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Epochs in Automobilism

The following history of motoring was originally published in the 1906 book, A History of the First Ten Years of Automobilism.
Epochs in Automobilism
by R. P. Hearne

Although the main aim of this volume has been to trace the marvellous growth of automobilism in the British Isles since 1896—when for the first time motor vehicles in this country were given the freedom necessary for their development— it is necessary for a proper study of the subject to make a wider survey of what had been done in England and elsewhere prior to 1906 in paving the way. I have endeavoured to divide the matter into several epochs, so as to more clearly trace the progress which has been made up to the present.


Trevithick's Steam Carriage (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1769-1883.

Steam Car Era.

Many steam cars were produced in England quite a century ago and several of them were most practicable; but bad roads, bad laws, specially heavy turnpike tolls, and the rivalry of the railways combined with many other causes to bring about ultimate failure in all the attempts to popularise these vehicles. Repressive legislation is largely to blame for the set-back which occurred in England, and which continued until emancipation came in 1896. In this area the most important events to be noticed were :—

1769. Cugnot, a Frenchman, completed his first steam trolley. He is regarded as the inventor of the steam automobile.

1785. William Murdock, a pupil of Watt, built a steam tricycle.

1802. Richard Trevithick invented his steam carriage with gear transmission.

1826-8. Sir Goldsworthy Gurney ran several of his steam carriages.

Hancock's Steam Omnibus  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1829-33. Hancock's steam coaches were placed on the road. He was the first to obtain a practical success with steam vehicles.

1831. Sir Charles Dance ran a service of Gurney steam cars from Gloucester to Cheltenham. This was the first attempt to organise a public service of mechanically propelled road vehicles.

1832. The London and Paddington Steam Car Company formed to run public service steam vehicles in the metropolis.

Daimler's First Petrol Motor Cycle  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1834. Gottlieb Daimler, "the father of automobilism," born at Schorndoff, Germany.

1834. Hancock's "Era" and "Autopsy" steam coaches put into service between the City, Moorgate, and Paddington.

1835. Dietz traction engine produced. This was the first vehicle fitted with rubber tyres (solid).

1836. Hancock started a steam coach service between Stratford, Paddington, and Islington.

1840. F. Hill ran the first automobile (steam) fitted with differential action for the wheels.

1847. Thompson invented the pneumatic tyre.

1865. Locomotive Acts (Red Flag) passed; limiting speed to four milte an hour, and compelling each vehicle to be preceded by a pedestrian carrying a red flag. This law practically killed the automobile movement in England, where up to this period most activity had been shown.


1865. Lenoir, a French experimenter, produced a gas motor for propelling vehicles. This was the forerunner of the internal combustion engine, but we had to wait for Gottlieb Daimler to produce the first practicable motor of this type for locomotive purposes.

1870. Perkin's one wheel steam tractor produced: fitted with Thompson's pneumatic tyre. Thompson was the inventor of the pneumatic tyre, but having to apply it to very crude and heavy vehicles, he was unable to perfect it in the same way as Dunlop, who, in 1888, devised the first pneumatic tyre for bicycles.

1873. Amédée Bollée, in France, completed a steam carriage, "L'Obeissante," to carry twelve passengers.

1873. A Select Committee on Locomotives on Roads recommended "that self-contained locomotive coaches (or engines) not exceeding six tons in weight, making no sound from the blast, and consuming their own smoke, be classed as light, and that they be permitted to travel at the ordinary speed of vehicles and only subjected to the same restrictions as such vehicles." This recommendation was not acted upon until 1896!


1883-1896.

The Coming of the Petrol Motor.


Benz Motor Tricycle  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)

Rear of Benz  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
In England at this period little or nothing was clone, as the Locomotives Act of 1865 effectively checked the testing of such vehicles on the road. Gradually, too, on the Continent activity centred in France, where excellent roads, freedom from hampering laws, and the natural enthusiasm of French experimenters afforded a great stimulus.Germany and France led in the work of developing the petrol motor in this era. Gottlieb Daimler, "the father of automobilism," made the first practicable petrol motor vehicle; and Benz, another German engineer, was early in the field. In France, Panhard, Levassor, Bouton, Peugeot, and Bollée followed this example, and worked zealously to improve the petrol automobile. Serpollet and Count De Dion developed the steam road vehicle, but De Dion eventually deserted steam for petrol.

1883-4. Dalamare-Deboutteville and Maliadon first put a petrol vehicle on the road in France.

1884. Butler, an English inventor, designed a petrol motor tricycle.

1884. Daimler produced a small high speed gas engine.

1885. Daimler completed his first single-cylinder motor with enclosed crank and flywheel.

Count De Dion  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1885. Daimler motor bicycle built.

1885. Benz motor tricycle.

1886. Daimler petrol car. This was the first practical petrol motor-car.

1886. Benz petrol car.

1888. Serpollet steam tricycle.

1888. Serpollet steam four-seated car.

1888. De Dion, Bouton, and Trepardoux steam tricycle.

1888. John Boyd Dunlop invented the pneumatic tyre for bicycles, and a few years later the tyre was adapted in France for motor vehicles.

1889. Serpollet flash boiler invented.

1889. Daimler two-cylinder V-type petrol engine.

1889. De Dion-Bouton steam car.

1889. Panhard and Levassor tramcar with petrol motor.

1891. First Panhard petrol car.

1891. Peugeot car, with Daimler motor, ran from Paris to Brest.

M. Levassor at controls of Panhard & Levassor car.  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1892. Roots' petrol motor tricycle (England).

1893. Maybach float feed carburettor invented.

1894. Scotte road train ran in France.

1894. Serpollet flash boiler steam car.

1894. First Road Race. -- Paris-Rouen: 80 miles; De Dion steam tractor, drawing landau, averaged 12 m.p.h.; one Panhard and two Peugeots, all with 3½ h.p. Daimler motors, tied for first prize.

1895. J. H. Knight's petrol motor-car built in England.

1893. Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race (744 m.), June 11th: Panhard 4 h.p. Daimler, two passengers, 48 hr. 47 min. — 15 m.p.h.

Panhard Chassis  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1895. Hon. Evelyn Ellis introduced first petrol car, a 4 h.p. Panhard, into England, June.

1895. Sir David Salomons held a motor exhibition at Tunbridge Wells, October 15th.

1895. J. A. Koosen imported the Lutzmann car into England, November.

1895. T. R. B. Elliot first to drive motor-car in Scotland, 35 h.p. Panhard, December 27th.

1896. Automobile Club de France founded.

1896. Motor Car Club founded in London.

1896. Locomotives on Highways Act, 1896, passed. This permitted light locomotives to travel at speeds up to fourteen miles per hour. The Act was to come into force on November 14th, 1896.

1896. Paris-Marseilles-Paris race (1,077 m.), September 24th, thirty-two starters; Mayade, Panhard, 6 h.p. Daimler motor, four passengers, 67 hr. 43 min., average speed 15.9 m.p.h.

1896. Original regulations re storage, etc., of petrol came into operation, November 3rd.

1896. EMANCIPATION DAY.—Motor-car run to Brighton, November 14th.

1896-1904.

The Hon. C. S. Rolls on a Peugeot  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
A rapid development took place in the British Isles on the passing of the 1896 Act, and French and German cars were imported in increasing numbers. Then the home industry sprang up and quickly grew. Racing became very popular in France and helped to bring about many mechanical improvements; but in the later years of this era, the craze for mere speed dominated more important considerations, and led to several abuses. In the Gordon Bennett race of 1904 racing reached its zenith. Motor-boats and motor omnibuses were also introduced in this era.

1897. Duke of Cambridge, first member of the Royal Family to motor, rode in Bollée tri-car, January.

1897. Paris-Dieppe race (196 m.), July 24th; L. Bollée, 3 h.p. Bollée, 4 hr. 14 min. = 25 m.p.h. First appearance of coiled radiators on the Panhards in this race.

1897. Paris-Trouville race (108 m.); Jamin, 4 h.p. Bollée, 3 hr. 48 min. 56 sec.

1897. Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland founded, August 10th.

1897. Heavy Vehicle Trials, Versailles.


Panhard and Levassor (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)Panhard and Levassor
1898. King Edward VII's (then Prince of Wales) first ride in motor-car: J. S. Critchley drove H.R.H. in a 6 h.p. Daimler from Warwick Castle, May.

1898. Heavy Vehicle Trials, Liverpool, May 24th to 29th.

1898. Paris - Amsterdam Paris race (938 m.), July 7th ; Charron, 8 h.p. Panhard, 33 hr. 4 min. 34 sec. = 27 m.p.h. Wheel-steering and 4-cylinder balanced engine first used on the Panhard cars in this race.

1898. Bordeaux-Paris race (351 m.); R. de Knyff, 6 h.p. Panhard, 15 hr. 15 min. 44 sec.

1899. Paris-Bordeaux race (351 m), May 24th, Charron, 12 h.p. Panhard, 11 hr. 43 min. 20 sec. = 30 m.p.h. Front radiators first fitted on Panhard cars in this race.

1899. Automobile Club Show, Deer Park, Richmond, June.

1899. Petersham Hill-climb (1 in 9½), Hon. C. S. Rolls, 8 h.p. Panhard, 8¼ m.p.h.

1899. Heavy Waggon Trial, Richmond, June 13th.

1899. Paris - Ostend race (201 m.), Levegh, 16 h.p. Mors, and Girardot, 12 h.p. Panhard, tied in 6 hr. 11 min. = 32½ m.p.h. Tourist Section—First occasion of English drivers competing, the Hon. C. S. Rolls, on Panhard, second; the Hon. J. Scott Montagu, MP., third.

1899. Tour de France (1,440 m.), July 16th; R. de Knyff, 12 h.p. Panhard, 44 hr. 59 min.= 32 m.p.h.

1899. Paris-St. Malo race (226 m.), July 30th; Antony, 16 h.p. Mors, 7 hr. 32 min. = 31 m.p h.

1899. German Automobile Club founded, July 31st.

1899. Paris-Trouville race (107 m.), Aug. 27th, Antony, 20 h.p. Mors, 2 hr. 58 min. 30 sec. = 36½ m.p.h.

1899. Exhibition of Motor Vehicles at Dover in connection with the Meeting of the British Association.

1899. Bordeaux-Biarritz race (175 m.), Oct. 1st, Levegh, 16 h.p. Mors, 4 hr. 24 min. — 40 m.p.h.

1899. Anniversary run to Sheen House, November 14th.

1899. Scottish A. C. founded, December.

1900. Gottlieb Daimler died March 6th (born 1834).

1900. Motor Vehicle Users' Defence Association founded, March 6th.

Trèfle à Quatre (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1900. Nice Speed Trials, March 31st, mile, standing start, Levegh, 12 h.p. Mors, 1 min. 32 4-5 sec. = 39 m.p.h. ; Béconnais, 4½ h.p. Perfecta tricycle, 1 min. 18 sec. — 46 m.p.h.; flying kilometre, Levegh, 12 h.p. Mors, 48 1-5 sec. = 46.37 m.p.h.; Béconnais, 4½ h.p. Perfecta tricycle, 39 2-5 sec. = 56' 74 m.p.h.

1900. Automobile Club 1,000 Miles Trial, April 23rd to May 12th; eighty-three entries. Sixty-five started from Hyde Park Corner, twenty-three officially recognised as having gone through; twenty-six others arrived and were exhibited at the Crystal Palace May 14th.


1900. First Gordon Bennett race, Paris-Lyons (353¾ m.), Charron, 24 h.p. Panhard, 10 hr. 36 min. 23 sec. — 38½ m.p.h.

1900. Paris-Toulouse-Paris race (842 m.), Levegh, 16 h.p. Mors, 20 hr. 50 min. 9 sec. = 40 m.p.h.

1900. First Parade, American Automobile Club, New York, November 4th, fifty cars assembled.

1901. Irish A.C. founded, January.

1901. Nice, Coupe de Rothschild, flying kilometre, L. Serpollet, 35 4-5 sec. = 62½ m.p.h. This was the first occasion on which a speed of a mile a minute had been exceeded.

1901. Queen Alexandra bought an electric carriage.

1901. Motor Union founded, May.

Thery  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1901. Paris-Bordeaux and Gordon Bennett race (366 m.), May 29th; Paris -Bordeaux, Fournier, 60 h.p. Mors, 6 hr. 11 min. 44 sec = 53 m.p.h. Second Gordon Bennett race, Girardot, 40 h.p. Panhard, 8 hr. 50 min. 59 sec. = 37 m.p.h. No others finished.

1901. Motor Demonstration to County Councils, and drive to Sheen House, June.

1901. Paris - Berlin race (749 m., excluding neutralised portion), June 27th to 29th. Fournier, 60 h.p. Mors, 16 hr. 5 min. = 46½ m.p.h.

1901: Motor-cars used at the Military Cyclists' Manoeuvres, Aldershot, August.

1901. Anniversary run to Southsea, over one hundred cars. November 16th.

1902. Welbeck Brake Trials, January 11th.

1902. Cromer Speed Trials, S. F. Edge, 50 h.p. Napier, flying  kilometre, 45 4-5 sec. = 48¾ m.p.h.

1902. Nice Speed Trials, flying kilometre, Serpollet, 20 h.p. Serpollet, 29 4-5 sec. = 75 m.p.h.

1902. Bexhill Trials, May 19th, flying kilometre, petrol cars: C. Jarrott, 40 h p. Panhard, 52 m.p.h. Steam cars: L. Serpollet, 54½ m.p.h.

1902. Circuit du Nord, Alcohol race (572 m.), May 22nd and 23rd. M. Farman, 40 h.p. Panhard, 11 hr. 58 min. 51 sec. = 47½ m.p.h.; Jarrott, 40 h.p. Panhard, 13 hr.

1902. Paris-Vienna race (615 m.), June 27th to 29th, 137 starters, eighty finished. H. Farman, 70 h.p. Panhard, 16 hr. 0 min. 30 1-5 sec. = 29 m.p.h.

1902. Third Gordon Bennett Race (379 m.), S. F. Edge, 40 h.p. Napier, 11 hr. 2 min. 53 2-5 sec = 34.3 m.p.h.

1902. Parade of heavy motor waggons. Victoria Embankment, July.

1902. Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders incorporated, July 16th.

1902. Trial of Electrical Vehicles, July 21st.

1902. Mont Cenis Hill-climb, 14 m., 1 in 10, maximum 1 in 6, July 27th, Lancia, 25 h.p. Fiat, 30 min. 10 2-5 sec. = 27 m.p.h.

1902. Circuit des Ardennes race, Belgium (318 m.), Julv 31st. Fifty-six started, thirty-three finished. C. Jarrott, 70 h.p. Panhard, 5 hr. 53 min. 39 3-5 sec. = 54.5 m.p.h.

1902. Welbeck Speed Trials, August 7th, C. Jarrott, 70 h.p. Panhard, flying kilometre, 35 sec. = 63.87 m.p.h.

1902. Welbeck, August 22nd, C. Jarrott, 70 h.p. Panhard, flying kilometre, 28 1-5 sec. = 79¼ m.p.h.

1902. Deauville, August 24th, Gabriel, 60 h.p. Mors, flying kilometre, 26 2-5 sec. = 84.68 m.p.h.

Macdonald  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1902. Motor-cars at Military Manoeuvres, Salisbury Plain, August.

1902. 650 Miles Reliability Trials, Crystal Palace, September 1st to 6th; ninety-two entries, sixty-nine starters.

1902. 4,000 Miles Tyre Trials, September 1st to October 15th.

1902. Semmering Hill-climb (6 m), 1 in 20, September 7th, Werner, 40 h.p. Mercédès, 10 min. 37 1-5 sec. = 34 m.p.h.


1902. Gaillon Hill-climb, 1 kilometre, 1 in 11, October 12th, Le Blon, Serpollet, 36 sec. = 62 m.p.h.

1902. Dourdan Speed Trials, H. Fournier, 80 h.p. Mors, flying kilometre, 29 1-5 sec. = 76.55 m.p.h.; flying mile, 47 2-5 sec. = 75.95 m.p.h.

1902. Dourdan Speed Trials, Augières, Mors, flying mile, 46 sec. = 78.26 m.p.h., November 11th.

1902. Marine Motor Association founded, November.

1903. Fuel Consumption Trials, Suresnes-Corbeil-Suresnes, 100 kilometres, forty entries, February 19th, 10 h.p. Chenard-Walcker, averaged 46¾ m. per gallon.

1903. Motor Volunteer Corps established. March 3rd.

1903. French Consumption Trials, finals, March 16th; 10 h.p. Chenard-Walcker, 49½ m. per gallon.

1903. Nice races, First Rothschild Cup, Serpollet, 40 h.p. Serpollet (steam car), flying kilometre, 29 1-5 sec. = 76.55 m.p.h. Second Rothschild Cup, flying kilometre, Hieronymus, 60 h.p. Mercédès, 31 4-5 sec. = 70.35 m.p.h.

1903. A.C. of America Eliminating Trials, April 11th.

1903. Autocycle Club founded, April.

1903. Glasgow-London (402 m.), May 13th and 14th, twenty-three starters, non-stop runs by 10 h.p. Lanchester, two 12 h.p. Sunbeams, two 12 h.p. Arrol-Johnstons, 10 h.p. Wolseley, 12 h.p. Argyll.

1903. Paris-Madrid race (abandoned at Bordeaux: 343 m.), May 24th, 314 entries, 275 starters (225 cars, 50 motor cycles); Gabriel, 70 h.p. Mors, 5 hr. 13 min. 31 sec. = 65½ m.p.h.

1903. Circuit des Ardennes race (315 m.), June 22nd and 23rd; Baron Pierre de Crawhez, Panhard, 5 hr. 52 min. 7 3-5 sec. = 53¾ m.p.h.

1903. Fourth Gordon Bennett Cup Race, Ireland (368 m.), July 2nd; twelve started, five finished; C. Jenatzy, 60 h.p. Mercédès, 6 hr. 39 min. = 49.25 m.p.h.

1903. Phoenix Park, Dublin, races, July 4th, Baron de Forest, 70 h.p. Mors, flying kilometre, 26 2-5 sec. = 84.68 m.p.h.

1903. International Motor-boat Cup, Cork Harbour (8½ m.), July 11th; S. F. Edge, “Napier,” 75 h.p., 4 cyl., 40 ft., 26 min. 6 sec. This was the first international race held for motor boats.

1903. Motor Car Act finally passed in House of Lords, August 12th.

1903. Great Western Railway, Helston-Lizard Motor-car Service started August 16th.

1903. Paris-Trouville Motor-boat Races (192 m.), August 30th to September 4th, Mercédès, 35 h.p., 10 hr. 26 min. 23 sec. = 18½ m.p.h.

1903. 1,000 Miles British Reliability Trials, September 16th to 23rd; 140 entries, 104 starters; non-stop throughout; 8 h.p. M.M.C., 10 h.p. Argyll, 12 h.p. Wolseley, 22 h.p. Daimler.

1903. American A.C. Reliability Trials, New York to Pittsburg (800 m.), October 7th to 15th; forty-two entries, thirty-four starters, twenty-four reached Pittsburg.

Darracq Engine  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1903. Ladies' Automobile Club founded, October.

1903. Dourdan Speed Trials (flying kilometre), Duray, 100 h.p. Gobron-Brillié 26 2-5 sec. = 84.68 m.p h.

1903. Gaillon Hill-climb, November 8th; Rigolly, flying kilometre, 100 h.p. Gobron-Brillié, 33 3-5 sec. = 66-53 m.p.h.

1904. The Motor Car Act of 1903 came into operation. January 1st. This raised the legal speed limit to twenty miles per hour.

1904. Local Government Board Departmental Committee on Heavy Traffic appointed, January 20th.

1904. W. K. Vanderbilt, 90 h.p. Mercédès, Osmond-Daytona Beach (Florida), standing mile, 39 sec. = 92.30 m.p.h., January 27th.

1904. Great Western Railway Slough and Beaconsfield motor omnibus service started March 1st.

1904. Nice Speed Trials: March 31st, standing mile, Rigolly, 100 h.p. Gobron-Brillié, 53 3-5 sec. =67.16 m.p.h.; Duray, 100 h.p. Gobron-Brillié tied. Flying kilometre, Rigolly, 23 3-5 sec. – 94.32 m.p.h.

1904. Monaco Motor boat races, April 6th, 200 kilometres, " Trèfle à Quatre, " 5 h. 15 min. 51 sec. Prince tie Monaco Cup, 2,852 metres, "Trèfle à Quatre," 4 min. 17 sec.

1904. Automobile Club Side-slip Teials, April 18th to May 7th.

1904. Motor-van Parade, Thames Embankment, April 30th, eighty-two motor-vans.

1904. Report of Departmental Committee of Local Government Board on Heavy Traffic issued, May 6th.

1904. Ostend-Nieuport Speed Trials: Baron de Caters, flying kilometre, 90 h.p. Mercédès, 23 sec. = 98 m.p.h.

1904. Glasgow to London run, May 19th to 20th; thirty starters, seven non-stops (6 h.p. Wolseley, 10 h.p. Argyll, 12 h.p. Eagle, 12 h.p. Arrol-Johnston, 12 h.p. Sunbeam, 18 h.p. James and Browne, 20 h.p. Thornycroft).

1904. Ladies' Automobile Club first meet, Waterloo Place, June 9th.

1904. Fifth Gordon Bennett Cup race, Homburg, witnessed by the Kaiser, June 17th, 343½ m., Thery, 80 h.p. Richard-Brasier, 5 hr. 50 min. 3 sec. = 55½ m.p.h.

1904. Ostend Speed Trials, July 18th, Baras, 100 h.p. Darracq, standing mile, 48 3-5 sec. — 74 m.p.h.

1904. Snaeskerke, flying kilometre, Rigolly, 100 h.p. Gobron-Brillié, 21 3-5 sec. — 103½ m.p.h. This was the first occasion on which a speed of over 100 miles an hour was officially recorded.

1904. Circuit des Ardennes race, July 25th (375 m.), Heath, 100 h.p. Panhard, 6 hr. 30 min. 49 sec. = 58 m.p.h.

Szisz  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1904. Motor-boat Reliability Trials, Southampton, July 26th and 27th.

1904. British International Cup for Motor-boats, Ryde, July 30th (7.7 knots), " Trèfle à Quatre," 80 h.p., 24 min. 27 sec.

1904. Calais-Dover Motor-boat race, twenty-one starters, twenty finished, August 8th, "Mercédès IV.," 1 hr. 0 min. 7 2-5 sec.; "Napier Minor," 1 hr. 5 min. 25 3-5 sec.

1904. Paris-Trouville Motor-boat race (221 m.), August 15th to 20th; "Mercédès IV.," 7 hr. 34 min. 16 sec.

1904. Automobile Club Small Car Reliability Trials, August 29th to September 3rd (620 m.), thirty-five started, twenty-six finished; non-stops: 6 h.p. Siddeley, 8 h.p. Croxted.

1904. General Booth's Motor Tour, August and September.

1904. Brescia Circuit race (230 m.), September 4th, Lancia, 75 h.p. Fiat, 3 hr. 12 min. 56 sec.

1904. Vanderbilt Cup race (302 m.), Long Island, New Jersey, October 8th, eighteen starters, Heath, 90 h.p. Panhard, 5 hr. 26 min. 40 sec. = 51.13 m.p.h.

1904. Blackpool races, October 14th and 15th, Clifford Earp, 80 h.p. Napier, flying kilometre, 26 2-5 sec. = 84.68 m.p.h.

1904. Gaillon Hill-climb, flying kilometre, average gradient 1 in 10, October 30th, Baras, 100 h.p. Darracq, and Rigolly, 100 h.p. Gobron-Brillié, tied with 29 sec. = 77½ m.p.h.

1904. Ostend Speed Trials, flying kilometre, Baras, 100 h.p. Darracq, 21 2-5 sec = 104.2 m.p.h.

1904. Delhi-Bombay Reliability Trials thirty starters, December 26th to January 2nd, Gaekwar's Cup won by Sorel on a De Dietrich.

1904. Local Government Board Regulations for heavy motors issued December 28th.


1904-1906.

General Spread of Automobilism Universal.

This has been an era of steady detailed improvement in motor mechanism, and of a rapid spread of automobilism all over the world. Motor omnibus traffic became a feature in London. Automobile racing has declined in interest and importance; and the English Tourist Trophy race in the Isle of Man marked a new development in the trial and perfectioning of touring cars by means of a race in which the fuel consumption is limited. Yet other features of this epoch are the dust and side-slip problems, which have become a serious annoyance. The establishment at Weybridge in Sussex of a private motor track on which cars can race up to speeds of one hundred miles an hour, indicates that races and trials will probably in future be restricted to such tracks. This epoch is notable also for the fact that motor vehicles for the first time exceeded a speed of two miles a minute. Petrol motors were also successfully applied to airships.

1905. Delhi Bombay Reliability Trials (January).

1905. Racing on Ormond-Daytona beach, Florida. Mile in 34 sec. (105.08 m.p.h.), by Macdonald on a 90 h.p. Napier. Fletcher on a 120 h.p. twin engine Mercédès (over the racing weight limit) did the mile in 32 4-5 sec. 109½ m.p.h.). Five miles in 3 min. 17 sec. (91 m.p.h.); and flying kilometre in 23 sec, by Macdonald's 90 h.p. Napier.

1905. Monaco Motor boat fortnight.—Rough weather showed that many of the boats were not seaworthy. The "Championship of the Sea" for racing boats (200 kilometres), won by Panhard-Levassor in 4 hr. 22 min. 54 sec, average speed 28 m.p.h.

1905. Scottish Reliability Trials.

1905. Algiers-Toulon Motor-boat race. First open sea contest. Race ended disastrously as no vessel completed the course owing to the rough seas, and several boats were wrecked. No lives were lost.

1905. Automobiles permitted to cross the Simplon Pass for the first time.

1905. Horse and automobile stopping tests at Crystal Palace; at 20 m.p.h. a motor-car stopped in 26½ ft.; a trotting sulky in 43 ft.

1905. Fifth and last Gordon Bennett Race, Auvergne Circuit, 343 m.: Won by Théry (France), 90 h.p. Richard-Brasier; time, 7 hr. 2 m. 42 sec; average speed — 49 m.p.h.

1905. Blackpool Speed Trials: Flying mile in 38 sec. (94¾ m.p.h.) by Earp on 90 h.p. Napier. Flying kilometre in 21 2-5 sec. (104½ m.p.h.), by C. Earp on 90 h.p.Napier.

Yarrow Napier  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)
1905. Motor-boat Reliability Trials at Southampton.

1905. Ardennes Circuit Race (375 m.): won by Hémery (Darracq) in 5 hr. 58 min. 32 1-5 sec. (average speed 62½ m.p.h.).

1905. Herkomer Trophy race in Germany for Touring Cars: Won by E. Ladenburg (40 h.p. Mercédès).

1905. Glidden Trophy: Contest for touring cars in America (870 m.). Won by P. Pierce on 40 h.p. Pierce Great Arrow.

1905. Pyrenées Cup Reliability Trials in France: Won by Sorel, 40 h.p. De Dietrich.

1905. British International Cup Race for Motor-boats at Arcachon: Won by "Napier" (driven bv Lord Montagu). Distance, 33 m.; time 1 hr. 32 m. 26 sec. (19.56 knots per hour).

1905. Florio Cup Race on Brescia Circuit (316 m.): Won by Raggio (Itala) in 4 hr. 46 min. 47 sec. (62 m.p.h.).

1905. Tourist Trophy Race, Isle of Man (208½ miles): Won by J. S. Napier, 18 h.p. Arrol- Johnston; time, 6 hr. 9 min. 14 sec. (33.9 m.p.h.).

1905. Dourdan Speed Trials: Mile standing start, Earp (90 h.p. Napier) 53 4-5 sec; flying kilometre, Earp (90 h.p. Napier) 25 3-5 sec. (87.37 m.p.h.).

1905. Royal Commission on Motor Cars appointed.

1905. Vanderbilt Cup Race on Long Island: Won by Hémery (Darracq), 4 hr. 36 min. 8 sec. (61½ m.p.h.).

1905. Motor aeroplane designed by Wright Bros., Dayton, Ohio, flew 24 miles at a speed of 35 m.p.h. This was the first application of a motor to a flying machine.

1906. Automobiles employed extensively in the General Election.

1906. Reliability Trials held in Bengal.

1906. Racing at Ormond-Daytona, Florida: Flying kilometre, Marriott (Stanley steam car) 18 2-5 sec. (122.2 m.p.h.). Chevrolet (Darracq) 19 2-5 sec. Mile standing start, Marriott (Stanley steam car) 28 1-5 sec. (127.5 m.p.h.). Chevrolet (Darracq), 30 3-5 sec. New records.

1906. Two Miles a Minute Championship at Ormond-Daytona: Demogeot (Darracq 58 4-5 sec. (122.4 m.p.h.). This was the first occasion on which petrol and steam vehicles attained a speed of over two miles a minute.

1906. Tyre, Lamp and Speedometer Trials held by the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland.

1906. Monaco Motor-boat races: "Championship of the Sea" (200 kilos.) won by "Delahaye" in 4 hr. 40 min. 12 sec.

1906. Motor-car tax imposed in Germany: rates according to horse-power.

1906. German Automobile Liability Bill introduced, rendering motorists liable for all accidents caused by their cars.

1906. Milan Gold Cup Touring Contest (eleven days): average distance 250 miles per day: Won by Lancia (Fiat).

1906. Scottish Reliability Trials: (671¾ miles in four days).

1906. Herkomer Trophy Race: Won by Dr. Stoess (18-20 h.p. Horch).

1906. Irish Reliability Trials.

1906. Bill removing duty from industrial alcohol passed in United States.

Dumont  (Douglas-Scott-Montagu)


1906. Grand Prix race: Sarthe Circuit (768 miles): Won by G. Szisz in 12 hr. 14 min. 7 sec (average speed 62¾ m.p.h.). This was the first great race extending over two days, 384 miles being covered each day. Another remarkable feature was the employment of detachable rims (to facilitate tyre changing) on the winning car.

1906. First motor racing track laid down at Weybridge, Surrey.

1906. Motor Car Commission publish their report; speed limit condemned; road reform advocated; taxation of cars by weight suggested.

1906. Ardennes Circuit race (375 miles): Won by Duray (De Dietrich) in 5 hr. 38 min. 39 sec. (average speed 66 m.p.h.). This constitutes a record speed for long distance racing.

1906. International Cup race for Motor-boats (thirty-two miles): Won by "Yarrow-Napier" (Lord Montagu) in 1 hr. 30 min. 8 sec.

1906. Glidden Trophy Tour: thirteen cars obtained full scores and tied for first prize.

1906. Tourist Trophy Race, Isle of Man (163 miles): Won by Hon. C. S. Rolls in 5 hr. 22 min. 1 sec. (average speed 39½ m.p.h.).

1906. Vanderbilt Cup race, Long Island (297 miles): Won by Wagner (100 h.p. Darracq) in 4 hr. 30 min. 10 sec. (average speed 61 .4 m.p.h.).

1906. Blackpool Speed Trials: Flying kilometre won by A. Lee Guinness (200 h.p. Darracq) in 21 sec. (106.5 m.p.h.): standing mile won by A. Lee Guinness (200 h.p. Darracq) in 43 2-5 sec. (78.9 m.p.h.).

1906. Santos Dumont flew over 100 yards on his motor aeroplane at a speed of over 24 m.p.h. and won the Archdeacon prize. This was the first successful flight of a motor aeroplane in Europe.

1906. Death of Mr. Dan Albone, the designer of the first motor tractor for agricultural purposes.

1906. Motor Union dinner celebrating the tenth anniversary of the passing of the Act of 1896 (legalising the automobile), held at Hotel Great Central, London, November 14th.

With the placing on record of the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Act of Emancipation this epoch may fitly be closed. It would be idle to speculate here on what will be the striking features in the next epoch of automobilism. We have seen locomotion on the roads revolutionised within the last ten years; we have seen in its commencement the application of the internal combustion motor to boats and to airships, and, without being too sanguine, one may anticipate that in the next decade veritable revolutions in navigation by sea and air may be witnessed.


(Douglas-Scott-Montagu, pp73-87)
















Trevithick's Road Engine (1800)

























Hancock's Steam Omnibus (1829)






















Daimler's first petrol motor cycle (1885)
























































Benz Motor Tricycle (1885)

















Rear of Benz Motor Tricycle (1885)




























Count De Dion (from a Vanity Fair cartoon)






























The 3 1/2 h.p. Panhard and Levassor (1891).
M. Levassor at the steering tiller.




















Chassis of the 6 h.p. Panhard (1896).
Winner of the Paris-Marseilles race.

































The Hon. C. S. Rolls's first car. A 3 3/4 h.p. Peugeot, which was run by him on English roads under the Red Flag Act. Note the man in front with the red flag.


























The Panhard and Levassor 12 h.p. 4-cylinder racer (1900).
Winner of the Paris-Bordeaux race of 1899, 351 miles, average speed 30 miles per hour, and of the Tour de France race, 1899, 1044 miles, average speed 32 miles per hour.











The Panhard and Levassor 40 h.p. racer (1901).
Winner of the 1901 Gordon Bennett race, Paris to Bordeaux, 351 miles, average speed 37 miles per hour; and second in the Paris-Berlin race.












































"Trèfle à Quatre," the fastest motor-boat of 1904.







































Théry, who won two Gordon
Bennett races.





































































Macdonald on his 90 h.p. Napier at Daytona, 1905.





















































































The Engine of the 200 h.p. 
Darracq racer.
The fastest petrol car of 1906, and the first to exceed 120 miles per hour.































































Szisz changing the detachable rims in the Grand Prix race of 1906.
















































































































"Yarrow Napier," the fastest motor-boat of 1906.





















































































Santos Dumont's Motor Aeroplane of 1906.