But, how much do you really know about the history of the industry that plays such an important part in our lives? Here are 5 stunning facts about car industry you’ve probably never heard about.
1. The Car Is Far Older Than You Probably Think
Most people think that the automobile first appeared in nineteenth century. However, they are wrong by a margin of more than a hundred years.
The first documented instance of a self-propelled mechanical vehicle being built goes as far back as 1769 – it was a steam-powered tricycle built by French inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot for the French Army. However, it was extremely impractical – it weighed about 2.5 tons, moved at a breathtaking speed of 2.25 miles per hour, was extremely unstable, and required ridiculous amounts of fuel and constant maintenance during the process of driving. As a result, the French Army abandoned the experiment, and despite several other attempts by other people, the car industry only took off in 1870s. However, every modern car brand or, as the French would put it, logo de voiture, is a descendent of that awkward monstrosity built by Cugnot.
2. The Ford Model T Wasn’t the First Mass-Produced Car
The invention of mass car production is often attributed to Henry Ford, with the Model T cited as the first car produced in this fashion. It is not true – this honor belongs to Oldsmobile Curved Dash. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile Company in 1901 and produced until 1907, 19,000 units in total. It was built using assembly lines and interchangeable parts, and was quite successful for that time period.
However, it was Henry Ford who perfected the method in 1913 through the introduction of driven conveyor belts – using his approach, the Model T could be built in 93 minutes.
3. The Best-Selling American Car Of All Time Was The Ford Model F-Series
With more than 34 million units sold since the start of production in 1948, Ford Model F-Series light truck is the best-selling vehicle throughout American history. This is not the only similar honor held by Ford’s cars – in 1916, about 55 percent of all active cars in the world were the Ford Model T. It is a record that has never been challenged, and it is extremely unlikely that it ever will be.
4. The First Cars Were Steered With A Lever, Not A Wheel
Controlling a car with a joystick feels like something straight out of a sci-fi movie – it is unusual and futuristic and just cool. However, in reality it is a concept that was used at the outset of automobile industry (only to be promptly forgotten) – most of the first cars used a lever, or rather a tiller to steer their movements. Steering wheels were found to be more convenient, providing better feedback and greater control.
5. Engine Noise In Many New Cars Is Fake
In a hilarious turn of events, many car producers make their cars fake loud engine noise through speakers – the more efficient modern engines are mostly noiseless otherwise. The reasoning is that soundless engines would feel less powerful and impressive than their louder counterparts, potentially pushing buyers away.
The car industry may look straightforward and habitual, but in fact there are many things we don’t know about it, and these few facts are just the tip of the massive iceberg.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned some new facts about a very old industry!
Featured photo credit: Dream Car/Adventures of KM&G-Morris via flickr.com