Pulled the sheets off two all-new models yesterday with the New York International Auto Show. The compact 2016 Scion iM hatchback and subcompact 2016 iA sedan are both slated to hit dealerships this fall.2016 Scion iA (Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.) Inside a press release, Scion states that the iA is the brand’s first sedan. It is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 106 horsepower, and is provided by either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic. Scion estimates that this iA will achieve 33/42/37 mpg city/highway/combined. The iA comes standard with push-button start, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a six-speaker audio system with a 7-inch touch screen and two USB ports, and features like navigation are optional.Track and Road points out that the iA is based upon the newest version of the Mazda2, which is sold in other markets. Due to Mazda’s reputation among critics for building cars that are fun to drive, they believe the iA will follow suit. The 2016 iA competes with other subcompact cars just like the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, Chevrolet Sonic and Nissan Versa. Scion says the iA will definitely cost around $16,000 when it goes on sale.2016 Scion iM (Toyota Motor Sales, UsaA., Inc.)The 2016 Scion iM competes inside the compact hatchback class. According to Scion, the iM is powered from a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 137 horsepower. The iM comes standard by using a six-speed manual transmission and is available with a continuously variable transmission. It gets a standard six-speaker audio system with a 7-inch display screen, in addition to a standard rearview camera, HD Radio and dual-zone automatic climate control. Navigation is optional in the iM.2016 Scion iM Interior (Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.)The iM increases against compact hatchbacks much like the Volkswagen Golf and Mazda3, both of which earn reviewer praise for their upscale cabins and fun driving dynamics. They’re impressed with the volume of standard features it has and say the cabin is very attractive, even though Driver and Car doesn’t think the iM will unseat either the Mazda3 or Golf in terms of driving fun. Scion says the iM will surely cost less than $20,000 when it proceeds sale.
City living isn’t for everyone, and a lot of the reasons why are because of logistics. When you’re crammed into a city, there’s a lot of stuff you have to sacrifice and you have to be willing to be around people all the time. Other people are constantly up in your space making your regular life tougher. It’s a miracle everyone doesn’t just move to the nation. In fact, a great life is always to live in the united states, and near a city, form of like Nashville. But many people can’t live there so we have to deal with one or the other. Each poses a set of advantages and disadvantages. There are some things you can do to make it somewhat easier on yourself if you are a city person, however. And mostly that’s just a matter of convenience. Here are some things you need to make your city life less annoying.
You’re going to want to get a small car, that’s for sure. You can see these people driving these massive SUV’s all over to the super market and you just wonder how on earth they ever get a parking spot. The truth is they seldom do, and sometimes they just have to park on top of another car, or on a motorcycle, or in the green strip between two lanes of traffic. You’re going to require a small car – not something like a wise Car, those are terrible. But such as a Prius-C – those ideas are perfect city cars. If you test drive one at San Diego Toyota I’m fairly certain you will fall madly in love, like I did so. I saw mine first at www.toyotaescondido.com and am so thankful that i got a nice tiny city car, as well as its incredible fuel consumption is an additional blessing.
Good Walking Shoes
Nothing kills a day worse than having mega blisters in your feet after walking all around the city. You should definitely invest in a good kind of sneakers if you’re going to be hoofing it around the town doing errands and visiting friends. Nothing is worse than having to walk somewhere and realizing you’re in incredible pain because you’ve been walking too much, and also you know you’re going to have a few cocktails so you can’t drive. It’s a big mess. Get good shoes and you’ll be all set.
You can’t live in a city with out a smart phone, ideally an iPhone 5 or 6. Let’s tell the truth, everything we do in the city uses the smart phone features. You can get instant directions to a new restaurant. Alternatively, send a pin of where you are in your friend so they can meet you. You don’t have to waste a lot of time triangulating where you and your amigos are. Also, it can be used for Lyft and Uber to get from place to place. Don’t live in the past, live in the now.
Directly from our friends at IndianAutosBlog, today we can sahre with you the very first completely undisguised pictures in the previously called Hyundai Elite i20 crossover, finally called i20 Active, or the Cross version of European i20.The front in the i20 Active is differentiated by the skid plate, projector headlamp with daytime running lights and big foglamp. The spied CRDi diesel variant is seen sporting a revised rear bumper with circular reflector elements, sharp roof spoiler, roof rails, plastic body enrichment and silver skid plate.The dressed-up Elite i20 also gets a new brown exterior colour, and an increased ground clearance that’s marginally higher than the hatchback’s 170 mm. A person privy on the product’s development earlier told IndianAutosBlog how the suspension would be upgraded, and test mules were spotted with projector headlamp, full plastic body armour, as well as a camouflaged dashboard suggesting an upgrade inside the infotainment system. The Hyundai i20 Active will launch in India next month, and also the car will also be exported. The engine configurations are unlikely to change with the 1.2L petrol Kappa engine which develops 83 PS @ 6,000 rpm and 115 Nm torque @ 4000 rpm, and the 1.4L diesel engine which delivers 90 PS power at 4,000 rpm and 220 Nm torque at 1,500 – 2,750 rpm, soldiering on. Could this model arrive to Europe while Hyundai develop a completely new B-segment?
Continue reading… Instantly recognizable yet thoroughly fresh, Kia will introduce the all-new 2016 Kia Optima SX at the upcoming New York Auto Show on April 1st at 1: 20 PM.Available with multiple engine choices, the all-new Optima features a more spacious interior, class-up premium features and numerous technologies not previously offered on Kia’s best-selling mid-size sedan. #KiaOptima #NYIAS.First impressions from your followers are that Kia lose his identity, fail updating its best selling model, it looks want to Toyota Camry design. We prefer to wait until we can see more pictures, but yeah, the front end looks next to the japanese model…The South Korean spec model will be revealed in April 2nd at Seoul Motor Show.Basically we get more info and pictures, we have been interested to find out your opinion so be free to text us by the comments box or using Facebook comments. On the pictures you can see 2016 Kia Optima SX US-spec model.
Buying local has become a hot topic lately. There are plenty of people out there working to secure the small businesses within our communities. Everyone loves to eat at locally owned shop and restaurants at local stores. But have you ever contemplated how buying your car locally could impact your community? If you buy from the Honda dealer in Lemon Grove, as an alternative to going out of town, it can greatly help your community.
Buying local is helpful in a number of ways. It directly affects the people in your neighborhood. The people who work at your local dealership are your neighbors and the money spent their goes into their paychecks. They, in turn, placed the money back into the neighborhood whenever they spend it at local restaurants and stores. And buying a vehicle locally isn’t like eating at a local restaurant once in a blue moon; it puts a lot of money to the economy at the same time.
Buying your car locally also benefits you in a different way that you might not put much thought into prior to investing in a car. Whenever you buy a new car, it generally has a warranty that requires you have routine maintenance done at the dealership’s service center for the first years there is the car. Failure to do this signifies that the regards to your warranty are violated and that your vehicle is no longer covered, should it have any issues. This means that you’ll be going to the dealership you bought the car from regularly for many years. Buying local can help your community in a range of ways. Visit www.tiptonhonda.com to acquire acquainted with your nearby dealership and discover all the different cars and services they currently offer in your town.
Just as your gas mileage will vary depending on where and how you drive, so it goes with the life of brake pads (or linings), the friction material that gets pressed against a metal disc or drum to stop your vehicle.
If you drive only 8,000 miles a year but it’s mainly in a crowded urban area such as Chicago, Boston or Washington, D.C., you will need to replace brake pads more often than someone who drives 28,000 miles a year across the flatlands of Nebraska. You use your brakes a lot more in urban driving than on a rural highway.
Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut schedule that tells you when it’s time to replace the brakes, so you need to rely on your ears and the advice of an experienced automotive technician. Most vehicles should have their tires rotated at least every six months, and that is a good time to have the brakes inspected, as well. A mechanic can check the thickness of the pads and the condition of the brake hardware to spot wear.
Many cars have built-in wear sensors that scrape against a brake disc when the linings needed replacing. The driver will hear an annoying screeching sound when they apply the brakes (or when the brakes are released on some vehicles).
Those sensors aren’t on every vehicle, so drivers should listen for squeaks, squeals, grinding (often a sign that brake pads are entirely gone) and other noises that indicate wear. Some minor noises can be eliminated by cleaning the brakes, but persistent, prominent noises usually mean parts are worn. Other signs are pulsations through the brake pedal, longer stopping distances, or when you apply the brakes your foot goes down further, closer to the floor. Because brake linings wear gradually, you may not notice the demise in performance, so that’s where the experienced eye of a mechanic can help.
All cars have a brake warning light that comes on for a few seconds every time you start your car. If it comes on while driving, that probably means your brake system is low on fluid because of a leak or a problem with the brake master cylinder. Note that this is not the same warning light that comes on when you apply the hand- or foot-operated parking brake.
All cars and light trucks also have front disc brakes. Most have rear discs, as well, though some lower-priced cars still come with rear drum brakes. With discs, it has been common practice to just replace the brake pads and resurface the rotors on a lathe if needed so the surface is even and smooth.
In recent years, however, more automakers have switched to rotors that are lighter and thinner to reduce weight and save money. Discs used to last through two or three resurfacings, but don’t be surprised if when it’s time to replace the pads you’re told you also need new rotors. The current ones may not have enough material to be shaved off in resurfacing and may not be as durable as those from, say, 10 or more years ago. In addition, repair shops are reluctant to resurface rotors because it adds time to a job and the quality of the work can vary by who does it and how good they are. Instead, it is faster, easier and more profitable for repair shops to just install new rotors along with new pads.
Actually, there is no such thing as a tuneup in the traditional sense of replacing parts to bring the ignition and fuel systems up to specs for maximum performance and efficiency, and there hasn’t been for years.
About the only things left from the traditional tuneup are new spark plugs, which is typically done every 100,000 miles, and replacing the air filter periodically. The federal EPA and Department of Energy say that replacing a clogged air filter will not improve gas mileage but can improve acceleration 6% to 11%. The agencies do not say what benefit can be derived from fresh spark plugs, but computers that control today’s engines adjust the air-fuel mixture and spark timing to compensate for wear, such as when the electrodes on spark plugs are worn down.
Even so, some car owners still dutifully take their car in periodically to have it “”tuned up.”” Instead, service technicians will inspect and perhaps test the fuel, ignition and emissions systems to look for faulty vacuum hoses, oxygen sensors and other parts that can hurt performance. The federal government, for example, says a bad oxygen sensor can give engine computers false readings and reduce fuel economy as much as 40%.
Having your vehicle serviced and inspected periodically is a good way to extend its life and keep it operating efficiently. However, walking into a repair facility and asking for a tuneup is a bad idea because it indicates you’re still living in the previous century and have extra money you would like to spend. Some in the auto-repair business will take advantage of those opportunities.
Look in the owner’s manual for your vehicle (or separate maintenance schedule) to find what the manufacturer recommends, and see if you can even find the words “tuneup.” For example, we looked at the maintenance guide for the Ford Fiesta that also applies to other Ford vehicles. The first mention of anything related to a traditional tune-up was to replace the engine air filter every 30,000 miles. The only other related item was to replace the spark plugs every 100,000 miles.
Hollywood is a crazy place. It’s one where you can’t just be yourself, that’s the worst thing you can often be. You have to be what you wish to be, you have to act like the longer term you, to be able to become that. What all your friends and family will loathe, even though what’s terrible concerning this is you start being a monster, this terrible version of a human, some shell on the outside that inside is just calculating on a daily basis concerning how to become your opinion you want to be. This is why because the shells can attract along with the insides don’t matter, and the people with actual substance are left out of the equation so no one is there to call focus to the fact that they all are shallow little non human sort of robots, hollywood folks date and hang out with only other Hollywood folks. And the money and fame that goes along with it, listen up, if you want this.
Dress the Part
You have to change your insides of course, but you also have to modify your outsides so people will know that you are a Hollywood type. You can’t just wear the clothes you brought with you when you moved to Hollywood. That’s for your folks you left behind in your house. You need to make positive changes to wardrobe around to match the newest you, the you you wanna be. Go to fancy places and purchase really nice clothes, like $200 jeans, and fancy shoes. Make sure you get a nice pair of shoes. There’s a lot of quick judgment that may be made in regards to the shoes. If you need to max out a credit card, undertake it, it’ll pay off in the long run.
? Fancy Car
You need a car that could get the job done, not just getting you from your apartment in the Hills to the studio, but can impress the show folk once you get to the studio. So don’t snooze on getting a fancy car. Go to Glendale Ford and shop around – there are many pretty fancy Fords these days and it won’t break the bank. You can put fancy clothes on a credit card, nevertheless, you don’t need to go crazy on a car yet. In your present you will need a good fancy but reliable car, though the Teslas are in your future. Check out exactly what the options are for yourself on www.sunrisefordnoho.com. You may well be surprised about what you can get.
You can’t get anywhere with as being a jerk on the exterior, so always flash those pearly whites and be a schmooze anywhere you go. You have no idea who is behind you in line at Starbucks. Alternatively, who’s in your town. Meet everyone, be always smiling, and always have your head shots and business card willing to hand out. Sleep with everyone and anyone. Just go for broke and you’ll allow it to be. If you’re not going all in, you’re not even trying. If you just buckle down and make it happen, you can make your dream happen.
The Chevrolet Malibu has never been our favorite midsize car. It finished midpack in our $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge last year, ranking fifth out of 10 cars. That’s a respectable result and a good indicator of how Malibu has done in the market: OK, but not great. Well, Chevrolet is done with settling for mediocrity and has finally stepped up with an all-new 2016 Malibu that aims to rise to the top of the midsize segment.
Related: More 2015 New York Auto Show Coverage
It starts with the exterior styling, which loses the previous model’s bland awkwardness for exactly what you’d expect a baby Impala to look like. This isn’t a bad thing at all; its low headlights with clamshell-hood cut and Corvette-inspired taillights make it look much more distinctive than anything from Subaru or Hyundai.
2016 Chevrolet Malibu; Cars.com photo by Evan Sears
However, there is a resemblance to the generic midsize silhouette that we’re starting to see in cars like the Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion and Toyota Avalon. Still, it’s a far more cohesive design than the current Malibu wears.
2016 Chevrolet Malibu; Cars.com photo by Evan Sears
Inside is another step up. Interior materials, at least on the top Premium trim level I sat in, are first class, with high-quality leather and plastic throughout. Controls feel greatly simplified; gone are the myriad buttons and switches that plagued many of GM’s midsize cars. They’re replaced by simple, easy-to-use controls and a larger touch-screen with a streamlined Chevrolet MyLink system.
2016 Chevrolet Malibu; Cars.com photo by Evan Sears
Comfort is quite good as well, with plenty of room for front seat passengers and easy entry and exit. Noticeable work has gone into making the backseat much more tolerable, with greater legroom and headroom. It’s also relatively easy to get into, with a slightly higher roofline and what feels like a larger door opening making that task much less of an exercise in flexibility.
We’ll have to see just how well the new Malibu drives to determine if it would likely have scored better in our prior comparison test, but based on what has changed so far, it looks like a much more competitive model than the outgoing car. Add in new safety features, excellent estimated fuel economy and a multimedia system that’s faster than the current one and we’ve got big hopes for the new Malibu.
Cars are amazing! And one of the most amazing things about them is that no-one invented them—no single person, that is. There was no scribbling on the back of an envelope, no lightning flash of inspiration, and no-one ran down the street crying “”Eureka””. All the different parts—the engine, the wheels, the gears, and all the fiddly bits like the windscreen wipers—somehow came together, very gradually, over a period of about five and a half thousand years. How did it happen? Let’s take a closer look!
Photo: Henry Ford’s cars changed the world. This one’s a restored Ford Model Y from 1935. Although modern cars world essentially the same way as old ones, they are much more efficient (go further on each liter or gallon of fuel) and aerodynamic (waste less energy pushing through the air).
Beasts of burden
Photo: Beasts of burden: animals were the original engines! Photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service.
People traveling on a horse sleigh through snow
It all began with the horse. Or the camel. Or perhaps even the dog. No-one really knows which animal prehistoric humans picked on first. People tended to stay put, living more locally than they do now. If they needed to move things about, they had to float them down rivers or drag them by sledge. All that started to change when humans realized the animals around them had raw power they could tap and tame. These “”beasts of burden”” were the first engines.
By about 5000BCE, there were sledges and there were animal “”engines””—so the obvious thing to do was hitch them together. The Native Americans were masters at this. They invented the travois: a strong, A-shaped wooden frame, sometimes covered with animal skin, that a horse could drag behind it like a cart without wheels. First used thousands of years ago, the travois was still scraping along well into the 19th century.
The next big step was to add wheels and turn sledges into carts. The wheel, which first appeared around 3500 BCE, was one of the last great inventions of prehistoric times. No-one knows exactly how wheels were invented. A group of prehistoric people may have been rolling a heavy load along on tree trunks one day when they suddenly realized they could chop the logs like salami and make the slices into wheels. However it was invented, the wheel was a massive advance: it meant people and animals could pull heavier loads further and faster.
Huge and heavy, the first solid wheels were difficult to carve and more square than round. When someone had the bright idea of building lighter, rounder wheels from separate wooden spokes, lumbering carts became swift, sleek chariots. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all used chariots to expand their empires. They were a bit like horse-drawn tanks.
Photo: The first wheels were made of solid wood. By the early 20th century, car wheels had thin metal spokes similar to bicycle wheels, which make them lighter and easier to turn.
Old-fashioned car wheel with open metal spokes
Earlier civilizations made small steps by trial and error. The ancient Greeks (the first real scientists) took giant leaps. Greek philosophers (thinkers) realized that a wheel mounted on an axle can magnify a pushing or pulling force. So people now understood the science of wheels for the first time. The Greeks also gave us gears: pairs of wheels with teeth around the edge that lock and turn together to increase power or speed.
Carts and chariots were a big advance on legs—but they were useless for going cross country. That’s why ancient Middle Eastern people and Mediterraneans, who lived in open grassy areas and deserts, developed chariots faster than Europeans and Asians stuck among the forests and scrub. The Romans were the first to realize that a car is only as good as the road it travels on. So they linked up their empire with a huge highway network. Roman roads were cutting-edge technology. They had a soft base underneath to drain away water and a harder top made from a patchwork of tight-fitting rocks.
The Greeks gave us gears, the Romans gave us roads—but when it came to engines, the world was still stuck with horsepower. And things stayed that way for hundreds of years through a time known as the Dark Ages, the early part of the Middle Ages, when science and knowledge advanced little in the western world.
Things finally started getting interesting again toward the end of the Middle Ages. In 1335, Dutchman Guido von Vigevano drew sketches of a “Windwagen”. It had the three key parts of a modern car: an engine (spinning windmill sails), a set of wheels, and gears to transfer power between them. During the Renaissance (the explosion of culture and science that began in the 15th century), Italian inventor Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) scribbled some designs for a clockwork car. Like a giant watch, it was supposed to be powered by springs that would drive the wheels through a system of interlocking gears. Even though there was little mileage in either of these ideas, the self-powered car was slowly coming together and the days of the horse seemed numbered.
Chariots of fire
The next major development came in 1712 when “”the very ingenious Mr Thomas Newcomen”” (as his friends called him) built a massive machine for pumping rainwater out of coal mines. It was based around a huge 2-m (7-ft) high metal cylinder with a piston inside that could move up and down like the plunger in a bicycle pump.
Every so often, steam from a boiler (a sort of gigantic coal-fired kettle) squirted into the space in the cylinder underneath the piston. Then cold water was squirted in to make the steam condense, creating a partial vacuum directly under the piston. Since the air pressure in the space above the piston was now greater than that in the space beneath it, the piston moved down. When the vacuum was released, the piston rose back up again. The rising and falling piston operated a pump that slowly sucked the water from the mine.
Machines like this were originally called fire engines—they were, after all, powered by burning coal—though they soon became known as steam engines when people realized that controlling steam was the key to making them work more efficiently. One of those people was a Scotsman named James Watt (1736–1819). In 1764, Watt redesigned Newcomen’s engine so it was both a fraction the size and more powerful. Where Newcomen’s piston had simply tipped a beam up and down, Watt’s turned wheels and gears. Large Watt engines soon found their way into factories, where they became the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution and people did away with horses for operating pumps and other machines. Coal seemed to be the fuel of the future.
Steam engines were still too big and heavy to use in vehicles, but that didn’t stop people trying. In 1769, Frenchman Nicholas Joseph Cugnot (1725–1804) used steam-engine technology to make a lumbering, three-wheeled tractor for pulling heavy army cannons. Many people consider this the world’s first car, but it was incredibly primitive by today’s standards. With a top speed of just 5 km/h (3mph), you would have thought it posed little danger. But the “”fardier à vapeur”” (steam wagon) was heavy and hard to steer and, just two years later, the first ever car had the first ever car crash when Cugnot rammed it through a brick wall. He was given a speeding ticket and thrown in jail.
Restored steam locomotive engine in Swanage
Steam engines were soon finding their way into other heavy vehicles. In the early 1800s, Cornishman Richard Trevithick (1771–1833) started building steam carriages with wobbly 3-m (10-ft) diameter wheels. Around this time, Trevithick’s American counterpart Oliver Evans (1755–1819) built an ambitious steam-powered river digger called the Oruktor Amphibolos that could drive on either land or water. Belching fire and smoke like a dragon, it caused a sensation as it chugged down the Philadelphia streets in 1804.
Photo: Steam engines were too large and cumbersome to power cars to begin with. This one is a newly rebuilt steam locomotive working on the Swanage Railway, England.
Both Trevithick and Evans ultimately switched their attention to making steam trains, but another Cornish inventor, Goldsworthy Gurney (1793–1875), was convinced the idea of steam road vehicles still had legs. Quite literally. He designed an early steam carriage that would gallop along on rickety pins, just like a horse. When Gurney realized wheels could do the job much better, he built impressive steam buses and ran a service between London and Bath. Ultimately he was driven out of business by horse-powered stage coaches, which were faster and cheaper. John Scott Russell (1808–1882) also had to close a promising steam-coach business when one of his buses exploded on 29 July 1834, killing four passengers. It was the world’s first fatal car accident. Horses everywhere breathed a huge sigh of relief: they’d be around for many years yet. Or so they thought, until a clever bunch of scientists showed up.
A car is like a cart with a built-in horse—a horse-less carriage that doesn’t eat grass, wear shoes, or leave a steaming pile of muck wherever it goes. The engineers who set out to make the first cars had a big problem on their hands: how to squeeze the power of a galloping horse into a small, reliable engine.
This tricky problem taxed the best minds of the day. The experiments with steam had been the first attempt to solve it, but though coal-powered steam engines were excellent for pulling trains, they weren’t so good in cars. Apart from the clunking great engine itself, you had to carry a mini-mountain of coal and a tank full of water. Some ingenious Europeans starting searching for better fuels and more compact engines. They were a mixture of “thinkers” and “doers”.
The engineers were inspired by brilliant Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695), who had the laser-like mind of Isaac Newton and the inventing ability of Leonardo da Vinci. He made many astronomical discoveries, invented the mathematics of probability, made the first pendulum clock, invented a musical keyboard, and discovered that light travels like a wave. In the late 17th century, Huygens had an idea for an engine that made power by exploding gunpowder in a tube. Unfortunately, he was way ahead of his time: engineering wasn’t yet good enough for him actually to build this machine. If it had been, the world might have had cars almost 200 years earlier!
Next up was a French army engineer called Nicolas Leonard Sadi Carnot (1796–1832), who wrote the original book of car science, Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, in 1824. It was the first proper explanation of how engines worked, why they made power, and how you could make them even more effective. Carnot’s ideas are now considered brilliant, but they were published over 100 years after the first steam engines had already been built. What was use was science when it came a century after the inventions it tried to explain?
Joseph Étienne Lenoir
Huygens’ idea to capture the power of a small explosion was what the “”doers”” seized on. A French-Belgian engineer called Joseph Étienne Lenoir (1822–1900) was tinkering with electricity in the 1850s when he took the next step. In those days, street lamps were naked flames fed by gas pipes. Lenoir wondered what would happen if he could ignite some of this street-lamp gas in a metal tin using an electric spark. His “spark plug” (as we now call it) would make the gas explode with a thump of power that could push a piston. If he could repeat this process again and again, he could drive a machine. The “”gas engines”” Lenoir built made as much power as 1.5 horses and were soon being built by the dozen. In 1863, Lenoir fixed one of them to a three-wheeled cart and built a very crude car. It made an 18-km (9-mile) journey in 11 hours—four times longer than it would have taken to walk.
Nikolaus August Otto
Lenoir died a miserable pauper because his engines, though revolutionary, were soon obsolete. Gas was a cleaner fuel than coal, but it wasn’t practical—there was even a risk it would explode and kill people. Gasoline (a liquid fuel) proved to be a better bet, as German Nikolaus Otto (1832–1891) discovered. Otto was no scientific thinker—far from it: he was a traveling grocery salesman who taught himself engineering. During the 1860s, he tinkered with various engine designs and, in 1876, finally came up with a really efficient gasoline engine, which worked by methodically repeating the same four steps (or “strokes”) over and over again. Virtually every car engine has worked the same way ever since.
Karl and Bertha Benz
German engineer Karl Benz (1844–1929) studied Otto’s work and determined to do better. After building a simpler gasoline engine of his own, he fixed it to a three-wheeled carriage and made the world’s first practical gas-powered car in 1885. No-one took much notice—until Benz’s feisty wife Bertha and their two young sons “”borrowed”” the car one day without asking and set off for a 100-km (65-mile) journey to see grandma. They bought fuel at drug stores (chemist’s shops), because gas stations had yet to be invented, and the boys had to get out every so often to push the car up hills. Bertha even had to stop a couple of times to make repairs with her hair pin and garter belt. News of this intrepid early test-drive caught the public’s imagination; Benz couldn’t have dreamed up a better publicity stunt if he’d tried. He took his wife’s advice and added gears for uphill driving. Soon he was developing successful four-wheel cars and, by the start of the 20th century, was the world’s leading car maker.
Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach
Benz soon found himself up against Gottlieb Daimler (1834–1900) and Wilhelm Maybach (1846–1929), who worked for Nikolaus Otto, until Otto and Daimler fell out. Setting up their own firm, Daimler and Maybach experimented with a giant gasoline engine nicknamed the Grandfather Clock (because it was tall and upright). After shrinking it down to size, they bolted it to a wooden bicycle and made the world’s first motorbike. By 1889, they were building cars. Ten years later, the Daimler company named a car “”Mercedes”” in honor of Mercedes Jellinek, the daughter of one of their customers and dealers, Emil Jellinek (1853–1918). The Daimler and Benz companies were rivals until the 1920s, when they merged to make Daimler-Benz and began selling cars under the name Mercedes-Benz.
Old open-topped car from 1898.
Photo: Early cars were literally “”horseless carriages””: wooden carriages powered by simple internal combustion engines. This one is typical. Dating from 1898, it’s suspended at a jaunty angle from the ceiling of Think Tank, the museum of science in Birmingham, England.
Rudolf Diesel (1858–1913) was both a thinker and a doer. Confined to hospital after an accident, he spent months poring over books and papers by people like Carnot and Otto. He soon came to the conclusion that he could build a far better engine than the puny gasoline machines Benz and Daimler had designed and knocked up a prototype, an enormous 3-m (10-ft) high machine, in the early 1890s. This first diesel engine made twice as much power as a similar steam engine and, even more remarkably, could run on practically any fuel at all—even oil made from peanuts and vegetables. Diesel, in other words, was a pioneer of biofuels long before people had a name for them.
Diesel was convinced of his genius and certain his engine would change the world, but he never lived to see the success he’d earned. In September 1913, while traveling from Germany to England on the mail ship SS Dresden, he fell overboard and drowned. Some people think he was murdered by German or French secret agents to stop him selling the secrets of his engines to the English in the run up to World War I, which broke out the following year.
While inventors like Diesel were developing engines in a careful scientific way, a hapless American called Charles Goodyear (1800–1860) found the secret of making car tires completely by accident. After learning about rubber, he convinced himself he could make his fortune by turning it into useful objects like waterproof shoes. All attempts ended in disaster and his life became a catalog of misery and misfortune. His shoes melted in the summer heat, six of his 12 children died in infancy, and his family had to live in grinding poverty eating fish from the river. But Goodyear was determined. When debts landed him in jail, he simply asked his wife to bring him a rolling pin and some rubber and he carried on inventing in his cell. He finally made his big breakthrough when he accidentally dropped a piece of rubber on a hot stove. It cooked and shriveled into a hard black mass that Goodyear immediately spotted as the thing he’d wanted all along. This is how he developed the tough black rubber we use in tires today by a cooking process now known as vulcanization.
Photo: American inventor Charles Goodyear developed the vulcanization process in the 19th century. Photo courtesy of US Library of Congress.
The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford
By the start of the 20th century, gasoline-engined cars were fast, reliable, and exciting. They were also stupidly expensive. In 1893, Karl Benz’s simple, Viktoria car had a price tag of £9000 (about £50,000 today) and hardly anyone could afford one—he sold just 45. Car makers stuck with big, expensive cars, so customers stuck with their horses and carts. Then a bold American engineer called Henry Ford (1863-1947) came along and decided things had to be different.
“It was not at all my idea to make cars in any such petty fashion”—Henry Ford, My Life and Work, 1922.
The rise of Henry Ford
A steam traction engine in a museum
Ford was no scientist, but he’d been repairing watches and tinkering with machines since he was a boy. Never afraid of rolling up his sleeves, he loved machinery and understood it instinctively. His first car was little more than a four-wheel motorbike that he called the Quadricycle. When he took it on the streets of Detroit in 1896, horses bolted in all directions.
Photo: Henry Ford was inspired to build his first car after he saw a steam-powered tractor (traction engine) like this one. He realized straight away that engine-powered vehicles were the future.
Ford must have been delighted: he had no time for horses. Aged 14, he’d been thrown from the saddle of a colt, caught his foot in the stirrups, and dragged home along the ground. A few years later, he’d been seriously injured when his bolting horse and cart tried to smash through a fence. Now was the time to settle those scores.
Ford loved machines and hated horses, so he hatched a simple plan: he’d make the simplest possible “horseless carriage” and he’d make it in such enormous quantities, in only one color, that he could sell it cheaply to a huge number of people. It took him 12 years to get things right. In fact, he made eight different models (named A, B, C, F, N, R, S, and K) before he finally came up with a winner, the Model T, launched in 1908—a car everyone could afford. Around 15 million Model T Fords were eventually sold and a delighted (and very rich) Henry Ford scribbled in his notebook: “The horse is DONE”.