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Old 27th February 2009, 22:44   #331
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Default 28th February

February 28, 1903
Henry Ford hired John F. and Horace E. Dodge to supply the chassis and running gear for his 650 Ford automobiles. John and Horace, who began their business careers as bicycle manufacturers in 1897, first entered the automobile industry as manufacturers of auto parts in 1901. Manufacturing car bodies for Henry Ford and Ransom Olds, the Dodge Brothers had become the largest parts-manufacturing firm in the U.S. by 1910. In 1914, the brothers founded the Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company, and began work on their first automobiles. Dodge vehicles were known for their quality and sturdiness, and by 1919 the Dodge Brothers were among the richest men in America. Their good fortune didn't hold, however. Both brothers died of influenza in 1920. Their company was sold to a New York bank, before eventually being purchased by Chrysler in 1928. Under Chrysler's direction, Dodge became a successful producer of cars and trucks marketed for their ruggedness.

February 28, 1932
The last Ford Model A was produced, ending an era for the Ford Motor Company. The successor to the Model T, the Model A was an attempt to escape the image of bare bones transportation that had driven both the Model T's success and its ultimate failure in the market. The vastly improved Model A boasted elegant Lincoln-like styling, a peppy 40 horsepower four-cylinder engine, and, of course, a self-starting mechanism. The Model A was as affordable as its predecessor, however, and with a base price at $460, five million Model A's would roll onto American highways between 1927 and 1932.

February 28, 1960
Richard Petty, the king of stock car racing, recorded his first Grand National victory at the old Charlotte, North Carolina, fairgrounds. Eight months earlier Richard had edged out his father, Lee, at the Grand National race in Lakewood, Georgia, only to watch his victory reviewed on the grounds of his own father's protest. The protest was upheld, and Lee Petty was awarded the win. It's not hard to tell how Richard developed the competitive instinct that would make him the winningest NASCAR race of all time.

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Petty's famous Plymouth Superbird, on display at the Richard Petty Museum.
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Old 28th February 2009, 13:47   #332
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Only 34 days to go before you complete an entire year! Or do you have something for the 29th of February as well?

Thanks for solely creating such an informative thread, Sir Alec!
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Old 1st March 2009, 14:23   #333
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Default 29th February

February 29, 1908
At the Brooklands track in Weybridge, England, a standardization test of three random Cadillacs (famous 1908 parts interchangeability test) took place under the watchful eye of the Royal Automobile Club. This test was the first step towards a heightened reputation for American motor cars overall. Proving the concept of interchangeable parts to be a valid one was a leap towards mass-production and more ease in car repair. Three 1907 Model Ks were used in this test, more famously known as Dewar Trophy test of the Royal Automobile Club in England. They were disassembled, the parts mixed, and then reassembled without problems. This test cemented the Cadillac's reputation for precision and quality and brought fame to the marque.

February 29, 1964
William S. James, who designed cars for Hupmobile, Studebaker, and Ford, and who served as vice president for Research and Engineering with the Fram Corporation, died on this day at the age of 71.

February 29, 1992
Earl Scheib, founder of a company that specializes in repainting and collision repair of automobiles died on this day.
He founded the company in Los Angeles in 1937, the company grew quickly following World War II and by 1975 had branches in Germany and England, all company owned, with Scheib manufacturing his own paint. Scheib's policy of one-day service and production line techniques flew directly into the face of state-of-the-art professional auto body standards.
After Scheib's death, the company was sold to a group of investors led by former college basketball champions Chris Bement and Dan Siegal, who made his fortune in Las Vegas winnings. The company was restructured, and improvements were made in the quality of paint.

One of the three 1907 Model K used for the standardization test of 1908 (courtesy:docrebuild.com)
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Old 1st March 2009, 14:42   #334
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March 1, 1897
The Winton Motor Carriage Company was organized in Cleveland, Ohio, on this day, with Alexander Winton as president. After 12 years in the bicycle manufacturing business, Winton began producing cars with his name on them in 1896. A fiery Scotsman, Winton took the challenge to build the world's fastest automobile personally. Like Ransom Olds, he raced his own cars. Racing at Daytona Beach is said to have begun with a match race between Winton and Olds in 1902, which the two men declared a draw. A year later, Winton won a multi-car race at Daytona, driving his Winton Bullet to an average speed of 68mph and becoming the first person to break the mile-per-minute barrier. Alexander Winton's personal rivalries did not stop with Ransom Olds. In 1901, Henry Ford, after being passed over for a mechanic's job with Winton's company, defeated Winton in his first and last car race. Ford's future notoriety would depend heavily on the publicity won in his encounter with his one-time potential employer. James Ward Packard also maintained a personal rivalry with Winton. After having purchased a Winton, Packard complained about the car's reliability. Winton reportedly politely urged Packard to build his own car. Packard responded by starting his own company. In the first decade of American car racing Wintons and Packards, driven by Barney Oldfield and Ralph DePalma, respectively, would fuel the sport's greatest rivalry. In 1903, Winton drove his car from San Francisco to New York to prove the reliability of his vehicles. It was the automotive industry's most dramatic achievement up to that point as such a long trip by an automobile was unheard of in 1897 but Mr. Winton believed he could do it.

A popular anecdote sums up Winton's involvment in the early automotive industry. Faced with mechanical problems in an early Winton, a Cleveland area resident reportedly towed his Winton through the streets of Cleveland with a team of mules exhibiting a sign reading, "This is the only way you can drive a Winton." In response, Winton hired a farm wagon carrying a jackass to follow his detractor, exhibiting a sign that read, "This is the only animal unable to drive a Winton."
A must read book on Winton and his acheivement is rightfully named 'Famous but forgotten' authored by Thomas Saal and Bernard Golias This 192-page book includes numerous photographs of vintage Winton automobiles and their accomplishments in performance races. Winton's career, from bicycle manufacturer to automotive innovator to diesel-engine developer for trains, illustrates the versatility which his prodigious creativity required.

March 1, 1973
The Honda Civic was introduced to the United States market on this day in 1973. Luckily for Honda, the introduction of the small, fuel-efficient car coincided with the oil crisis of the early 1970s. This made car owners aware of the advantages of fuel economy and the Civic became a popular alternative to the inefficient cars offered by American car companies.
Civic is the second-longest continuously-running nameplate from a Japanese manufacturer, with Toyota Corolla, introduced in 1968, taking the first spot.

Alexander Winton
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1910 Winton Six
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First generation Honda Civic.
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Old 1st March 2009, 23:29   #335
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March 2, 1918
Hans Ledwinka, the engineer who created the Tatra marquee, died in Munich, Germany, at the age of 89. Early in his career, Ledwinka took over engineering for Nesseldorf Wagenbau of Austria-Hungary when the founder of the company, Hugo von Roslerstamm, decided the company should enter racing. Under Ledwinka's leadership, the Rennzweier and the Type A racers were produced. The cars demonstrated modest racing success, and wide-scale production of the Type S began in 1909. Nesseldorf Wagenbau continued to grow until 1914, when, coinciding with the outbreak of WWI, it shifted to railroad production. On October 28, 1918, two weeks before the end of the war on the Western Front, the Moravian town of Nesseldorf of Austria-Hungary became the city of Koprivnicka in the newly created country of Czechoslovakia. Just after the war, Hans Ledwinka began construction of a new automobile to be marketed under the marquee Tatra, a division of the newly named Koprivnicka Wagenbau. The Tatra High Mountains are among the highest mountains in the Carpathian Mountain Range, the legendary home of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Ledwinka settled on the name Tatra in 1919 when an experimental model of his car with four-wheel brakes passed a sleigh on an icy mountain road, prompting the sleigh riders to 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" was realized. The reliable, rugged T11, like Ford's Model T, gave many Czechoslovakians their first opportunity to own an automobile. In 1934, Tatra achieved automotive notoriety with the introduction of the Tatra 77, the world's first aerodynamically styled automobile powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled engine.

March 2, 1925
The first nationwide highway numbering system was instituted by the joint board of state and federal highway officials appointed by the secretary of agriculture. In order to minimize confusion caused by the array of multiform state-appointed highway signs, the board created the shield-shaped highway number markers that have become a comforting sight to lost travelers in times since. Later, interstate highway numbering would be improved by colored signs and the odd-even demarcation that distinguishes between north-south and east-west travel respectively. As America got its kicks on Route 66, it did so under the aegis of the trusty shield.

March 2, 1947
Ferrari drove first 125S vehicle out of the factory gates.

March 2, 1949
The first automatic streetlight system in which the streetlights turned themselves on at dark was installed in New Milford, Connecticut, by the Connecticut Light and Power Company. Each streetlight contained an electronic device that contained a photoelectric cell capable of measuring outside light. By November of 1949, seven miles of New Milford's roads were automatically lit at dusk by a total of 190 photoelectric streetlights. No longer would the proud men of New Milford be forced to don stilts in order to light their street lamps.

Hans Ledwinka
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Old 3rd March 2009, 00:46   #336
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March 3, 1932
Alfieri Maserati died at the age of 44 from complications resulting form injuries incurred in a 1927 racing accident.

March 3, 1949
The postwar car market was so strong in the United States that a number of bold entrepreneurs formed independent car companies to challenge the established Big Three. Arguably the most remarkable such independent was the Tucker Corporation, founded by Preston "P.T." Tucker. Tucker, a gifted marketeer and innovator, created a phenomenon felt through the automotive industry when he released his car, the Tucker. Along with the cars, Preston Tucker sent a magazine called "Tucker Topics" along to dealers, hoping to increase the salesmen's enthusiasm for his automobile. The Tucker was equipped with a number of novel features. It had six exhaust pipes, a third headlight that rotated with the axle, and a "bomb shelter" in the backseat. Beyond the frills though, the Tucker packed a powerful punch, making 0-60mph in 10 seconds and reaching a top speed of 120mph. Great anticipation surrounded the awaited release of the Tucker, but in 1949, before his cars could reach their market, the Securities and Exchange Commission indicted Preston Tucker on 31 counts of investment fraud. Tucker had only produced 51 cars. On this day in 1949, the Tucker Corporation went into receivership, and the Tucker automobile became merely a historical footnote.

March 3, 1972
Sir William Lyons, founder of Jaguar Motors, retired as Chairman of Jaguar Cars Ltd. on this day. 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 WWII, Lyons dropped the "SS" initials that reminded people of the Nazi SS soldiers. 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. Perhaps Lyons' most monumental achievement, the E Type was the fastest sports car in the world when it was released in 1961. With a top speed of 150mph and a 0-60mph 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 associated most with the beautiful lines of its car bodies appropriate considering Lyons's first offering to the automobile industry was a wooden frame bolted to another man's car. After a series of bouyouts by various auto companies, now its owned by Indian Conglomerate 'TATA'.

Alfieri Maserati
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Sir William Lyons
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Old 3rd March 2009, 22:24   #337
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March 4, 1887
The Daimler "benzin motor carriage" made its first test run in Esslingen and Cannstatt, Germany. It was Gottlieb Daimler's first four-wheel motor vehicle. The "benzin" has nothing to do with Carl Benz; at that time Gottlieb Daimler was Carl Benz's major competitor. Daimler, an engineer whose passion was the engine itself, had created and patented the first gasoline-powered, water-cooled, internal combustion engine in 1885. In Daimler's engine, water circulated around the engine block, preventing the engine from overheating. The same system is used in most of today's automobiles. Daimler's first four-wheel motor vehicle had a one-cylinder engine and a top speed of 10 miles per hour. By 1899, Daimler's German competitor, Benz and Company, had become the world's largest car manufacturer. In the same year, a wealthy Austrian businessman named Emile Jellinek saw a Daimler Phoenix win a race in Nice, France. So impressed was he with Daimler's car that he offered to buy 36 vehicles from Daimler should he create a more powerful model, but requested that the car be named after his daughter, Mercedes. Gottlieb Daimler would never see the result of his business deal with Jellinek, but his corporation would climb to great heights without him. The Mercedes began a revolution in the car manufacturing industry. The new car was lower to the ground than other vehicles of its time, and it possessed a wider wheelbase for improved cornering. It had four speeds, including reverse, and it reached a top speed of 47mph. The first Mercedes had a four-cylinder engine and is generally considered the first modern car. In the year of its birth, the Mercedes set a world speed record of 49.4mph in Nice, France--the very course that was responsible for its marque's conception. By 1905, Mercedes cars had reached speeds of 109mph. Forever reluctant to enter car racing, Carl Benz realized he must compete with Daimler's Mercedes to preserve his company's standing in the automotive industry. For 20 years, Mercedes and Benz competed on racetracks around the world. In 1926, the Daimler and Benz corporations merged. The two founders never met.

March 4, 1888
Knute Kenneth Rockne, football coach at the University of Notre Dame and namesake of the Studebaker's Rockne brand, was born in Voss, Norway. Studebaker, based along with Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, named the Rockne brand after the winningest coach in college football history and arguably the most important man in town and was once a salesman for Studebaker. The low-priced Rockne was produced between 1932 to 1933. However, unlike Coach Rockne, the Rockne never enjoyed success as the Great Depression put the squeeze on all U.S. markets.

March 4, 1902
The American Automobile Association (AAA) was organized on this day. The American Motor League (AML) had been the first organization to address the problems that commonly plague motorists, but it fell apart due to a diverse membership that featured powerful car makers who wanted to limit the AML only to issues that affected car manufacturing and engineering. However, soon trade groups such as the Association of Automotive Engineers took its place, paving the way for more specialized automobile organizations. AAA was formed to deal with the concerns of the motorists themselves, and has been America's largest organization of motorists since.

Studebaker Rockne
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Knute Kenneth Rockne, football coach and former Studebaker salesman
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AAA logo
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An AAA Car Care Plus center in Santa Clara, California
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Old 4th March 2009, 20:21   #338
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March 5, 1658
Antoine de la Mothe, Le Sieur de Cadillac, namesake of Cadillac cars, was born in Gascogny, France. Cadillac was the explorer responsible for mapping the Great Lakes region of North America for the French crown. He is credited as the founder of Detroit, Michigan, which today is affectionately known as the Motor City.

March 5, 1875
The Wisconsin state legislature offered a $10,000 reward on this day to any man who could supply "a cheap and practical substitute for use of horse and other animals on highway and farm," documenting that the search for a motorized wagon was officially under way by 1875. By 1879, George Selden had already sought a patent for his self-propelled gas-burning vehicle. Ransom Eli Olds, founder of Oldsmobile, created his first steam-propelled automobile in 1887. Frank and Charles Duryea drove their first motorized wagon in 1893. The Duryea brothers would eventually be credited with operating the first auto production line when they produced and sold 13 cars in 1896. Elwood Haynes of Kokomo, Indiana, claimed to have produced the first "real" car in 1894. Haynes contended that the Duryeas had only managed to attach an engine to a wagon. In short, the historical bounty for the creation of the automobile was a cup to be shared by all. Legally, however, and later financially, George Selden won the first prize. In 1895, Selden received U.S. Patent No. 549,160 for his "road engine." With the granting of the patent, Selden, whose designs were generally inferior to those of his contemporary automotive pioneers, won a monopoly on the concept of combining an internal combustion engine with a carriage. Although Selden never became an auto manufacturer, every automaker would have to pay him a percentage of their profits for the right to construct a motor car. In 1903, Henry Ford refused to pay Selden the percentage, arguing that his design had nothing to do with Selden's. After a long drawn-out legal case that ended in 1911, the New York Court of Appeals upheld Selden's patent for all cars of the particular out-dated construction he originally described, and in doing so ended Selden's profitable reign as the father of the automobile. Ironically, it wasn't until Ford's Model T that the car became a significant substitute for "the horse and other animals" as stipulated in the aforementioned challenge issued by the Wisconsin legislature. By that time, Henry Ford didn't need the $10,000.

March 5, 1929
Fire destroyed the Los Angeles Automobile Show on this day in 1929. Over 320 new cars, including the Auburn Motor Company's only Auburn Cabin Speedster, were lost in the flames.

March 5, 1929
Erik Carlsson, aka "Carlsson på taket" ("Carlsson on the roof"), was born in Trollhättan, Sweden and was a rally driver for Saab. Because of his public relations work for Saab, he is also known as Mr. Saab.

March 5, 1929
David Dunbar Buick, a Scottish-born American inventor best known for founding the Buick Motor Company died on this day. He was 74. He was born in Arbroath, Angus, Scotland moving to Detroit, Michigan at the age of two when his parents emigrated to the United States.

March 5, 1995
Gregg Hansford, Australian motorcycle and touring car racer died on this day while competing in a Supertouring race in 1995 at Phillip Island. Hansford's Ford Mondeo slid off the track and hit a tyre wall at high speed. The car bounced back onto the track where he was hit by Mark Adderton's Peugeot 405 at over 200 km/h. Hansford died moments after the impact.

Erik Carlsson and Saab Sonett III
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David Dunbar Buick
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Gregg Hansford with AGV helmet founder Gino Amisano
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Old 5th March 2009, 19:47   #339
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March 6, 1896
Charles B. King tested his automobile on the streets of Detroit, Michigan, becoming the first man to drive a car in the Motor City. While driving up and down Woodward Avenue his Horseless Carriage broke down, speculators responded by telling him to "get a horse".

March 6, 1915
Dario Resta, driving a Peugot, won the 10th Vanderbilt Cup Race at the Pan-Pacific International Speedway in San Francisco, California. The Vanderbilt Cup, the first international car race in America, was organized in 1904 to introduce Europe's best drivers and manufacturers to the U.S. Named after its founder, millionaire racing enthusiast William K. Vanderbilt Jr., the Vanderbilt Cup became the world's premier racing event after laws in Europe, designed to protect spectators, restricted the level of competition at venues there. The first Vanderbilt Cup was won by George Heath, a Frenchman, in a Panhard automobile. Heath averaged 52.2mph over the course of three 10-mile laps in Hicksville, New York. French cars dominated the event until 1908 when George Robertson drove the 90-horsepower Locomobile, a.k.a Old 16, to victory in the fourth Vanderbilt Cup. It was the first victory in an international racing event by an American car. The Vanderbilt Cup moved to Savannah, Georgia, in 1910, and later out to California. The race was christened with a French victory, and it would be laid to rest with a French victory. Dario Resta won the final Vanderbilt Cup in 1916 driving his Peugot. That year Resta also won the Indianapolis 500 and the 100-mile Chicago Cup Challenge--during which he became the first man to average over 100mph over a race of that distance.

March 6, 1936
American industrailist and race car driver Bob Akin was born in North Tarrytown, New York.

Charles B. King
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Bob Akin (Courtesy: Kenneth Barton, flickr.com)
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Old 6th March 2009, 23:27   #340
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March 7, 1903
C.S. Rolls, driving a Mors automobile on a private estate in Nottinghamshire, England, ran a record flying kilometer at 84.84mph. He himself disallowed the record, noting as an objection the favorable tailwind and gradual slope of the course.

March 7, 1916
The manufacturing firms of Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto merged to form the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (Bavarian Aircraft Works). The company would later become the Bayerische Motor-Werke (Bavarian Motor Works or BMW). As the original name suggests, BMW began as a manufacturer of aircaft engines. In 1923, BMW built its first motorcycle. The BMW R12, a classic-looking BMW motorcycle, was the first motorcycle to have a telescopic hydraulic front fork, providing a smoother ride and better contact with the road. BMW is still the leader in motorcycle design and production in Europe. In 1929, BMW built its first car, the Dixi, in a factory in Eisenach, Germany. Prior to opening the factory in Eisenach, all BMW products had been manufactured in Munich. By 1938, BMW was racing in the biggest car races in Europe. The 328 won its class at the Mille Miglia Italian road race. The outbreak of World War II saw BMW, like its U.S. counterparts, switch production to war manufacturing. BMW facilities were destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. After the peace, a three-year ban was imposed on BMW by the Allies for its part in the war. The BMW R24 motorcycle became, with its release in 1948, the company's first post-war product. BMW completed its first postwar car, the 501, in 1951. BMW is still one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers. The company is noted for its innovations in the field of ABS, Anti-Lock Breaking Systems.

March 7, 1932
The Communist Party of America organized the "March on Hunger"; the procession traveled from downtown Detroit to the Ford Motor Company's River Rouge Plant in order to protest the company's labor record. When police and firemen were unable to disperse the thousands gathered at River Rouge, Ford strongman Harry Bennet, notorious for his mob tactics of labor management, ordered his "servicemen" to quell the crowd with fire hoses. Defying the freezing temperatures and icy water, the crowd refused to give up its protest. Bennet, who ruled Ford's enterprise with nothing short of terrorist tactics, confronted the crowd, ordering them to disperse once and for all. The determined crowd, unaware that they were faced with their nemesis, began to shout, "We want Bennet. And he's in that building." Bennett corrected their mistake, and for his trouble he was showered with bricks and slag pieces. He was struck in the head during the barrage. Before he fell to the ground, the combat-ready Bennett pulled Joseph York, a Young Communist League organizer, to the ground on top of him. Seeing Bennett bleeding profusely from his head, the police opened fire on the unarmed protesters. York and three other protesters were killed. Ford's trouble with labor unions came to a head five years later when Roosevelt's New Deal guaranteed the workers the right to join a union. Again Bennett would be at the center of a violent confrontation at the River Rouge complex.

Hon' Charles Stewart Rolls
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Charles Stewart Rolls, with his Mors Automobile, specially created for him with 110hp engine.
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Rare images of Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto
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Karl Rapp
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Gustav Otto
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Ford Hunger March of 1932.
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Old 7th March 2009, 00:52   #341
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Sir alec,thank you for the wonderful information that you keep posting everyday.I enjoy reading them.
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Old 8th March 2009, 00:46   #342
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March 8, 1936
Daytona Beach, Florida, staged its first race strictly for stock cars on a combination beach and public roadway course. The race is remembered as the impetus for today's NASCAR. However, race or no race, NASCAR never would have come into being without the efforts of Bill France. Having moved to Daytona in 1934, Bill France opened a garage there. He fixed and raced cars, finishing fifth in Daytona's original race. The city claimed it lost money on the event and enthusiasm for city-sponsored racing waned. The next year the Daytona Elks persuaded the city to stage a Labor Day road race for stock cars. The city lost money again. At that point, Bill France and local club owner Charlie Reese took over the promotion for the Daytona race. With Reese's money and France's work, the race established itself as a successful enterprise. Racing halted during the war, but afterward France returned to Daytona Beach and persisted at race promotion. Reese died in 1945. France went on to promote races all over the South. In 1946, he staged a National Championship race at the Old Charlotte Speedway. A news editor objected to France's calling a race a National Championship without any organized sanctioning body. France responded by forming the National Championship Stock Car Circuit (NCSCC) in 1946. On December 14, 1947, France called a meeting to reorganize the growing NCSCC. Racing officials gathered at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach to hear France call for major changes in the operation of the circuit. He demanded more professionalism and suggested that the organization provide insurance for drivers and strict rules for the race cars and tracks. A new organization to be incorporated later that year as the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) emerged from the meeting, with Bill France, former mechanic, as president.

March 8, 1969
The Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was introduced on this day in 1969. The Firebird Trans Am was just one in a series of muscle cars released by Pontiac in the 1960s, including the Grand Prix and the GTO. It all began in 1959 when Pontiac hired a young car designer named John DeLorean. DeLorean's designs increased sales for Pontiac by 27 percent between 1962 and 1968. The Grand Prix and the Firebird accounted for half of the gain. On the basis of its muscle cars, Pontiac ruled the youth market of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Trans Am, originally a limited model Firebird, would become a symbol in the muscle car niche of automobile manufacturing.

NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. looks out over Daytona International Speedway in 1983.
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Old 8th March 2009, 23:55   #343
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Default 9th March

March 9, 1901
On this day, a fire destroyed the Olds Motor Works factory in Detroit, Michigan. Legend holds that Olds employee James Brady pushed a Regular Runabout, affectionately called the Curved Dash, out of the building to safety. Over the course of the previous year, Olds had developed over 11 models for cars, all of which varied greatly in price and design. He had reportedly not decided which Olds models on which to focus the company's production capability, but, as the fire destroyed all but one prototype, fate decided that the Runabout would be the first major production Olds. The Runabout, a small buggy with lightweight wheels and a curved dashboard powered by a one-cylinder engine, not dissimilar from today's lawnmower engines, became the Olds Motor Company's primary automobile. The Runabout maxed out at 20mph. Olds later viewed the fire as a miracle, a sign that the Runabout would make his fortune. He expressed his enthusiasm for the little car, "My horseless carriage is no passing fad. It never kicks, never bites, never tires on long runs, never sweats in hot weather, and doesn't require care when not in use. It eats only when it's on the road. And no road is too tough for the Olds Runabout." In preparation for his success, Olds contracted other companies for parts to comprise his Runabout and, in doing so, he revolutionized the automobile industry. Previously, all cars had been built from start to finish on one site. Olds' methods allowed for an assembly line in which parts were produced outside his factory and systematically assembled in his own factories. Among Olds subcontracted partners were the Dodge Brothers; Henry Leland, who founded Lincoln and Cadillac; and Fred Fisher, whose family produced bodies for General Motors. The Olds Runabout sold for $650.

March 9, 1950
Racer Danny Sullivan was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on this day. Sullivan dominated Indy Car racing in the 1980s driving Penske cars. Danny Sullivan won the 1985 Indy 500 after a full-circle spin on the track.

March 9, 1964
First Ford Mustang rolled off assembly line.

Danny Sullivan
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The very first Mustang to roll of assembly line in 1964. Sold in an auction for estimated $5.5 million.
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Old 10th March 2009, 02:11   #344
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Default 10th March

March 10, 1972
Matthew Roy Kenseth, an American stock car driver was born in Cambridge, Wisconsin. Matt currently drives the #17 DeWalt Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Roush Fenway Racing. He is currently the defending Daytona 500 champion, having won a rain-shortened race in 2009, the first Daytona 500 win for the Roush Fenway Racing team. Kenseth followed that up with a win at California Speedway moving his win list up to 19 in Sprint Cup.

March 10, 1975
Lyne Bessette, a Canadian professional bicycle racer was born in Lac Brome, Quebec. A two-time member of the Canadian Olympic team (2000 and 2004), she has twice won the prestigious Tour de l'Aude Feminin (1999 and 2001) as well as the 2001 Women's Challenge.

March 10, 2003
Barry Sheene, a British former World Champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer died of cancer of the stomach and oesophagus.
Sheene is credited with the invention the motorcycle back protector, with a prototype model he made himself out of old helmet visors, arranged so they could curve in one direction, but not the other. Sheene gave the prototype along with all rights to the Italian company Dainese - they and other companies have manufactured back protectors since then.

Matthew Roy Kenseth
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Lyne Bessette during the 2002 Women's Challenge race
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Barry Sheene. MBE
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Last edited by SirAlec : 10th March 2009 at 02:14.
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Old 10th March 2009, 02:32   #345
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Default 11th March

March 11, 1885
Sir Malcolm Campbell, land-speed record holder, is born in Chiselhurst, Kent, England, on this day. Campbell's thirst for speed was evident early in his life. He won three gold medals in the London-Edinburgh motorcycle trials as a young man. However, Campbell gained his greatest fame by way of his quest to attain the landspeed record. Over the course of two decades, he battled with Major H. O. C. Segrave for sole possession of the land-speed title. He received worldwide attention when he flew his Bluebird to South Africa in search of a flat racing surface superior in safety to the beach at Daytona. He ended up at Verneuk Pan, a massive salt flat in South Africa's interior. Verneuk Pan, flat as it was, proved to be too rough a surface for Campbell's tires; but having already made the extraordinary trip, Campbell's people built a road on the flat and raced the car. Over the course of his career, Campbell set six land-speed records in various types of vehicles, all christened "Blue Bird." After eclipsing the 300mph barrier on land at the age of 50, Campbell turned his attention to boat racing and broke a number of water-speed records. For his lifetime of achievement in international speed events, Campbell was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Campbell passed his thirst for speed on to his son, Donald, who was the first person to set both land and water speed records in the same year.

March 11, 1927
On this day, the Flatheads Gang staged the first armored truck holdup in U.S. history on the Bethel Road, seven miles out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the way to Coverdale. The armored truck, carrying $104,250 of payroll money for the Pittsburgh Terminal Coal Company, drove over a mine planted under the roadbed by the road bandits. The car blew up and five guards were badly injured. It was staged by their ring leader, Paul Jaworski.

March 11, 1968
Jerod O. Shelby, the founder of the American supercar automobile manufacturer Shelby SuperCars, was born in Richland, Washington. He is not related to car designer Carroll Shelby.

Sir Malcolm Campbell
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Gang ringleader Paul Jaworski
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A crowd of curious onlookers gathers in front of the Detroit News after the robbery.
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Headlines of the robbery
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Jerod O. Shelby
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SSC Aero, created by Jerod Shelby.
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