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Im the 13th century, Roger Bacon forecast that “one day we shall endow chariots with the aid of any animal” This futuristic vision earned him a prison sentence for “being in league with the devil”



However in 1769 Capt Joseph Cugnot constructed a steam gun carriage which DID move under its own power for 12 minutes at 6 m.p.h and a bit later in 1885 Carl Benz produced a petrol driven car which chugged around the streets of Manheim.


A further milestone arrived when the Highways Act stating that a walking man with a red flag MUST precede all vehicles. In 1900 The Thousand Miles Trial was held and in 1904 the first London bus ran.


In 1907 Brooklands, the first banked racing circuit opened. Licence plates for cars became compulsory and Earl Russell queued all night to obtain A.1.


In 1920 the A.A opened the first petrol station and a year later the 4-seater Austin 7 was introduced. Things were now moving fast-in 1923 the first Le Mans 24 hour race was held, in 1923 traffic congestion in London became a problem and the first electric lights were installed in Piccadilly.


In 1927 the London to Brighton run ( now the Veteran car run ) was held,but in 1934 a very controversial bill made driving tests compulsory for ALL new drivers, a year later a year later 1935 cat’s eyes, and a 30 m.p.h speed limit was imposed in built up areas and Belisha Beacon pedestrian lights were made law.Next year saw Adolph Hitler open the Volkswagon factory and the year after 999 emergency telephone numbers were introduced.


1939 was of course the start of World War 2 with “run rabbit run” and “we’ll meet again” as popular songs. Brooklands closed.


1948 Morris Minor was introduced, in 1959 the Mini was designed by Alec Issigonis - this led to the introduction of the Riley Elf and the Wolsley Hornet.


1961 M.O.T. tests were introduced. 1963 Dr Beeching axed all small railways.






 MILESTONES IN MOTORING HISTORY