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Calendar >  Trivia and Unusual Facts About Automobiles Throughout History -Part I

Trivia and Unusual Facts About Automobiles Throughout History -Part I

By   /  December 1, 2020  /  2 Comments


TR Robertson — Cars, in some form, have been around for close to 140 years. It is hard to imagine our world without the Automobile. For many, the family vacation and a car are synonymous. Cars have been used as birthday and Christmas presents for some lucky individuals. Our nation is full of roadways, highways and byways taking us to destinations and adventures. For many young people, getting their first car is a significant moment in their life and for parents represents a change in how they “look” at their son or daughter. Cars come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, made by a variety of companies and are most certainly a major part of our culture. Unusual facts and trivia are as much a part of the story of the automobile as they are of anything else in the American culture. Here are some of those unusual bits and pieces of facts and trivia about cars.

  • 1886 is considered the birth of the car with German inventor Carl Benz building the Benz Patent-Motorwagen.
  • There are currently over 1 billion cars on the earth.
  • The U.S. has more cars than any other country, around 300 million. China is second.
  • Holding a remote car key to your head doubles its range because the human skull acts as an amplifier.
  • One out of 4 cars in the world come from China.
  • Sir Alec Guinness warned James Dean one week before he died not to get into his new Porsche 550 Spyder of “You’ll be dead in it by this time next week”.
  • Inventor Mary Anderson invented the first effective windshield wiper.
  • A single car has about 30,000 parts.
  • About 80% of a car is recyclable.
  • For many cars, the “new car smell” is toxic, composed of over 50 volatile organic compounds.
  • In Christopher Nolan’s Batman, Bruce Wayne drives a Lamborghini Murcielago. In Spanish, Murcielago means “bat”.
  • The BMW logo comes from the company’s origin as an airplane manufacturer. The blue and white “target sign” represents a spinning white propeller against a blue sky.
  • The fastest car in the world was just established by the SSC North America’s Tuatara at 316 mph.
  • Prior to COVID, Washington, D.C. had the worst traffic in the U.S.
  • The last car with a cassette player was the Ford Crown Victoria in 2011.
  • The word “car” is from the Latin “Carrum, which originally meant “a two-wheeled Celtic war chariot”.
  • A car is stolen in the U.S. every 45 seconds.
  • The first cars did not have a steering wheel, it used a lever to steer.
  • The most often stolen car in the U.S. is the Honda Accord, followed by the Honda Civic and the full-sized Ford Pick-up.
  • Approximately 5 months of a person’s life is spent waiting in a car at red lights.
  • The first speeding ticket was issued in 1896 for doing 8 mph.
  • Modern cruise control was invented by a blind inventor, Ralph Teetor, in 1948.
  • The Ford Model T was the first mass-produced car, in 1908.
  • The 1925, the Model T cost $250.
  • In Russia, it is illegal to drive around in a dirty car.
  • 16% of car owners admit to never washing their cars.
  • 35% of the world’s population drives on the left side of the road.
  • The top speed in the first automobile race in the U.S. was 15 mph.
  • Volvo is Latin for “I roll”.
  • Toyota is the largest car manufacturer.
  • Over 280 car tires each year are discarded.
  • The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car in the world.
  • In Switzerland, it is illegal to slam a car door after 10 pm
  • At only 19 inches, the Flatmobile is the lowest street-legal car in the world.


  • The first U.S. toll roads opened in 1792 in Pennsylvania and Connecticut
  • 1860 – Jean Lenoir invented the spark plug.
  • 1897 – first car insurance policy purchased in Westfield, MA.
  • 1901 – the first American car manufactured in any quantity; the “Curved Dash” Old’s is offered for $650
  • 1913 – more than 1 million cars registered in U.S.
  • 1914 – first electric traffic light installed in Cleveland.
  • 1923 – powered windshield washers became standard on cars.
  • 1929 – a car radio offered as an accessory
  • 1938 – Buick introduces turn signals as standard equipment
  • 1946 – Power windows introduced.
  • 1953 – Chevrolet introduces the Corvette
  • 1954 – Padded dashboards introduced
  • 1956 – Electric door locks appear in some cars
  • 1958 – First remote adjusted side view mirrors
  • 1963 – Seat belts for front seats offered as standard equipment
  • 1965 – Seat belts for rear seats become standard equipment.
  • 1974 – A National speed limit of 55 mph enacted
  • 1984 – Minivans and caravans introduced by manufacturers

There is no doubt that cars are a major part of our everyday life. There is still a plethora of facts and trivia about the automobile that will surprise and amuse you. More to come.


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  • Published: 2 months ago on December 1, 2020
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  • Last Modified: December 1, 2020 @ 12:09 am
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  1. tom payne says:

    Indeed 280 tires are discarded this year. I think you must of been referring to Guajome park

  2. John Fraser says:

    The Curved Dash Olds was really America’s first mass produced car, with a few thousand produced each year, after it’s first year of production. Arguably, the Olds was more of a buggy with an engine, and the later Ford Model T assumed a more “car-like” design. The Olds was of conventional automobile design for 1904, with the “curved dash” referring to the rounded front foot board, which kept the exhaust of the more widespread motive power of the day (horses), from being kicked up onto the occupants of the car. The owners manual that came with the Curved Dash Olds contained as much information about driving in general, as it did the particulars of its operation. It is amazing how fast engine and automobile technology was moving in the early 1900s.

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