Today, there are over 1 billion cars on the road! The United States has the most cars with 250 million, followed by China with 150 million. Japan is third with 70 million cars.
Cars come in all shapes and sizes. The smallest car in production is the Smart Fortwo which is just over 2 feet wide and 8 feet long. The largest car ever built was the Cadillac Brougham, over 21 feet long and 8 feet wide!
We’ve put up ten facts you’re probably not aware of about the history of automobiles.
- The most expensive vehicle ever sold at a public sale was a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 race car, which sold for $30 million at Bonhams in July 2013. The previous record was held by a 1957 Ferrari TestaRossa Prototype, which changed hands for $16.4 million in California in 2017.
- Electric automobiles are common, but the first electric car was built in 1832. Robert Anderson invented the first electric-powered vehicle. General Motors is credited with developing the initial mass electric vehicles.
- The first automobile race took place in 1895. In this competition, the winning speed was 15 mph (24 kph). Cars nowadays travel at far greater speeds.
- In the summer of 1885, Bertha Benz, wife of Karl Benz, took the first road trip in history with her two sons. In seven hours, they drove 66 kilometers.
- Before 1896, automobile steering wheels were not used. Drivers controlled their vehicles using a lever instead.
- For a long time, drivers have wanted brake lights because hand signs became impossible to follow at night. In 1905, brakes were first used. Brake lights were not common in cars until after 1940. The first self-propelled vehicle was built in 1672 by Ferdinand Verbiest. He was a member of the court of the Chinese emperor Kangxi and created a model car powered by steam.
- Inventor George Selden filed for a patent for an automobile in 1879, but it wasn’t granted until 1895. This meant he had control over who could build automobiles during this time. Several companies paid him royalties, including Ford, which eventually bought his patent rights in 1911. Cars used to be started with a hand crank. In 1912, Cadillac became the first company to offer an electric starter, which made it much easier to start a car.
Cars have come a long way since the early days of the automobile. Today, there are many different types of cars to choose from, including electric, hybrid, and even self-driving ones! Who knows what the future of the automobile will bring?
Automotive In Modern Day
Cars are no longer a luxury item but a necessity for many people in first-world countries. It is not uncommon for a family to have two or more cars in the United States. Automobiles have become so commonplace that we often take them for granted.
We use our cars to commute to work, take the kids to school, and even go on vacation. Cars are so integral to our lives that it’s hard to imagine life without them.