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Nicholas Cugnot (1725 – 1804) designs a steam truck to transport cannon for the French Army. Built and tested at Paris Arsenal. It is capable of 2.5mph/4.02kph.
Nicholas Cugnot builds his second steam vehicle. Built and tested at Paris Arsenal, it carries 4 tons. Apparently it crashes into a stone wall, so can be considered the world’s first motor accident!
Cornish engineer, Richard Trevithick (1771–1833) builds the first motorised passenger-carrying vehicle. The Camborne Road Locomotive or Puffing Devil can carry up to eight passengers.
Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian design and patent the London Steam Carriage. It is built in Cornwall and fitted with a carriage body in London, and can travel at 10mph/16.09kph. Unfortunately no financial backers can be found and the carriage is dismantled in 1804.
Timothy Burstall and John Hill build a four wheel drive steam coach. It reputedly weighs over 7 tons and has a maximum speed of 4mph/6.44kph.
Samuel Brown of Brompton adapts one of his patented gas vacuum engines to propel a road vehicle. The engine was fuelled by coal gas.
A steam carriage built by Francis Hill travels from London to Hastings and back, without breaking down. The first time a mechanical road vehicle travels more than 100 miles (160 kilomotres).
Scottish inventor Robert Thompson obtains patents for pneumatic tyres.
Belgian Etienne Lenoir patents the first two-stroke gas engine. In 1862 he fits one to a vehicle and travels at 2mph/3.22kph.
The Locomotives on Highways Act (usually referred to as the ‘Red Flag Act’) comes into effect. Intended to impose regulations upon heavy steam traction engines. It stipulates that every road locomotive must be attended by three people; one to steer, one to stoke the firebox and one to walk 60 yards (55 metres) in front with a red flag to warn other road users. Maximum permitted speed is 4mph/6.4kph in the country and 2mph/3.22kph in towns.
The Otto & Langen Company of Deutz, Germany patents the first practical four-stroke engine. It is the basis for the majority of modern car engines. Gottleib Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach are amongst the engineers working for the company.
The Highways and Locomotives (Amendment) Act comes into force. The requirements of the 1865 Red Flag Act are relaxed slightly. Strictly speaking the red flag no longer needs to be carried and the third person only needs to be 20 yards/18 metres in front of the vehicle.
Edouard Delamare-Deboutville builds the first petrol-driven road vehicle. The engine, a stationary gas engine modified to run on petrol, proves to be too powerful for the vehicle which soon collapses.
Karl Benz of Mannheim, builds a two seat tricycle powered by a four-stroke gas engine. Because of this success Benz is usually credited as the inventor of the car in the winter of 1885–1886.
The first leisure touring caravan, The Wanderer, is commissioned by author and sailor Dr William Gordon Stables. Built by the Bristol Wagon Works Company, its first horse-drawn tour is taken from Twyford in Berkshire to Inverness in Scotland.
Gottleib Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach build the first four-wheeled, four–stroke, petrol-engined car. It becomes known as the Canstatt Daimler.
Magnus Volk of Brighton builds the first practical electric carriage. The three wheeled dog-cart has a 0.5hp electric motor by Acme & Immisch of London. It is supposedly capable of 9mph/14.48kph on a level road. Volk builds a second electric vehicle for Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Turkey in 1895.
Karl Benz appoints Emile Roger of Paris as an agent for his vehicles, thereby creating the first motor vehicle dealership.
Benz begins selling production versions of the Model 3 Patent Motorwagen to the public.
John Boyd Dunlop obtains a British patent for pneumatic bicycle tyres. It is later proven that Robert Thompson preceded Dunlop with this patent.
Carl Benz introduces a more advanced design, the four wheeled Viktoria. It has a 1745cc engine developing 3hp. By 1898 the engine size had increased progressivley to 2925cc.
Emile Levassor designs the Systeme Panhard.This front engine, rear wheel drive with clutch and gearbox layout will remain the norm in car design for the next seventy years.
Benz & Cie follow up earlier production vehicles with the lightweight Velo (short for Velocipede). The 1045cc engine develops 1.5hp rising to 3hp by the time the model ceases production in 1900. The Velo heralds a new period of growth for the company, production rising from 129 cars in 1896 to more 600 by 1900.
John Henry Knight of Farnham, Surrey, builds a petrol-engined tricar. The vehicle is rebuilt to run on four wheels in 1896. George and Frederick Lanchester also build a four-wheeled, petrol-engined car in Birmingham, England.
Sir David Salomons organises the first exhibition of motor cars at Tunbridge Wells, Kent on 15 October. The five vehicles demonstrated to the public were a De-Dion Tricycle, a Peugeot, a Panhard-Levassor, a Daimler fire engine and a De Dion steam vehicle.
The Paris–Bordeaux–Paris is the first true motor race. The winner, Emile Lavassor driving a Panhard-Levassor, completes the 732 miles (305.76 kilometres) in 48 hours 48 minutes.
The weekly motoring journal The Autocar is launched in November. It remains in print today as Autocar.
The Light Locomotives on Highways Act (Emancipation Act) introduces a new upper speed limit of 12mph/19.31kph (14mph/22.53kph was originally stipulated) and does away with the restrictions imposed on all mechanical road vehicles by the Red Flag Act. Motorists celebrate by organising the Emancipation Run from London to Brighton on 14 November.
The term petrol is first used in 1896. It is patented by Messrs Carless, Capel & Leonard of Hackney Wick, London.
The Graf-und-Stift from Austria is first car to use front wheel drive.
Wilhelm Maybach designs the honeycomb radiator. It eventually becomes virtually standard on water cooled vehicles.
Comte Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat sets the first Land Speed Record in a Jeantaud electric reaching 39.24mph/63.14kph on18 December at Achères. Perhaps not that exciting when contemporary trains were already capable of speeds greater than 80mph/128.75kph!
Decauville of France introduces an independent front suspension system.
John Scott Montagu MP (later 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu) drives his recently acquired 12hp Daimler into the Palace Yard at Westminster. It is the first motor vehicle to enter the grounds of the Houses of Parliament. In September he competes with the car in the Paris–Ostend race, finishing third in the touring car class. It was the first time that British competitors had taken part in a continental road race and the first prize ever awarded to a British driver in a British built car.
The Automobile Club of Great Britain & Ireland stages the Thousand Mile Trial between 23 April and 12 May. The trial (slightly under 1000 miles (1609 kilometres) in length!) is intended to demonstrate the motor car to a sceptical British public. 65 cars driven by many of the leading motorists of the day enter, following a route starting in London and taking in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Sheffield before returning south.
The first Gordon Bennett Cup race between teams representing different countries is staged. The German car's driver, Eugen Benz, refuses to start the race claiming he has not been given enough notice nor had time to fix his tyres! The winner of the 353 mile (568.10 kilometre) Paris–Lyon race is Charron driving a Panhard.
In subsequent years, events are held in France, Ireland and Germany.
First motor race to be labelled as a Grand Prix is staged at Pau in France. The 206 mile (331.52 kilometre) race is won by Farman driving a Panhard.
The Gordon Bennett Cup race this year is staged between Paris and Bordeaux. The event is won by Girardot in a Panhard, covering the 327 miles (526.26 kilometres) in 8 hours 50 minutes.
The third Gordon Bennett Cup race is held between Paris and Innsbruck. S.F. Edge wins the 351 mile (564.88 kilometre) race driving a Napier in a time of 11 hours 2 minutes. His victory means the next race will be held in Britain.
John Scott Montagu MP (later 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu) launches the weekly journal The Car Illustrated. Primarily dealing with motoring subjects it was subtitled A Journal of Travel by Land, Sea and Air, all topics covered by the lavishly illustrated periodical. John Scott Montagu also launched a monthly journal called The Car.
John Scott Montagu steers the Motor Car Act through Parliament. The Act introduces driving licences, registration numbers and a 20mph/32.19kph speed limit. It comes into force on 1st January 1904.
Gordon Bennett Cup races in southern Ireland (at that time a part of the United Kingdom) are the first major motor racing event held in the British Isles. British law forbids motor racing on public roads in mainland Britain but Irish legislation permits the event to be staged there.
The Napier driven by Charles Jarrott, with Cecil Bianchi as his riding mechanic, overturns in a 60mph/96.56kph crash on the second lap. Fortunately both men survive.
The 328 mile (527.86 kilometre) race was won by Camille Jenatzy in a Mercedes.
Talented engineer Henry Royce builds his first car, a two cylinder model, at his factory in Manchester. Later the same year he meets pioneering motorist and aviator C.S. Rolls who, impressed with the design, agrees to sell the cars through his London showroom. In 1906 they form Rolls-Royce Limited.
Napier introduces the first British six-cylinder car.
The fifth Gordon Bennett cup race is staged on a 317 mile (510.16 kilometre) circuit at Homburg. Thėry wins the event in 5 hours 50 minutes driving a Richard-Brasier.
The Automobile Association (AA) is formed, initially as a cycle patrol to warn motorists about police speed traps.
Schrader introduces the first tyre pressure gauge.
Brighton Speed Trials are held for the first time, along the seafront on Madeira Drive. The next events take place in 1923 and 1924. With the exception of World War II it has been staged every year since 1932.
The sixth running of the Gordon Bennett Cup race results in a second successive win for Thėry. Driving a Brasier, he completes the 341 mile (548.79 kilometre) Auvergne circuit in 7 hours 2 minutes.
Rolls-Royce introduces the 40/50hp model. An aluminium and silver coloured demonstrator built in 1907 is dubbed The Silver Ghost. The name is soon used to refer to all 40/50s although not by Rolls-Royce themselves for many years.
Sicily's Targa Florio sports car road race is run for the first time. The inaugural event is won by Alessandro Cagno driving an Itala. With the exception of the war years the race is staged every year until 1977.
At Daytona on January 23 America's Fred Marriott takes the Land Speed Record past the 120mph/193kph mark driving Rocket, a Stanley steam car. He takes the official record with a flying kilometre run of 121.57mph/195.65kph but also sets a flying mile record of 127.66mph/205.45kph. This is the last time that the absolute speed record is held by a steam powered vehicle. Marriott's record for steam power stands until broken by the British Steam Car Challenge in 2009.
The world's first purpose-built motor racing track is opened at Brooklands in Surrey. The 3.75 mile (6.04 kilometre) circuit with banked curves was built by Hugh Locke-King.
Journalist and barrister J. Harris Stone calls a meeting of eleven caravan enthusiasts at his home in London. The Caravan Club of Great Britain and Ireland is formed.
Ford introduce the Model T, mass produced on production lines in various countries including England and Ireland. In 1910 a Model T costs £220 in Britain (about £12,500 at 2009 prices). Over 16 million are built before the model ceases production in 1927. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get them in colours other than black! Blue and green are available on British cars before black is standardised in 1914. The one colour policy is introduced because black enamel is the only colour that would dry quickly enough to keep up with the production line. From 1926 quick drying lacquer is used and other colours such as grey, red and green become available.
Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO) from the USA introduces coil ignition. At this time the magneto is the main form of ignition, having superseded early methods such as the hot tube. Coil ignition systems will eventually dominate the market.
Scottish manufacturer Argyll markets the first production car with four wheel brakes. The front brakes are operated by pedal whilst a lever operates the rear.
Cadillac is the first car company to produce closed bodywork as a standard feature rather than an option.
Cadillac introduces electric starting and lighting to its cars. The system used is that developed by the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO).
Edmund Dangerfield of The Motor magazine opens the world’s first motor museum in Oxford Street, London. Two of the exhibits, the Knight and the Pennington Autocar can be found in the National Motor Museum Collection today.
In August, Henry Ford introduces a conveyor-belt based production line at the Highland Park, Michigan plant. Vehicle production that year rises from 170,211 to 202,677. In 1914 Highland Park builds 308,162 cars.
Caldwell-Vale Motor Tractor Company of New South Wales, Australia produces the first four wheel drive vehicle for off-road use. The 4310cc 32hp car also features four wheel steering.
Morris introduces the Oxford, the famous Bull Nose model. The design will continue in production until 1926. A new Oxford costs £175 in 1913 (about £7,500 at 2009 prices).
Willys-Knight of Toledo, Ohio, USA is one of the first companies to fit mechanical windscreen wipers.
W.O. Bentley forms Bentley Motors Limited in Cricklewood, London. The car is anounced in The Autocar in May although the first chassis is not ready until October. The first 3-Litre Bentley was delivered 1921. It was the first British car to be described by its engine capacity rather than its horsepower.
The first mass-produced caravan which could be towed behind a motor car is produced by the Eccles Company of Birmingham, England.
First four wheel hydraulic brakes are fitted by American manufacturer Duesenberg on the Model A. The cars are built in a factory at Indianapolis.
Ford is the first company to build one million cars in a year. The total number of Ford Model Ts of all body styles built in US factories in 1922 is 1.3 million. Peak production comes in 1923 when over 1.8 million are produced.
Austin begins manufacture of the Seven. This small and affordable car brings motoring within the reach of many ordinary families. Originally priced at £225, by 1923 the cost of the 'baby' Austin has dropped to £165 (just under £5,000 at 2009 prices).
Britain's Kenelm Lee Guinness sets a new World Land Speed Record of 133.75mph/215.25kph at Brooklands on 17 May 1922. He drives the V12 engined 350hp Sunbeam built in 1920. The same car in modified form will later be used by Malcolm Campbell.
The French Grand Prix at Tours is won by Henry Segrave, driving a 2 litre 6 cylinder engined Sunbeam. It is the first Grand Prix motor race to be won by a British driver.
A 24 hour race for touring cars is held for the first time on a road circuit at Le Mans. The race is won by Lagache and Leonard in a Chenard et Walcker.
Malcolm Campbell drives the 350hp Sunbeam to a new World Land Speed Record of 146.16mph/252.22kph at Pendine in South Wales on 25 Septmber 1924.
Malcolm Campbell returns to Pendine and raises his World Land Speed Record in the 350hp Sunbeam to 150.76mph/242.62kph on 21 July 1925.
Having tried and failed to take over the Austin Motor Company, General Motors of America buys Vauxhall, its first non US subsidiary. Vauxhall would no longer compete in the luxury and sporting markets.
Luton based commercial vehicle manufacturers Commer are taken over by Humber of Coventry, the first of a string of mergers for this company in the years that follow.
A British Grand Prix is held for the first time using a road circuit at Brooklands. A Delage driven by Senechal and Wagner wins.
A busy year for the World Land Speed Record. Henry Segrave starts the year taking the record to 152.33mph/245.15kph at Southport, Lancashire on 16 March. At Pendine in South Wales, Parry Thomas in Babs takes the record to 169.30mph/272.46kph on 27 April and then up to 171.02mph/272.23kph the following day.
The Le Mans 24 Hour Race is won by British drivers J.D. Benjafield and S.C.H. Davis in a 3 litre Bentley. It is the first of four consecutive Le Mans victories for the marque.
A London to Brighton run for veteran cars is held to commemorate the Emancipation Run of 1896. With the exception of the war years, it has been held every year since.
Germany’s Nürburgring circuit is opened. The full 17.5 mile (28.16 kilometre) long course was composed of shorter northern and southern circuits. The Ring was the venue of many famous Grand Prix, sports car and motorcycle races. A new Grand Prix circuit opened at the venue in 1984 but races and public track days are still held on the challenging northern circuit.
Malcolm Campbell takes the World Land Speed Record to 174.883mph/281.447kph in Bluebird at Pendine, South Wales on 4 February.
Henry Segrave takes the 1000hp Sunbeam to Daytona and lifts the record over 200mph/321kph with a 203.792mph/327.972kph run on 29 March. At the end of the first timed run the car's brakes proved ineffective and Segrave had to drive the car into the sea to slow it down!
William Morris takes control of Wolseley, one of the oldest names in the British motor industry. Along with MG it becomes part of Morris Motors in 1935.
Coventry based Alvis introduces the first production car with front wheel drive and independent suspension on front and rear. The company has been experimenting with front wheel drive in racing cars since 1925. The production cars do not sell in great numbers.
Malcolm Campbell continues to push the limits and takes Bluebird to 206.956mph/333.064kph at Daytona on 19 February 1928.
Long established Coventry companies Humber and Hillman merge.
Bentley win the Le Mans 24 Hour Race for the second year in succession. The car is driven by Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin. It is the first of three consecutive victories in the event for Barnato.
The Monaco Grand Prix is run for first time. The race around the streets of Monte Carlo is won by William Grover-Williams in a Bugatti. He would go on to be a secret agent in Britain’s Special Operations Executive in World War II.
Henry Segrave takes the World Land Speed Record to 231.446mph/372.476kph in the Irving-Napier Special Golden Arrow at Daytona on 11 March 1929.
Woolf Barnato wins his third consecutive Le Mans 24 Hour Race driving a Speed Six Bentley with Glen Kidston. It is also the fourth consecutive win for Bentley. The company's cars finished in first and second places.
Morris brings out a new version of the Minor. The very basic side valve engined open two-seater retails for just £100 (£3,342 at 2009 prices).
DKW of Germany builds the first production car with both front wheel drive and transverse engine.
Malcolm Campbell takes Bluebird to 246.09mph/396.05kph at Daytona on 5 February 1931. He receives a knighthood later the same year.
Car and lorry retailers Rootes acquire a major financial stake in the Humber and Hillman car companies and associated Commer commercial vehicles.
Sir Malcolm Campbell drives Bluebird past the 250mph/402.34kph barrier at Daytona on 24 February 1932. The new Land Speed record is 253.97mph/408.72kph.
Morris introduces semaphore arm direction indicators. A variety of mechanical and electrical indicating devices had been tried by Morris and others in the preceding years.
Alvis produce the first all synchromesh gearbox. The patented system designed by W.M. Dunn is first seen on the Model 16 in November.
Sir Malcolm Campbell resumes his annual quest to raise the land speed record and takes the Rolls-Royce-engined Campbell Bluebird to 272.46mph/438.48kph.
Citroën introduce the technologically advanced Traction Avant with front wheel drive and unitary construction. The design proves successful, remaining in production in one form or another until 1957.
The 1934 Road Traffic Act introduces the 30mph/48.28kph speed limit to built-up areas. It also introduces driving tests to Britain.
Huddersfield based commercial vehicle manufacturer Karrier is absorbed by Rootes. The company is subsequently moved to the Commer factory at Luton.
Ford introduces a low cost version of the 8hp Model Y. The Popular is a four-door car priced at just £100 (£3,698 at 2009 prices).
Standard Motor Co. are first manufacturer to list windscreen washers as a regular fitting, on the 10/12 Speed model.
Sir Malcolm Campbell raises the World Land Speed Record twice in 1935. At Daytona on 7 March he takes the record to 276.82mph/445.50kph. At a new venue at Bonneville on 3 September he pushes the record to 301.129mph/484.621kph.
The Talbot and Sunbeam marques are absorbed by the Rootes Group.
Mercedes-Benz produce the 260D – first diesel powered passenger car. Demand proves so great for the model that by 1939 there is a 15-month waiting list.
George Eyston, driving Thunderbolt, sets a new World Land Speed Record of 312mph/502.11kph at Bonneville on 19 November 1937.
Production of the Ferdinand Porsche designed Volkswagen Beetle starts in Germany. Prototype versions have existed in one form or another since 1931. Cars to the same basic design are still being built at a factory in Mexico as recently as 2003. The total number of Beetles built exceeds 21.5 million!
Three new World Land Speed Records are set in succession. George Eyston takes Thunderbolt to 345.50mph/556.02kph on 27 August. John Cobb, driving the Railton, is the first man to 350mph/563.27kph, achieving 350.20mph/563.59kph on 16 September, before Eyston attains 357.50mph/575.34 the next day.
Morris Motors takes over Riley. The new Nuffield Organisation encompasses Morris Motor Company, Morris Commercial Car Company, Wolseley, MG and Riley.
Buick introduces the first flashing electric direction indicators.
John Cobb reaches 369.70mph/594.97kph in the Railton at Bonneville on 23 August 1939.
The famous military vehicle of World War II is developed from a prototype design built by American Bantam for the US Army in 1940. Willys Overland perfects the design and together with Ford manufacturs over 600,000 Jeeps for the allied forces. Jeep subsequently becomes a marque in its own right.
The ailing Triumph Motor Company is merged with Sir John Black's Standard Motor Company.
Triumph introduces the 1800. Available as a roadster or saloon it is the first British car with column gear change.
Standard introduces the Vanguard. It features a 2 litre engine, three speed gearbox and six seat, American inspired, fastback body design. Price new in 1948 is £543 (in the region of £13,000 at 2009 prices).
John Cobb drives the pre-war Railton (now called the Railton Mobil Special) to 394.20mph/634.40kmh at Bonneville on 16 September 1947.
Jaguar introduce the XK 120; at the time, it is the world’s fastest production car with a top speed of 120mph/193.12kph.
Rover launch the Land Rover, a cross country off-road vehicle inspired by the wartime Jeep.
Michelin market the X, the first radial ply tyre.
Morris launches the Minor designed by Alec Issigonis. It is destined to become a best seller and would remain in production until 1971. Price new in 1948 is £358 (over £8,000 at 2009 prices).
Chrysler introduces key start ignition in the USA.
Rover begins testing the first of a series of gas turbine powered cars. These lead to a gas turbine powered Le Mans entry in 1963 and 1965. Road going versions never got beyond the experimental stage.
The Drivers' World Championship for Formula One Grand Prix entrants is introduced. Guiseppe Farina wins the first title driving an Alfa Romeo.
Arch-rivals the Austin Motor Company and the Nuffield Organisation (including Morris, MG, Riley, Wolseley) complete a merger to form the British Motor Corporation (BMC). At the time it is Britain’s largest motor manufacturer.
Lord Montagu of Beaulieu opens Palace House to the public. A small collection of early motor cars are placed on display as a tribute to Lord Montagu's father, pioneering motorist John Scott Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu.
Austin introduces the A30, much smaller than its rival the Morris Minor. It is equipped with an 803cc A series engine. An updated version with a 948cc engine, known as the A35, is introduced in 1957. Price when new in 1952 is £520 (in the region of £10,000 at 2009 prices).
Dunlop begins marketing tubeless tyres in the UK.
The Standard Vanguard Phase II is the first British built private car available with a diesel engine.
Mercedes 300SL is the first car with fuel injection as a standard feature.
83 spectators are killed in motor racing's worst ever accident when Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes crashes and hits a public enclosure during the Le Mans 24 Hour Race.
Long established Coventry based manufacturer Singer is absorbed by the Rootes Group.
Lord Montagu opens the Montagu Motor Museum at Beaulieu. The opening ceremony is performed by Lord Brabazon of Tara. The museum builds upon the collection displayed in Palace House since 1952.
Lord Montagu of Beaulieu launches The Veteran & Vintage Magazine in August 1956. The monthly journal deals solely with Veteran, Edwardian, Vintage and Thoroughbred motoring and motorcycling. Many leading motoring historians contribute.
Swedish manufacturer Saab fit seat belts as standard on the GT750. Other manufacturers soon follow their lead.
The controversially styled Edsel is launched in the USA by Ford’s Mercury–Edsel–Lincoln Division. A downturn in the domestic car market and radical styling contribute to poor sales figures. Production ends in 1960.
Mike Hawthorn, driving a Ferrari, becomes the first British driver to win the Formula One World Championship. He retires at the end of the season but is tragically killed in a road accident early in 1959.
The first stretch of motorway in Britain, the Preston by-pass, is opened. Later it would form part of the M6.
British Motor Corporation launches the Mini. The brainchild of Morris Minor designer Alec Issigonis, it is marketed originally as the Morris Mini Minor and Austin Seven. The small transverse-engined, front wheel drive, monocoque chassis car sets a new trend in motoring. In a tiny package it includes a roomy interior, excellent storage space and outstanding handling characteristics.
The basic model costs £496 when launched (£7,588 at 2009 prices). Over 5.3 million are built before production ceases in 2000 and new owner BMW launches a new mini for the 21st century.
Lord Montagu opens a greatly expanded Montagu Motor Museum in a new building at Beaulieu. Lord Brabazon of Tara again performs the opening ceremony. A charitable trust is formed and in 1972 the new National Motor Museum opens.
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) test is introduced as an annual inspection of vehicle roadworthy-ness. It is originally carried out on vehicles over ten years old but later changes to those over three years old.
Jaguar launches the exotically styled E-Type. Its combination of style, performance and price sets new standards. When launched the price is £2,159 (about £33,000 at 2009 prices). Originally available with a 3.8 litre, 6 cylinder engine, the car eventually receives the 5.3 litre V12 in 1971.
Standard-Triumph are taken over by Leyland Motors.
Ford introduces the first version of the much loved Cortina. It became the car of choice for millions of drivers. The basic four door version is priced at £591 in November 1962 (about £9,000 at 2009 prices). The Cortina in various guises is to remain a best seller until replaced by the Sierra in 1982.
The Morris 1100 (later 1300) is launched by BMC featuring ‘Hydrolastic’ suspension designed by Alec Issigonis. 'Badge engineering', popular with British manufacturers in the 1960s, leads to an Austin 1100 in 1963 followed by Riley, Wolseley, MG and Vanden Plas versions. Price of the Morris 1100 in 1962 was £592 (over £8,000 at 2009 prices).
Volkswagen produces a million cars in one year.
NSU start manufacturing the Wankel rotary engine. It is fitted initially in the Sports Spyder.
American Craig Breedlove takes the three wheeled jet propelled Spirit of America to 407.45mph/655.72kph at Bonneville on 5 August. The record is not recognised by the FIA as propulsion is by jet thrust, not through the wheels.
Rootes introduces their answer to the Mini. The rear engined Hillman Imp is a cleverly engineered small car, assembled in a new factory at Linwood near Glasgow. The Coventry Climax designed engine is of all aluminium construction. Quality control and reliabilty problems plague the model's early years. Badge engineered versions are available as the Singer Chamois and Sunbeam Stiletto. Price for the standard Imp in 1963 is £508 (around £7,000 at 2009 prices).
Ford launches the Mustang in the USA. This pony car is a marketing success story, selling over 1.5 million in its first three years.
Donald Campbell, son of pre-war record holder Sir Malcolm, takes the Land Speed Record to 403.10mph/648.72kph at Lake Eyre, Australia on 17 July 1964. He drives the Proteus turbine engined Bluebird. It is the last time a wheel driven vehicle will attempt the record.
The Jensen FF is introduced with four wheel drive and anti-lock brakes.
British Motor Holdings (BMH) is formed when the British Motor Corporation (including Austin, Morris, MG, Riley, Wolseley) is merged with Jaguar Cars (Jaguar, Daimler, Guy, Coventry Climax).
Rover, the last large scale independent car producer in the UK, is taken over by Leyland Motor Corporation in 1967.
A lengthy process of take over is finally completed and the Rootes Group becomes a part of the huge Chrysler Corporation. Old names such as Hillman, Humber and Singer will eventually be replaced by Chrysler while the Commer name will disappear in favour of Dodge.
The giant British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC) is formed by the merger of British Motor Holdings (encompassing the British Motor Corporation and Jaguar/Daimler) and the Leyland Motor Corporation (including Leyland, Rover, Triumph).
British Leyland Motor Corporation produces over a million vehicles in a year, the first time this figure has been reached in the UK.
Mercedes-Benz are the first in Europe to fit electronic fuel injection to production cars.
Rising political tension in the Middle East leads the Arab oil producing states to place an embargo on the export of oil to the USA and other western nations. As a result, crude oil prices quadrupled and supplies of petrol were restricted with queues at petrol stations becoming common. Petrol prices would never again return to pre-crisis levels. Over the next few years sales of large cars declined and more medium and small models entered the market.
The BMW 2002 is the first production car with a turbocharged engine.
British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC) is nationalised. The new title is British Leyland Limited.
Following a long struggle and huge financial losses Chrysler sells its European operations to the PSA Peugeot-Citroën group. The Talbot name is resurrected for the former Chrysler designs. The Dodge Truck division passes in to Renault ownership.
British Leyland Limited becomes BL Cars Limited.
Audi introduce the first mass produced car with permanent four wheel drive, the Quattro. When launched on the UK market in mid 1981 the retail price is £14,500. Competition versions of the car attained great success in rallying.
BL Cars Limited renames its car division Austin Rover as old established names such as Triumph and Morris are dropped.
The wearing of front seat belts becomes compulsory. Rear seat belt legislation follows in 1991.
Richard Noble drives Thrust 2 to a new World Land Speed Record of 633.468mph/1,019.469kph in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada on 4 October 1983. The car is propelled by a Rolls-Royce Avon jet engine developing some 17,000 pounds of thrust.
Jaguar Cars becomes independent from British Leyland in a stock market flotation.
BL Cars Ltd becomes Rover Group with only the Rover and MG brands surviving.
Rover Group is sold by the British Government to British Aerospace.
Ford acquires Jaguar Cars Limited.
British Aerospace sells the Rover Group to BMW.
On 15 October Andy Green, driving Thrust SSC, sets the first ever supersonic World Land Speed Record at Black Rock, Nevada. The new record speed is 763.03mph/1,227.98kph (mach 1.02).
Designed by racing car engineer Gordon Murray, the McLaren F1 becomes the world's fastest production car, with a speed of 240mph/386.24kph.
The Rover Group is split up by BMW. Land Rover is sold to Ford. The Mini name, along with the factory at Cowley, Oxford, is retained whilst the remainder of the company becomes independent as MG Rover Group.
MG Rover goes into liquidation. The company is sold to Nanjing Automobiles of China.
With a top speed of 253.8mph/408.47kph the Bugatti Veyron EB16/4 becomes the world’s fastest production car. It has a 16 cylinder turbocharged engine of 7,993cc and can reach 62mph/99.78kph in under 2.5 seconds.
Ford sells the Jaguar and Land Rover brands to the Indian company Tata Motors.
The TTXGP at the Isle of Man TT races is heralded as the world's first zero carbon clean emmissions Grand Prix. Motorcycles entered in the event are powered either by electricity or non carbon based fuels. A Pro class for teams backed by industry and universities is run alongside an Open class for low cost machinery.
The Pro class winner was Rob Barber with an average speed of over 87mph/140.01kph. The Open class was won by Chris Heath on an electric bike at a speed of 66mph/106.22kph.
On 25 August, the British Steam Car Challenge team breaks Fred Marriott's 1906 Steam Powered Land Speed Record, achieving 139.843mph/225.06kph over the measured mile at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The car, Inspiration, was driven by Charles Burnett III. The following day Don Wales drove the car to set a new record over the measured kilometre with an average speed of 148.308mph/238.679kph. The maximum speed achieved was over 155mph/249.45kph.
Following the success of the world's first zero carbon, clean emissions race at the 2009 Isle of Man TT races, the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) announce a whole series for electrically powered motorcycles in 2010.