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1934
Henri Pigozzi founded Simca (Societe Industrielle de Mecanique et Carrosserie Automobile), at Nanterre, France. Translated it means an industrial company that makes car mechanics and bodywork.
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1934
Japan began exporting three-wheelers (tuk-tuks) to Thailand.
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1935 May 7
US Commissioner Ernest E. Williams listened as witnesses charged Walter Lord, head of Drive-Away Travel Service of Detroit, with violating the National Recovery Administration automobile code. At least 10 young men were left stranded in San Francisco after driving in cars from Detroit with no pay. Drivers figured they had worked 138 hours, which at the NRA rate of 37.5 cents and hour, would have meant $51.75 in wages for each driver.
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1936 Apr 30
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Park-O-Meter has been recommended by Chief Administrative Officer Alfred Cleary. A trial plan called for 50 meters on Market St. charging 10 cents for 20 minutes.
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1936 Jul 4
The Reich Government decided to build a separate plant for the new Volkswagen, the Volkswagenwerk. The "Company for Preparation of Deutsche Volkswagen Ltd" was established on 28 May 1937.
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1937
Mercedes- Benz developed an all-wheel-drive car, largely for military purposes.
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1939 Apr 30
The New York World’s Fair, billed as a look at "the world of tomorrow," officially opened. NY Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia mandated that the city's nude dancers cover up during the fair. The cover-up evolved into the G-string and later the thong. The General Motors exhibit was titled Futurama. Philo T. Farnsworth premiered his television at the fair. AT&T presented its first Picture Phone at the World's Fair. Salvador Dali created a pavilion that was called “Dream of Venus” and described as the “funny house of tomorrow.” In 2000 Miles Beller authored "Dream of Venus (Or Living Pictures): A Novel of the 1939 New York world’s Fair." National Presto Industries introduced the home pressure cooker at the fair.
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1940 Nov 11
Willys unveiled its General Purpose vehicle, the "Jeep." The Willys Quad, featuring 4-wheel drive, was one entry in a US government competition for a small military utility vehicle.
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1942 Oct
Pres. Roosevelt signed special legislation that allowed General Motors to take a complete tax write-off for the loss of Opel, its Nazi subsidiary. The tax reduction amounted to some $22.7 million, an amount equal to about $285 billion in 2007.
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1943
General Motors invited Peter Drucker (1909-2005), a young author, to study the company from the inside. His seminal study of General Motors: “The Concept of the Corporation” (1946) introduced the idea of decentralization as a principle of organization, in contrast to the practice of command and control in business.
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1945 Nov 29
In India Bajaj Auto came into existence as M/s Bachraj Trading Corporation Private Limited.
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1946
Peter Drucker (1909-2005) published his seminal study of General Motors: “The Concept of the Corporation.” In it he introduced the idea of decentralization as a principle of organization, in contrast to the practice of command and control in business.
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1947 Apr 7
Auto pioneer Henry Ford (b.1863) died in Dearborn, Mich. Most of his personal estate, valued at $205 million, was left to the Ford Foundation. In 2001 Neil Baldwin authored "Henry Ford and the Jews - The Mass Production of Hate." In 2003 Douglas Brinkley authored "Wheels for the World - Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress." In 2005 Steven Watts authored “The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century.”
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1947 Aug 21
San Francisco’s first parking meter was installed at Bush and Polk streets.
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1948 Feb 21
Bill France, Daytona Beach stock car mechanic and driver, founded the National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR).
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1948 Oct 2
In New York the 1st Grand Prix at Watkins Glen was held. Cameron Argetsinger (1921-2008) was the main driving force behind the race which was won by Frank Griswold. Formula racing continued there until bankruptcy in 1981. Two year later Corning Glass Works revived the Watkins Glen race course in partnership with Int’l. Speedway Corp.
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1948
British carmaker Rover developed the Jeep-like Land Rover.
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1948
General Motors began regaining control over Opel operations in Germany. GM collected some $33 million in war reparations for Allied bombing of its German facilities.
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1948
Robert Peterson (1926-2007) founded Hot Rod magazine while trying to promote the custom-designed car show at the Los Angeles Armory. In 1949 he launched Motor Trend magazine. The Peterson Automotive Museum opened in LA in 1994.
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1948
Trevor Wilkinson incorporated TVR Engineering, a small British carmaker. He left the company in 1962 and in 1965 it was sold to Martin Lilly.
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1948
Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951), German car inventor, rolled out the first Porsche sports car.
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1948
General Motors agreed to annual cost-of-living pay increases.
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1948
The British Jaguar XK120 was introduced as the world’s fastest standard production car. It was the brainchild of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons.
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1948
Australia’s produced its first locally made car, a Holden FX. In late 2013 Holden, a part of General Motors, said it would quit in 2017.
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1948
African and Indian three-wheelers (tuk-tuks) began following the original design of the Piaggio Ape C, which was originally based on the Italian Vespa.
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1948
Kolkata-based Hindustan Motors began making the Ambassador car, modeling it after the British Morris Oxford III. In 2013 only 2,214 of the vehicles were sold. Production was halted in 2014 pending restructuring and clearing of its debts.
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1949 Dec 12
Saab, a Swedish aircraft maker, began full-scale production of the Saab 92 automobile based on the prototype Saab 92001.
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1950 Oct 15
John Jacob Raskob (b.1879), former General Motors executive and developer of the Empire State Building, died.
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1950
Giaur was formed in Italy by the great Berardo Taraschi (previously of Urania) and the Giannini brothers, the name coming from Giannini and Urania. The engines were mainly Giannini units, although Fiat and Crosley items were also used.
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1950
General Motors agreed to free health-care coverage for life along with generous pensions. Chrysler and Ford were forced to offer similar benefits.
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1950
Volkswagen debuted its iconic microbus. It became a favorite of hippies for its unique styling and copious space for travelers. The Bulli was the brainchild of a Dutch Volkswagen importer, Ben Pon, who in 1947 sketched out a simple public bus built on the wheels of the Volkswagen Beetle. The original Bulli was made from 1950 to 1967. A new version was unveiled in 2011.
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1951 Jan 30
Ferdinand Porsche (b.1875), German car inventor (Porsche), died.
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1952 May 31
In San Francisco the first Golden Gate Park Road Race was held with some 60 cars vying for first place. The races continued again in 1953 and ended in 1954.
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1952
British engineer Charles Spencer King (1925-2010) set a land speed record of 152 mph for gas turbine cars in Jet1, which he helped design.
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1952
1953
The Alba Regia was a Hungarian microcar project produced by both the Ministry of Metallurgy and Machine Industry in conjunction with the Vehicle Developing Institute.
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1952
England’s Morgan Motor Company stopped making its 3-wheeled cars. In 2010 the company unveiled a new 3-wheel model, the M3W, and planned expanded sales in China.
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1953 Jan 17
GM introduced the first American sports car, the two-seater Corvette at the annual NYC Motorama Show at the Waldorf-Astoria. It was not made available for sale to the public until June 30th.
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1953 Jan
Pres. Eisenhower selected Charlie Wilson, the president of General Motors, as Secretary of Defense. During his confirmation hearing Wilson made his famous statement: “…what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.”
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1953 Jun 30
The first Corvette rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, MI. The brainchild of designer Harvey J. Earl sold for $3,250. GM made 300 Corvettes in 1953 and moved production to St. Louis for 1954.
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1953 Nov
In Italy the Iso Isetta microcar was introduced in Turin. The car originated with the Italian firm of Iso SpA. In the early 1950s the company was building refrigerators, motor scooters and small three-wheeled trucks. Iso's owner, Renzo Rivolta, decided he would like to build a small car for mass distribution. By 1952 the engineers Ermenegildo Preti and Pierluigi Raggi had designed a small car that used the scooter engine and named it Isetta—an Italian diminutive meaning little ISO.
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1953
Volkswagen began manufacturing cars in Brazil.
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1954 Jan 21
In Czechoslovakia Frantisek Stransky died when a test prototype of the Oskar 54 microcar crashed. In 1956, the vehicle's name was changed to "Velorex - Oskar" and then just to "Velorex". In 1959 the company produced 120 vehicles per month. Beginning in 1936, the brothers Frantisek (1914 - 1954) and Mojmír (1924) Stransky, owners of a bicycle repair shop in village Parnik near Česká Třebová, started with the design of a small, cheap three-wheeled car, inspired by three-wheelers from Morgan Motor Company.
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1954
The Nash Metropolitan went on sale for $1,445. The small car got up to 40 miles per gallon. American Motors discontinued production of the British-built car in 1961. Total sales reached nearly 95,000.
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1955
Time Magazine named Harlow Curtice (1893-1962), president of General Motors, as Man of the Year.
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1955
In West Germany the Messerschmitt KR200, or Kabinenroller (Cabin Scooter), was a three-wheeled bubble car designed by the aircraft engineer Fritz Fend. Production began in the factory of the German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt and continued to 1964.
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1956 Jun 29
Pres. Eisenhower signed the US Federal Highway Act. It authorized a 42,500 mile network linking major urban centers. 90% of the cost was to be born by the federal government. Initial estimates put completion by 1968 for $25 billion. The system was completed in 1993 at a cost of $425 billion (in 2006 dollars). The Federal Highway Act included the Highway Revenue Act as Title II and created the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to finance the construction.
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1956
Industry experts in 1996 picked the 1956 Hudson as the number 1 worst American-made car. An average car this year sold for about $2,500.
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1956
In Hungary the Festival microcar, designed by Kalman Szabadi (d.2010), was introduced in Vac. The car was three meters long, had a conventional door for the passengers and a gull-wing for the driver, and weighed 380 kilos. It was powered by the same 298cc engine that BMW built for its Isetta. Only one car was completed.
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1957 Jul 4
In Italy the new 13 horsepower Fiat 500 (Cinquecento) was launched in Turin. In 1965 Fiat introduced the 500 F model. The car could get 58 mpg from its 4.25-gallon tank.
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1957
In Zwickau, East Germany, the first Trabant car was manufactured. Production ceased in 1991.
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1958 Apr 19
The last Key System train left Oakland for SF. Ferry service from the Ferry Building ended the next day when the Southern Pacific "Eureka" made its last crossing from SF to Oakland.
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1958 Apr 20
The last Key System train left San Francisco for Oakland. Ferry service from the SF Ferry Building ended when the Southern Pacific "Eureka" made its last crossing to Oakland. Train tracks were taken off the lower deck of the Bay Bridge and the lanes were paved in for car traffic.
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1960
1979
The Toyota Motor Company, formed as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works in the 30s, acquired several competing companies including Hino, Nippondenso and Daihitsu during the 60s and 70s in a huge expansion that included marketing more cars overseas. The “Toyota Way,” its corporate culture, embodied 5 elements: Kaizen (continuous improvement), Genchi genbutsu (go to the source for facts), Challenge, Teamwork, and Respect for other people.
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1960
Stanford R. Ovshinsky and his wife Iris founded Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In the 1980s the company introduced a nickel-metal hydride battery (NiMH) for consumer use and made it available for automobiles in the early 1990s. The technology made hybrid vehicles possible. By 2006 sales for the solar division, United Solar Ovonic, reached $90 Million.
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1961
Engineer Harry Ferguson’s all-wheel-drive racer appeared in Formula One competition.
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1961
Bharat Forge incorporated in India. By 2006 it was the world’s second biggest maker of forgings for car engine and chassis components.
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1961
Raymond Loewy, industrial designer for Studebaker Corp., assembled a 4-man team in Palm Springs to design a new sports coupe called the Avanti. Thomas Kellogg (d.2003 at 71) was a member of the team. The Avanti was introduced in April 1962 to compete with GM’s Corvette. It was cancelled after two years with sales under 6000 units. In 1991 Studebaker produced 6 Avanti convertibles during an attempt at reorganization.
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1961
Britain’s Jaguar Cars Ltd. Launched the Jaguar E-Type, designed by Malcolm Sayers.
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1961
Germany sold its state-owned Volkwagen car company. 60% of the cash from the sale was put into a national charitable foundation to support science.
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1962 Aug 18
In Iran brothers, Ahmad and Mahmoud Khayami founded "Iran National" to manufacture cars. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution it became known as Iran Khodro. Their 1985 Paykan design was based on the 1967 Hillman Hunter, which was originally designed and manufactured by the British Rootes Group. Mahmoud Khayami is also known for starting the Kourosh Department Stores: the first large retail chain stores of Iran, not unlike their American counterparts Sears and Kmart.
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