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Old 13th February 2009, 01:11   #316
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Default 13th February

February 13, 1953
William C. Mack of Mack Trucks Inc. died at age 94. Mack trucks, with their hood-mounted bulldogs, are a symbol of durability and toughness in the commercial vehicle industry.

February 13, 1958
The first Ford Thunderbird with four seats was introduced. The four-passenger "square bird" converted the top-of-the-line Ford from a sports car to a luxury car. The new four-seater packed a 352-cubic-inch 300 horsepower V-8. Thirty-eight thousand cars were initially sold, making the T-Bird one of only two American cars to increase sales between 1957 and 1958. The T-Bird has become a symbol of 1950s American culture, immortalized in movies like Grease and rock songs like the Beach Boys' "I Get Around."

1959 Ford Thunderbird
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Old 14th February 2009, 00:50   #317
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Default 14th February

February 14, 1896
Edward Prince of Wales, who would later become King Edward VII, became the first member of the British Royal Family to ride in a motor vehicle.

February 14, 1929
The mob hit known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre took place in Chicago on this day. In order to perpetrate the hit, members of Al Capone's gang reportedly fitted a Cadillac touring sedan to the speculations of the Chicago Police Department. Under the guidance of Capone's Lieutenant Ray Nitty, the murderers sought out the garage of one "Bugs" Moran with the intention of killing him. Fearing the possibility of misidentifying Mr. Moran, the henchman killed all seven of the men in the garage. Without the help of their modern-day Trojan Horse--the Cadillac Sedan which gang member Bryan Bolton claimed to have personally purchased from the Cadillac Car Company on Michigan Avenue in Chicago--the gang would not have been able to infiltrate "Bugs" Moran's garage with such veritable ease.

February 14, 1948
A week before the organization was officially incorporated, NASCAR held its first race for modified stock cars on a 3.2 mile-course at Daytona Beach. In the 150-mile race that featured almost exclusively pre-war Fords, Red Byron edged Marshall Teague to become NASCAR's first champion. Stock car racing would become a tradition at Daytona, but pre-war Fords would not. By 1949 the Olds 88 had become NASCAR's dominant vehicle.

February 14, 1977
Elmer Symons, a motorcycle enduro racer was born in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on this day. He began enduro racing in 1996 and moved to the United States in 2003. He had placed well in numerous regional competitions and had participated in the 2005 and 2006 Dakar Rally as a support mechanic. He crashed his privateer KTM and died at the scene at 142 km into the fourth stage in his first attempt to complete the Rally as a rider. The emergency helicopter was with him within 8 minutes of his emergency alert beacon triggering, but was unable to do anything other than record his death. He was in 18th place for motorcycles overall, and leading the Marathon class after the previous stage. Symons is the rally's 49th fatality.

Elmer Symons
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Old 15th February 2009, 19:56   #318
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Default 15th February

February 15, 1902
Oldsmobile ran its first national automobile advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post. Ransom Olds was no stranger to innovations in the field of publicity. A year earlier, Olds had sent one of his assistants, Roy Chapin, on a voyage from Detroit to New York in a 1901 Olds Runabout. In spite of the absence of proper roads, gas stations, or repair garages, nine days and 800 miles later, Chapin arrived at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel unscathed. Newspaper accounts of the journey boosted publicity for the Runabout. In one year, Olds' company increased its sales of Runabouts from 425 to 2,500. With the help of newspaper advertisements annual sales would jump another 100 percent to 5,000 cars by 1904.
Olds also commissioned two popular songwriters of the day to write a song for advertising purposes. The result was “In My Merry Oldsmobile,” a song inspired by the Curved Dash Olds and now an all-time standard.


February 15, 1967
J. Frank Duryea, founder of the Duryea Motor Wagon Company with his brother Charles, died in Old Saybrook, Conneticut, at age 97. Seventy-four years earlier in the month of February, the Duryea brothers manufactured the first of 13 Duryea Motor Wagons, unofficially giving birth to the auto production line and the American automobile industry.

Oldsmobile Print Ad of 1905
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J.Frank Duryea
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Old 15th February 2009, 19:58   #319
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Default 16th February

February 16, 1852
Henry and Clement Studebaker founded H & C Studebaker, a blacksmith and wagon building business, in South Bend, Indiana. The brothers made their fortune manufacturing during the Civil War, as The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company became the world's largest manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages.
With the advent of the automobile, Studebaker converted its business to car manufacturing, becoming one of the larger independent automobile manufacturers. During World War II, Studebaker manufactured airplanes for the war effort and emphasized its patriotic role by releasing cars called "The President," "The Champion," and "The Commander." Like many of the independents, Studebaker fared well during the war by producing affordable family cars.
After the war, the Big Three, bolstered by their new government-subsidized production facilities, were too much for many of the independents. Studebaker was no exception. Post World War II competition drove Studebaker to its limits, and the company merged with the Packard Corporation in 1954.
Financial hardship continued however as they continued to lose money over the next several years. Studebaker rebounded in 1959 with the introduction of the compact Lark but it was shortlived. The 1966 Cruiser marked the end of the Studebaker after 114 years.

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Old 16th February 2009, 21:30   #320
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Default 17th February

February 17, 1911
The first self-starter, based on patented inventions created by General Motors (GM) engineers Clyde Coleman and Charles Kettering, was installed in a Cadillac. In the early years of fierce competition with Ford, the self-starter would play a key role in helping GM to keep pace. The Ford Model T's crank starter caused its share of borken jaws and ribs. Charles Kettering, the founder of Delco (Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company), devised countless improvements for the automobile, including lighting and ignition systems, lacquer finishes, antilock fuels, and leaded gasoline. Prior to his work with cars, Kettering also invented the electric cash register.

February 17, 1934
Pennsylvania State industrial engineer Amos Neyhart fitted his own car with dual brake, clutch linkages and began teaching driving to State College High School students in State College, PA, started American tradition of driver's education, provided both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. Students who completed Amos Neyhart's course received State of Pennsylvania driver's licenses.

February 17, 1972
The 15,007,034th Volkswagen Beetle rolled out of the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, surpassing the Ford Model T's previous production record to become the most heavily produced car in history. The Beetle or the "Strength Through Joy" car, as the Germans initially called it, was the brainchild of Ferdinand Porsche. He developed the Volkswagen on orders from the German government to produce an affordable car for the people. Developed before World War II, the Beetle did not go into full-scale production until after the war. It became a counter-culture icon in the U.S. during the 1960s largely because it offered an alternative to the extravagant American cars of the time. In 1998, Volkswagen released the "New Beetle" to rave reviews.

Charles F. Kettering, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., and Nicholas Dreystadt, President of Cadillac Motor Car, looking over the first self starter. (pro.corbis.com)
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Amos Neyhart, father of Driving Schools
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Old 17th February 2009, 22:31   #321
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Default 18th February

February 18, 1898
Enzo Anselmo Ferrari was born in Modena, Italy, on this day. After fighting in World War I, where he lost both his brother and his father, Ferrari became a professional driver with the Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazional. The following year, Ferrari moved to Alpha Romeo, establishing a relationship that would span two decades and take Ferrari from test driver to the director post of the Alpha Racing Division. In 1929, Enzo founded Scuderia Ferrari, an organization that began as a racing club but that by 1933 had absorbed the entire race-engineering division at Alpha. For financial reasons, Alpha took back control of their racing division from Ferrari in 1939. His pride wounded, Ferrari left Alpha Romeo in 1940, transforming the Scuderia into an independent manufacturing company, the Auto Avio Costruzioni Ferrari. Construction of the first Ferrari vehicle was delayed until the end of World War II. Like Ferdinand Porsche, Enzo Ferrari suffered during the war, as his factory was bombed on numerous occasions. Still, Ferrari persisted with his work. In 1949, Ferrari's 166 won the 24 Hours at Le Mans, Europe's most famous car race. Ferrari would not look back. His passion for racing drove his company to become one of the world's premier race car builders. Ferrari cars would win 25 world titles and over 5,000 individual races during Enzo's 41-year reign. Off the track the company fared just as well. Responding to Ferrari's personal demand that his engineers create the finest sports car in the world, the company produced the F40 in 1987. With a top speed of 201mph and a 0 to 60 time of 3.5 seconds, the F40 may have been Ferrari's crowning achievement. Enzo Anselmo Ferrari died on August 14, 1988.

February 18, 1973
Richard Petty, the "King of Stock Car Racing," won the Daytona 500 before a crowd of over 103,000 spectators, marking the first time a stock car race had drawn over 100,000 spectators. No longer would there be questions about NASCAR's mainstream popularity. On this day in 1979, Petty became the first man to win six Daytona 500s. Winning the most prestigious event in any sport six times is enough to earn the nickname "The King," but Petty is perhaps most famous for his 1967 season in which he won 27 of 48 races, including a record 10 straight victories. In a sport where mechanical failure is commonplace, Petty's total domination was seen as superhuman. "The King" came from royal stock. His father, Lee Petty, was the first man to win the Daytona 500.

February 18, 2001
Dale Earnhardt Sr., one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history, died on this day in a last-lap crash at the 43rd Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida. He was 49. Earnhardt was about half a mile from the finish line when his car, the famous black No. 3 Chevrolet, spun out of control and then crashed into a wall while simultaneously colliding with driver Ken Schrader’s car. He died instantly of head injuries.
Earnhardt, whose tough, aggressive driving style earned him the nickname “The Intimidator,” was involved in another crash at the Daytona 500 in 1997, when his car flipped upside down on the backstretch. He managed to escape serious injury. In 1998, he went on to win the Daytona 500, his first and only victory in that race after 20 years of trying.
Earnhardt, a high-school dropout from humble beginnings in Kannapolis, North Carolina, said all he ever wanted to do in life was race cars. Indeed, he went on to become one of the sport’s most successful and respected drivers, with 76 career victories, including seven Winston Cup Series championships. In addition to his legendary accomplishments as a driver, Earnhardt was also a successful businessman and NASCAR team owner. The 2001 Daytona race which cost Earnhardt his life was won by Michael Waltrip, who drove for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI). Earnhardt’s son, Dale Jr., also a DEI driver, took second place in the race.

The crash of Dale Earnhardt's Chevy
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Rescue workers arrive at Dale Earnhardt's Goodwrench Chevrolet
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Old 18th February 2009, 23:56   #322
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Default 19th February

February 19, 1954
The Ford Thunderbird was born in prototype form on this day. It wouldn't be released to the market on a wide scale until the fall of 1954, the beginning of the 1955 model year. The T-Bird was a scaled-down Ford built for two. It came with a removable fiberglass hard top and a convertible canvas roof for sunny days. Armed with a V-8 and sporty looks, the T-Bird was an image car. For $2,944 a driver could drop the top, turn the radio dial, and enter a more promising world. General Motors had created the Corvette two years earlier to meet the needs of the G.I. who had developed a taste for European sports cars. In keeping with Ford's cautious tradition, the T-Bird, its response to the Corvette, still looked like a Ford and was classified as a "personal car" and not a "sports car." But it was popular. Just as it had relied heavily on one car, the Model T, in its early stages, Ford would rely heavily on the T-Bird to bolster its image as a progressive car maker capable of keeping pace with GM. A decade later the Mustang would take the torch from the T-Bird, but to remember Ford in the 1950s one only needs to call to mind the stylish growl of the Thunderbird's V-8.

February 19, 1961
Andy Wallace, a professional race car driver was born on 19 February 1961, in Oxford, England. Wallace was the driver for the then record-setting speed of 240.14 mph (386.47 km/h) in a McLaren F1, which for over 11 years this was the world record for the fastest production car.

1955 Ford Thunderbird
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Andy Wallace
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Old 19th February 2009, 19:48   #323
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Default 20th February

February 20, 1937
Legendary driver and designer Roger Penske was born on this day. While he drove and designed a variety of race-car models, Penske is most famous for his achievements in Indy car design, a field that he dominated for many years. Penske cars won three consecutive Indy 500s from 1987 to 1989 and 11 Indy 500s in 23 years. Overseeing the development of his team cars, Penske created an empire that would redefine Indy car racing. Asked why the Penske car was so successful, champion driver Emerson Fitipaldi explained, "The Penske is consistent and easy to adjust. That's why it wins." In addition to his achievements on the track, Roger Penske also changed the Indy game by founding CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams.) Penske created CART as an attempt to increase Indy car team owners' control over Indy 500 rule changes, then dictated by the USAC.

February 20, 1993
Ferrucio Lamborghini died on this day in 1993, leaving behind a remarkable life story of a farm boy with big dreams. Born on his family's farm outside of Bologna, Italy, Lamborghini grew up tinkering with tractors. He enrolled in an industrial college near Bologna, where he studied machinery. Graduating just before World War II, Lamborghini then served as an engineer in the Italian Air Force. After the war he returned to his family's farm and began assembling tractors from leftover war vehicles. Lamborghini built such high-quality tractors that by the mid-1950s, the Lamborghini Tractor Company had become one of Italy's largest farm equipment manufacturers. But Ferrucio dreamt of cars. In 1963, he bought land, built an ultra-modern factory, and hired distinguished Alfa Romeo designer Giotti Bizzarini. Together they set out to create the ultimate automobile. In 1964, Lamborghini produced the 300 GT, a large and graceful sports car. By 1974, Ferrucio Lamborghini had sold out of the business bearing his name, but the company would never deviate from his initial mission to create exquisite vehicles at whatever cost.

Roger Penske
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Ferrucio Lamborghini
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Old 20th February 2009, 20:42   #324
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Default 21st February

February 21, 1948
Six days after its first race was held, NASCAR was officially incorporated as the National Association for Stock Car Racing, with race promoter Bill France as president. From the beginning, stock car racing had a widespread appeal with its fan base. As the legend goes, the sport evolved from Southern liquor smugglers who souped up their pre-war Fords to outrun the police. NASCAR brought the sport organization and legitimacy. It was Bill France who realized that product identification would increase enthusiasm for the sport. He wanted the fans to see the cars they drove to the track win the races on the track. By 1949, all the postwar car models had been released, so NASCAR held a 150-mile race at the Charlotte Speedway to introduce its Grand National Division. The race was restricted to late-model strictly stock automobiles. NASCAR held nine Grand National events that year. By the end of the year, it was apparent that the strictly stock cars could not withstand the pounding of the Grand Nationals, so NASCAR drafted rules to govern the changes drivers could make to their cars. Modified stock car racing was born. Starting in 1953, the major auto makers invested heavily in stock car racing teams, believing that good results on the track would translate into better sales in the showroom. In 1957, rising production costs and tightened NASCAR rules forced the factories out of the sport. Today NASCAR racing is the fastest growing spectator sport in America.

February 21, 1954
The 1954 Grand National at Daytona was a microcosm of early NASCAR history. The crowds gathered to see which of the two dominant models of stock car--the fast Olds 88 or the tight handling Hudson Hornet--would take control of the race. However, the first car into the last turn of the first lap wasn't a Hudson or an Olds, but rather Lee Petty's Chrysler New Yorker. Unfortunately, Petty was going faster, and he crashed through the wooden embankment at the back of the turn. Unperturbed, Petty got back in the race. Nineteen laps later his breaks failed. Driving the rest of the race with no breaks, Petty downshifted his way into a competitive position. A late stop for fuel, though, sealed his fate, as he overshot his pit and lost precious seconds. Petty crossed the finish line second to the favored Olds 88 car driven by Tim Flock. The next morning Petty, eating breakfast with his family in a hotel restaurant, learned that Flock's Olds had been disqualified. Petty had won Daytona with no brakes

Lee Petty
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Old 21st February 2009, 20:54   #325
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Default 22nd February

February 22, 1923
The 1,000,000th Chevy was produced on this day. Chevrolet began when William Durant hired Louis Chevrolet, a Swiss race-car driver and star of the Buick Racing Team, to design a new car. Durant hoped to challenge the success of the Ford Model T with an affordable, reliable car. Chevrolet wanted to design a finer sort of automobile, however. Their product, the Classic Six, was an elegant car with a large price tag. But Durant built two more models, sturdier and cheaper, and Chevy was on its way. Durant eventually made over a million dollars in profits on his Chevrolet marque, money that allowed him to reacquire a majority interest in General Motors stock. Durant eventually merged the two companies and created GM's current configuration. Louis Chevrolet left the company before the merger, leaving only his name to benefit from the company's success.

February 22, 1949
Stylish Austrian race-car driver Niki Lauda was born in Vienna, Austria, on this day. Lauda is also the founder of Air Lauda, a continental European airline that features flight attendants in denim jeans and Team Lauda baseball caps.

February 22, 1959
It's difficult to talk about NASCAR without talking about the Daytona 500, and it's difficult to talk about the Daytona 500 without mentioning the Petty family. On this day in 1959, Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500 at the brand-new Daytona International Speedway, driving a new hardtop Olds 88 to a photo finish with Johnny Beauchamp. The Petty family would switch to Plymouths midway through the season that year. Richard and Lee Petty drove Plymouths, Chryslers, and Dodges for most of their remaining careers. Together the father and son team combined for 254 wins, including eight Daytona 500s. The Daytona 500 would become the premier event in NASCAR racing.

Niki Lauda
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Old 22nd February 2009, 21:27   #326
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Default 23rd February

February 23, 1893
Rudolf Diesel received a German patent for the diesel engine on this day. The diesel engine burns fuel oil rather than gasoline and differs from the gasoline engine in that it uses compressed air in the cylinder rather than a spark to ignite the fuel. Diesel engines were used widely in Europe for their efficiency and power, and are still used today in most heavy industrial machinery. In 1977, General Motors became the first American car company to introduce diesel-powered automobiles. The diesel-powered Olds 88 and 98 models were 40 percent more fuel-efficient than their gas-powered counterparts. The idling and reduced power efficiency of the diesel engine is much greater than that of the spark engine. Diesel cars never caught on in the U.S., partly because the diesel engine's greater efficiency is counter-balanced by its higher emissions of soot, odor, and air pollutants. Today, the argument over which engine is more environmentally friendly is still alive; some environmentalists argue that in spite of the diesel engine's exhaust pollution, its fuel efficiency may make it more environmentally sound than the gasoline engine in the long run.

February 23, 1958
In a bizarre twist, Argentine racing champion Juan Manuel Fangio was kidnapped by Communist guerrillas in Havana, Cuba, one day before the second Havana Grand Prix. Members of the July 26 Movement (M-26-7) and followers of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the kidnappers hoped to make a political statement by kidnapping the world-famous Fangio before he could defend his title at the Havana Grand Prix. "We wanted to show that Cuba was living in a situation of war against the Batista tyranny," explained Arnol Rodriguez, a member of the kidnapping team. Revolutionary Manuel Uziel, holding a revolver, approached Fangio in the lobby of his hotel and ordered the race-car driver to identify himself. Fangio reportedly thought it was a joke until Uziel was joined by a group of men carrying submachine guns. Fangio reacted calmly as the kidnappers explained to him their intention to keep him only until the race was over. After his release to the Argentine Embassy, Fangio revealed a fondness for his kidnappers, refusing to help identify them and relaying their explanation that the kidnapping was a political statement. In the meantime, the Havana Grand Prix had been marred by a terrible accident, leading Fangio to believe that he had been spared for a reason. Years later, Fangio would return to Havana on a work mission. He was received as a guest of the state, and he expressed his gratitude with quiet eloquence, "Two big dreams have come true for me: returning to Cuba and meeting Fidel Castro." Fangio was famous for winning races; he became legendary by missing one.

Juan Manuel Fangio
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Old 23rd February 2009, 19:02   #327
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Default 24th February

February 24, 1909
The Hudson Motor Car Company, founded by Joseph Hudson, in Detroit, Michigan, was incorporated on this day. Hudson is perhaps most famous for its impact on NASCAR racing, which it accomplished thanks to a revolutionary design innovation. In 1948, Hudson introduced the Monobuilt design. The Monobuilt consisted of a chassis and frame that were combined in a unified passenger compartment, producing a strong, lightweight design with a beneficial lower center of gravity that did not affect road clearance. Hudson called the innovation the "step-down design" because, for the first time, drivers had to step down to get into their cars. In 1951, Hudson introduced the Hornet. Fitted with a bigger engine than previous Hudson models, the Hudson Hornet became a dominant force on the NASCAR circuit. Because of its lower center of gravity, the Hornet glided around corners with relative ease, leaving its unstable competitors in the dust. For the first time a car not manufactured by the Big Three was winning big. In 1952, Hudson won 29 of 34 events. Excited by their success on the track, Hudson executives began directly backing their racing teams, providing the team cars with everything they needed to increase success. The Big Three responded, and in doing so brought about the system of industry-backed racing that has become such a prominent marketing tool today. The Hudson Hornet would dominate NASCAR racing until 1955 when rule changes led to an emphasis on horsepower over handling.

February 24, 1955
Formula 1 all-time victory leader Alain Prost was born in Saint-Chamond, France, on this day. Affectionately called "The Professor" by his fans for his cool, calculated driving style, Prost won 51 Grand Prix races during his F1 career. The French adore Prost for, among other things, his ability to uphold the country's national sporting tradition of winning on home soil. Prost won six French Grand Prix's, a record of national success second to none. Prost is perhaps best remembered for his late 1980s battles with British bulldog Nigel Mansel, and the late Brasilian superhero Ayrton Senna.

Alan Prost
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Old 24th February 2009, 19:57   #328
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Default 25th February

February 25, 1837
Thomas Davenport, of Brandon, VT, received a patent for an "Electric Motor" ("Improvement in Propelling Machinery by Magnetism and Electro-Magnetism"); probably the first commercially successful electric motor; first to secure a US patent for his direct current motor.

February 25, 1919
Oregon, USA became first state to impose 1% tax on gasoline. Collected funds used for road construction, maintenance.

25 February 1932
Charles Anthony Standish Brooks aka Tony Brooks, a British former racing driver was born in Dukinfield, Cheshire. He was also known as the "racing dentist". He participated in 39 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 14 July 1956, and scored the first win by a British driver in a British car in a Grand Prix since 1923, in 1955 driving a Connaught at Syracuse in a non World Championship race. He won 6 races for Vanwall and Ferrari, secured 4 pole positions, achieved 10 podiums, and scored a total of 74 championship points. He drove for BRM but retired from the team at the end of 1961, just before their most successful season.

February 25, 1961
David Carl "Davey" Allison, a NASCAR race car driver was born in Hollywood, Florida. He was best known as the driver of the Robert Yates Racing #28 Texaco-Havoline Ford. He was the eldest of four children born to NASCAR driver Bobby Allison and wife Judy. The family moved to Hueytown, Alabama and along with Bobby's brother Donnie Allison, family friend Red Farmer, and Neil Bonnett, became known in racing circles as the Alabama Gang. He died in his newly acquired Hughes 369HS helicopter crash while flying to Talladega Superspeedway.

25 February 2008
Ashley Alan Cooper, an Australian race car driver died from severe head and internal injuries after a high speed racing accident. Preliminary investigation suggests that his car may have clipped a guard rail at over 200 km/h at the Clipsal 500 meeting in Adelaide.
Cooper began his racing career in 1998 driving Holden HQ sedans. Leading the 2005 Commodore Cup championship for most of the year, Cooper finished fourth at the final round at Eastern Creek Raceway. In 2006, Cooper was crowned V8 Utes Rookie of the Year. He competed in three rounds of the 2007 Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series, with a top 15 finish at Queensland Raceway.

Charles Anthony Standish Brooks aka Tony Brooks
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David Carl "Davey" Allison
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Old 25th February 2009, 19:37   #329
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Default 26th February

February 26, 1903
Alexander Winton, driving his Winton Bullet, set the first speed record ever achieved at Daytona Beach, Florida. Built in 1902 the "Bullet Number 1" drove a measured mile at over 65mph. The first automobile race at Daytona was held a year earlier when Winton and his Bullet took on Ransom Olds. The race was declared a tie as both cars reached a top speed of 57mph. For hardware lovers, the "Bullet 1" carried a massive water-cooled four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 792 cubic inches. It had automatic intake valves, operated by compressed air, and an overhead cam. Winton's "Bullet 2" carried two four-cylinder engines bolted together, creating a straight eight. Winton's cars were driven by legendary speed demon Barney Oldfield, whose celebrated competitions with Ralph DePalma carried car racing through its first decade. Oldfield was America's first racing icon. Fans loved to watch him speed to victory with an unsmoked cigar clamped in his teeth.

February 26, 1935
The Pontiac "Indian Maiden" mascot was patented by its designers Chris Klein and C. Karnstadt. Pontiac, the namesake of the General Motors manufacturing division, was a male war chief of the Ottawa tribe, who distinguished himself through his bravery in fighting the English during the French and Indian Wars. The "Indian Maiden" mascot, therefore, is either a cross-dressed representation of Pontiac or a thoughtful attempt by its designers to find him a compatible hood ornament.

February 26, 1936
Hitler introduced Ferdinand Porsche's "Volkswagen" a.k.a. Kdf-Wagen.

Winton Bullet
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Pontiac "Indian Maiden" mascot
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Old 26th February 2009, 22:49   #330
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Default 27th February

February 27, 1914
In the first decade of automobile racing, one rivalry stood out above the others: the brash Barney Oldfield vs. the gentlemanly Ralph DePalma. On this day in 1914, it was DePalma who got the better of Oldfield in the 9th Vanderbilt Cup in Santa Monica, California. The Vanderbilt Cup was American racing's first tradition. The event was founded in 1904 to introduce Europe's best racers and manufacturers to the U.S. Named after the event's sponsor, William K. Vanderbilt Jr., the Vanderbilt Cup ran every year from 1904 to 1915, when race fatalities finally led Vanderbilt to shut down the event. With the amazing safety technology available in car racing today, it is hard for us to imagine just how dangerous racing was for men like Barney Oldfield and Ralph DePalma. Racers of their generation had more in common with Chuck Yeager and John Glenn than with the racers of today. Equipped with enormous engines and almost no suspension or steering technology, the pre-World War I race car was a hunk of metal on wheels capable of propelling itself over 60mph on dirt tracks. Guiding the cars through turns was as much a test of brute strength and raw courage as it was a test of skill. With death as a silent participant in every race, it is clear why a race between Barney Oldfield and Ralph DePalma was as fascinating to spectators. Oldfield, hard-nosed and streetwise would race anyone, anywhere, anytime. DePalma was a product of the system; deferential and quiet, but he was no less courageous. The rivalry would come to a head during the 1917 match races between the two men. Large-scale racing had been halted due to World War I, but head-to-head match races commanded considerable crowds. Oldfield, driving the Harry Miller designed "Golden Submarine," an aluminum-framed technological wonder, defeated DePalma and his more traditional Packard, powered by a 12-cylinder aircraft engine.

February 27, 1934
Ralph Nader was born on this day in Winsted, Connecticut. Nader would revolutionize consumer advocacy with his 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, in which he lambasted the safety standards of the Big Three automotive manufacturers.

February 27, 1948
The Federal Trade Commission issued a restraining order, preventing the Willys-Overland Company from representing that it had developed the Jeep. Willys-Overland did, in fact, end up producing the Army vehicle that would come to be known as the Jeep; but it was the Bantam Motor Company that first presented the innovative design to the Army.

February 27, 2008
Boyd Leon Coddington of American Hot Rod, TV series fame died on this day due to diabetic complications. Coddington had been hospitalized in January 2008, shortly after New Year's Eve. He was discharged, but was readmitted just a few days later to Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in suburban California. After being readmitted, doctors performed surgery and Boyd was expected to make a complete recovery but died on February 27, 2008 due to complications that were brought on from a recent surgery along with liver and kidney complications.
Many of the next generation of customizers started their career with Coddington. Larry Erickson, later the Chief Designer of the Mustang and Thunderbird for Ford Motor Co. worked with Coddington early on, and specifically credits the CadZZilla collaboration for jump-starting his career. Legendary designer Chip Foose, and fabricator Jesse James both started their careers in his shop. Foose rose to become the president of Coddington's company Hot Rods by Boyd, but later departed to start his own firm. The two became fierce competitors, to the point that their personal relationship split. Coddington hosted the Discovery Channel show “American Hot Rod", where he competed fiercely as well with his former protegé.
Coddington's creations have won the Grand National Roadster Show's "America's Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR)" award seven times, the Daimler-Chrysler Design Excellence award twice, and entry into both the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame and the National Rod & Custom Museum Hall of Fame . In 1997, Coddington (along with Foose), was inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame.

Boyd Coddington
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