Archive for the ‘Automotive’ Category

Production 1908-1927
Predecessor Ford Model S
Successor Ford Model A
Body style sedan, coupe, pickup truck
Engine 177 in³ (2.9 L) 4 cylinder motor, 20 hp
Transmission Rear wheel drive, planetary gear, 2 speed
Fuel capacity 10 gallons
Designer Henry Ford, Childe Harold Wills, Joseph A. Galamb and Eugene Farkas

The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie and the Flivver) was an automobile produced by Henry Ford’s Ford Motor Company from 1908 through 1927. The model T set 1908 as the historic year that the automobile came into popular usage. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car which “put America on wheels”; this was due to some of Ford’s innovations, including assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting, as well as the concept of paying the workers a wage proportionate to the cost of the car, so that they would provide a ready made market. (Ford also attempted a ‘buy on time’ program to aid sales, resembling that of the German Kdf-Wagen [the forerunner of the Volkswagen Beetle]. Ford’s plan was not a success, either.) The first production Model T was built on September 27, 1908, at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan.

Louis-Joseph Chevrolet was born on December 25, 1878 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchatel, Switzerland. He was a racing driver and the founder of the Chevrolet
Motor Car Company
, which was acquired by General Motors and is their best-known brand worldwide.

In 1886 Chevrolet’s family left Switzerland to live in Beaune in the Côte-d’Or département of France. It was there as a young man that Louis Chevrolet developed his mechanical skills and interest in auto racing. He worked for the Roblin mechanics shop from 1895 to 1899. He then went to Paris where he worked for a short time before migrating to Montreal, Quebec in Canada in 1900. The following year, he moved to New York City here he was hired by FIAT.

While working for the Buick motor company, Louis Chevrolet learned car design and started designing his own engine for a new car in 1909. Shortly thereafter, he partnered with William C. Durant to start the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in Detroit, Michigan. Chevrolet had differences with Durant over the design of the Chevrolet automobiles and in 1915 sold Durant his share in the company. The next year, the company was folded into Durant’s General Motors.

After his ill fated partnership, Chevrolet went into the racing car industry. He partnered with Howard E. Blood of Allegan, Michigan to create the Cornelian, a state of the art racing car which he used to place 20th in the 1915 Indy 500. In 1916, he and his brother Gaston started Frontenac Motor Corporation, designing and producing another line of racing cars.

Louis Chevrolet proved to be a natural mechanical genius. He had little in the way of a formal education. Louis was the older brother of Gaston Chevrolet (1892-1920), who won the 1920 Indianapolis 500 in a car he had built. Louis also competed in the race four times, with a best finish of 7th in 1919, and his brother Arthur also competed twice.

Louis Chevrolet died on June 6, 1941 in Detroit, Michigan and is buried in the Holy Cross and Saint Joseph Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana. His bust stands at the entrance to the museum at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Horseless buggy made by Charles
and Frank Duryea, 1893.

This is a question that does not have a simple and definitive answer. It all depends on what you want to define as a car. The history of the automobile actually dates back to the 15th century when Leonardo da Vinci was creating a wide variety of designs and mock-up models for various transport vehicles.

Many different types of cars were created in the early days – steam, electric, and gasoline – as well as countless styles from hardtops to convertibles to pickup trucks to open roadsters. Exactly who invented the automobile is a matter of opinion and great debate. If we had to give credit to any single inventor, it would probably be Karl Benz from Germany. Many suggest that he created the first true automobile in 1885/1886 – making the Benz part of Mercedes Benz the oldest continuous maker of automobiles in the world.

Here are some interesting historical tidbits that show how complex it is to really define when the first horseless buggy was considered an automobile.