Friday, July 25, 2014

Women Rally Drives from the 1960s: Ewy Rosqvist, Ursula Wirth, and Eva-Maria Falk

Monte Carlo Rally, 1963. Ewy Rosqvist and Ursula Wirth with a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE.
Touring Car Grand Prix of Argentina, 28 October - 7 November 1964: Ewy Rosqvist-von Korff and Eva-Maria Falk finish in third place in the overall standings in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SE. The photo shows the descent from the 1,980-metre-high Cuesta de Miranda
Ewy Rosqvist and Ursula Wirth, winners of the Argentinean Road Grand Prix (October 25 – November 4, 1962) driving a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE.
November 1962. Ewy Rosqvist / Ursula Wirth, wins the Grand Prix from Argentina on Mercedes-Benz (type 220 SEb W 111.)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The First Great Automobile Race: Paris - Rouen, July 22, 1894

The first car race from Paris to Rouen, 22 July 1894: Emile Roger, the first ever foreign sales agent for Benz vehicles, finished in 14th place driving a Benz Vis-à-Vis 3 hp and was awarded fifth prize. Drawing by Hans Liska dating from 1960.
The first car race from Paris to Rouen, 22 July 1894. Paul Panhard at the wheel of the vehicle from Panhard & Levassor with Daimler engine. The car with the starting number 13 finished in 4th position, Panhard & Levassor received the joint first prize.
The world's first car race from Paris to Rouen, 22 July 1894. Alfred Vacheron's vehicle with petrol engine. Vacheron was awarded joint 4th place in the contest.

Two cars fitted with a Daimler two-cylinder V-engine shared first prize in the world’s first motor car race in 1894 and a Benz vehicle received 5th prize. The reliability test drive from Paris to Rouen paved the way for the unique tradition of 120 years of Mercedes-Benz motor sport history. But the winners of the race from Paris to Rouen were not only the vehicles from Panhard & Levassor and Peugeot, but the motor car with a combustion engine. After all, on the 126-kilometre-long route, the motor vehicle powered by the fast-running Daimler engine demonstrated its superiority over road-going vehicles with other propulsion systems. This magic moment would change mobility for ever: “How can you travel other than in an motor car?” (« Comment peut-on voyager autrement qu’en automobile? »), is how on 23 July the newspaper “Le Petit Journal”, organiser of the competition, enthusiastically summed up the result of the competition, as it looked forward to the future with excitement and anticipation.
The first motor car race in history, which took place on 22 July 1894 over the 126-kilometer route from Paris to Rouen, was not just about speed. Rather the aim was for vehicles to demonstrate their excellent road-going credentials as part of the competition organised by the French daily newspaper “Le Petit Journal”: the vehicle to win would be the one that most effectively fulfilled the criteria, “to be easy to operate for the competitors without any danger and not too expensive to run” (« être sans danger, aisément maniable pour les voyageurs et de ne pas coûter trop cher sur la route »).
Safety, ease of operation, and transparent costs: those were the advantages of the motor car with fast-running combustion engine, at that point just eight years old, compared to steam technology in particular. And so the brands Panhard & Levassor and Peugeot took away the (shared) first prize of 5,000 francs for their vehicles equipped with Daimler engines. The jurors singled out Daimler’s innovations as especially noteworthy: “[...] The Daimler engine, developed by a skilled engineer from Württemberg; Mr Daimler – who was present yesterday in Rouen to share in the triumph of his work – has turned petroleum or gasoline fuel into a practical solution.” (« [...] l’essence de pétrole ou gazoline, que le moteur Daimler, inventé par un savant mécanicien du Wurtemberg, M. Daimler, – lequel était hier à Rouen pour assister au triomphe de son œuvre, – a rendue pratiquement maniable. »)
Birth of motor sport alongside the Bois de Boulogne
21 vehicles in total were approved for the race from Paris to Rouen. They had to go through test drives on the three days before the final competition to qualify to take part in the long-distance race. From 7 a.m. on 22 July 1894, the vehicles lined up on the starting grid at the Porte Maillot in the Paris district of Neuilly sur Seine, located right next to the Bois de Boulogne. The start on the Boulevard Maillot was scheduled for “8 o’clock sharp” (« à 8 heures précises du boulevard Maillot »). The steam tractor of Count de Dion with its single-axle passenger trailer in tow was the first vehicle to set off at 8.01 a.m., with the remaining vehicles following at intervals of 30 seconds.
The road had not been specially cordoned off for the reliability test drive. The traffic proved very heavy particularly after the start because the extensive reporting in the run-up to the race had attracted thousands of spectators; to compound matters other vehicles were mingling among the starters: “The convoy is led, flanked and pursued by numerous cyclists, also by a number of vehicles with a mechanical propulsion system which are tackling the route as amateurs.” (« La colonne est précédée, flanquée, suivie par d’innombrables cyclistes et aussi par quelques voitures à moteur mécanique qui vont faire le parcours en amateurs. »)
The motorised spectators also included Gottlieb Daimler and his son Paul, who were excitedly following this day that would be so important for their engine. 20 years later, Paul Daimler reminisced in an article for the “Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung” (AAZ) on the diverse starting line-up: “The race cars, with disparate shapes, types and sizes, heavy steam carriages with trailers with huge wheels, competed with the lightest steam-powered three-wheelers, and these in turn with petrol-engined cars. [...] We ourselves accompanied the race in our own vehicle. It was a curious spectacle seeing these disparate vehicle types racing against each other: the stokers on the heavy steamers, dripping with perspiration and covered with soot, working hard to put on fuel; the drivers of the small steam-powered three-wheelers keeping a watchful eye on the pressure and water level in the small, skilfully fitted tubular boiler and regulating the oil firing; and then in contrast to all that the drivers of the petrol- and paraffin-powered cars sitting calmly in the driver’s seat, operating a lever now and again, as if they were simply out for a pleasure trip – an utterly peculiar image of contrasts that has remained with me ever since.”
From Paris the route took them to Mantes where the competitors stopped for lunch. Suitably refreshed, it was then on towards Rouen where the first vehicle (de Dion) arrived at 5.40 p.m. Two Peugeot cars followed with the 2.6 kW (3.5 hp) Daimler two-cylinder V-engine (Albert Lemaitre/5.45 p.m., Auguste Doriot/5.50 p.m.) and two other Panhard & Levassor vehicles, which were also powered by Daimler engines (Paul Panhard/6.03 p.m., Emile Levassor/6.30 p.m.). The “Système Daimler” was a two-cylinder V-engine built under licence in France according to Gottlieb Daimler’s original plans.
17 out of the 21 starters crossed the finishing line – 9 of them fitted with Daimler engines. The engineer Emile Roger, starting in a Benz vehicle with an output of 3.7 kW (5 hp), was the 14th to cross the finishing line. In 1888, he became the sole agent for Benz vehicles and engines in France, but deliberately chose to avoid mentioning the origins of the Mannheim-based motor car when registering for the competition from Paris to Rouen in 1894. Roger took 5th place in the competition and in the final report, which was published in the “Le Petit Journal” on 24 July 1894, was singled out for praise by virtue of the “successful improvements to the motor car with petrol engine” (« les modifications heureuses [...] apportées dans la voiture à pétrole »).
While Roger imported complete Benz vehicles, Daimler initially provided engine technology expertise for the French motor car manufacturer: as early as 1887, Gottlieb Daimler was negotiating with Edouard Sarazin from Paris about marketing his developments on French territory. Sarazin in turn agreed with businessman Emile Levassor that the latter would build the Daimler engines under licence. Following Sarazin’s untimely death, his wife Madame Louise – she would later marry Levassor – carried on the business, thus laying the foundations for the French motor car industry. The engines built by Panhard & Levassor from 1889 onwards accelerated the development of the motor car in France.
The motor car triumphed over the steam carriage
The steam-powered tractor of Count Jules-Albert de Dion, which from a modern-day perspective seems utterly bizarre, may well have completed the route in the shortest time, but fulfilled the rules and regulations much less effectively than the more sophisticated motor cars. Other steam-powered vehicles also took part in the competition; three of these, however, failed to complete the 126-kilometre route with its poor road conditions.
Races like the “Concours du Petit Journal” held in 1894 have a long tradition in France: Pierre Giffard, publisher of the “Petit Journal” and inventor of the automotive reliability test from Paris to Rouen, also organised the Paris–Brest–Paris cycle race (1891) and the Paris marathon (1896). Yet the motor car race in July 1894 to find the most reliable vehicle took on a dimension that went beyond sport – it was about redefining mobility on the road, explained the “Petit Journal” in December 1893 with its announcement of the ”Competition for horseless vehicles, with mechanical propulsion” (« un concours de voitures sans chevaux, à propulsion mécanique »).
The competition was designed to help accomplish one of the great unsolved tasks faced by engineers: “At the end of the 19th century, human inventiveness, which in less than 100 years has created steam power, gas, electricity, and other types of propulsion, has still not found a mechanical process for replacing horses as the propulsion for vehicles.” (« À la fin du dix-neuvième siècle l'industrie humaine, qui a créé en moins de cent ans la vapeur, le gaz, l’électricité et tant d’autres propulseurs, n’ait pas encore trouvé le moyen de supprimer les chevaux et de les remplacer, pour la traction des voitures, par un moyen mécanique. ») Viewed from this perspective, the race from Paris to Rouen marked both the birth of motor sport and the final of the competition between the various propulsion systems – from which the motor car would emerge as the undisputed winner. And quite incidentally, the future name of the vehicle would be coined in the media reports: whereas the “Petit Journal” was still referring to “horseless carriages with mechanical propulsion” in 1893 (« voitures sans chevaux, à propulsion mécanique »), the reporters in July 1894 were already writing about “voiture automotrice” and “automobile” in reference to the race.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Essay Questions on Heitmann and Morales, Stealing Cars: Technology and Society from the Model T to Gran Torino

Hi folks --- I always learn far more about my own work from teaching undergraduate students using my materials. Below are two essay questions that will be sued on the second hour exam in HST 344, summer, 2014.

HST 344
Test 2 Essay Question, on Heitmann and Morales, Stealing Cars: Technology and Society from the Model T to Gran Torino.

Answer ONE of the following:

1.      Briefly discuss the evolution of anti-theft deterrents (the technology employed) from the earliest days of the automobile to the present and some of the ways in which thieves overcame these measures. In sum, are people just too smart to ever be fully deterred from committing this crime, if motivated?

2.      The power of the automobile in historical work is in its linking value to life far beyond it as a chunk of metal. In what ways does the topic of car theft reflect American society? Make sure to discuss joyriders, professionals, and the problem with the border to Mexico. Being as specific as you can, why did people steal cars?

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Mercedes 240D, 1974

Mercedes-Benz models 200 D, 220 D, 240 D and 240 D 3.0 in Sindelfingen (114/115 model series), 1974

59 kW (80 hp) signified a quantum leap in 1974: The five-cylinder diesel engine on board the Mercedes-Benz 240 D 3.0 produced such an output, making the model series 115, commonly known as the “Stroke/8”, the torquiest and fastest diesel-powered passenger car in the world. The diesel engine combined strong driving power with impressive economy. At the same time, the 240 D 3.0 was the first series-production car with a five-cylinder engine.
Five-cylinder diesel engines were not a totally new phenomenon 40 years ago - they had already proven successful in trucks and as stationary devices. Their use in a passenger car placed Mercedes-Benz in the headlines and assured the company of a pioneering role in the field of engine technology, however. The new engine accelerated the 240 D 3.0 from 0 to 100 km/h in 19.9 seconds, with a top speed of 148 km/h (automatic: 20.8 seconds, 143 km/h). This performance made the 240 D 3.0 the undisputed leader in the field of diesel-powered cars at the time of its press launch. “With its refined character, smooth running and economy (10.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres), the latest diesel-powered vehicle from Mercedes will appeal to a new and broad range of customers,” predicted the press announcement, claiming: “With the 240 D 3.0, driving a diesel has become even more attractive.” From a present-day perspective, the car undoubtedly paved the way for the continuing success of the company’s diesel cars.
One more cylinder for added output
Mercedes-Benz developed the OM 617 engine in response to the fact that the four-cylinder diesel engines used in passenger cars to date had reached their limits in terms of output. The need for more cubic capacity from which to coax more hp came up against the limited space available in the engine compartment. Tests conducted by Mercedes-Benz with a six-cylinder engine revealed it to be too long, too heavy, and too expensive. Five cylinders appeared to represent the ideal compromise.
The engineers developed the five-cylinder in-line engine OM 617 for use in series-production cars on the basis of a 2.4-litre OM 616 engine. The latter’s proven characteristics were retained, but the five-cylinder engine was provided with a new Bosch injection pump which was connected via oil ducts to the engine’s oil circuit and was thus maintenance-free. A mechanical governor replaced the pneumatic governor which was customary for the smaller diesel engines. This benefited driving comfort – the 240 D 3.0 with manual transmission revealed virtually no load alteration effects, and with automatic transmission gear-changing was substantially smoother in the partial load range.
The five-cylinder in-line engine’s increased cubic capacity of 3,005 cc produced an output of  59 kW (80 hp) at 2,400 rpm. The press reporters also welcomed the additional output: “This added power provides a very pleasant boost in practice. [...] To put it bluntly: The 240 D 3.0 is the first diesel car that can keep the pace in fast traffic without hindering other vehicles,” wrote “Auto Zeitung”. And “auto motor und sport” commented: “Despite the higher gearing, the 15 hp more in comparison to the 240 D provide the 3.0 with a pace that will also be to the liking of drivers who are not sworn diesel fans.”
Innovative starting technology: a turn of the ignition key was all it took
Operation of the car also boasted innovative features: the use of a pneumatic stopping mechanism rather than the mechanical variant of the 2.4-litre engine enabled the new engine to be switched off with the ignition key. The engine of the 240 D 3.0 was also started up by turning the key, as opposed to the previous practice of pulling a lever: when the driver turned the ignition key, the pre-heating process was initiated and an indicator lamp went on. After a short time, the indicator lamp duly went off again, and the engine could be started up in the normal manner with the key. Very much the norm today, this mode of operation was valued as a convenient innovation in 1974, after which it successively became established for all diesel cars from Mercedes-Benz and other makes.
Mercedes-Benz also used the five-cylinder diesel engine in other vehicles, such as light-duty vans, and from 1978 in the S-Class 300 SD (model series 116), which was intended for export to the USA; the turbocharged engine in the S-Class had an output of 82 kW (111 hp) at 4,200 rpm.
In June 1976, the C 111-II D experimental car caused a stir: for the purposes of testing the high-performance diesel engine, the unit in this sports car employed turbocharging and a charge air cooler to attain an output of 140 kW (190 hp). On the test track in Nardò/Italy the C 111-II D clocked up spectacular speeds. Four drivers broke 16 world records in the space of 60 hours – 13 for diesel vehicles and 3 for motor cars covering all types of engine. The average speed on the test run was in excess of 250 km/h – and Mercedes-Benz demonstrated that a diesel is also capable of sprinting.
The “Stroke/8” model series: setting new standards in the premium middle-class category
The original “Stroke/8” model line comprised six models: the four four-cylinder models made up the model series 115, while the two six-cylinder models were allocated the model series 114. They also featured a coarser-meshed radiator grille as a distinguishing feature. The most notable engineering design feature of the new model series was to be found under the luggage compartment: the so-called “diagonal swing axle”. This new axle offered substantially improved handling characteristics in comparison to the previous models, without compromising on ride comfort. Overall, the model series 114/115 marked a great step forward and set standards for the later generations of the premium middle-class category from Mercedes-Benz – the present-day E-Class.
Production of the 240 D 3.0 model between 1974 and 1976 totalled 53,690, while overall sales of the W 115 model series stood at 945,206 diesel vehicles.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Red Brick Reunion, Oxford Ohio Porsche Event, June 28, 2014

This 356 has to be one of the sharpest examples I have ever seen. 

A Viper Green 911 Targa

 A cloudy, humid day in Oxford, Ohio. Attendance not on the level of former P2O events, energy not nearly as vibrant and vendors few and far between.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Mercedes C111

Three generations of the Mercedes-Benz research car C 111: C 111-II, 1970 (in the middle), C 111-I, 1969 (on the left), the first prototyper version of the C 111-I (on the right).

Mercedes-Benz C 111 experimental vehicle with V8 engine (1970)
Mercedes-Benz presented the C 111 at the International Frankfurt Motor Show IAA in September 1969. With its extreme wedge shape and gullwing doors, the research vehicle had a glass-fibre-reinforced plastic body and was powered by a three-rotor Wankel engine with an output of 206 kW (280 hp). This futuristic sports car could reach a speed of up to 270 km/h. The following year, a revised version of the C 111 was shown at Geneva – but now with a four-rotor Wankel engine delivering 257 kW (350 hp). This version of the C 111 could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 300 km/h. It was this second version of the research vehicle that served as the basis for a V8 variant of the C 111 containing the M 116 series engine (147 kW/200 hp), which Mercedes-Benz engineers and technicians used for the purposes of comparison with the rotary-engined sports car. Despite numerous orders, the C 111 remained an experimental vehicle and never entered series production. Mercedes-Benz instead went on to develop a series of record-breaking vehicles based upon it: the C 111-II D (1976) and the C 111-III (1977-1978, both with a five-cylinder diesel engine) and the C 111-IV (1979, V8 petrol engine with turbocharging).
Technical data – Mercedes-Benz C 111 with V8 engineProduction period: 1970
Cylinders: V8
Displacement: 3,499 cc
Output: 147 kW (200 hp)
In contrast to the other C 111 vehicles that Mercedes-Benz constructed with the rotary engine invented by Felix Wankel (six with a three-rotor engine in 1969 and six with a four-rotor engine in 1970), this C 111 has a rear-mounted reciprocating engine. When building the prototype in 1970, Mercedes-Benz engineers in Sindelfingen implanted a 3.5-litre, V8 production engine into a second-generation C 111 chassis to enable direct comparisons to be made with the four-rotor Wankel engine. This V8 engine was first used in 1969 in the luxury Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 3.5 (W 109) and 280 SE 3.5 Coupé and Cabriolet (W 111) models, and also delivered a sporty driving experience in the 350 SL (R 107) launched in 1971.