Automotive History

BBC film depicts 'The Golden Age of the British Sports Car'


1965 MG Midget

(September 9, 2020) The BBC produced a documentary several years ago tracing the history of the British sports car during the decades of the 1950s and 1960s. The film covers many of the famous sports cars of that era from the Jaguar E-Type to the MG to the Austin Healey — and interesting owner experiences.

A collection of automotive-themed billboards from the 1920s

(July 4, 2020) It's always fun to look back on days gone by and reminisce about how things used to be. Here you will find some interesting automotive-themed billboards from almost a century ago, all from the East Coast. The 1920s billboard pictures reside at Duke University in Durham, N.C., from the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing history collection.  

The history of the Volkswagen Passat in the United States


1987 VW Quantum Syncro

(June 22, 2020) HERNDON, Va. — Most Volkswagen fans think that the Golf is currently the longest-lived Volkswagen nameplate, but that honor actually belongs to the Passat, which went on sale a year before the Golf in Europe, in 1973. Based on the Audi 80, the Passat was initially sold in two- and four-door fastback sedan and three- and five-door hatchback form, with a wagon joining one year later.

Take a walk back in time with the first MotorWeek show

(April 29, 2020) Most people who have an even passing interest in automobiles have watched at some point over the past 39 years  MotorWeek — "Television's original automotive magazine" — and host John Davis, who originated the show and remains the host and executive producer.

An automotive legend — Bugatti Type 41 La Royale


Bugatti Royale Roadster

(April 10, 2020) MOLSHEIM, France — With the Type 41 Royale, in 1926, Bugatti presented the strongest, largest and most luxurious automobile in the world, characterized by unimaginable power and opulent equipment. For Ettore Bugatti, the Royale was the culmination of his creation. A vehicle that knew no competitors in terms of performance, quality and image. A vehicle for emperors, kings and queens. Simply put, “Royale” — the royal.

U.S. troops liberated Volkswagen plant 75 years ago


U.S. troops at Wolsburg railway station in April 1945 with Volkswagen power plant in background

(April 6, 2020) WOLFSBURG, Germany  — 75 years ago, on April 11, 1945, US troops liberated the Volkswagen plant and the city then known as “Stadt des KdF-Wagens” which was later named Wolfsburg to the south of Mittellandkanal. At the Volkswagen plant, about 7,700 forced laborers were freed. Over the eight weeks that followed, the Americans made groundbreaking decisions for the future of the people, the city and the plant. The brief but marked intermezzo of US military rule laid the foundations for democracy, freedom and reconstruction in the region.

120-year anniversary of a name — Mercedes, the girl and the brand

(April 3, 2020) 120 years ago, the name of an 11-year-old girl became the epitome of cars and the first luxury car brand in the world. On April 2, 1900, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft decided to call its automobiles Mercédès, after the daughter of Emil Jellinek. The Austrian businessman, who lived in Nice, traded in Daimler vehicles and registered them for racing events.

Chevrolet film demonstrates safety of new Corvair in 1960

(March 16, 2020) When Chevrolet introduced the rear-engine Corvair for the 1960 model year, General Motors also began a campaign to convince skeptical new car buyers that it was a safe vehicle. This film was produced to demonstrate the economy car’s handling, braking, reliability, structural strength. Chevrolet tagged it “the compact car that people could count on.”

Photos show production of Kaiser-Frazer prototypes in 1946

(January 29, 2020) The Kaiser-Frazer Corporation (1946–1951) was the result of a partnership between automobile executive Joseph W. Frazer and industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. In 1947, the company acquired the automotive assets of Graham-Paige, of which Frazer had become president near the end of World War II.

Remembering the radically designed AMC Pacer

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(December 4, 2019) On Dec. 3,1979, the last American Motors Pacer rolled off the assembly line. Now, before you say "Party on! Excellent!" in your best Wayne and Garth imitation, spare a thought for what the auto industry was facing, and what AMC was trying to do with its meager resources.

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