These were based on the station
ary gas engine that used the four-stroke principle.
par The replicas of the originals that each engineer produced gave birth to the world rquote s motor industry, although in 1896, France and not Germany became the world rquote s largest manufacturer of motor vehicles. In 1
891 a French engineer, Emile Levassor, transferred the engine of the Panhard et Levassor car from its established rear location to the front of the vehicle, from where it drove the rear wheels via a clutch and in-line gearbox. Named Systeme Panhard, it ra
pidly overtook the original layout in popularity and survives, in essence, on large-capacity cars.
par The progressive Gottlieb Daimler soon produced, in 1893, a vertical two-cylinder in-line engine and Benz followed, in 1897, with a horizontally opposed twin
in which the cylinders were in the same plane as the crankshaft. Panhard had introduced the in-line four in 1896 and this configuration soon outstripped all other types in popularity, most notably in the Henry Ford Model T, built between 1908 and 1927.
par Over 15 million of these Fords were produced and their success helped America to consolidate its position, attained in 1906, as the world rquote
s largest manufacturer of motor cars. The United States dominated the industry until 1980, when it was overtaken by Japan.
par Britain had lagged behind France and Germany in introducing the motor car, as its industry was stifled by the presence of the Locomotive Act of 1865. This required self-propelled vehicles to be limited to a speed of 3.2 km/h (2 mph) in towns and 6.2 km
/h (4 mph) elsewhere. Originally, motor cars were required to be preceded by a man carrying a red flag but this stipulation was usually set aside following an amendment to the act in 1878.
par As early cars were capable of at least 32 km/h (20 mph), Continental imports could not be practically or legally run on Britain rquote
s roads until 1896, when the Locomotive Act was modified. The speed limit was raised to a blanket 19 km/h (12 mph) and increased again, in 1904, to 32 km/h (20 mph).
par Britain rquote s motor industry therefore dates from 1896, although most manufacturers were initially only responsible for their vehicles rquote
mechanical components. Bodywork, usually of the open type with only rudimentary weather protection in the form of a canvas hood, was the responsibility of coachbuilders, who had hitherto manufactured horse-drawn vehicles.
par In 1904 the English Napier company had built the world rquote s first usable six-cylinder car, although the costly straight-eight engine did not make any impact until after World War I. The m
ore compact V8, in which four in-line cylinders were positioned in a V-shaped configuration, was popularized by the American Cadillac company in 1915. Its Lincoln rival was responsible for the world rquote
s first successful V12-engined car that dates from 1915. However, the V6 unit, pioneered by Lancia, did not arrive until 1950.
par Q Saloon Bodies
par Most cars were fitted with open, wooden-framed, hand-crafted steel or aluminium bodywork that was mounted on a separate chassis frame. Saloons were more expensive bec
ause they used more materials. It was not until 1925 that the American Essex company risked all by offering a closed car that sold for less than a touring vehicle. The gamble paid off and the rest of the motoring world soon followed suit.
par Machine-made pressed steel body panels had been used by Dodge in America from 1916; this led to the all-steel saloon and, finally, the unitary body, which dispensed with the chassis and transferred stresses to the hull. Citro 'ebn rquote
s advanced front-wheel drive Traction Avant model of 1934 was the first mass-produced car to feature the concept and was followed by General Motors rquote
German Opel subsidiary in 1935. General Motors was also responsible for introducing silent gear changes to motoring in 1928, and in 1940 an American car, the Oldsmobile, was the first vehicle to have automatic transmission.
par Cars used leaf springs inherited from horse-drawn carriages until the 1930s, when independent front suspension was developed. However, its rear equivalent was rarer and usually confi
ned to more expensive vehicles. An exception was provided by Volkswagen AG in Germany. The Beetle was the Volkswagen which was designed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 and entered series production in 1945. Featuring all-independent suspension, it was powere
by a rear-mounted, horizontally opposed, four-cylinder engine that was cheap to run, and which also defied convention by being air- rather than water-cooled. The Beetle became the most popular car in the history of motoring; it is still in production and
a record 21 million have been built.
par A German company also produced the economical and efficient diesel engine, invented in 1893 by Rudolf Diesel. Adopted in the 1920s for use in commercial vehicles, in 1935 Mercedes-Benz introduced the 260D as the world rquote s first diesel-engined car.
par R Front-Wheel Drive
par In 1937 the French Citro 'ebn company briefly offered a diesel option in its front-wheel drive Traction Avant. This model represented the first serious challenge to the
orthodox front-engine/rear-drive configuration. Although the mechanics were more sophisticated, the Traction Avant cornered better and could be built with lower body lines because there was no obtrusive transmission tunnel.
par While the Citro 'ebn rquote s engine was conventionally positioned, the British Motor Corporation rquote s front-wheel drive Mini of 1959, designed by its chief engineer Alec Issigonis, had its power unit turned 90 'b0
to a transverse-mounted location. This allowed for more passenger accommodation: four adults could be seated in a car only 3 m (10 ft) long.
par S Fuel Economy
par In Europe Mini-inspired cars became increasingly popular and the Mini itself became a classic. However, the global influence of the Issigonis approach attained its height following the
oil price rises in the early 1970s. This resulted in a trend in designing and producing smaller front-wheel drive cars with hatchback bodies, so called because they incorporated a single opening tailgate. (It also marked a decline in production of the va
st American '93gas-guzzlers '94, which had been so popular in the 1950s.) These cars currently dominate the world market.
par The soaring price of petrol also revived research, dormant on passenger cars since the 1930s, into more aerodynamically efficient bodywork. This meant that a car rquote
s styling was contoured to assist its passage through the air in order to minimize petrol consumption. This had hitherto been the preserve of sports-car makers.
par T Performance and Four-Wheel Drive
par Lamborghini GTV 350 The Lamborghi
ni 350 GTV was introduced to the public at the 1963 Turin Motor show. It was made of steel and aluminium panels over a chassis of round tubes. Despite many critics, the car got a lot of attention from the press because of its very modern chassis.Farabolaf
par From the 1970s the performance of such vehicles had also been enhanced by the development of the turbocharger. Driven by otherwise wasted exhaust gases, it is a small, high-revolution pump that forces air into the cylinders at pressure and is invari
ably used in conjunction with an intercooler.