Automotive History

100 years ago first Rolls-Royce rolled off Massachusetts assembly line

By Larry Edsall
Classic Car Journal

(January 20, 2021) On Jan. 17, 1921, a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost rolled off an assembly line, but it wasn’t in Derby, England. Instead, that car and 2,945 that followed were assembled in Springfield, Mass. “These Rolls-Royce ‘Springfield’ Motor cars benefited from the creativity of U.S. coach builders including Brewster, Willoughby, Merimac and Hollbrook, and brought us some wonderful early commissions,” the British automaker noted in a news release celebrating the centennial of its American production effort.

Series production of the Volkswagen Beetle began 75 years ago in Wolfsburg

(December 31, 2020) HERNDON, Va. — On Dec. 27, 1945 series production of the Volkswagen Limousine began. Referred to internally as “Type 1,” and later becoming world-famous as the “Beetle,” the vehicle’s unique success story started in Wolfsburg thanks to the strategic vision of British Major Ivan Hirst.

1921 Duesenberg, 1970 Dodge Challenger added to Historic Vehicle Register

(December 6, 2020) The National Historic Vehicle Register has officially added two cars this year to their list — the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE and the 1921 Duesenberg Straight Eight. They will be joining the 26 other significant automobiles that are on the register. Their significant stories will be documented for all future generations at the Library of Congress. The National Historic Vehicle Register was developed by Historic Vehicle Association to thoroughly document America’s most historically important automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles.

A history of presidential state cars from Roosevelt to Trump


1939 Lincoln K Sunshine Special

Source: Classic Cars

(November 8, 2020) The first official presidential state car was used by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and boasted a two-way radio as one of its defensive capabilities. Fast forward to today, and “The Beast” can withstand an asteroid (or so some say). British vehicle leasing company Vanarama has compiled a narrative of official state cars that have been used by United States presidents throughout the past 80 years.

From Woodstock to Waikiki, the nostalgic pull of VW's 23-window bus

(October 23, 2020) What do touring musicians, alpine explorers and beach bums all have in common? You could catch them behind the wheel of the elusive and highly sought-after hippie classic — the Volkswagen 23-window bus. Known to U.S. buyers as the “Deluxe Microbus with Samba package," the 23-window bus was originally designed as a vehicle to tour the Swiss Alps, offering up to nine passengers maximum visibility, but was quickly adopted by families, campers and members of the counterculture. The van features a collection of unique windows including eight skylights, two curved rear windows, a retractable skylight, and a coveted split windshield.

The Bugatti 'Macaron' badge — A unique component made of silver

(October 17, 2020) MOLSHEIM, France —  150 grams of sterling silver. Finest embossing quality, high-gloss enamel and a 3D effect. Ever since the year the brand was founded, the Bugatti badge, the Macaron, has symbolized exclusivity, luxury, design and outstanding hand craftsmanship on the horseshoe radiator.

Lamborghini celebrates 50th anniversary of the Urraco

(October 11, 2020) SANT' AGATA BOLOGNESE, Italy — This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Urraco, unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in late October 1970. The model immediately stood out for having introduced technical solutions that were innovative for the time, thanks to the contribution of engineer Paolo Stanzani, the technical father of the Urraco and Lamborghini’s chief technical officer at the time. The styling of the project was entrusted to renowned designer Marcello Gandini, who in that period was principal designer for Carrozzeria Bertone.

Porsche celebrates 70 years selling cars in America


1948 Porsche 356

(September 28, 2020) ATLANTA — It was autumn 1950 when a fateful meeting between Professor Ferdinand Porsche and Max Hoffman led to the decision that a fledgling German automotive manufacturer from humble beginnings would begin exporting its sports cars to America. The result was the creation of a bond stronger than anybody could have imagined, and this year, Porsche is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its arrival into the American market.


The first Porsche sports car received its certification for road use in Germany on June 8, 1948, meaning the history between the brand and the U.S. goes back almost to the very beginning. The young sports car company caught the eye of a visionary New York-based salesman. 



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.  

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