The Times Journal & Russell County News
Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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Cruisin': Fun Car Facts
In Aug. 8 Issue
Russell County News
By Ron Cowell, Columnist

I thought it might be fun this week to print some totally useless Trivia questions and answers. Here is some Car trivia that will delight you. Just some bits and tidbits about the cars we love and drive. It’s always fascinating to learn more about cars, the mode of transportation that has made it possible for us to travel long distances and get around.

Do you know who invented the first Spark Plug?  It was Jean Lenair in 1860.

In 1897 the very first auto insurance policy was purchased in Westfield, MA.

I smile when I read this next one and think about the speed NASCAR runs today. The very first Grand Prix was won in 1901 at a speed of 46 mph, and that was considered very dangerous back then.

The Chevy Bow Tie we all know and recognize so well, first came to life in 1914.

In 1923 the first radio was offered as an option in a car. It was not quite the quality they have today and can’t compare to the thousands of dollars spent today on vehicle sound systems. That’s another whole story in itself.

You might be surprised to know that the first power windows were put in cars for production in 1946.

The first tail fins for Cadillac were introduced by Harley Earl in 1948 and did not go away for 10 more years.

Safety became a big issue in the 50’s. Car producers offered a much safer car by adding a padded dash.

We have all been driving down the road at night and someone comes up from behind and their headlights shine right in your rear view mirror and blind you..  We can thank Chrysler for solving that problem. In 1958 Chrysler came out with the first the Day, night rear view mirror.

Seat belts are now the law. As they say “Click it or Ticket”. Back in 1963 seat belts became standard in all automobiles. It wasn’t until 1965 that the rear seat belts came into play.

The first time we started to hear about the oil shortage came about in 1974. The speed limit was lowered to 55 mph to conserve gas. Gas prices went up and the public protested. Truckers shut down highways by blocking the roads with their trucks over the lowered speed limits and the price of gas. Some trucks needed that extra speed to get up some of our hills in the country. Also the price of fuel became a big issue. Hey Truckers,, with the price of gas what it is today? Don’t you think it’s time we start blocking those highways again?

Before SUVs became popular you saw Moms and Dads driving the new Mini Van in 1984. The first Mini Van was sold by Chrysler. It was the Dodge Caravan and the Plymouth Voyager. Now this is not Vans, we are talking about the mini van. By the way, in 2002 30% of the cars sold in the U.S, were SUVs.

How much did we pay for cars in the 70’s? Well in 1974 the average American spent 33 percent of their yearly income for a new car. The longest you could get a new car loan was three years and we thought that would take forever to pay off. How times change.

Being a musician I found this bit of trivia worth knowing.. Did you know that most American made car horns beep in the Key of “F”?

The very first Ford Cars had Dodge engines in them. How bout that Ford Lovers?

Ladies, here is one for you. The windshield wiper was invented by a woman.

The first person to win the Indy 500 at a speed of over 100 mph without a relief driver was Billy Arnold who won in 1930 with an average speed of 100.448 mph.

I am a trivia nut and how much better can it get to know some facts about the industry that has kept us moving, making it possible to travel long distances to visit friends, go on vacations and get us to work and back.

If your Car Club is having an event and you would like us to tell everyone about or someone who you would like to see featured in this article send all information to, djron47@yahoo.com . All information on upcoming events needs to be in at least two weeks before the event.

If your Club or church or group is having an event and you would like to display some classic cars at that event let me know at least two weeks in advance.

One or all of the clubs in the area would be more than happy to bring the cars out for you.

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Phone: 270-866-3191
Fax: 270-866-3198
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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