Weblog of Miss-Lou Motor Mafia

November 1, 2009

On This Day in Automotive History…

Filed under: History — Tags: — blasterhappy @ 8:59 am

November 1, 1927

Ford Model A production begins

For the first time since the Model T was introduced in 1908, the Ford Motor Company began production on a significantly redesigned automobile on this day–the Model A. The hugely successful Model T revolutionized the automobile industry, and over 15,000,000 copies of the “Tin Lizzie” were sold in its 19 years of production. By 1927, the popularity of the outdated Model T was rapidly waning. Improved, but basically unchanged for its two-decade reign, it was losing ground to the more stylish and powerful motor cars offered by Ford’s competitors. In May of 1927, Ford plants across the country closed, and the company began an intensive development of the more refined and modern Model A. The vastly improved Model A had elegant Lincoln-like styling on a smaller scale, and used a capable 200.5 cubic-inch four-cylinder engine that produced 40hp. With prices starting at $460, nearly 5,000,000 Model As, in several body styles and a variety of colors, rolled onto to America’s highways before production ended in early 1932.

October 10, 2008

On This Day In Automotive History

Filed under: History — Tags: , — blasterhappy @ 4:35 am

October 10, 1901

Henry Ford’s first and last race

In the early days of the automobile, it was not the practical uses of the new invention that attracted the most widespread attention, but rather the thrill of motor sports. The always entrepreneurial Henry Ford, who had been constructing automobiles since 1896, recognized the public’s enthusiasm for the new sport, and so sought to establish his name as a racing manufacturer and driver. On this day, Henry Ford drove one of his automobiles for the first and last time in an automobile race. Sponsored by the Detroit Racing Club and held at the Grosse Point Race Track in Michigan, Ford puttered up to the starting line of the main 10-lap race in an automobile he had constructed earlier in the summer with engineer Oliver Barthel. Ford’s competitors were the famed Alexander Winston and another driver who withdrew just before the start of the race because of a mechanical problem. The experienced Winston was clearly the superior driver, but fortune proved to be in Ford’s favor as Winston’s machine began leaving a trail of smoke after three laps, and he had to withdraw. Although Ford won the race and the kind of public acclaim he had hoped for, he found the experience so terrifying that he retired as a competitive driver, reportedly explaining that “once is enough.” Nevertheless, Ford continued to construct automobiles for motor racing, and a year later Barney Oldfield drove into motor racing history in Ford’s 999 racer, kicking off a legendary driving career and winning Ford his first major racing victory. With the prestige of racing under his belt, Ford went on to establish the Ford Motor Company in the following year, making a fortune as he pioneered the modern assembly-line manufacturing that put the automobile within the average American’s reach. But motor racing still remained important to the Ford Motor Company, and today Ford is the only automaker that can lay claim to victory in the Indy 500, Daytona 500, 24-Hours of LeMans and Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring, the Monte Carlo Rally, and the Baja 1000.

September 24, 2008

On This Day In Automotive History…

Filed under: History — Tags: , — blasterhappy @ 7:31 am

September 24, 1908

The first factory-built Ford Model T was completed on this day, just one more step in Ford’s affordable revolution. Affectionately known as the “Tin Lizzie,” the Model T revolutionized the automotive industry by providing an affordable, reliable car for the average person. Ford was able to keep the price down by retaining control of all raw materials, and by employing revolutionary mass production methods. When it was first introduced, the “Tin Lizzie” cost only $850 and seated two people.

September 12, 2008

On This Day In Automotive History…

Filed under: History — Tags: , — blasterhappy @ 2:05 pm

September 12, 1912

Plan for transcontinental highway is unveiled

They called it the Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway–3,000 and some miles of graveled road that would stretch from New York to San Francisco. Carl G. Fisher and James A. Allison announced their vision to the world on this day, a plan for America’s first transcontinental highway. The new highway was to be finished in time for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco at a cost of a mere $10,000,000, collected from private sources. However, Fisher and Allison’s plan began to go awry when they failed to win Henry Ford’s support for the project, putting their fund-raising efforts in jeopardy. Henry Joy, president of Packard and a supporter of the highway project, came up with the idea of naming the road after Abraham Lincoln–an idea that would garner $1.7 million in federal funds for the project. The highway was eventually completed as a memorial to Abraham Lincoln, paved in concrete rather than gravel, and christened the Lincoln Highway. It was to become an American icon, the predecessor to Route 66.

August 14, 2008

On This Day in Automotive History…

Filed under: History — Tags: — blasterhappy @ 2:59 am

August 14, 1893

Paris issues first license plates

On this day, the world’s first automobile license plates were issued in Paris, France. However, plates were not issued in the United States for a few more years, when they were finally instituted as a safety measure. The city of Boston was the first to require its motorists to hold a license and register their vehicle–the owner would make his own plate with the corresponding registration numbers. The rest of Massachusetts soon followed the trend and began issuing registration plates made of iron and covered with a porcelain enamel.

August 5, 2008

On this Day in 1882…

Filed under: History — Tags: , — blasterhappy @ 6:00 am

August 5, 1882

A giant is born

The Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was established on this day as part of the giant Standard Oil Trust. The trust had been organized earlier in the year, bringing together John D. Rockefeller’s oil empire under one central management, run by Rockefeller and an “inner circle.” The Standard Oil Trust became the first great monopoly in American history, eventually acquiring 90 percent of the world’s oil refining capacity before it was ordered to dissolve in 1892. Rockefeller was infamous for his ruthless business tactics, and it was rumored that he often threatened to put local merchants out of business unless they bought Standard Oil.

August 2, 2008

On this Day in 1950

Filed under: General — Tags: , — blasterhappy @ 7:52 am

August 2, 1950
Ford creates defense department
The Ford Motor Company created the Defense Products Division in order to handle the large number of government contracts related to the Korean War. The conversion from automobile manufacture to weapons production had already been made several times in history, including during World War II, when civilian automobile production in the U.S. virtually ceased as manufacturers began turning out tanks instead.

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