Automotive

UAW walks out on Ford

On this day in 1961, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union goes on strike at Ford plants across the country to win higher wages and better benefits for its members. It was the first company-wide strike since Ford had agreed to a collective-bargaining deal in 1941. Ford had been the ...read more

Man who took NASCAR mainstream is born

Bill France Jr., the leading force behind the transformation of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) from a regional sport into a multibillion-dollar industry with fans worldwide, is born on this day in 1933 in Washington, D.C. France’s father, William ...read more

Government gives Chrysler $1.5 billion loan

On this day in 1980, United States Secretary of the Treasury G. William Miller announces the approval of nearly $1.5 billion dollars in federal loan guarantees for the nearly bankrupt Chrysler Corporation. At the time, it was the largest rescue package ever granted by the U.S. ...read more

Yarborough wins fourth Daytona 500

Driver Cale Yarborough wins his fourth Daytona 500 on this day in 1984. In the history of the 200-lap, 500-mile race, which was first run at Florida’s Daytona International Speedway in 1959 and is considered one of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)’s ...read more

World’s first parking meter installed

The world’s first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, is installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on this day in 1935.The parking meter was the brainchild of a man named Carl C. Magee, who moved to ...read more

Walter P. Chrysler dies

Walter Percy Chrysler, the founder of the American automotive corporation that bears his name, dies on this day in 1940 at his estate in Great Neck, New York, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 65 years old. Born in 1875 in Kansas, Chrysler was the son of a locomotive ...read more

Victory at last for Earnhardt at Daytona

On February 15, 1998, after 20 years of trying, racing great Dale Earnhardt Sr. finally wins his first Daytona 500, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) season opener and an event dubbed the “Super Bowl of stock car racing.” Driving his black No. 3 ...read more

Unsafe at Any Speed hits bookstores

On this day in 1965, 32-year-old lawyer Ralph Nader publishes the muckraking book Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile. The book became a best-seller right away. It also prompted the passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act ...read more

U.S. Patent issued for three-point seatbelt

The United States Patent Office issues the Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin a patent for his three-point automobile safety belt “for use in vehicles, especially road vehicles” on this day in 1962.Four years earlier, Sweden’s Volvo Car Corporation had hired Bohlin, who had previously ...read more

“Tucker: The Man & His Dream” debuts

Remembered by some as a visionary and others as a flamboyant but failed opportunist, Preston Tucker (born in 1903) was inspired to build cars by his friendship and pre-World War II business partnership with the race car driver and auto designer Harry Miller. In the renewed ...read more

Toyota sells 1 millionth hybrid in U.S.

The Toyota Motor Company announces on this day in 2009 that it has sold over 1 million gas-electric hybrid vehicles in the U.S. under its six Toyota and Lexus brands. The sales were led by the Prius, the world’s first mass-market hybrid car, which was launched in Japan in October ...read more

Toyota announces plans for hybrid Camry

On this day in 2005, Toyota Motor Company announces its plans to produce a gasoline-electric hybrid version of its bestselling Camry sedan. Built at the company’s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, the Camry became Toyota’s first hybrid model to be manufactured in the United States. ...read more

Tire king Firestone dies

On February 7, 1938, automotive industry pioneer Harvey Samuel Firestone, founder of the major American tire company that bore his name, dies at the age of 69 in Miami Beach, Florida.By 1910, Firestone’s profits passed $1 million for the first time. The following year, the winner ...read more

“The Love Bug” opens in theaters

On this day in 1969, “The Love Bug,” a Walt Disney movie about the adventures of a Volkswagen Beetle named Herbie, opens in theaters across the United States. The film, which was based on a 1961 book called “Car, Boy, Girl” by Gordon Buford, centered around down-on-his-luck auto ...read more

Stephen M. Balzer patents rotary-engine auto

On this day in 1896, the U.S. government awards Patent Number 573,174 to inventor Stephen M. Balzer for a gasoline-powered motor buggy that he built two years earlier. Balzer never mass-produced any of his cars, but his “experimental” vehicle was one of the first functioning ...read more

Sit-down strike begins in Flint

At 8 p.m. on December 30, 1936, in one of the first sit-down strikes in the United States, autoworkers occupy the General Motors Fisher Body Plant Number One in Flint, Michigan. The autoworkers were striking to win recognition of the United Auto Workers (UAW) as the only ...read more

Senate passes landmark auto safety bill

On this day in 1966, the United States Senate votes 76-0 for the passage of what will become the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson the following September, the act created the nation’s first mandatory federal safety ...read more

Scottish racing legend Jim Clark born

On this day in 1936, Jim Clark, who will dominate Formula One (F1) racing in the mid-1960s and win two F1 world championships, is born in Scotland.Clark grew up on a farm and as a teenager began competing in local car races. Initially, Clark’s family was less-than-enthusiastic ...read more

Rolls-Royce co-founder dies

Frederick Henry Royce, who with Charles Stewart Rolls founded the luxury British automaker Rolls-Royce, dies on this day in 1933 at the age of 70 in England.Royce was born on March 27, 1863, near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England. He grew up in a family of modest means and ...read more

Rare Bugatti found in British garage

On this day in 2009, media outlets report that a rare unrestored 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe has been found in the garage of a British doctor. A month later, on February 7, the car sold at a Paris auction for some $4.4 million.The black two-seater, one of just 17 57S ...read more

Richard Petty makes 1,000th start

On this day in 1986, driving legend Richard Petty makes the 1,000th start of his National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) career, in the Miller American 400 in Brooklyn, Michigan. He became the first driver in NASCAR history to log 1,000 career starts. Petty grew up on ...read more