 00:02   #309
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Default 6th February

February 6, 1911
Rolls-Royce adopted the "Spirit of Ecstasy" mascot, the silver-winged hood ornament that has become the company's symbol.

February 6, 1954
On this day, Mercedes introduced their 300SL coupe to the public. A stylish sports car characterized by its gull-wing doors, the coupe was a consumer version of the 300SL race car. With a six-cylinder engine and a top speed of 155mph, the two-door coupe created a sensation among wealthy car buyers who were actually seen waiting in line to buy it. Because of the impracticality of the gull-wing doors, the company only manufactured 1,400 300SL coupes. Nevertheless, the 300SL is widely considered the most impressive sports car of the decade. Unfortunately, the 300SL race car also played an infamous role in car racing history. Careening out of control in the 1955 race at Le Mans, the SL crashed into the gallery. Eighty spectators died and Mercedes-Benz pulled its cars out of racing competition for nearly three decades

February 6, 1985
On this day, Walter L. Jacobs, founder of the first car rental company, died. Although he was "not exactly" the founder of the Hertz Corporation, Jacobs' car rental business became the Hertz Corporation after it was purchased by John Hertz in 1923. At the age of 22, Jacobs opened a car-rental business with a dozen Model T Fords that he personally repaired and maintained. Within five years, his business generated an annual revenue of around $1 million. After he sold his business to Mr. Hertz, the president of the Yellow Cab and Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company, Jacobs remained Hertz's top executive. In addition to its innovations within the car rental industry, Hertz also maintains the unusual distinction of having been a subsidiary of both the General Motors Corporation and Ford Motor Company.

Mercedes 300SL (Ralph Lauren collection)
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Rolls Royce 'Spirit of Ecstasy'
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Old 6th February 2009, 21:03   #310
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Default 7th February

February 7, 1938
Harvey S. Firestone, founder of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, died in Miami Beach, Florida, at the age of 89. At the age of 31, Firestone developed a new way of manufacturing carriage tires and began production with only 12 employees. Eight years later, Henry Ford asked Harvey Firestone to provide the tires for the Ford Model T, and Firestone Tires became a household name. Firestone and Ford remained fast friends, but, unfortunately, neither man would live to see the marriage of their grandchildren and the legal union of their empires

February 7, 1942
On this day, the federal government ordered passenger car production stopped and converted to wartime purposes. In spite of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's exhortation that the U.S. auto industry should become the "great arsenal of democracy," Detroit's executives were reluctant to join the war cause. However, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the country mobilized behind the U.S. declaration of war. The government offered automakers guaranteed profits regardless of production costs throughout the war years. Furthermore, the Office of Production Management allocated $11 billion to the construction of war manufacturing plants that would be sold to the automobile manufacturers at remarkable discounts after the war. What had at first seemed like a burden on the automotive industry became a boon. The production demands placed on the industry and the resources allocated to the individual automobile manufacturers during the war would revolutionize American car making and bring about the Golden Era of the 1950s.

February 7, 1975
Canada imposed a 55 mph speed limit on this day. In 1973, reacting to the ban of oil sales to the United States and other Western countries by 11 Arab oil producers, President Richard Nixon lowered the U.S. speed limit to 55 mph in hopes of conserving gasoline. An addition to a greater reserve of oil, a by-product of the mandate turned out to be a lower rate of highway automobile fatalities. Two years later, Canada followed suit in hopes of lowering their own rate of highway fatalities.

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Old 7th February 2009, 21:49   #311
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Default 8th February

February 8, 1936
On this day, General Motors (GM) founder William Durant, filed for personal bankruptcy. Economic historian Dana Thomas described Durant as a man "drunk with the gamble of America. He was obsessed with its highest article of faith--that the man who played for the steepest stakes deserved the biggest winnings." GM reflected Durant's ambitious attitude toward risk-taking in its breathtaking expansionist policies, becoming in its founder's words "an empire of cars for every purse and purpose." However, Durant's gambling attitude had its down sides. Over a span of three years Durant purchased Oldsmobile, Oakland (later Cadillac and Pontiac), and attempted to purchase Ford. By 1910, GM was out of cash, and Durant was forced out of control of the company. Durant got back into the big game by starting Chevrolet, and eventually regained control of GM only to lose it a second time. Later in life, Durant attempted to start a bowling center and a supermarket, but met with little success. Durant's trials and tribulations are proof that, even in America's most successful industry, there were those who gambled and lost.

February 8, 1964
The Iraqi National Oil Company was incorporated in Baghdad on this day. Oil wealth would make Iraq an important player in the politics of the Middle East for the next three decades. The fear of losing access to Arab oil--a fear that marked all U.S. policy to the Middle East following the 1973 Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) embargo--drove the U.S. government to heavily support Iraq's war effort against Iran during the 1980s. However, America's friendly relationship with Iraq ended in 1990 with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, another oil wealthy Persian Gulf state friendly to the United States.

February 8, 1985
Sir William Lyons, founder of Jaguar Motors, died in Wappenbury Hall, England, at the age of 83. As a young entrepreneur, Lyons got his start making motorcycle sidecars in Blackpool, England. In 1926, he co-founded the Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company with William Walmsley. Recognizing the demand for automobiles, Lyons eventually built wooden frames for the Austin Seven car, calling his creation the Austin Swallow. Spurred on by the warm reception of his Austin Swallows, Lyons began building his own cars, which he called Standard Swallows. In 1934, his company, now SS Cars Ltd., released a line of cars called Jaguars. After World War II, Lyons dropped the "SS" initials that reminded people of the SS title of Nazi officers. Jaguar Cars Ltd. went on to produce a number of exquisite sports cars and roadsters, among them the XK 120, the D Type, and the XK-E or E Type. Lyons' most monumental achievement was perhaps the E Type, which was the fastest sports car in the world when it was released in 1961. With a top speed of 150mph and a zero-to-60 of 6.5 seconds, the Jaguar made a remarkable 17 miles to the gallon and suffered nothing in its looks. In spite of Jaguar's distinguished record on the race track, the company is most associated with the beautiful lines of its car bodies, an impressive feat considering Lyons' first offering to the automobile industry was a wooden frame bolted to another man's car.

Sir William Lyons
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Old 8th February 2009, 23:39   #312
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Default 9th February

February 9, 1846
Wilhelm Maybach was born in Heilbronn, Germany.

February 9, 1909
On this day, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation incorporated with Carl G. Fisher as president. The speedway was Fisher's brainchild, and he would see his project through its inauspicious beginnings to its ultimate glorious end. The first race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway took place on August 19, 1909, only a few months after the formation of the corporation. Fisher and his partners had scrambled to get their track together before the race, and their lack of preparation showed. Not only were lives lost on account of the track, but the surface itself was left in shambles. Instead of cutting losses on his investment in the speedway, Fisher dug in and upped the stakes. He built a brand new track of brick, which was the cheapest and most durable appropriate surface available to him. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway would later be affectionately called "the Brickyard." Fisher's track filled a void in the international racing world, as there were almost no private closed courses in Europe capable of handling the speeds of the cars that were being developed there. Open course racing had lost momentum in Europe due to the growing number of fatal accidents. Recognizing the supremacy of European car technology, but preserving the American tradition of oval-track racing, Fisher melded the two hemispheres of car racing into one extravagant event, a 500-mile race to be held annually. To guarantee the attendance of the European racers, Fisher arranged to offer the largest single prize in the sport. By 1912, the total prize money available at the grueling Indy 500 was $50,000, making the race the highest paying sporting event in the world. However, the Brickyard almost became a scrap yard after World War II, as it was in deplorable condition after four years of disuse. The track's owner, Eddie Rickenbacher, even considered tearing it down and selling the land. Fortunately, in 1945, Tony Hulman purchased the track for $750,000. Hulman and Wilbur Shaw hastily renovated the track for racing in the next year, and launched a long-term campaign to replace the wooden grandstand with structures of steel and concrete. In May of 1946, the American Automobile Association ran its first postwar Indy 500, preserving an American tradition. Today, the Indy 500 is the largest single-day sporting event in the world.

Wilhelm Maybach and his most famous creation: The original Mercedes automobile of 1901.
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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Carl Graham Fisher (Image: U.S. Library of Congress)
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Old 9th February 2009, 22:48   #313
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Default 10th February

February 10, 1941
The first highway post office service was established along the route between Washington, D.C., and Harrisonburg, Virginia. Mail was transported in buses equipped with facilities for sorting, handling, and dispatch of mail.

February 10, 1966
Ralph Nader testified before the Senate, reinforcing his earlier claims that the automobile industry was socially irresponsible and detailing the peculiar methods the industry used in attempting to silence him. Nader's 1965 book, Unsafe At Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, had become a sensation a year earlier. Nader attacked the automotive industry's unwillingness to consider the safety of the consumer, or as Nader himself put it, "insisting on maintaining the freedom to rank safety wherever it pleases on its list of considerations." Nader's heaviest criticism was leveled at the Chevrolet Corvair, a car that had been involved in a high number of one-car accidents. General Motors (GM) responded to Nader's criticism by launching an investigation into his personal life and accusing Nader of being gay and anti-Semitic. Nader filed an invasion of privacy suit against GM, and ultimately exacted $425,000 from the automotive giant. By bringing the public's right to safe automobiles into the spotlight, and by directly challenging General Motors in court, Nader created the methodology for contemporary consumer advocacy. The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which in 1966 mandated seatbelts, owed its existence to Nader's initiative, as do the other federally regulated safety standards which are common practice today.

February 10, 1989
The Ford Motor Company announced a 1988 net income of $5.3 billion, a world's record for an automotive company. The record served to mark the return to triumph of the U.S. automotive industry after the doldrums of the 1970s and early 1980s.

Ralph Nader
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Old 10th February 2009, 19:48   #314
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February 11, 1937
After a difficult 44-day sit-down strike at the Fisher Body plant in Flint, Michigan, General Motors (GM) President Alfred P. Sloan signed the first union contract in the history of the U.S. automobile industry. Organized by the Union of Auto Workers (UAW), the strike was intended to force GM to give ground to its workers. GM workers had protested before, and they'd been fired and replaced for it. The UAW decided they needed to achieve the total shutdown of a working plant in order to bring company executives to the negotiating table. On New Year's Eve, 45 minutes after lunch, union leaders ordered the assembly line halted. Executives kept the belts running, but the workers wouldn't work. GM turned to the courts, winning an injunction against the workers on the grounds that the sit-down strike was unconstitutional. The injunction was overturned when it was discovered that the judge who presided in the case owned over $200,000 of GM stock. Twelve days after the strike had begun, with the workers still dug in, Sloan ordered the heat in the building turned off and barred the workers access to food from the outside. Police, armed with tear gas and guns, surrounded the building. The police fired--first tear gas and later bullets--into the plant. Sympathetic picketers outside, many of them family members of the strikers, helped to break all the windows in the plant by hurling rocks from were they stood. Others, braver still, broke the picket line with their automobiles to form a barricade that prevented the police vehicles from overrunning the building the strikers occupied. Finally, days after the Battle of the Running Bulls, as the violent confrontation came to be known, Michigan Governor Frank Murphy called in the National Guard with the intention of quelling any further violence. The presence of the National Guard bolstered the strikers' confidence. Realizing the futility of their position, GM executives came to the bargaining table. After a week of negotiations over which Governor Murphy personally presided, an agreement between GM and the UAW was reached.

February 11, 1951
Marshall Teague drove a Hudson Hornet to victory on the beach oval of the 160-mile Daytona Grand National at Daytona Beach, Florida, beginning Hudson's extraordinary run on the NASCAR circuit. In 1948, Hudson introduced the revolutionary "step-down" chassis design that is still used in most cars today. Until Hudson's innovation all car drivers had stepped up into the driver's seats. The "step-down" design gave the Hornet a lower center of gravity and, consequently, better handling. Fitted with a bigger engine in 1951, the Hudson Hornet became a dominant force on the NASCAR circuit. For the first time a car not manufactured by the Big Three was winning big. Excited by the publicity generated by their success on the track, Hudson executives began directly backing their racing teams, providing the team cars with everything they needed to make their cars faster. The Big Three, fearing that losses on the track would translate into losses on the salesroom floor, hurried to back their own cars. Thus was born the system of industry-backed racing that has become such a prominent marketing tool today. The Hudson Hornet would contend for nearly every NASCAR race between 1951 and 1955, when rule changes led to an emphasis on horsepower over handling.

February 11, 1958
On this day the racer Marshall Teague died at age 37 after attempting to raise the closed-course speed record at Daytona.

Marshall Teague and his #6 Fabulous Hudson Hornet
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Old 11th February 2009, 23:22   #315
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Default 12th February

February 12, 1898
First car crash resulting in fatality happened in Great Britain to Henry Lindfield, Brighton business agent for International Cars; electric car's steering gear failed, ran through a wire fence, hit an iron post, cut main artery in his leg, died of shock from the operation the following day.

February 12, 1900
J.W. Packard received his first automotive patent a year after forming his company with partner George Weiss. Packard became interested in building cars after purchasing a Winton horseless carriage. The Winton proved unreliable and after nearly a year of fixing up his horseless carriage, Packard decided he would manufacture his own automobile.

February 12, 1953
The Willys-Overland Company, which brought America the Jeep, celebrated its golden anniversary. The original design for an all-terrain troop transport vehicle--featuring four-wheel drive, masked fender-mount headlights, and a rifle rack under the dash--was submitted to the U.S. Armed Forces by the American Bantam Car Company in 1939. The Army loved Bantam's design, but the production contract was ultimately given to Willys-Overland on the basis of its similar design and superior production capabilities. Mass production of the Willys Jeep began after the U.S. declaration of war in 1941. By 1945, 600,000 Jeeps had rolled off the assembly lines and onto battlefields in Asia, Africa, and Europe. The name "Jeep" is supposedly derived from the Army's request to car manufacturers to develop a "General Purpose" vehicle. "Gee Pee" turned to "Jeep" somewhere along the battle lines. The Willys Jeep became a cultural icon in the U.S. during World War II, as images of G.I.s in Gee Pees liberating Europe saturated the newsreels in movie theaters across the country. Unlike the Hummer of recent years, the Jeep was not a symbol of technological superiority but rather of the courage of the American spirit, a symbol cartoonist Bill Mauldin captured when he drew a weeping soldier firing a bullet into his broken down Willys Jeep. In 1945, Willys-Overland introduced the first civilian Jeep vehicle, the CJ-2A.

February 12, 1973
Four metric distance road signs, first in U.S., erected along Interstate 71 in Ohio; showed distance in both miles, kilometers between Columbus and Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland

Few of Bill Mauldin's Pulitzer Prize winning cartoons on Jeep & WW2
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Source:
The History Channel
Wikipedia

Last edited by SirAlec : 11th February 2009 at 23:25.
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