History of the Automobile

History of the Automobile


History of the Automobile

Introduction________________________________________________________________ 3

The introduction of the history of the automobile introduces the main implications that were responsible for the development of the automobile to its current state. The introduction provides a brief insight on the automobile innovation.

The Early Automobile Era

The 17th Century_______________________________________________________ 3

The 17th century signifies the beginning of automobile innovation, which commenced from the invention of the first steam-powered automobile by Ferdinand Verbiest in 1672.

The 18th Century_______________________________________________________ 4

The 18th century depicts the progress that resulted from Verbiest’s innovation in different regions based on automobile innovations. The period covers innovations from the period’s main inventors who include Nicholas Cugnot, William Murdoch and Richard Trevithick.

The 19th Century_______________________________________________________ 5

The 19th century indicates the immense growth in automobile innovations and the restrictions such as the Turnpike Acts and the Locomotive Act that were against the inventions. The period also touches on notable innovations by the period’s distinguished innovators who include Oliver Evans, Josef Bozek, Walter Hancock and Henry Seth Taylor.

Engine Innovations______________________________________________ 8

The 19th century also provides information on the engine innovations that were carried out from the steam engine and its enhancement to the internal combustion engine and this shift to the use of the Electric Battery and the introduction of the Electric Vehicle. Notable engine innovators in this period include Amedee Bollee, Nikolaus Otto, Rudolf Diesel, Christian Friedrich Schonbein, Gaston Plante and Dr. J.W. Carhart. Additionally, the Electric Car inventors in the period include Thomas Davenport, Professor Sibrandus, Robert Anderson, A.L. Ryker, Gustave Trouve, Andreas Flocken, William Morrison and Franz Kravogl.

The Veteran Car Era_________________________________________________________ 10

The Veteran Car era introduces the period in which commercialization of automobiles spread across the Americas and the European regions. The period also witnessed the initial production of automobiles by factories in the North America and Europe thus marking the conception of the Automotive Industry.

The Brass Car Era______________________________________________________ 13

As part of the Veteran Car era, the Brass Car era depicts the period before World War I that saw factories employ the mineral Brass in the manufacturing of automobiles at that time. This period set the precedent for most ca models that are witnessed in the modern era such as the Bugatti.

The Vintage Car Era____________________________________________________ 14

The Vintage Car era, as a significant part of the Veteran Car era, illustrates the period after the end of World War I that saw the introduction of new car features for automobiles such as the front-engine, tempered glass and closed car bodies.

The Classic Car Era__________________________________________________________ 15

The Classic Car Era set the precedent for classiness in automobiles. This period that commenced after World War II saw the invention of mechanical technologies and new car features that would be used widely in modern automobiles. The period also marked the entry of modern giant automakers such as Japan and Italy and the increase in competition in the Automotive Industry.

The Modern Car Era_________________________________________________________ 17

The Modern Car Era highlights the cumulative effect of the precedent eras in shaping the automobiles of today. In addition, the Modern Car era touches slightly on the new car models and technologies that have been developed resulting from past innovations.

Conclusion_________________________________________________________________ 17

Works Cited­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________ 18





History of the Automobile


It is asserted that the invention of the wheel four thousand years ago propelled the invention of automobiles. Nevertheless, the invention of the wheel does not necessarily dictate the actual emergence of automobiles. Thus, the history of automobiles can be dated to as early as 1769. This period at the end of the Eighteenth Century depicted the emergence of the first automobiles that utilized the concept of the steam engine. Less attention was concentrated on the type of engine since the main incentive for creation of the automobiles was based on facilitation of human transport. However, 1806 was the year that the internal combustion engine was first used in automobiles making it possible for the vehicles to run on fuel gas. Consequently, the use of this new engine influenced the development of the modern engine that is found in almost all fuel-powered machines. Sequentially, vehicles powered by electric power were introduced in the early 1900s but they disappeared until the start of the following century. Thus, analyzing automobile history requires enquiring on the consecutive eras of propulsion technologies that considerably determined and changed the vehicles to the way they are today.

The Early Automobile Era

The 17th Century

In the early years, automobiles employed steam in order to facilitate locomotion. The introduction of steam was widely accepted. However, steam was not used considerably regardless of its widespread acceptance into the automotive industry. Regardless, it is vital to include steam in the history of automobile since it is one of the main contributing factors in early automobile development. The first engine that was powered by a steam engine was arguably introduced in the 17th century. One of the members of the Jesuit missions in conventional China, Ferdinand Verbiest, was arguably the first to introduce a steam-powered automobile. In 1672, Ferdinand Verbiest created the first vehicle running on a steam engine as a gift for the Emperor of China. Regardless of it being described as the first ever steam-powered vehicle, the innovation was small and could not be able to support a driver. Nevertheless, Verbiest’s invention is described as the first functioning automobile (Setright, 46).

The 18th Century

Verbiest’s innovation set the pace for innovative ideas on the development of automobiles that were self-propelled. In the 18th century, several attempts were bent on the production of self-steered cars but most of them were actually representations and thus did not amount to actual inventions. Progress was hindered by numerous predicaments that were innate to road automobiles. These issues included suspension, impact of vibration on the vehicle’s body, steering, braking, tolerable road surfaces and other issues. These issues were complex such that they restricted progress for a long while. However, the late 18th century saw the creation of steam-powered automobiles that were considerable enough to move individuals and cargo. In 1769, Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot introduced the Fardier a Vapeur, a steam-powered vehicle designed as tractor. Originally, Cugnot’s invention was built for the army and was capable of supporting nearly 4 tons and traveling up to a speed of 4 kilometers per hour. In addition, the vehicle assumed a tricycle layout composed of two wheels in the rear and a steering wheel controlled by a tiller (Burness, 51).

At first, Cugnot’s invention was a mere experiment and was deemed as impractical. Therefore, his creation was not progressed in his home country, France. However, the British expressed interest in the innovation and thus, it was relocated to Great Britain. However, the steam-powered automobile did not prolong due to its intrinsic instability and its failure to live up to the French Army’s particular performance level. In 1784, a functioning representation of a steam carriage was designed and built by William Murdoch (Corbett, 36). In addition, the beginning of the 19th century depicted the emergence of a steam-powered full sized automobile, by Richard Trevithick that was operating on roads. The automobile invented in 1801 was experimental and was outfitted with a firebox enclosed within the boiler, a vertical cylinder, and the inclusion of a single piston that transmitted motion straight to the driving wheels via connecting rods. The vehicle was over 1 ton and ran at a speed of 14.5 kilometers per hour (Eckermann, 74).

The 19th Century

Trevithick invented the London Steam Carriage, which operated successfully in 1803. In 1805, Oliver Evans designed and built the Oruktor Amphibolis. The automobile was a steam-powered dredger that was modified to self-propel in land and water. Accordingly, the vehicle was deemed as the first steam-powered amphibious automobile to function in the United States (Lubar, 1). In the United Kingdom, steam-powered vehicles were in trend and influenced creations such as hand brakes, better steering and multi-speed transitions. Some of the automobiles gained commercial success especially in the provision of mass transition. However, the success and considerable development of the steam-powered vehicles in the 19th century was short-lived. The 1830 Turnpike Acts restricted steam-powered road automobiles. In 1865, the Locomotive Act was implemented against the large steam-powered automobiles. The Act required self-propelled automobiles that ran on public roads to be heralded by a person on foot wielding a red banner and honking a horn. Moreover, the Act imposed restrictive speed limits on road vehicles of 8 kilometers per hour and 16 kilometers per hour (Koshar, 143-146).

Simultaneously, the Act provided local authorities with the power to specify the hours that the vehicles could be used on the roads. The only vehicles that were immune from the regulations were street trams. However, the results of the Act hindered further innovation. Automotive development in the United Kingdom was barricaded for most of the remaining 19th century. In France, the situation was considerably different. This was indicated by the involvement of the executive government in the regulation of the steam-powered automobiles. In 1861, a ministerial directive was passed that saw such vehicles being formally authorized to circulate on ordinary roads. This move by the French government facilitated further inventions characterized by significant technological advances between the 1870s and 1880s. However, steam vehicles were a rarity. Furthermore, rivalry from the successful railway network lessened the necessity for steam vehicles. After 1860, improvements were focused on developing diverse forms of traction engines that could be utilized for stationary operations such as threshing and sawing wood or for transporting loads that were too voluminous to be transported by rail. Consequently, steam trucks were developed that were used for local distribution of heavy materials such as coal and building materials from ports and railway materials (Koshar, 147-149).

The 19th century witnessed the introduction of improved steam-powered automobiles. In 1815, Josef Bozek, a lecturer at Prague Polytechnic, created a steam car that was fired by oil. His innovation was among the first steam-powered automobiles to be introduced in the Czech lands (Corbett, 74). In 1838, Walter Hancock, operator and creator of steam buses in London, built an open carriage (phaeton) that could carry four individuals and that was powered by steam. Canadian jeweler, Henry Seth Taylor built the four-wheel Steam Buggy in 1865. In addition, Taylor demonstrated his invention in Quebec in 1867 and 1868. The foundation of the four-wheeled buggy was based on a high-wheeled carriage that comprised a bracing that supported a steam engine incorporated on the floor with two cylinders. In 1873, the creation and introduction of what is deemed as the foremost authentic automobile was facilitated by the French engineer, Amedee Bollee. Amedee Bollee was responsible for the building of steam-powered self-propelled automobiles that transported cliques of passengers.

The 19th century also witnessed the augmentation of engines that would further facilitate transportation by steam-powered vehicles. The introduction of gasoline engines was one of the main improvements in automobile history. Nikolaus Otto was among the first inventors to introduce the internal combustion engine. His invention, an internal combustion engine that ran on gasoline comprised the most prevalent structure of automotive propulsion. Similarly, the internal combustion engine was adopted by Rudolf Diesel. The difference between the two innovations was based on the use of diesel and gasoline as the source of power for the vehicles. In 1838, Christian Friedrich Schonbein discovered the Hydrogen fuel cell. Based on his works, Schonbein discovered that the Hydrogen fuel cell would be an effective and efficient substitute for gasoline as a power source for vehicles. Additionally, Gaston Plante, creator of the Lead-acid based battery in the year 1859 and Anyos Jedlik, creator of the Electric Motor, facilitated the creation of the Electric Car that ran on battery as the main energy source (Kirsch, 101). In the United States, Dr. J.W. Carhart, a reverend at the Methodist Episcopal Church developed the first ever carriage-sized vehicle that was suited for utilization on accessible wagon streets in 1871. The vehicle was steam-powered.

Engine Innovations

Additionally, electric vehicles were introduced in the 19th century through the creation of a small model vehicle that was powered by an electric motor built by Anyos Jedlik in 1828. In 1834, Thomas Davenport, a blacksmith from Vermont, invented the very first American Direct Current electrical motor. Additionally, Davenport installed the motor in his own model car and operated the small representation on a short electrified track. Professor Sibrandus and Christopher Becker invented a small electric car facilitated by non-rechargeable cells in 1835. In 1838, Robert Davidson invented an electric locomotive that achieved a speed of 6.4 kilometers per hour. In addition, Robert Anderson invented an electrical carriage between the year 1832 and the year 1839. The invention of the Lead-acid battery by Gaston Plante in 1865 improved the creation of electric cars in Europe. Franz Kravogl invented a two-wheel cycle that was powered by electricity. Gustave Trouve also created an electric-powered automobile that was supported by three wheels. Thomas Parker, English inventor, was responsible for inventions such as the electrification of the London Underground, tramways within Birmingham and Liverpool and the smokeless fuel Coalite. In 1888, Andreas Flocken invented the foremost four-wheeled electric vehicle in Germany (Kirsch, 101-109).

In the United States, Thomas Davenport’s electric motor was the first to be incorporated in an automobile. However, the introduction of the electric car was recognized in 1890 and 1891 through William Morrison’s invention. Morrison’s innovation was in the form of a wagon that could support six passengers. Additionally, the electric wagon was able to clock a speed of 23 kilometers per hour. In 1895, more Americans dedicated their time towards the invention of the electric car. At this time, the first electric tricycle was invented by A.L. Ryker. At around that time, Europeans had already used the concept of electricity in powering tricycles, cars and bicycles for nearly 15 years. Correspondingly, electric vehicle innovations increased considerably in the 1890s and 1900s. In 1897, commercialization of electric vehicles in the form of a fleet of taxis was introduced and established by the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company of Philadelphia. Consequently, Anthony Electric, Baker, Columbia, Riker, Edison and Studebaker motor vehicle companies produced electric cars on a large scale in the United States. Woods Motor Vehicle Company released the first ever gasoline-electric vehicle in 1911 (Schiffer, 78-101).

The 19th century also saw the facilitation of automobiles through the introduction of the new internal combustion engines. However, early trials at inventing and utilizing these engines were restricted by the insufficient availability of suitable fuels, specifically liquids. Thus, the earliest engines utilized gas mixtures. In 1806, Francois Isaac de Rivaz, a Swiss engineer, invented an engine that was motorized by internal combustion of an oxygen-hydrogen mixture. In 1826, Samuel Brown invented an internal combustion engine that was fueled by hydrogen. Brown tested the engine by propelling a vehicle up a hill in London. In 1860, the Hippomobile, invented by Etienne Lenoir, which comprised a one-cylinder hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine, was test driven from Paris to the lesser-known town of Joinville-le-Point covering nearly 9 kilometers in nearly a hundred and eighty minutes. A later adaptation of the vehicle was driven by coal gas. In 1870, Siegfried Marcus installed a liquid-fueled internal combustion engine in a handcart and became the first person to drive a vehicle using gasoline. In 1885, German inventor, Karl Benz invented his first vehicle in 1885 in Manheim. After gaining a patent in 1886 for his creation, Benz began production of automobiles on a large scale in 1888 (Bankston, 56).

In 1889, Gottlieb Daimler and a fellow engineer Wilhelm Maybach devised a vehicle to become an automobile from scratch rather than using a carriage outfitted with an engine. Additionally, Daimler and Maybach became the first to invent a motorcycle in 1886 (Brown, 61). In 1895, Frederick William Lanchester developed the foremost four-wheeled automobiles that were powered by petrol. Additionally, Lanchester’s disc brake was patented, as well as the foremost electric starter was incorporated, on a version of the Benz Velo between 1895 and 1898. In 1896, Canadian George F. Foss invented a sole-cylinder gasoline vehicle and drove the car for four years. Other pioneers such as John William Lambert and Henry Nadig were responsible for the construction of the three-wheeler and the four-wheeler in America in 1891 respectively.

The Veteran Car Era

The onset of the first vintage automobiles was signified by the production of automobiles in Germany and France in 1888 by Karl Benz. Other automobiles were also produced by tricycle builders such as Edward Butler, Rudolf Egg and Leon Bollee. In 1897, Bollee was able to make his vehicle run at an average of 45 kilometers per hour by incorporating a 650cc self-designed engine in the rally from Paris to Tourville. By the beginning of the next century, significant production of automobiles had commenced in America and France. The first factory made motorcar in Europe, the Prasident Automobil, was developed by the Czech company known as Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau in 1897. The first firm exclusively formed to produce automobiles in France, Panhard et Levassor, introduced the foremost four-cylinder engine. After the formation of Panhard in 1889, Peugeot was formed two years later (Ware, 6). At around 1900, the automotive industry successfully took off in Western Europe, specifically in France, where 30000 vehicles were produced in 1903, which represented roughly 49 percent of the global automobile production in the respective year.

In the United States, Charles and Frank Duryea jointly began the Duryea Motor Wagon Company in the year 1893. Interestingly, this company became the foremost automobile manufacturing firm in America. Regardless, the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, found Ransom E. Olds, dominated the automobile production sector at that time. Olds Motor Vehicle Company’s production line ran in the year 1902. The company known as Thomas B. Jeffery Company enhanced the succeeding mass-produced automobile in the world, Rambler, of which 1500 were developed and put on the market in the first year, representing a sixth of all existing automobiles in the United States at that time. In a year, Cadillac, produced from the Henry Ford Company, were involved in mass production in thousands (Ware, 10-14). After a few years, an array of technologies was produced by numerous producers in the western world. Steam, gasoline/petrol and electric powered automobiles contended for decades. In 1910, gasoline/petrol internal combustion engines attained dominance regardless of the competition.

New designs that included dual and quad-engine vehicles were introduced. Moreover, displacement in engines increased to more than twelve liters. Numerous contemporary advances, including multi-valve engines, four-wheel drives, overhead camshafts and electric/gas hybrids were tried and discarded at the period. In the year 1898, Louis Renault and De Dion-Bouton altered automobiles by introducing the pinion and ring gear and permanent drive shafts, thus introducing Renault and his siblings to the automobile industry. At this time, innovation was fast and extensive with null standards based on basic vehicle architectures, construction controls or materials and body styles. Most veteran vehicles utilize a tiller for steering instead of a wheel. In 1903, Rambler standardized the steering wheel by relocating the position of the driver to the left hand of the car. Most vehicles operated at a sole speed. This is because the drive shaft was less used than the chain drive and closed bodies were exceedingly rare. In 1902, Renault introduced drum brakes. In 1903, Jacobus Spijker introduced the foremost four-wheel drive racing automobile.

Innovation was not only subjected to the cars. An increase in the population of cars influenced the augmentation of the petroleum industry. Additionally, improvements were made in the technology used in the production of gasoline leading to replacement of coal oil and kerosene. Improvements were also made in using heat-tolerant oil lubricants thus replacing animal and vegetable oils. The vintage era also saw cars being used in social milieu. For instance, music was made regarding automobiles. In 1896, William Jennings Bryan was the foremost presidential contender to conduct his campaign in a vehicle in Illinois. In 1899, Jacob German influenced New York taxi drivers by speeding down Lexington Avenue at a reckless speed of 19 kilometers per hour. At the same time, Akron adopted the first ever self-driven paddy wagon. By 1900, national automotive industries were present in numerous countries, including Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Australia. Meanwhile, exportation became global led by Koch, which exported trucks and cars from Paris to Egypt, Tunisia, Iran as well as the Dutch-occupied East Indies.

In 1895, the patent granted to George B. Selden for his two-stroke automobile engine hindered auto development in the United States. Selden accredited his patent to major American automobile firms collecting a charge on every vehicle they produced (Brown, 41). The Studebaker brothers, who were the global manufacturers of horse-driven vehicles, transited to electric auto making in 1902 and engines comprised of gasoline in 1904. Additionally, the firm proceeded with building more horse-driven vehicles until the year 1919. Eleven years earlier, the Grieve became the foremost South American vehicle to be built in Peru. Motor vehicles were also exported to British protectorates and the foremost vehicle was transported to India in 1897. This era saw automobiles being viewed as novelty rather than useful mechanisms. Breakdowns were recurrent, fuel was hard to acquire, roads appropriate for traveling were inadequate, and cars were worthless due to rapid innovation. Considerable breakthroughs regarding the cars’ usefulness was demonstrated by Bertha Benz’s historic long drive in 1888 from Mannheim to the town of Pforzheim covering a distance of 80 kilometers. Additionally, Horatio Nelson Jackson completed a transcontinental drive in 1903 while the race from New York to the city of Paris in 1908 became the first global circumnavigation via automobile.

The Brass Car Era

In the United States, the automobiles at this period employed brass. This period lasted between 1905 and 1914 at the start of the First World War. At this time, an array of experimental designs and varying power systems was marginalized. Regardless of the fact that the contemporary touring vehicle had been conceived in the early eras, the Systeme Panhard layout by Panhard et Levassor set the recognition for such cars through licensing leading to set automobile standards based on Panhard’s structure. This system identified front-engine, rear-wheel drive inner combustion engine cars that had a transmission consisting of a sliding gear. Vehicles that adopted the conventional coach style were abandoned and tonneau covers for cars were introduced hence expunging buckboard runabouts. In 1906, the development of steam cars was advanced such that they became the fastest road automobiles at the time. During this era, the advancement of automotive expertise was fast due to the amassment of numerous lesser manufacturers contending to achieve global attention. Major developments in automotive technology included the independent suspension, visualized by Bollee in 1873, the electric ignition system in 1898 and the four-wheel brakes in 1909 (Ware, 29).

Additionally, throttle controls and transmissions were considerably adopted thus permitting different speeds regardless of vehicles still possessing discrete speed settings. Safety glass, created by John Wood in the United Kingdom, was also introduced. In 1907 and 1912, the high-wheeler body style, high-wheel motor buggy was popular among numerous automakers. However, the Model T would lead to decline of the buggy. In 1912, Hupp in America and BSA in the United Kingdom pioneered the utilization of all-steel bodies. Equally, Dodge began producing Model T bodies in 1914. The cars in the brass era include the 1908 Ford Model T, the 1909 Morgan Runabout, the 1910 Mercer Raceabout and the 1910 Bugatti Type 13.

The Vintage Car Era

The vintage era began in 1919, at the culmination of the First World War and ended in 1929. This period was dominated by front-engine automobiles. These vehicles were characterized by standardized controls and closed bodies. In 1919, 90 percent of the automobiles sold were open. Alternately, in 1929, 90 percent of the cars sold were closed. The internal combustion engine was developed rapidly with overhead camshaft and multi-valve engines being produced at high end, while V16, V12 and V8 engines were preserved for the wealthy. At the same time, Malcolm Loughead invented the hydraulic brakes, which were taken on by Duesenberg to be used in their 1921 Model A. In 1921, the first automatic transmission was invented by Herman Rieseler. The transmission comprised a torque converter, a gearbox set with two speed settings and a lockup clutch. However, the transmission was never produced until 1940. By the conclusion of the era, tempered glass, which is standard paraphernalia for side windows nowadays, was conceived in France. During this period, the ponton car design was introduced in limited quantity. However, the end of the Second World War saw mass production of cars based on the design (Nielsen, 32-40).

The number of passenger car automakers in the United States diminished from 175 to 70 in the period between 1922 and 1925. This is because most automakers were unable to sustain higher units of production and decreasing prices concurrently especially for lower-priced automobiles such as the coach (Tarantous, 1925). Some of the noteworthy vehicles in the vintage period include the 1922 Austin 7, the 1922 Lancia Lambda, the 1924 Bugatti Type 35, the 1925 Hanomag and the 1927 Ford Model A.

The Classic Car Era

The emergence of classic cars was witnessed before World War II in 1930 at the time of the Great Depression. The era ended in 1980s after the recovery of the American economy. At this time, the ponton car designs and closed bodies dominated automobile sales leading to the adoption of saloon or sedan body type, which included a trunk for storage at the rear. Various car designs such as carriage styles and runabouts were phased out and replaced with running boards, wings and headlights were incorporated into the car body by the culmination of the classic era (Lilywhite, 86-89). By the 1930s, much of the mechanical technology utilized in modern automobiles was already invented, though some other mechanisms were invented later. For instance, the four-wheel drive was re-introduced by Andre Citroen with the launch of the 1934 Traction Avant. Similarly, the independent suspension originally designed by Amedee Bollee in 1873 was utilized by Mercedes Benz 380 in 1933, which led to appropriate use of the technology by American automakers. The number of automakers declined drastically in 1930 regardless of the industry’s growth and maturity due to the Great Depression.

Various models developed in the classic era set the pace for modern automobiles currently. Some of the exemplary automobiles witnessed at the time include the 1932 Alvis Speed 20, the 1932 Ford V-8, the 1934 Bugatti Type 57, the 1934 Citroen Traction Avant, the 1936 MG T Series, the 1938 Volkswagen Beetle and the 1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III with V12 engine. After the end of the Second World War, the ponton style of design was considerably implemented into most cars and was represented en masse by the Soviet GAZ-M20 Pobeda, the British Standard Vanguard, the United States Studebaker Champion and Kaiser Special, the Czech Tatra T600 and the Italian Cistalia 220. Due to the effects of the war, automobile production and design emerged from military orientation. This was reflected in 1949 by the overture of high-compression V8 engines and modern bodies from General Motors and Oldsmobile (formerly known as Olds Motor Vehicle Company) and Cadillac brands in the United States. In the United Kingdom, the 1951 Ford Consul joined the 1949 Rover P4 and the 1948 Morris Minor in shaping up the English automotive sector. Italy saw the commencement of Ferrari 250 series as Lancia introduced the Aurelia, which was powered by V6 engines (Lilywhite, 96-109).

At this time, automobile speeds and engine power increased, designs became exceedingly creative and integrated and automobiles began spreading in all parts of the globe. Europe was dominated by the Mini and FIAT 500, while Japan was dominated by the Kei Car. Additionally, the Volkswagen Beetle dominated the small-car market in Germany and rivaled other carmakers in America. Reappearances in the United States and Europe were marked by the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, the Grand Tourer, and the Ferrari Americas respectively. In the 1960s, Detroit, which was the largest automaker state in the United States, began experiencing threats from foreign competition from European nations with the onset of higher technology and Japan with the onset of numerous automakers. At the same time, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors attempted to introduce small cars but were unsuccessful. Moreover, corporate consolidation of the automotive market was pioneered by British Motor Corporation (BMC), further influencing the acquisition of automakers such as Maserati, Lancia and Ferrari by multinational firms. The culmination of the 1960s saw the advent of muscle and pony vehicles in America signified by the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro. In the late 1970s, Sedans were also reintroduced in the market by firms such as Toyota, BMW and Nissan in order to replace big-engine vehicles.

The Modern Car Era

This era represents the current automobile era beginning from the 1980s onwards. Regardless, various design and technological facets differentiate modern automobiles from the antique vehicles. The era has been marked by the increase in standardization, computer-aided design and platform sharing. Notable advances witnessed in the modern era include the extensive use of the all-wheel drive and the front-wheel drive, the espousal of the diesel engine and the ubiquity of fuel injection. Regardless of the fact that these advances were foremost tried in the early periods, they presently dominate the automotive market. Most modern cars incorporate the front-wheel drive and unibody designs. They are also characterized by diagonally mounted engines. Additionally, the modern automobile market is dominated by the specific body designs that include the sedan, the hatchback and the sport utility. The increase of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in the United States has influenced motoring because these trucks assume half of the global automobile market.


As witnessed, the history of the automobile dates as back as the 18th century. However, the need for transport has always been innate in human beings from time immemorial. However, the introduction of the automobile sought to satisfy the need for transport and make work simpler concurrently. However, the progression of time has led to increase in technological advancements, which have been incorporated into modern automobiles turning them from assisting mechanisms to objects of luxury and status. Irrespective of the fact that automobiles were at one time viewed as ostentatious commodities, it is important to recognize and facilitate the true objective of the automobile, which is to enhance the daily activities of people. Losing sight of this only leads to the production of automobiles that do not assist but rather impair the user.

Works Cited

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Ware, Michael E. Veteran Motor Cars. Princes Risborough: Shire, 2003. Print.

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