Edward Davis was among the first African-Americans to own and operate a car dealership. He was born in 1911 in Shreveport, Louisiana. At the age of 15, he went to live with an aunt in Detroit in order to have access to better educational opportunities. Davis attended Cass Technical High School in the Motor City... Continue Reading →

January 27, 1900 The automobile manufacturer Società Milanese Automobili Isotta, Fraschini & C (Isotta-Fraschini) was officially established in Milan, Italy. The company’s formal name was based in part on the surnames of its founders, Cesare Isotta and the brothers Oreste, Vincenzo and Antonio Fraschini. For the first few years of its existence, Isotta-Fraschini focused on assembling... Continue Reading →

January 3, 1905 Automobile designer Dante Giacosa was born in Rome, Italy. His work covered a wide range of automobiles, from minicars to sports cars. Giacosa was especially instrumental in spearheading the design of small automobiles during his many years at the Fiat company. Giacosa studied engineering at the Polytechnic University of Turin. He joined Fiat... Continue Reading →

In 1920, racecar driver John Riley Boling became the first Native American to compete in the Indianapolis 500. He finished 11th in a field of 23 drivers. (This was only the eighth running of the world-famous annual automobile race, which takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.) Boling had been born in 1895 in Bloomfield,... Continue Reading →

October 25, 1873 John North Willys, a leading automobile industrialist, was born in Canandaigua, New York. His original career involved selling bicycles, but all that changed when he saw his first automobile in 1899. Willys (pronounced Will-is), realizing the automobile’s potential, started selling models of that type of transportation instead. By 1907, Willys’ high volume... Continue Reading →

October 2, 1988 The innovative automobile designer Alexander “Alec” Arnold Constantine Issigonis died in Edgbaston, a town and suburban area of Birmingham, England, at the age of 81. In announcing his death, the London-based Guardian newspaper highlighted him as “not only a great and original car designer but someone who put his stamp on a... Continue Reading →

August 30, 1925 Two officials of the American Automobile Association (AAA) headed out of Washington, D.C., for an ambitious transcontinental motor vehicle trip to California. AAA President Thomas P. Henry and Ernest N. Smith, general manager of that organization, undertook that long drive to participate in the festivities commemorating California’s 75th anniversary as a state. Both... Continue Reading →

August 23, 1904 Harry D. Weed of Canastota, New York, was issued U.S. Patent Number 768,495 for his “Grip-Tread for Pneumatic Tires,” an innovation designed to help make driving safer in inclement winter weather or similarly adverse muddy road conditions. According to one of his great-grandsons, Weed came up with the idea for creating tire chains... Continue Reading →

August 14, 1893 With the passage of the Paris Police Ordinance, France became the first country to introduce motor vehicle registration. "Each motor vehicle shall bear on a metal plate and in legible writing the name and address of its owner, also the distinctive number used in the application for authorization,” read this ordinance.  “This plate... Continue Reading →

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