Sunday, January 29, 2012

SPIJKER - Cars and Aircrafts

In 1880, brothers , Jacobus Spijker and Hendrik-Jan Spijker decided to get in to the business of manufacturing horse-drawn coaches. In 1898, they built a Golden carriage for the Dutch Royal family. The "Gouden Koets" is being used by the Dutch Royal family even now.

The "Gouden Koets” brought fame to the Spijker brothers and they decided to get in to manufacture of motor cars. In 1899, they manufactured their first Benz-engined motor car. The Spijker cars became famous for their performance and in 1903 , they introduced the 6-cylinder ; 60 HP car – the first car with 6 cylinder engine and permanent four-wheel drive.

In 1903, they changed the name of the company from Spijker to Spyker so that name can be pronounced easily in other countries. During the war, Spyker manufactured aircraft and aircraft engines. The Spyker logo with an aircraft propeller is an indication of the aircraft connection –

While the propeller indicates aircraft lineage , the Latin words indicate a road car lineage "Nulla Tenaci Invia Est Via" means "For the tenacious, no road is impassable"

By 1926 , Spyker ceased production and was closed

In 2000, the Spyker brand was resurrected as Spyker Cars by Victor Muller and Maarten de Brujin to manufacture sports cars – one of the well-known and famous car being the C8.

In 2006, the Midlands F1 team was acquired by Spyker cars and renamed as Spyker F1 . Spyker F1 participated in the 2007 Formula 1 season. In 2007, Spyker F1 was sold to UB group and renamed as Force India F1. In 2010, Spyker cars acquired Saab from General Motors and in 2011 formed the parent company called Swedish Automobile (SWAN) , which holds Spyker Cars and Saab automobiles.

At present, both Saab and Spyker cars are up for sale.

RENAULT - Electric Future ?

In 1898 , Louis Renault (1877 - 1944) converted a De-Dion Bouton cycle by modifying the then prevalent chain drive system to a propeller shaft system and challenged others for a race up a steep gradient. Renault won the race and in the process generated 13 orders for the propeller shaft driven car. Louis Renault along with his brothers Marcel Renault and Fernand Renault formed the company Renault Freres in 1899 to manufacture and sell these "Renault Little cars"

Renault is to be pronounced as "Reh-no" in English.

Below are the 1899 Renault Type A and a 1901 Renault

In 1908 the name of the company was changed to Societe Automobiles Renault and continued to manufacture small cars, taxis, buses and trucks. During the wars they shifted to manufacture of ammunition and battle tanks. After the WWII , Louis Renault was accused of conspiring with the Germans and was arrested and imprisoned in a French prison. Louis Renault died in prison within 4 weeks, under mysterious circumstances.

After the death of Louis Renault , the company was taken over by the French government and nationalised. Renault continued to manufacture Cars & Trucks, some of the well-known cars of that era being the 4CV and the Dauphine.

In 1999 , Renault acquired controlling stake in Nissan Motors , Japan and later saved Nissan from bankruptcy in a restructuring process planned and driven by the current CEO , Carlos Ghosn. Renault-Nissan alliance also acquired Dacia of Romania in 1999; Samsung Motors of South Korea in 2000; AvtoVAZ of Russia in 2008 and is one of the top 5 automobile manufacturers in the world currently.

Renault-Nissan alliance has invested heavily in the electric mobility , which according to them is the future. RN alliance have launched the Nissan Leaf , a Battery electric vehicle, Renault Fluence ZE - another battery electric vehicle. Apart from developing Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) , they are also developing charging systems & infrastructure in certain countries and also pioneering battery swapping technologies.

The first logo of Renault had the initial of the three brothers - Louis , Fernand & Marcel. The Diamond started appearing in 1925 and the Yellow later , indicating Dynamism & Quality.

In the earlier years, Renault was also in to manufacture of commercial vehicles and tractors. In 1955 , Renault truck operations acquired other truck manufacturers like Souma & Latil (a 4x4 pioneer) to form a company named Saviem (Societe Anonyme de Vehicules Industriels et de Equipments Mecaniques). Saviem acquired Berliet and was renamed as Renault Vehicules Industriels (RVI) in 1978. The RVI was sold off to Volvo in 2001 and now is part of Volvo group. The Logo of RVI - Renault diamond in RED background.

FIAT - Cars for the common man

Giovanni Agnelli (1866 - 1945), along with some of his friends speculated on producing cars. In 1899, a new company by name FIAT was formed - FIAT being the acronym for Soceita Anonima Fabbrica Italiana di Avtomobili Torino. In English , it means Italian Automobile manufacturing company of Turin. In 1899, they made 8 units of their car fitted with a cylinder, 3.5 HP vehicle , called the FIAT 3 1/2 CV.

1899/1900 - FIAT 3 1/2 CV

FIAT was an active participant in racing and by mid 1900s , they had already toppled the Panhard cars in racing. Vincenzo Lancia (founder of Lancia) was one of the star race car drivers for FIAT.

In the 1920s, FIAT built one of the world-famous car factory in Lingotto. This factory had 5 floors and a test track on the top floor. Raw material entered the ground floor and finished cars appeared in the top floor , ready to be tested in the test track on the top floor. This factory operated till it was closed down in 1982.

Top view of the Lingotto factory

FIAT manufactured many famous models which sold many million copies across the world - Fiat 300, Topolino, Fiat 600, Fiat 500, Fiat 1100, Fiat 124 , Fiat Uno.

The Logo of FIAT - the first and the current -

Fiat acquired Ferrari & Lancia in 1969/70 , integrated Abarth in to Lancia , acquired Maserati in 1993. In 2009 , FIAT started acquiring stake in Chrysler and now has about 60% stake.

FIAT continues to be one of the top 10 Automobile manufacturers in the world today.

OLDSMOBILE - The first mass produced car

Ransom Eli Olds (1864 - 1950) experimented with steam carriages in the mid 1880's and moved to experimenting with IC engines in the early 1890's. He started building an IC engine car for the 1895 Times-Herald race but could not complete the car in time for the race. In 1897, the Old Motor Vehicle Co was formed and the first car was built. In 1899 , the company name was changed to Old Motor Works and was incorporated to build and sell "perfect" cars.

The famous Curved Dash was introduced in 1901 and was an immediate best seller, selling more than 400 units in the first year. To be able to meet the rising demand, Olds invented the "First Automobile Assembly Line" with interchangeable parts, to mass produce cars. In all 19000 Curved Dash cars were made between 1901 and 1907.

1901 - Curved Dash.

A video explaining the parts of the Curved Dash (Engine, gearbox, chain etc) is here -

In 1904 , Ransom E Olds quit the company over disputes with the directors. He started a new company , named REO which continued to manufacture cars Ransom Old designs.

Old Motor Works was integrated in to General Motors in 1908 and continued to manufacture cars under Oldsmobile brand. Some of the famous cars being Oldsmobile 88, F-85, Cutlass , 442 etc

Oldsmobile 88                                    Oldsmobile Cutlass

In 1949 , Oldsmobile introduced a new OHV V8 Engine, named Rocket in the Oldsmobile 88 cars and the engine came to be known as the Rocket 88 engine. This engine was one of the last carburetted engines operating till the early 1990's. The Rocket engine was so famous that even the logo of Oldsmobile started changing to depicting a rocket, during this period.

The logo of Oldsmobile , past and the last -

The Oldsmobile brand was retired in 2004 by General Motors after 96 years.

HAYNES-APPERSON : Advertised as America's first car

Elwood P Haynes (1856 - 1925) was an American inventor in the field of metallurgy and was credited with the invention of Stellite and stainless steel. In 1893 , he got interested in IC engines, procured a 1 HP Stint engine and tries to experiment fitting the engine on to a buggy. He enlisted the help of a local machine shop run by the Apperson brothers - Elmer Apperson & Edgar Apperson to complete the build.

The first car , Pioneer I , was completed in 1894 and was successfully tested.

A second car, Pioneer II , was completed for the 1895 Times-Herald race and while diving to the starting line, the wheel of the car got damaged and could not participate in the race.

In 1898 , the Haynes-Apperson company was incorporated to manufacture and sell cars. In 1901, the Apperson brothers quit the company and in 1905, the company was renamed as Haynes Automobile company.

Haynes continued to manufacture cars known for their reliability and long distance running capability. Below is an example - a 1914 Haynes.

The Logo of Haynes -

Haynes Automobile company ceased manufacture in 1925. While the car company closed its doors , the STELLITE lives on in the Engine valve seats of most engines, even today.

Whoever created America's first car - Duryea or Winton or Haynes , these were the pioneers of American Automotive legacy.

WINTON - Famous but forgotten

Alexander Winton (1860 - 1932) immigrated to US (from Scotland) in 1880. In 1890 , he started his own business of manufacturing and selling bicycles. In 1893, he developed a motor-bicycle and continued his efforts to build four-wheeled motor car. In 1896 he manufactured his first car , fitted with pneumatic tyres supplied by B.F. Goodrich rubber company.

In 1897, he further refined the design and introduced the second Winton car.

Alexander Winton is credited with many innovations apart from proving that his cars are reliable by driving 1300 Kms in one of his cars. He could reach speeds up to 35 mph , which was an unheard of speed during those times. Some of his innovations include compressed air starting system , where compressed air is let in the engine which pushes the piston downward and brings the adjacent piston to firing stroke - a system nowadays used to start large marine diesel engines. Winton is also credited with using the first steering wheel , replacing the tiller mechanism in use till then.

Winton was America's first automobile manufacturer to make and sell automobiles as a standard product even though Duryea brothers were making custom made automobiles, on order.

Car no 12 was sold to one Mr James Ward Packard and had to experience lot of faults in his car. He met Alexander Winton and complained , to which Winton got angry and challenged him to build a better car. That challenge resulted in another car company - Packard Motorcar co.

Some of the famous and large selling cars of Winton were 1899 - Winton Stanhope and 1910 Winton Six.

The Winton Logo -

Winton stopped making cars in 1924, unable to compete with the cheaper car available in the market. However, they continued to make large , marine diesel engines - the diesel engine division was taken over by General Motors in 1930.

PEUGEOT - Bi-cycles to Cars

Peugeot (Pronounced as P-ew-sz-oh) was an industrial empire by early 1800s. In 1882, Armand Peugeot (1849 – 1915) along with his cousin Eugene Peugeot decided expand in to Bi-cycle manufacture. By 1889 , they produced tri-cycle steam car called Type 1. With some innovative boiler design by the then famous steam engineer , Serpollet , the size of the engine could be reduced.

1889 - Type 1 steam car

By the next year , Armand Peugeot was convinced by Emile Levassor that he should use Daimler engine in his cars. In 1891 , Peugeot introduced the Type 2 , fitted with Daimler IC engine.

1890/91 - Type 2 IC engine car

In 1895, Peugeot fitted Michelin solid rubber tyres in their racecars and in 1896 started manufacturing their own engines. With Eugene Peugeot moving out the company was renamed as Societe Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot. Peugeot continued to build cars & bicycles with the likes of Ettore Bugatti designing racing cars & engines.

Some of the most famous Peugeot cars were Peugeot 205 & Peugeot 504, which were sold in large numbers across the globe.

The LION logo of Peugeot was created in 1858 and has undergone many changes - Below are the 1858 and the 2010 logos.

Peugeot is known for innovation and were one of the pioneers on the use of Diesel engines for Passenger cars. In the year 2011 , they introduced the World's first Diesel- Hybrid - 3008 HYbrid4 car with the innovative concept of Diesel engine driving the front wheels and Electric motor driving the rear wheels.

In 1974/75, they took over Citroen and the group was renamed as PSA (Peugeot Societe Anonyme). In 1978, they took over Chrysler , Europe (formerly Clement-Bayard, Talbot, Rootes & Simca) and branded those cars as Talbot.

Peugeot continues to one the Top 10 vehicle manufacturer in the world today.