Automobile History: 39 High-Octane Car Facts That’ll Turbocharge Your Brain

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1Porsche 911

The designer of the Porsche 911, Butzi Porsche, was kicked out of industrial design school in his first year for apparent lack of talent. When he went to work for his father at Porsche, the company's design director rejected his ideas, so he had the 911 prototype built by an outside contractor.

2. In 1986, '60 Minutes' ran a scathing exposé on the Audi 5000, alleging it could wildly accelerate on its own. However, their on-air demonstration used a rigged car to show falsified results. Government tests later vindicated Audi but their sales had already plummeted. '60 Minutes' never apologized.

3. A study conducted by American University found that the Toyota Camry (78.5%) and the Honda Accord (76%) both contain more domestic content than the 'American' Chevrolet Camaro (68%).

4. President Lyndon B. Johnson owned an amphibious car (Amphicar Model 770) that served as both a vehicle and a boat. He used it to scare guests by driving them into his lake while screaming that the brakes were malfunctioning.

5. The top speed of the Bugatti Veyron is limited not by the engine, but rather by the possibility of the tires exploding.

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6Ford GT40

In the 60's Ford was in talks to buy Ferrari but when Ferrari backed out at the last minute it enraged Ford so they built the GT40 to beat Ferrari at Le Mans. It went on to win 4 consecutive times.

7. Chevrolet Vegas were shipped vertically in their rail cars.

8. Mitsubishi once offered "0–0–0" financing (0% down,0% interest,$0 in payments the first year). Initially, sales leaped, but many buyers defaulted at the end of the grace period, leaving Mitsubishi with used cars for which they had received no money and were now worth less than they cost to build.

9. Volkswagen owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda, Ducati, MAN, and Scania.

10. 3/4 of the cars that Rolls Royce has ever produced are still on the road.

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11New Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai is one of the first fuel cell vehicles being sold commercially that uses hydrogen to run while emitting water vapor.

12. Electric vehicles predate the Model T, and in the year 1900, comprised 38% of cars on the road.

13. Car tires are black because one manufacturer wanted "more distinguished looking" tires and had carbon black added to the white rubber. The resulting tires lasted 4-5 times longer.

14. Five cow skins are needed for a Porsche interior. Their production amounts to roughly 165,000 cars a year (2013 report). 452 cars per day, 2260 cows a day.

15. "Project sound" is a car suspension system by Bose. It was over-engineered to the point of being deemed unviable commercially, but it outperformed everything on the market.

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16Bugatti Veyron tires

Bugatti Veyron tires cost $42,000 for a set. At top speed, they only last 15 minutes. The wheels have to be replaced every other tire change to ensure the integrity of the bead seal at high speed. Those are $69,000 a set.

17. Rolls Royce didn't start selling cars with bodywork until 1946. Up until then, they only sold the chassis and motor with a recommendation to use Barker & Co Ltd to build a customized body and coach. One of their designs is the world's most expensive car at $57,000,000.

18. The Dubai police fleet includes a Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Bentley. This is to allow them to catch speeders who can outrun other cars.

19. The only American cars that can be purchased for private use in Cuba are those that were previously registered and acquired before the revolution. This is the reason there are so many classic 1950's American cars in Cuba.

20. Cars have become so quiet, automakers have resorted to playing fake engine noises from the speakers.

21Ferrari engines

Ferrari engines are musically engineered to sound perfect by utilizing 3rd and 6th harmonics on the air intake, like a flute or organ.

22. The Honda Prelude was the first mass-produced car that featured a mechanical 4-wheel steering system. In its debut year, it beat every car in the slalom test, including Porsche and Ferrari.

23. In 2008, Lamborghini gave the Italian state police the world’s fastest police car, a Gallardo LP560-4, which was equipped with a video surveillance camera, gun racks, GPS, organ transplant cooler (in the luggage compartment) and defibrillator. It was crashed the following year.

24. Rolls Royce never disclosed the horsepower for their Silver Shadow and advertised it as "adequate."

25. The pinstripe on a Rolls Royce is handpainted, with no margin for error as the paint has special properties that instantly bond it to the underlying car paint.


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