The first automobile is generally considered to have been invented in 1886, making it just over 125 years old.
1782 -- James Watt builds the first engine crank.
1792 -- The first U.S. toll roads opened in PA and CT.
1860 -- Jean Lenoir invents the spark plug.
1887 -- The Benz became the first car offered for sale.
1893 -- Vehicle licence plates were first implemented in 1893 in France and were called "number plates".
1895 -- The Duryea Motor Wagon Company, established in 1895 in Springfield, Massachusetts, was the first American firm to build gasoline automobiles.
1901 -- The first Grand Prix race was won with an average speed of 46 mph.
1901 -- The first American car manufactured in any quantity, the "Curved Dash" Olds is offered for $650.
1901 -- License plates attached to the front and back of your vehicle were first implemented on April 25th, 1901.
The state of New York became the first in the US to implement license plates. According to the traffic laws of New York, the vehicle owner was required to pay one dollar as a registration fee and the Secretary of State was required to maintain the record of owners in alphabetical order to easily identify the vehicle with the particular owner.
Separate initials of the owner’s name were to be placed on the back of the vehicle where the letters must have a height of at least three inches.
1901 -- The state of Connecticut passes the first automotive speed law limiting automobiles to 12 mph in the city and 15 mph on country roads.
The law also required drivers of motor vehicle to slow or even stop when approaching a horse drawn conveyance so as not to scare the horse.
This led to a sporadic, and inconsistent application of motor vehicle laws.
1902 -- Léon Levavasseur took out a patent on a light but quite powerful gasoline injected V8 engine.
1902 -- Seat belts first fitted to a motor vehicle was in a Baker Electric streamliner racer which crashed at 100 mph. on Staten Island.
1903 -- The Charles Miller Automobile Supply Company publishes its 5th catalog of auto parts and accessories.
Among the items in this edition is the “World’s Best Buffalo Robe” for $10, a must for driving an open touring car in cold weather.
Other items include driving goggles for $3, leather automobile coats for $8, leather pants for $6, gauntlet driving gloves for $2 and leather driving cap, also $2.
Unlike similar catalogs of 50 years later, there was no mention of fiberglass auto body repair kits, touch-up paint, "suicide" knobs, Continental kits – or fuzzy dice.
1904 - The world's first speeding ticket was issued in Dayton, Ohio.
Dayton, Ohio, police ticketed Harry Myers for going 12 mph on West Third Street.
1904 -- The car first referred to itself as a convertible was the 1904 Thomas Flyer, which had a removable hard top.
1907 -- The U.S. production car that had the largest 4 cylinder engine was the 1907 Thomas sported a 571 cu. in. (9.2 liter) engine.
1909 -- Bugati, which was founded in Molsheim in 1909, started out German, yet became French after World War I.
It became French when Alsace returned to French rule.
1909 -- The first official White House car was a 1909 White Steamer, ordered by President Taft.
1910 -- Ford produced the first "Panel Truck".
A panel truck is a windowless cargo van built on a truck chassis.
A panel truck is similar in function to its smaller cousin the sedan delivery, a station wagon with no backseat and no side windows aft of the front doors. Both types of vehicles are frequently used as delivery vehicles.
1911 -- Chevrolet Motor Car changed to Chevrolet Motor Company when it was incorporated in 1911 by William C. Durant.
He didn’t have room in the car for a mechanic (part of whose job would be to look for cars coming from behind) so he found the way to mount a mirror.
1913 -- The first car station was a Gulf service station which opened up the first station in Pittsburgh in 1913.
1914 -- Cadillac produced the first American V8 engine, the 1914 L-Head.
It was a complicated hand-built unit with cast iron paired closed-head cylinders bolted to an aluminium crankcase, and it used a flat-plane crankshaft.
Peerless followed, introducing a V8 licensed from amusement park manufacturer, Herschell-Spillman.
1914 -- The Chevrolet bow-tie emblem first appears.
1914 -- The first electric traffic light was installed in Cleveland.
1914 -- Cleveland, Ohio, was the first city in the United States to get a traffic light.
1915 -- The first car to have the horn button in the center of the steering wheel was the 1915 Scripps-Booth Model C.
The car also was the first with electric door latches.
1915 -- The first production V12, as well as the first production car with aluminum pistons was Packard's Twin-Six.
Used during WWI in Italy, these motors inspired Enzi Ferrari to adopt the V12 himself in 1948.
1916 -- Ford produces 55% of the cars in the world were Model T Fords, a record that has never been beaten.
1917 -- Chevrolet produced an overhead valve V8 in 1917, in which the valve gear was completely exposed.
It only lasted through 1918 and Chevrolet would not produce another V8 until the introduction of the small block in 1955.
1921 -- The first drive-in restaurant in the United States was Royce Hailey’s Pig Stand which opened in Dallas in 1921.
1922 -- The first gas gauge appeared in cars. Prior to that, most cars ran until they were out of gas.
1922 -- Essex introduced the first affordable enclosed automobile (sedan), which shifted the auto industry away from open vehicles to meet consumer demand for enclosed automobiles
1923 -- Star (a division of Durant Motors) was the first car company to offer a factory-built station wagon.
1923 -- A total of 173 new inventions by women for cars had been reported. Among these inventions were a carburetor and an electric engine starter.
1923 -- Powered windshield wipers became standard equipment on many cars.
1923 -- A radio was first offered as an accessory.
1924 -- The first car fitted with a replaceable cartridge oil filter was the 1924 Chrysler
1925 -- The lowest priced mass produced American car was the 1925 Ford Model T Runabout.
It cost $260, which was $5 less than it cost in 1924.
1925 -- While the first "panel truck" was in 1910, the first factory-assembled pickup truck was based on the Ford Model T car, with a modified rear body.
It debuted in 1925 and sold for $281. Henry Ford billed it as the "Ford Model T Runabout with Pickup Body."
The 34,000 trucks built that year featured a cargo box, adjustable tailgate, four stake pockets and heavy-duty rear springs.
1927 -- By that year Ford had sold more than 15 million Model-Ts
1927 -- Chevrolet became the number one selling car company in the United States.
In 1929 and 1930 Ford won the sales race but Chevrolet countered from 1931-1934 as the leader.
In 1935 Ford regained the lead in total cars sold, but not for long. Chevrolet got the crown back in 1936.
With the exception of 1957, Chevrolet was number one from 1936 to 1976 and several years beyond that.
1928 -- In 1928, the Model A replaced the Model T, introducing the first closed-cab pickup.
It sported innovations like a safety glass windshield, roll-up side windows and three-speed transmission. It was powered by a four-cylinder L-head engine capable of 40 horsepower
1930 -- The first successful series-production hydraulic valve lifters were used in the 1930 Cadillac 452, the first production V16
1930 -- The first person to win the Indianapolis 500 at a speed of over 100 MPH without a relief driver was Billy Arnold who won in 1930 with an average speed of 100.448 MPH.
1930 -- Charles Creighton and James Hargis spent 42 days on a round trip from New York to Los Angeles using only reverse gear.
The two men drove in a Ford roadster, which was left running the entire time.
1930 -- In January, Cadillac debuted it’s V16 in a car named for a theatrical version of a 1920′s film seen by Harley Earl while designing the body.
The care was called the "Madam X", and was a custom coach designed by Earl and built by Fleetwood. The sedan featured a retractable landau top above the rear seat.
Instead of going to an inline six like its competitors when something larger than an inline four was needed, Ford designed a modern V8, the Flathead.
1932 -- In 1932, the 65 horsepower (48 kW) Ford flathead V8 engine was offered as an option in their trucks.
1933 -- The first drive-in movie theater opened in Camden, N.
1933 -- Rolls Royce changed their "Double-R" badge from red to black.
1933 -- Swallow Sidecars (aka SS) manufactures the first Jaguar
1934 -- The two-door 1934 Chevrolet Master coach outsold every other 1934 Chevy model.
1934 -- The last car the criminals Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrows drove was a 1934 Ford Model 730 Deluxe Sedan like the one below.
A few months before being shot to death in their 1934 Ford Model 730 Deluxe Sedan, believe it or not, Clyde Barrows wrote Henry Ford a letter of endorsement stating:
"I have drove fords exclusively when I could get away with one. It has got every other car skinned, and even if my business hasn’t been strictly legal it don’t hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V-8″.
1935 -- The first parking meters started use in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935.
1936 -- By 1936, Ford had already produced 3 million trucks and led the industry in sales
1936 -- Volkswagon won millions of buyers worldwide using the concept of a small car and simple design. It had a dependable air cooled engine and its simplicity made it easy to fix.
1938 -- Buick introduced the first electric turn signals.
1939 -- Buick introduces turn signals as standard equipment.
1939 -- Chrysler starts building tanks for the U.S. Army