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Automotive Trivia

August 11, 2013
Automotive Trivia

The Beetle, the Oldest Model

The oldest model in automotive history (not brand) is the Beetle or Escarabajo, which began production in Germany in 1938. Adolph Hitler had charged Dr. Porsche with the task of designing a Volkswagen, i.e. a “car of the people.” The model known all over the world received various names: in Germany it was known as the Käfer, in Brazil as the Fusca, in Portugal as the Carocha, in France as the Coccinelle, in Italy as the Maggionilo and in Mexico as the famous Vocho or Vochito, as it is affectionately referred to. On July 30, 2003 Mexico produced the last Escarabajo. The scenic colonial city of Puebla, located close to Mexico City, produced 21,529,464 Vochitos.

Juan Manuel Fangio Catches a Break

In 1953, in the IV Panamerican Rally, Argentine driver Juan Manuel Fangio, probably the most famous driver in the history of automobile racing sports, caught a break. He had just won the world driving championship (which he was awarded on five separate occasions) and had won the Panamerican Rally. Since he did not have the appropriate clothing, a journalist provided Fangio with a leather jacket during the middle of the 18-hour race to protect him from the cold he encountered while driving his Lancia D24 convertible. With the borrowed jacket, he arrived at the finish line in Ciudad Juarez. Fangio bested the famous Italian drivers Taruffi, Castelloti and Magioli.

Honey as an Antifreeze

In the 1920s, before ethylene glycol was discovered as and engine antifreeze and coolant, various remedies were used to avoid water freezing in the radiator, which could cause serious damage to the engine. Drivers of the time used honey, methanol, molasses or sugar as a form of engine antifreeze and coolant. The problem is that all of these remedies were corrosive. It was not until 1960 that the market produced antifreeze for extreme temperatures of cold and heat.

Radios in Automobiles

One of the pleasures of driving a car is to listen to music, news or follow a sporting event on the radio. However, the first occasion that a radio was offered on the market as an optional accessory was in 1923. Now, television screens in automobiles are common and many models offer the possibility of internet connection and other electronic options.

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