Little Known Car Facts and Trivia About the Auto Business
Car facts about the car's inventors,etc:
1782 James Watt builds the first engine crank.
1792 The first U.S. toll roads opened in PA and CT.
1860 Jean Lenoir invents the spark plug.
1887 The Benz became the first car offered for sale.
1896 The Duryea became the first production motor vehicle in the U.S.
1897 The first auto insurance
policy is purchased in Westfield, MA.
1900 The first Guide Michelin published mostly containing a list of gas stations in France.
1901 The first Grand Prix race was won with an average speed of 46 mph.
1901 The first American car manufactured in any quantity, the "Curved Dash" Olds is offered for $650.
1913 More than one million cars registered in the U.S.
1914 The Chevrolet bow-tie emblem first appears.
1914 The first electric traffic light was installed in Cleveland.
1923 Powered windshield wipers became standard equipment on many cars.
1923 A radio was first offered as an accessory.
1939 Buick introduces turn signals as standard equipment.
1946 The first power windows were introduced.
1948 Harley Earl introduces the tail fin on the Cadillac. Fins don't go away for over a decade.
1953 Chevrolet introduces its Harley Earl-designed Corvette.
1954 Padded dashboards introduced for safety.
1956 Electric door locks introduced on several luxury models.
1958 The first remote adjusted side view mirror.
1958 Ford introduces the first electric trunk release.
1958 Chrysler introduces the day-night rear view mirror.
1960 All-weather antifreeze plus coolant introduced.
1963 Seat belts first offered as standard equipment.
1965 Rear seat belts became standard on most cars.
1974 National 55 mph speed limit enacted after oil shortages.
1984 Chrysler introduces the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth voyager minivans.
1972 Cars traveled along LA freeways at an average speed of 60 mph. In 1982 the average was only 17 mph!
1974 The average American family spent 33 percent of their yearly income for a new car. In 1995 the average was 50 percent.
1995 the Big Three sold a whopping 97,000 cars in Japan.
More Car Facts: Big Names in the Automotive Industry
- Buick, David A plumbing inventor and manufacturer built his first car in 1900.
- Cadillac, Antoine Founded the City of Detroit in the 17th century.
- Chevrolet, Louis A Swiss race car driver and engineer built his first car in 1911 with financing by William Durant.
- Chrysler, Walter A locomotive mechanic who got into the automobile business in 1912 and publicly displayed his own my first car
at the 1924 NY Auto Show and selling an amazing 32,000 car in his first year.
- Cord, E.L. As General Manager of Auburn Auto Company he produced some of the most advanced (front-wheel drive, supercharged V8's) and beautiful cars ever under his own name. Unfortunately, they were expensive and came along during the start of the Depression.
- Daimler, Gottlieb can be considered as the founder of the automobile industry when he formed Daimler Motor Company in 1890.
- Dodge, John & Horace Their first car came off the assembly line in 1914. Both brothers died within less than a year of each other during the influenza epidemic in 1920.
- Durant, William A businessman, finance man, and salesman who was a self-made millionaire before ever joining the auto business. He was called on by the owners of the failing Buick Motor Company to help. He soon bought Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Cadillac and formed General Motors. He
almost bought Ford, but didn't come up with enough cash to suit Henry. Durant always kept himself stretched thin with his money in stocks and other businesses. He lost everything in the Depression.
- Duryea, Charles & Frank Built the first successful American automobile and the first to offer a production model for sale to the public.
- Earl, Harley Designed the La Salle in 1927, the beginning of a trend towards lower and wider cars. As head of GM's styling department he invented the tail fin and designed the Corvette.
- Ferrari, Enzo A mechanic, race car driver then race car team owner. His cars dominated racing for many years after WWII.
- Firestone, Harvey His tires went on the first mass-produced Fords.
- Ford, Henry In creating the assembly line for automobiles he also created jobs for thousands and affordable cars for millions. What Henry did for
automobiles spilled over into other consumer good.
- Gale, Tom A Chrysler designer largely responsible for the current crop of Chrysler's design of cab-forward and curved styling on everything from the minivan to the Viper.
- Goodrich, BF The company started in 1896 has many firsts: First synthetic rubber tire, first tubeless tire, first American-made radial tire, the first space saver spare and the first "run flat" tire.
- Goodyear, Charles Accidentally discovered the rubber vulcanizing process. He patented the process, but couldn't come up with any practical uses for it and died penniless in 1860. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was named after him.
- Honda, Soichiro After WWII with $3,300 he started making motorcycles.
- Iacocca, Lee Responsible for the Mustang in the early 1960's and bailing out Chrysler in early 1980's.
- Jellinek, Emile In 1900, while a Daimler Motor Works board member, Jellinek convinced Gottlieb Daimler to build a race car and name it after Emile's daughter, Mercedes.
- Murphy, Edward Founded the Pontiac Buggy Company in Pontiac, MI in 1893. At the turn of the century he decided to switch to making "those noisy, smelly, unreliable automobiles."
- Olds, Ransom His highly successful "Curved Dash" runabout put Michigan on the map as a source of motor vehicles. He soon left his namesake
company. Later he produced the first gasoline lawn mower.
- Porsche, Ferdinand A design engineer who never created a car carrying his name. That was left to his son, Ferry, to accomplish.
- Royce, Frederick & Rolls, Charles Engineer Royce and car dealer Rolls introduced their first car in 1904.
- Sloan, Alfred Led GM to become the world's largest corporation. Responsible for the idea of yearly styling changes.
- Tucker, Preston After WWII Tucker designed, built and promoted an innovative car with features, power, and aerodynamic design never before
seen and at a very good price. His company folded after building 51 cars.
Top Ten Most Stolen Cars
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that approximately 1.2 million vehicles are stolen in the U.S. every year, or one every 30 seconds. More from the NICB:
Car facts about the automobile's criminal activity through the years:
- The cost of vehicle theft to consumers is more than $7.5 billion annually.
- Although public fear of victimization is low, one of every 170 vehicles is stolen each year.
- At least 21 percent of all car owners do not lock their car doors.
- Trafficking in stolen vehicles is the second-most profitable criminal activity behind drug dealing.
Listed below are the top ten most stolen vehicles in the U.S., according to the NICB Database (figures from 1999):
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Camry
- Oldsmobile Cutlass
- Chevrolet Full-Size Pickup
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Corolla
- Jeep Cherokee
- Chevrolet Caprice
- Ford Taurus
- Chevrolet Cavalier
Car facts and more car facts...
Many car company names are named for real people.
Car facts about personalities and people who invented and developed the automobile:
- Buick: David Dunbar Buick (1854-1929), a Scotsman, merged the failing Buick Manufacturing Company with another to form the Buick Motor Car Company in 1903.
- Chevrolet: Louis Chevrolet (1878-1941) was a race car driver and designer who co-founded the company.
- Chrysler : Walter Chrysler (1875-1940) formed the Chrysler Corporation in 1925.
- Dodge: John (1864-1920) and Horace (1868-1920) Dodge founded the their own car company in 1914.
- Ferrari: Enzo Ferrari (1898-1988) racing car driver and designer founded the company in 1929.
- Mercedes-Benz: Karl Benz (1844-1929) is believed by many to be the inventor of the automobile. Mercedes Jellinek was a daughter of a German diplomat and investor.
- Oldsmobile: Ransom Eli Olds (1864-1950) founded the Olds Motor Vehicle company in 1897.
- Porsche: Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951), automobile designer and manufacturer, started his own company in 1930.
- Rolls-Royce: A combination of Sir Henry Royce (1863-1933) and Charles Rolls (1877-1910 ). Royce founded the company in 1903 and Rolls promoted the car.
Drinking and Driving Facts - Separating fact from fiction
Can coffee really make you sober? What kind of food slows down the effect of alcohol consumption? Which is more intoxicating, wine or hard liquor?
Interesting car facts about the alcohol and how it affects how we drive the car: You've probably heard all sorts of answers to these questions.
Here are the facts:
• A 12-ounce can of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine and a 1.5-ounce shot of straight 80 proof liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol, so their effect on the body is the same.
• Alcohol is a factor in about one-half of all fatal traffic collisions in the United States.
• Alcohol-related traffic injuries cost U.S. taxpayers about $15 billion per year.
• Studies indicate that two in five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives.
• In 1994, 1,488 people were killed and 39,437 were injured in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents in California. In Nevada, 116 people died and 2,253 were injured. In Utah, 81 people died and 1,226 were injured.
• Alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of death among American teenagers.
• Unlike most foods, alcohol can be absorbed into the bloodstream in its natural state. It is carried to the brain immediately, where it impairs
judgment, then physical responses.
• A full stomach cannot prevent alcohol from being absorbed – only slow it down. Rich, starchy, high-protein foods slow absorption the most.
• Salty foods make people thirsty, so they tend to drink more.
• Factors that increase the effects of alcohol are fatigue, lack of food, emotions, health, prescription and non-prescription drugs. Therefore, drivers should not rely on alcohol consumption charts or guides to gauge their fitness to drive.
• Only time rids the body of alcohol, at a fairly steady rate of about one drink per hour. Drinking coffee, running or taking a shower won't help to speed up the elimination of alcohol from the bloodstream.
• The ability to do two things at once – such as braking and steering – is impaired at a blood alcohol content (BAC) of only 0.02%.
• In California and Utah, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08 or more.
• In Nevada, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.10 or more.
• Every year in California, there are 208,844 arrests for drunk driving; in Nevada, 10,272; and in Utah 12,700.
• The safest and wisest course is not to drink at all if you plan to drive. The American Medical Association has urged this as a national policy.
Car facts and more car facts...
More Car Facts and Trivia
Interesting Facts about the Automobile:
- The first cars did not have steering wheels. Drivers steered with a lever.
The New York City Police Department used bicycles to pursue speeding motorists in 1898.
- The first speeding ticket was issued in 1902.
- In 1916, 55 percent of the cars in the world were Model T Fords, a record that has never been beaten.
- The first gas gauge appeared in cars in 1922.
- In 1923, 173 new inventions by women for cars had been reported. Among these inventions were a carburetor and an electric engine starter.
- The first car radio was invented in 1929.
- Buick introduced the first electric turn signals in 1938.
- The Peanuts characters were first animated in 1957 for a Ford Fairlaine automobile commercial.
- Most American car horns beep in the key of F.
- The automobile is the most recycled consumer product in the world today.
- In Tokyo, a bicycle is faster than a car for most trips of less than 50 minutes!
- The 1st automobile racetrack in the US was the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which consists of 3 million cobblestones.
- In its 1st year the VW Beetle sold only 330 cars in the United States.
- Women spend more than $65 million on new cars and trucks, influence 80 percent of all new car purchases, and will buy 60 percent of new cars in 2001.
- 135 million cars travel the nation's roads and interstates each day.
- The first Ford cars had Dodge engines.
One seventh of the new auto/truck sales in the US are in Southern California.
- The average 1999 model year automobile cost $5,674 per year to own and operate.
- In the 1970's cars were scrapped almost twice as often as small trucks, but over the years cars have become more durable and in 1999 the
scrappage rate was almost equal.
- The city with the most Rolls Royce's per capita is Hong Kong.
- Windshield wipers were invented by a woman.
- The brake light in the rear windows was put there after a suggestion by Elizabeth Dole.
- The first person to win the Indianapolis 500 at a speed of over 100 MPH without a relief driver was Billy Arnold who won in 1930 with an average
speed of 100.448 MPH.
- The first product Motorola started to develop was a record player for automobiles. At the time, the most known player on the market was the
Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola.
- In 2002 30% of the cars sold were SUVs.
Famous People Killed in Car Accidents
Car facts about driving deaths - cars aren't respecter of persons:
- Marc Bolan, guitarist & vocalist for rock band T.Rex.
- Harry Chapin, singer
- James Dean, actor
- Di, Princess
- Sam Kinison, comedian
- Ernie Kovacs, comedian
- Desmond Llewelyn, "Q" in the James Bond movies
- Jayne Mansfield, actress
- Bill Martin, baseball manager
- Margaret Mitchell, author
- Tom Mix, actor
- George Patton, general
- John D Rockefeller III, rich guy
Car facts and more car facts...
Some Movies About Cars
Car facts that stay in memory...
Car facts about memorable cars that stood out in movies through the years:
- American Graffiti Directed by George Lucas. Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, MacKenzie Phillips, Charles Martin Smith, Suzanne Somers, Harrison Ford, Wolfman Jack
- Back to the Future Stars a DeLorean
- Blues Brothers They destroy dozens of '70s sedans. Good for them.
- Bullit Contains the most famous car chase scene in the movies. Stars Steve MacQueen, Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Duvall
- Cadillac Man Robin Williams as a sleazy car salesman.
- Cannonball Run Based on an actual race across the country. Stars Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Fonda
- Car Wash Comedy based at an L.A. car wash
- Christine From a Stephen King novel about a possessed car
- Days of Thunder Top Gun meets stock cars
- Death Race 2000 Futuristic tale where drivers score points by running over people.
- Detour One of those cross-country trips where the star picks up strangers along the way.
- Dirty Mary Crazy Larry It's got Peter Fonda and fast driving.
- Driven Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds (can't have a car movie without Burt), CART, crashes and women.
- Duel An early Spielberg film where Dennis Weaver is attacked by unmanned tractor-trailer rigs.
- Fast and the Furious Turbochargers, gangs, crime, undercover cop, romance, special effects.
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off Matthew Broderick borrows a Ferrari
- Gone in 60 Seconds A 40 minute chase scene that destroys 90 vehicles (in the original movie).
- Grand Prix Lots of track footage
- Greased Lightning Story of the first black racing champ, starring Richard Pryor
- The Great Race Long story about a 1908 NY to Paris race
- Heart Like a Wheel The story of drag racer Shirley Muldowney.
- The Last American Hero Story of moonshiner turned stock car racer Junior Johnson
- Le Mans Good race footage
- Mad Max (and Road Warrior) Mel Gibson in futuristic hot rods driving around looking for gas.
- Race for Life Good racing scenes
- The Racers European racing footage
- Roger & Me Michael Moore makes auto execs look bad.
- Smokey and the Bandit Burt Reynolds, a black TransAm, a dumb Southern cop, a girl, beer and CB radios.
- Thelma & Louise A buddy-highway movie.
- Thunder Road Robert Mitchum in a moonshine vs. Feds story
- Tucker, a Man and His Dream Nostalgic look at idealist Preston Tucker
- Used Cars More sleazy used car salesmen.
- Vanishing Point Denver to S.F. in 15 hours in a muscle car. Will he make it?
- White Lightning (and sequel Gator) Burt Reynolds, moonshine and chase scenes.
- Winning Paul Newman does his own driving in trying to win at Indy.