Nicholas Cugnot (1725 – 1804) designs a steam truck to transport cannon for the French Army. Built and tested at Paris Arsenal. It is capable of 2.5mph/4.02kph.
The rise of the motor vehicle
First motor accident
Nicholas Cugnot builds his second steam vehicle. Built and tested at Paris Arsenal, it carries 4 tons. Apparently it crashes into a stone wall, so can be considered the world’s first motor accident!
First motorized passenger carrying vehicle
Cornish engineer, Richard Trevithick (1771–1833) builds the first motorised passenger-carrying vehicle. The Camborne Road Locomotive or Puffing Devil can carry up to eight passengers.
The Red Flag Act
The Locomotives on Highways Act (usually referred to as the ‘Red Flag Act’) comes into effect. Intended to impose regulations upon heavy steam traction engines. It stipulates that every road locomotive must be attended by three people; one to steer, one to stoke the firebox and one to walk 60 yards (55 metres) in front with a red flag to warn other road users. Maximum permitted speed is 4mph/6.4kph in the country and 2mph/3.22kph in towns.
Highways And Locomotive Act
First petrol driven road vehicle
Invention of the motor car
Karl Benz of Mannheim, builds a two seat tricycle powered by a four-stroke gas engine. Because of this success Benz is usually credited as the inventor of the car in the winter of 1885–1886.
First practical electrical car
Magnus Volk of Brighton builds the first practical electric carriage. The three wheeled dog-cart has a 0.5hp electric motor by Acme & Immisch of London. It is supposedly capable of 9mph/14.48kph on a level road. Volk builds a second electric vehicle for Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Turkey in 1895
First motor vehicle dealership
Karl Benz appoints Emile Roger of Paris as an agent for his vehicles, thereby creating the first motor vehicle dealership
Benz’s first four wheel design
The Light Locomotives on Highways Act (Emancipation Act) introduces a new upper speed limit of 12mph/19.31kph (14mph/22.53kph was originally stipulated) and does away with the restrictions imposed on all mechanical road vehicles by the Red Flag Act. Motorists celebrate by organising the Emancipation Run from London to Brighton on 14 November.
First front wheel drive
The Graf-und-Stift from Austria is first car to use front wheel drive.
First land speed record
Comte Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat sets the first Land Speed Record in a Jeantaud electric reaching 39.24mph/63.14kph on18 December at Achères. Perhaps not that exciting when contemporary trains were already capable of speeds greater than 80mph/128.75kph!
Motor Car Act
John Scott Montagu steers the Motor Car Act through Parliament. The Act introduces driving licences, registration numbers and a 20mph/32.19kph speed limit. It comes into force on 1st January 1904.
The Automobile Association (AA) is formed, initially as a cycle patrol to warn motorists about police speed traps.
Enter the Tin Lizzy
Ford introduce the Model T, mass produced on production lines in various countries including England and Ireland. In 1910 a Model T costs £220 in Britain (about £12,500 at 2009 prices). Over 16 million are built before the model ceases production in 1927. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get them in colours other than black! Blue and green are available on British cars before black is standardised in 1914. The one colour policy is introduced because black enamel is the only colour t
First car production line
In August, Henry Ford introduces a conveyor-belt based production line at the Highland Park, Michigan plant. Vehicle production that year rises from 170,211 to 202,677. In 1914 Highland Park builds 308,162 cars.
Cars by the million
Ford is the first company to build one million cars in a year. The total number of Ford Model Ts of all body styles built in US factories in 1922 is 1.3 million. Peak production comes in 1923 when over 1.8 million are produced.
The Austin Seven
The Road Traffic Act
The 1934 Road Traffic Act introduces the 30mph/48.28kph speed limit to built-up areas. It also introduces driving tests to Britain
The £100 car
Morris brings out a new version of the Minor. The very basic side valve engined open two-seater retails for just £100 (£3,342 at 2009 prices).
Seat belts fitted as standard
The coming of the motorway
The first stretch of motorway in Britain, the Preston by-pass, is opened. Later it would form part of the M6.