automobile

The ‘Trabbi’ – an Icon of the Fall of the Berlin Wall turns 60

The ‘Trabbi’ – an Icon of the Fall of the Berlin Wall turns 60

On November 7, 1957, the first Trabant left the factory of the former East German car manufacturer VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau. Although it is often seen as symbolic of the defunct East Germany and the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in general, it was a sought-after car in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. During the early 1950s, vehicle construction in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was…
The Benz Patent-Motorwagen No.1

The Benz Patent-Motorwagen No.1

On November 2, 1886, the German imperial patent office granted Karl Benz the patent under the number 37435 for his automobile, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen No.1. Benz‘s automobile is widely regarded as the world’s first automobile, that is, a vehicle designed to be propelled by an internal combustion engine. After developing a successful gasoline-powered two-stroke piston engine in 1873, Benz focused on developing a motorized vehicle while maintaining a career as…
The Volkswagen Beetle – It’s Ugly But It Gets You There

The Volkswagen Beetle – It’s Ugly But It Gets You There

On July 30, 2003, the very last Volkswagen Beetle was produced, manufactured in Puebla, Mexico. With 21,529,464 produced from 1938 to 2003, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made. Currently, German automobile industry and especially Volkswagen worldwide is in the focus of public attention due to manipulations of the emission control system on their Diesel cars. Potentially, the famous Volkswagen Beetle had produced…
The Citroën 2CV

The Citroën 2CV

On July 27, 1990, the very last Citroën 2CV rolled off the Portuguese production line in Mangualde. From 1948 to 1990 more than 3.8 million of the air-cooled front-engine, front-wheel-drive economy car were produced. During the 1930s, Michelin took over the Citroën company and the new management ordered a new market survey. It was found that France had a large rural population not able to afford cars. Therefore, a design for…
Land Rover and the Series to remember

Land Rover and the Series to remember

On April 30, 1948, the Land Rover Series I was officially launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show. What started out solely as a farming vehicle became an icon of the automobile industry and stayed in production for 68 years. In 1992, Land Rover claimed that 70% of all the vehicles they had built were still in use. The Land Rover was conceived by the Rover Company in 1947 since Rover…
Henry Martyn Leland and his Motorcars

Henry Martyn Leland and his Motorcars

On February 16, 1843, American machinist, inventor, engineer and automotive entrepreneur Henry Martyn Leland was born. Leland founded Cadillac Motors (22 Aug 1902) to build the Cadillac, the first automobile with high-precision, fully-interchangable parts. During WW I, he formed a new company to manufactured aircraft engines, which after the war he produced a new automobile: the Lincoln. “Mr. Sloan, Cadillacs are made to run, not just to sell.”, Henry Martin…
The Cars of Alexandre Darracq

The Cars of Alexandre Darracq

On November 10, 1855, French investor, engineer, cycle manufacturer and automobile manufacturer Alexandre Darracq was born. By 1904, Darracq was producing more than ten percent of all automobiles in France. Producing 1600 vehicles, he was even the most successful car manufacturer in the world. Born Pierre Alexandre Darracq in Bordeaux, France, of Basque parents, he trained as a draftsman at the Arsenal in Tarbes, in the Hautes-Pyrénées département. He later…
Fritz von Opel and the Rocket Car

Fritz von Opel and the Rocket Car

On May 4, 1899, German automotive industrialist Fritz von Opel was born. Von Opel was the grandson of Adam Opel, founder of the Opel company. He was a pioneer in experiments with rocket propulsion for automobiles and aircraft. On 11 Apr 1928, at Berlin, together with Max Valier and Friedrich Wilhelm Sander, he tested the first manned rocket automobile, the Opel-RAK1. Fritz von Opel was the grandson of Adam Opel, founder of…
Enzo Ferrari – Il Commendatore

Enzo Ferrari – Il Commendatore

On February 18, 1898, Italian motor racing driver and entrepreneur Enzo Ferrari was born. He is best known as the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari automobile marque. He was widely known as “il Commendatore” or “il Drake”. Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena, Italy. It is believed that he had his first significant encounter with race cars in 1908 when…
Auto Pioneer Wilhelm Maybach

Auto Pioneer Wilhelm Maybach

On February 9, 1846, German engine designer and industrialist Wilhelm Maybach was born. Wilhelm Maybach, together with Gottlieb Daimler, developed light, high-speed internal combustion engines suitable for land, water, and air use. These were fitted to the world’s first motorcycle, motorboat, and to a new automobile introduced in late 1902, the Mercedes model. Wilhelm Maybach was educated at a philanthropic institution at Reutlingen. His skills were detected early there and…
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