Topic: Automobiles

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AVE Mizar

Aviation Aviation/aircraft project Automobiles

The AVE Mizar (named after the star Mizar) was a roadable aircraft built between 1971 and 1973 by Advanced Vehicle Engineers (AVE) of Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California. The company was started by Henry Smolinski and Harold Blake, both graduates of Northrop Institute of Technology's aeronautical engineering school.

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Carl Fisher

United States Biography Business Automobiles Miami Indiana Historical Society Biography/sports and games United States/Indiana

Carl Graham Fisher (January 12, 1874 – July 15, 1939) was an American entrepreneur. Despite severe astigmatism, he became actively involved in auto racing. He was a seemingly tireless pioneer and promoter of the automotive industry and highway construction, and of real estate development in Florida. He is widely regarded as a promotional genius.

Despite family financial strains and a disability, in the late 19th century he became a bicycle enthusiast and opened a modest bicycle shop with a brother. He became involved in bicycle racing, as well as many activities related to the emerging American auto industry. In 1904, Carl Fisher and his friend James A. Allison bought an interest in the U.S. patent to manufacture acetylene headlights, a precursor to electric models which became common about ten years later. Soon Fisher's firm supplied nearly every headlamp used on automobiles in the United States as manufacturing plants were built all over the country to supply the demand. The headlight patent made him rich as an automotive parts supplier when he and Allison sold their company, Prest-O-Lite, to Union Carbide in 1913 for $9 million (equivalent of approximately $230 million in 2019).

Fisher operated in Indianapolis what is believed to be the first automobile dealership in the United States, and also worked at developing an automobile racetrack locally. After being injured in stunts himself, and following a safety debacle at the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway, of which he was a principal, he helped develop paved racetracks and public roadways. Improvements he implemented at the speedway led to its nickname, "The Brickyard."

In 1912, Fisher conceived and helped develop the Lincoln Highway, the first road for the automobile across the entire United States of America. A convoy trip a few years later by the U.S. Army along Fisher's Lincoln Highway was a major influence upon then Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower years later in championing the Interstate Highway System during his presidency in the 1950s.

Carl Fisher followed the east-west Lincoln Highway in 1914 with the conception of the north-south Dixie Highway, which led from Michigan to Miami. Under his leadership, the initial portion was completed within a single year, and he led an automobile caravan to Florida from Indiana.

At the south end of the Dixie Highway in Miami, Florida, Fisher, with the assistance of his partners John Graham McKay and Thomas Walkling, became involved in the successful real estate development of the new resort city of Miami Beach, built on a largely unpopulated barrier island and reached by the new Collins Bridge across Biscayne Bay directly at the terminus of the Dixie Highway. Fisher was one of the best known and active promoters of the Florida land boom of the 1920s. By 1926, he was worth an estimated $100 million, and redirected his promotional efforts when the Florida real estate market bubble burst after 1925. His final major project, cut short by the Great Depression, was a "Miami Beach of the north" at Montauk, located at the eastern tip of Long Island, New York.

His fortune was lost in the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression in the United States which followed shortly thereafter. He found himself living in a small cottage in Miami Beach, doing minor work for old friends. Nevertheless, years after his fortune had been lost, at the end of his career, he took on one more project, albeit more modest than many of his past ventures, and built the famous Caribbean Club on Key Largo, intended as a "poor man's retreat."

Although he had lost his fortune and late in life considered himself a failure, Fisher is widely regarded as a decidedly successful man in the long view of his life. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1971. In a 1998 study judged by a panel of 56 historians, writers, and others, Carl G. Fisher was named one of the Fifty Most Influential People in the history of the State of Florida by The Ledger newspaper. PBS labeled him "Mr. Miami Beach." Just south of Miami Beach, Fisher Island (which he once owned, and is named for him), became one of the wealthiest and most exclusive residential areas in the United States.

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Chicken tax

United States International relations Finance & Investment Economics Politics Trade Automobiles Taxation

The Chicken Tax is a 25 percent tariff on light trucks (and originally on potato starch, dextrin, and brandy) imposed in 1964 by the United States under President Lyndon B. Johnson in response to tariffs placed by France and West Germany on importation of U.S. chicken. The period from 1961–1964 of tensions and negotiations surrounding the issue was known as the "Chicken War," taking place at the height of Cold War politics.

Eventually, the tariffs on potato starch, dextrin, and brandy were lifted, but since 1964 this form of protectionism has remained in place to give U.S. domestic automakers an advantage over competition (e.g., from Japan, Turkey, China, and Thailand). Though concern remains about its repeal, a 2003 Cato Institute study called the tariff "a policy in search of a rationale."

As an unintended consequence, several importers of light trucks have circumvented the tariff via loopholes, known as tariff engineering. Ford (ostensibly a company that the tax was designed to protect), imported its first-generation Transit Connect light trucks as "passenger vehicles" to the U.S. from Turkey, and immediately stripped and shredded portions of their interiors (e.g., installed rear seats, seatbelts) in a warehouse outside Baltimore. To import vans built in Germany, Mercedes "disassembled them and shipped the pieces to South Carolina, where American workers put them back together in a small kit assembly building." The resulting vehicles emerge as locally manufactured, free from the tariff.

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Cyclecar

Automobiles

A cyclecar was a type of small, lightweight and inexpensive car manufactured in Europe and the United States between 1910 and the early 1920s. The purpose of cyclecars was to fill a gap in the market between the motorcycle and the car.

The demise of cyclecars was due to larger cars – such as the Citroën Type C, Austin 7 and Morris Cowley – becoming more affordable. Small, inexpensive vehicles reappeared after World War II, and were known as microcars.

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Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster

United States Spaceflight Automobiles

Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster is an electric sports car that served as the dummy payload for the February 2018 Falcon Heavy test flight and became an artificial satellite of the Sun. "Starman", a mannequin dressed in a spacesuit, occupies the driver's seat. The car and rocket are products of Tesla and SpaceX, respectively, both companies founded by Elon Musk. The 2008-model Roadster was previously used by Musk for commuting to work and is the only production car in space.

The car, mounted on the rocket's second stage, acquired enough velocity to escape Earth's gravity and enter an elliptical heliocentric orbit crossing the orbit of Mars. The orbit reaches a maximum distance from the Sun at aphelion of 1.66 astronomical units (au). During the early portion of the voyage outside the Earth's atmosphere, live video was transmitted back to the mission control center and live-streamed for slightly over four hours.

Advertising analysts noted Musk's sense of brand management and use of new media for his decision to launch a Tesla into space. While some commenters voiced concern that the car contributed to space debris, others saw it as a work of art. Musk explained he wanted to inspire the public about the "possibility of something new happening in space" as part of his larger vision for spreading humanity to other planets.

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Ford Nucleon - a nuclear-powered concept car from 1958

Automobiles

The Ford Nucleon is a concept car developed by Ford in 1957 designed as a future nuclear-powered car, one of a handful of such designs during the 1950s and '60s. The concept was only demonstrated as a scale model. The design did not include an internal-combustion engine; rather, the vehicle was to be powered by a small nuclear reactor in the rear of the vehicle, based on the assumption that this would one day be possible by reducing sizes. The car was to use a steam engine powered by uranium fission similar to those found in nuclear submarines.

The mock-up of the car can be viewed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

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Gurgel Itaipu

Brazil Brands Automobiles Brazil/Transportation in Brazil

The Gurgel Itaipu E150 is an electric car, produced by the Brazilian automobile manufacturer Gurgel. The Itaipu was presented at the Salão do Automóvel in 1974, with an intended production start in December 1975. Only a few of these cars were produced and is today a collector's item. Top speed was of the first prototypes were of approximately 30 km/h (19 mph) and the latest models reached up to 60 km/h (37 mph). While about twenty pre-series cars were built, it was never commercialized. It was the first electric car built in Latin America, and, its specifications were comparable to similar models of the time (see CitiCar). The car was named after the hydro-electric dam and power plant on the border of Brazil and Paraguay.

The car's design was unique, a very compact trapezoidal two-seater. The car itself weighed a mere 460 kg (1,014 lb), with the remaining 320 kg (705 lb) consisting of batteries. The name "Itaipu" was brought back for a larger commercial vehicle in 1980, called the Itaipu E400. This was based on the Volkswagen-engined Gurgel G800.

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Gyrocar

Russia Russia/technology and engineering in Russia Automobiles

A gyrocar is a two-wheeled automobile. The difference between a bicycle or motorcycle and a gyrocar is that in a bike, dynamic balance is provided by the rider, and in some cases by the geometry and mass distribution of the bike itself, and the gyroscopic effects from the wheels. Steering a motorcycle is done by precessing the front wheel. In a gyrocar, balance was provided by one or more gyroscopes, and in one example, connected to two pendulums by a rack and pinion.

The concept was originally described in fiction in 1911 "Two Boys in a Gyrocar: The story of a New York to Paris Motor Race" by Kenneth Brown, (Houghton Mifflin Co). However the first prototype Gyrocar, The Shilovski Gyrocar, was commissioned in 1912 by the Russian Count Pyotr Shilovsky, a lawyer and member of the Russian royal family. It was manufactured to his design by the Wolseley Tool and Motorcar Company in 1914 and demonstrated in London the same year. The gyrocar was powered by a modified Wolseley C5 engine of 16–20 hp, with a bore of 90 mm and a stroke of 121 mm. It was mounted ahead of the radiator, driving the rear wheel through a conventional clutch and gear box. A transmission brake was fitted after the gearbox – there were no brakes on the wheels themselves. The weight of the vehicle was 2.75 tons and it had a very large turning radius.

In 1927 Louis Brennan, funded to the tune of £12,000 (plus a £2000 per year) by John Cortauld built a rather more successful gyrocar. Two contra-rotating gyros were housed under the front seats, spun in a horizontal plane at 3500 rpm by 24V electric motors powered from standard car batteries. This was the greatest speed obtainable with the electric motors available, and meant that each rotor had to weigh 200 lb (91 kg) to generate sufficient forces. Precession was in the vertical fore-aft plane. The car had a Morris Oxford engine, engine mountings, and gearbox. Two sidewheels (light aircraft tailwheels were used) were manually lowered on stopping; if the driver forgot and switched off the gyros and walked away, the car would continue to balance itself using the gyro momentum for a few minutes, and then the wheels would automatically be dropped to stop tipping.

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Lego - the Largest Tyre Manufacturer in the World

Denmark Automobiles Toys Lego

A Lego tire is a rubber tire manufactured by the toy building block company The Lego Group for use on vehicles within their Lego building sets. The tires are available in a range of sizes depending on the application. Lego first began manufacturing tires in 1962 and included them in what would become their most popular set at the time. Previously, the only tire options for Lego users were either purchasing complete car kits from Lego, or building their own tires out of existing Lego blocks. Lego produced 318 million tires in 2011, making them the world's largest tire manufacturer by number of units produced.

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