automotive history

Early designers, builders and manufactures
Most of the earliest automobiles were designed and built one at a time

  • Packard
  • Engines

  • reciprocating piston engine
  • Transverse engine – engine mounted in a vehicle so that the engine’s crankshaft is at a right angle (90°) to the vehicle. Many modern front wheel drive vehicles use a transverse engine mounting design. The first car known to use such an arrangement was a 1911 front-wheel drive car. It had a clutch at each end of the engine, driving the front wheels directly. The first successful transverse-engine cars were the two-cylinder DKW “Front” series of cars. These first appeared in 1931. After the World War II, SAAB used the configuration in their first model, the Saab 92, in 1947.
  • Wankel (rotary) engine – type of internal combustion engine using an eccentric rotary design to convert pressure into rotating motion. The engine was invented by German engineer Felix Wankel. He received his first patent for the engine in 1929, began development in the early 1950s and completed a working prototype in 1957.
  • Ford Model T – clutch – a pedal on the floor to shift the gears from low to high speed. A lever on the floor worked the brakes as well as the clutch. Pulling the lever toward the driver would set the parking brake and help keep the car from moving while parked. When the lever was placed in the middle, the transmission would be in neutral.

Assembly line manufacturing of cars was introduced

Restoration, preservation, replication

General Motors (GM)
GM Heritage Center (video 6:09) – over 1000 vintage, custom, and show cars dating back to the turn of the last century. A rare tour of 200 of from Manager Greg Wallace. Unfortunately, this collection is not open to the public.

Ford Motor

Open to the public – museums, private collections