Walter Chrysler born
Walter Percy Chrysler, the founder of the Chrysler Corporation, which for years was one of
America´s Big Three automakers along with General Motors (GM) and Ford, is born on April 2, 1875, in Wamego, Kansas.Chrysler, the son of a railroad engineer, worked his way up in the railroad
industry--from sweeper to machinist to plant manager of American Locomotive Company--before making his mark on the auto industry.
"Fast & Furious" is top opening-day car movie
"Fast & Furious," the fourth film in an action-movie franchise centered around the world of
illegal street racing, debuts in U.S. theaters on April 3, 2009, kicking off a record-breaking $72.5 million opening weekend at the box office. "Fast & Furious," starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker,
Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez, recorded the all-time highest-grossing opening of any car-themed film, besting the 2006 animated feature Cars.
Emil Jellinek-Mercedes born
Emil Jellinek, an entrepreneur who commissioned engineer Wilhelm Maybach to design the first
Mercedes automobile, named after Jellinek´s daughter, is born in Leipzig, Germany, on this day in 1853.
Ford Mustang debuts at World´s Fair
Henry Ford II officially unveils the two-seat Mustang in Flushing Meadows, New York. That same
day, the new car also debuted in Ford showrooms across America and almost 22,000 Mustangs were immediately snapped up by buyers. Named after a World War II fighter plane, the Mustang was the first of
a type of vehicle that came to be known as a "pony car." Ford sold more than 400,000 Mustangs within its first year of production, far exceeding sales expectations.The Mustang was conceived as a
"working man´s Thunderbird," according to Ford.
Mario Andretti competes in his first Indy car event
Mario Andretti competes in his inaugural Indy car race, in Trenton, New Jersey, finishing in
11th place. The following year, Andretti won the first of his four Indy car championships (also referred to as the U.S. National Championship) and was named Rookie of the Year at the prestigious
Indianapolis 500, where he came in third. Andretti went on to become an icon in the world of motorsports. He is the only man to win the Formula One World Championship, the U.S. National Championship
(1965, 1966, 1969, 1984), the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring (1967, 1970, 1972) and the Pikes Peak International Hill Club.
Danica Patrick becomes first woman to win Indy race
The 26-year-old Danica Patrick won the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Montegi in Montegi, Japan,
making her the first female winner in IndyCar racing history.She became involved in racing as a young girl and as a teenager moved to England in pursuit of better training opportunities. In 2002,
after returning to the United States, she began driving for the Rahal Letterman Racing team, owned by 1986 Indianapolis 500 champ Bobby Rahal and late-night talk-show host David Letterman. In 2005,
Patrick started competing in IndyCar events, which include the famed Indianapolis 500 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana.
GM celebrates 100 million vehicles made in the US
At the time, GM was the world´s largest automaker.In 2008, GM, hard hit by the global economic
crisis, lost its title as the world´s top-selling automaker; that year, GM sold 8.356 million cars and trucks compared with Toyota´s 8.972 million vehicles. On June 1, 2009, GM filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection. It was a move once considered unthinkable for the company that became a giant of the U.S. economy in the 20th century.
Chrysler buys automaker Lamborghini
Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the media reported that Chrysler paid $25
million for Lamborghini, which at the time was experiencing financial difficulties.Lamborghini was established in 1963 by Ferruccio Lamborghini (1916-1993), a wealthy Italian industrialist who made
his fortune building tractors and air-conditioning systems, among other ventures. Lamborghini owned a variety of sports cars, including Ferraris. According to legend, after experiencing mechanical
problems with his Ferraris, he tried to meet with Enzo Ferrari, the carmaker´s founder. When Enzo Ferrari turned him down, Ferruccio Lamborghini decided to build cars that would be even better than
Ferrari´s. Lamborghini´s first car, the 350 GTV, a two-seat coupe with a V12 engine, launched in 1963.
Ferruccio Lamborghini born today
Ferruccio Lamborghini, the founder of the company that bears his name and is known for stylish,
high-performance cars, is born in Italy. After World War II, Lamborghini founded a business making tractors from reconfigured surplus military machines, near Bologna, Italy.The company´s logo
featured a bull, a reference to Ferruccio Lamborghini´s zodiac sign, Taurus the bull.
Oldsmobile would be no longer
In 1897, Ransom E. Olds (1864-1950), an Ohio-born engine maker, founded the Olds Motor Vehicle
Company in Lansing. In 1901, the company, then known as Olds Motor Works, debuted the Curved Dash Oldsmobile, a gas-powered, open-carriage vehicle named for its curved front footboard. More than 400
of these vehicles were sold during the first year, at a price of $650 each (around $17,000 in today´s dollars).The last Oldsmobile came off the assembly line at the Lansing Car Assembly plant in
Michigan, signaling the end of the 106-year-old automotive brand, America´s oldest.
*Historical Data Provided by History.com