Automotive History

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.

Maserati celebrates 60th anniversary of the 5000 GT 2+2 Coupe

(December 3, 2019) Sixty years ago, the Maserati 5000 GT, a 2+2 coupé, was presented at the Turin Motor Show and was the undisputed star of the event. Maserati now celebrates the anniversary of this extraordinary car, built to the specific request of the Shah of Persia, Reza Pahlavi. Just 34 cars of this model were built at the Viale Ciro Menotti plant in Modena, with bodywork added by Italy's top coachbuilders of the period.

Historic Aston Martin Cloverleaf runs up Aston Hill to mark 95th anniversary

(October 22, 2019) It was 95 years ago that the car which came to be known as "Cloverleaf," XR 1981, lined up at the bottom of Aston Hill. One of just eight customer cars built in late 1923, this very early Aston Martin was competing against two Bugattis and two other Aston Martins — one of which had been entered by the company’s founder, Lionel Martin, who won the trophy on the day.

History lesson — How plaid became part of Volkswagen Golf GTI

(October 16, 2019) No car has a claim to fame to celebrate all things plaid quite like the Volkswagen Golf GTI – thanks to one woman’s pioneering choices that over the past four decades have become a symbol of driving enthusiasts worldwide.

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