Although steam-powered road vehicles were produced earlier, the origins of the automotive industry are rooted in the development of the gasoline engine in the 1860s and ’70s, principally in France and Germany. By the beginning of the 20th century, German and French manufacturers had been joined by British, Italian, and American makers.
Developments before World War I
Most early automobile companies were small shops, hundreds of which each produced a few handmade cars, and nearly all of which abandoned the business soon after going into it. The handful that survived into the era of large-scale production had certain characteristics in common. First, they fell into one of three well-defined categories: they were makers of bicycles, such as Opel in Germany and Morris in Great Britain; builders of horse-drawn vehicles, such as Durant and Studebaker in the United States; or, most frequently, machinery manufacturers. The kinds of machinery included stationary gas engines (Daimler of Germany, Lanchester of Britain, Olds of the United States), marine engines (Vauxhall of Britain), machine tools (Leland of the United States), sheep-shearing machinery (Wolseley of Britain), washing machines (Peerless of the United States), sewing machines (White of the United States), and woodworking and milling machinery (Panhard and Levassor of France). One American company, Pierce, made birdcages, and another, Buick, made plumbing fixtures, including the first enameled cast-iron bathtub. Two notable exceptions to the general pattern were Rolls-Royce in Britain and Ford in the United States, both of which were founded as carmakers by partners who combined engineering talent and business skill.
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In the United States almost all of the producers were assemblers who put together components and parts that were manufactured by separate firms. The assembly technique also lent itself to an advantageous method of financing. It was possible to begin building motor vehicles with a minimal investment of capital by buying parts on credit and selling the finished cars for cash; the cash sale from manufacturer to dealer has been integral in the marketing of motor vehicles in the United States ever since. European automotive firms of this period tended to be more self-sufficient.
The pioneer automobile manufacturer not only had to solve the technical and financial problems of getting into production but also had to make a basic decision about what to produce. After the first success of the gasoline engine, there was widespread experimentation with steam and electricity. For a brief period the electric automobile actually enjoyed the greatest acceptance because it was quiet and easy to operate, but the limitations imposed by battery capacity proved competitively fatal. Especially popular with women, electric cars remained in limited production well into the 1920s. One of the longest-surviving makers, Detroit Electric Car Company, operated on a regular basis through 1929.
Steam power, a more serious rival, was aided by the general adoption, after 1900, of the so-called flash boiler, in which steam could be raised rapidly. The steam car was easy
The modern automobile is a complex technical system employing subsystems with specific design functions. Some of these consist of thousands of component parts that have evolved from breakthroughs in existing technology or from new technologies such as electronic computers, high-strength plastics, and new alloys of steel and nonferrous metals. Some subsystems have come about as a result of factors such as air pollution, safety legislation, and competition between manufacturers throughout the world.
Passenger cars have emerged as the primary means of family transportation, with an estimated 1.4 billion in operation worldwide. About one-quarter of these are in the United States, where more than three trillion miles (almost five trillion kilometres) are traveled each year. In recent years, Americans have been offered hundreds of different models, about half of them from foreign manufacturers. To capitalize on their proprietary technological advances, manufacturers introduce new designs ever more frequently. With some 70 million new units built each year worldwide, manufacturers have been able to split the market into many very small segments that nonetheless remain profitable.
New technical developments are recognized to be the key to successful competition. Research and development engineers and scientists have been employed by all automobile manufacturers and suppliers to improve the body, chassis, engine, drivetrain, control systems, safety systems, and emission-control systems.
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These outstanding technical advancements are not made without economic consequences. According to a study by Ward’s Communications Incorporated, the average cost for a new American car increased $4,700 (in terms of the value of the dollar in 2000) between 1980 and 2001 because of mandated safety and emission-control performance requirements (such as the addition of air bags and catalytic converters). New requirements continued to be implemented in subsequent years. The addition of computer technology was another factor driving up car prices, which increased by 29 percent between 2009 and 2019. This is in addition to the consumer costs associated with engineering improvements in fuel economy, which may be offset by reduced fuel purchases.
Vehicle design depends to a large extent on its intended use. Automobiles for off-road use must be durable, simple systems with high resistance to severe overloads and extremes in operating conditions. Conversely, products that are intended for high-speed, limited-access road systems require more passenger comfort options, increased engine performance, and optimized high-speed handling and vehicle stability. Stability depends principally on the distribution of weight between the front and rear wheels, the height of the centre of gravity and its position relative to the aerodynamic centre of pressure of the vehicle, suspension characteristics, and the selection of which wheels are used for propulsion. Weight distribution depends principally on the location and size of the engine. The common practice of front-mounted engines exploits the stability that is more readily achieved with this layout. The development of aluminum engines and new manufacturing processes has, however, made it possible
Ever needed a car for a short period of time? Car rental company Avis Budget Group Inc (NASDAQ: CAR) makes it known they specialize in cars.Avis Budget Group was actually part of a larger, now-defunct company called Cendant. The company split into different segments, and the automobile rental segment consisted of Avis and Budget. The two now exist as Avis Budget Group.Unbeknownst to most, the Cendant spin-off resulted in a couple of other well-known companies. Its hotel franchises spun-off into Wyndham Destinations (NASDAQ: WYND) and its real estate franchise spun-off into Realogy (NASDAQ: RLGY).Car rental companies have recently come under financial difficulties as rentals drop due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hertz (NYSE: HTZ) filed for bankruptcy after months of speculation.Related Links:The Story Behind The Ticker: The Cheesecake FactoryThe Story Behind The Ticker: Constellation BrandsPhoto credit: Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine, via WikimediaSee more from Benzinga * 10 Stocks Moving In Thursday’s After-Hours Session * 5 Stocks Moving In Wednesday’s After-Hours Session * 8 Stocks Moving In Thursday’s After-Hours Session(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
In 1769 the first steam-powered automobile capable of human transportation was built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot.
In 1803, Hayden Wischett designed the first car powered by the de Rivaz engine, an internal combustion engine that was fueled by hydrogen.
In 1870 Siegfried Marcus built his first combustion engine powered pushcart, followed by four progressively more sophisticated combustion-engine cars over a 10-to-15-year span that influenced later cars. Marcus created the two-cycle combustion engine. The car’s second incarnation in 1880 introduced a four-cycle, gasoline-powered engine, an ingenious carburetor design and magneto ignition. He created an additional two models further refining his design with steering, a clutch and a brake.
The four-stroke petrol (Diesel) internal combustion engine that still constitutes the most prevalent form of modern automotive propulsion was patented by Nikolaus Otto. The similar four-stroke diesel engine was invented by Rudolf Diesel. The hydrogen fuel cell, one of the technologies hailed as a replacement for gasoline as an energy source for cars, was discovered in principle by Christian Friedrich Schönbein in 1838. The battery electric car owes its beginnings to Ányos Jedlik, one of the inventors of the electric motor, and Gaston Planté, who invented the lead–acid battery in 1859.
In 1884 the Italian Enrico Bernardi created the first petrol-powered vehicle, a tricycle for his son Lauro. He drove it through the street of Quinzano, a village near the city of Verona. 
In 1885, Karl Benz developed a petrol or gasoline-powered automobile. This is also considered to be the first “production” vehicle as Benz made several other identical copies. The automobile was powered by a single cylinder four-stroke engine.
In 1913, the Ford Model T, created by the Ford Motor Company five years prior, became the first automobile to be mass-produced on a moving assembly line. By 1927, Ford had produced over 15,000,000 Model T automobiles.
The early history of the automobile was concentrated on the search for a reliable portable power unit to propel the vehicle.
Steam-powered wheeled vehicles
17th and 18th centuries
Cugnot’s steam wagon, the second (1771) version
Ferdinand Verbiest, a member of a Jesuit mission in China, built a steam-powered vehicle around 1672 as a toy for the Kangxi Emperor. It was small-scale and could not carry a driver but it was, quite possibly, the first working steam-powered vehicle (‘auto-mobile’).
Steam-powered self-propelled vehicles large enough to transport people and cargo were first devised in the late 18th century. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot demonstrated his fardier à vapeur (“steam dray”), an experimental steam-driven artillery tractor, in 1770 and 1771. As Cugnot’s design proved to be impractical, his invention was not developed in his native France. The center of innovation shifted to Great Britain. By 1784, William Murdoch had built a working model of a steam carriage in Redruth  and in 1801 Richard Trevithick was running a full-sized vehicle
Historians disagree about the invention of the bicycle, and many dates are challenged. It is most likely that no individual qualifies as the inventor and that the bicycle evolved through the efforts of many. Although Leonardo da Vinci was credited with having sketched a bicycle in 1492 in his Codex Atlanticus, the drawing was discovered to be a forgery added in the 1960s. Another presumed bicycle ancestor, the vélocifère, or célérifère, of the 1790s was a fast horse-drawn coach that is not considered to be a predecessor of the bicycle.
Draisiennes, hobby-horses, and other velocipedes
The first two-wheeled rider-propelled machine for which there is indisputable evidence was the draisienne, invented by Baron Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun of Germany. In 1817 he rode it for 14 km (9 miles), and the following year he exhibited it in Paris. Although von Drais called his device a Laufmaschine (“running machine”), draisienne and velocipede became more popular names. The machine was made of wood, and the seated rider propelled himself by paddling his feet against the ground. A balance board supported the rider’s arms. Although von Drais was granted patents, copies were soon being produced in other countries, including Great Britain, Austria, Italy, and the United States.
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Denis Johnson of London purchased a draisienne and patented an improved model in 1818 as the “pedestrian curricle.” The following year he produced more than 300, and they became commonly known as hobby-horses. They were very expensive, and many buyers were members of the nobility. Caricaturists called the devices “dandy horses,” and riders were sometimes jeered in public. The design raised health concerns, and riding proved impractical except on smooth roads. Johnson’s production ended after only six months. The brief draisienne–hobby-horse fad did not lead to sustained development of two-wheeled vehicles, but von Drais and Johnson established that the machines could remain balanced while in motion. For the next 40 years, most experimenters focused on human-powered three- and four-wheeled velocipedes.
Treadles and pedals: powered velocipedes
There is evidence that a small number of two-wheeled machines with rear treadle drives were built in southwestern Scotland during the early 1840s. Kirkpatrick Macmillan, a blacksmith of Dumfriesshire, is most often associated with these. He is said to have traveled 40 miles (64 km) to Glasgow in 1842, although documentation is problematic. Gavin Dalzell of Lesmahagow probably built a similar two-wheeled machine in the mid-1840s and is said to have operated it for many years. This may be the heavily restored machine in the Glasgow Museum of Transport. It has wooden wheels and iron rims. The rider’s feet swung treadles back and forth, moving a pair of rods connected to cranks on the rear wheels. Thomas McCall, another Scotsman, built similar machines in the late 1860s. Documents indicate that Alexandre Lefèbvre of Saint-Denis, France, built a two-wheeled velocipede powered by treadles connected to cranks on the rear wheel
A vehicle history report (or VIN check) is an invaluable tool if you are planning on buying or selling a vehicle. As a buyer, you can use a vehicle history report to give you peace of mind that the vehicle you are thinking of purchasing is in good condition. On the other hand, if you are selling a vehicle then a clean history report can help entice potential buyers.
How to Obtain a Vehicle History Report
You can obtain both free and paid VIN lookups. Free vehicle records will typically include less information than paid ones, but they may be sufficient depending on what information you need. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) offers a free VinCheck. As with a complete vehicle history report, you will need to provide your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) when using VinCheck. You can also only make up to five searches within a 24-hour period and certain vehicle records may take up to six months to be updated with VinCheck.
Alternatively, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a more limited history report. The NHTSA’s search tool is useful mainly if you want to see if your vehicle or any of its parts have been recalled.
Third-party databases, including SearchQuarry.com, also offer both free and paid VIN lookups. The paid records offered through third-party companies tend to be the most complete. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System provides a list of approved providers of vehicle information and history data. Note that some approved providers will only provide records to car dealers and not directly to consumers.
What is Included in a Vehicle History Report
Not all vehicle history reports will include the same information, but in general you can expect your VIN report to include some or all of the following:
Liens held against the vehicle
History of airbag deployments
Problems with the odometer
Records of theft
Note that not all VIN checks will include the same type of information. A record from the NICB, for example, is designed to prevent the exchange of stolen vehicles, so it’s great if you want to make sure that the car in question wasn’t reported stolen. On the other hand, it won’t include much information about that vehicle’s maintenance history.
Vehicle Records from the DMV
Most DMV’s don’t provide vehicle history records. However, many do provide vehicle registration and title abstracts, which contain much of the same information that you would find in a history report. In New York, for example, the registration abstract includes some useful history information, such as parking fines and insurance lapses. A title record abstract, meanwhile, will include information about previous owners of the vehicle.
License Plate and VIN Search
In many cases, looking up a car’s VIN is simply about peace of mind. Every car built after 1980 has its own VIN, which is unique to that vehicle.
This article is about the history of the bicycle itself. For information about the history of riding bicycles, see history of cycling.
1886 Swift Safety Bicycle
Vehicles for human transport that have two wheels and require balancing by the rider date back to the early 19th century. The first means of transport making use of two wheels arranged consecutively, and thus the archetype of the bicycle, was the German draisine dating back to 1817. The term bicycle was coined in France in the 1860s, and the descriptive title “penny farthing”, used to describe an “Ordinary Bicycle”, is a 19th-century term.
Earliest unverified bicycle
There are several early, but unverified claims for the invention of the bicycle.
A sketch from around 1500 AD is attributed to Gian Giacomo Caprotti, a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci, but it was described by Hans-Erhard Lessing in 1998 as a purposeful fraud. However, the authenticity of the bicycle sketch is still vigorously maintained by followers of Prof. Augusto Marinoni, a lexicographer and philologist, who was entrusted by the Commissione Vinciana of Rome with the transcription of Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus.
Later, and equally unverified, is the contention that a certain “Comte de Sivrac” developed a célérifère in 1792, demonstrating it at the Palais-Royal in France. The célérifère supposedly had two wheels set on a rigid wooden frame and no steering, directional control being limited to that attainable by leaning. A rider was said to have sat astride the machine and pushed it along using alternate feet. It is now thought that the two-wheeled célérifère never existed (though there were four-wheelers) and it was instead a misinterpretation by the well-known French journalist Louis Baudry de Saunier in 1891.
1817 to 1819: the draisine or velocipede
Wooden draisine (around 1820), the earliest two-wheeler
Drais’ 1817 design made to measure
The first verifiable claim for a practically used bicycle belongs to German Baron Karl von Drais, a civil servant to the Grand Duke of Baden in Germany. Drais invented his Laufmaschine (German for “running machine”) in 1817, that was called Draisine (English) or draisienne (French) by the press. Karl von Drais patented this design in 1818, which was the first commercially successful two-wheeled, steerable, human-propelled machine, commonly called a velocipede, and nicknamed hobby-horse or dandy horse. It was initially manufactured in Germany and France.
Hans-Erhard Lessing (Drais’ biographer) found from circumstantial evidence that Drais’ interest in finding an alternative to the horse was the starvation and death of horses caused by crop failure in 1816, the Year Without a Summer (following the volcanic eruption of Tambora in 1815).
On his first reported ride from Mannheim on June 12, 1817, he covered 13 km (eight miles) in less than an hour. Constructed almost entirely of wood, the draisine weighed 22 kg (48 pounds), had brass bushings within the wheel bearings, iron shod wheels, a rear-wheel brake and 152 mm
We’ve had more good news in the stock markets this week, lending credence to the view that recent gains are more than just a ‘bear market rally.’ Markets are up their recent trough, reached on March 23, and the gains appear to be both substantial and lasting.Investment bank Morgan Stanley has been tracking the markets closely, watching for evidence that the true bottom has been reached. The bank’s US chief equity strategist, Mike Wilson, believes that it has. He points out the “unprecedented and unbridled monetary and fiscal intervention led by the U.S.” and goes on to add that, with stock valuations at their most attractive since 2011, “we stick to our recent view that the worst is behind us…”Wilson believes that bear markets, with their low prices, typically end in recessions. The risk/reward ratio grows more favorable in an environment of low prices and high upside potentials. In addition, Wilson adds that today’s market levels should make a good entry point for traders seeking 6- to 12-month investment horizons.Morgan Stanley’s analysts aren’t just taking the macro view, however helpful that may be to investors. Recent stock reviews from the bank’s research teams have pointed out particular stocks for investors to note. Some are buying moves; others are must-to-avoid.We’ve pulled up three of Morgan Stanley’s recent calls, and run them through the TipRanks database. It turns out that two of the bank’s bullish picks have received significant support from other members of the Street. That being said, one name stands out as being an investment to avoid, falling out of favor with Morgan Stanley as well as the broader analyst community.O’Reilly Automotive (ORLY)Consumer automotive has always been a profitable niche in the USA; you have to expect that from the country that brought us the Motor City, the Mustang, and the Camaro. The company dates back to 1957, and has been providing aftermarket accessories, equipment, parts, supplies, and tools to both professional and DIY customers ever since.The lockdown and quarantine regimes put in place to contain the spread of coronavirus have shut down many businesses – and also boosted do-it-yourselfers. With garages closed, home auto maintenance is rising, and customers are looking for tools, supplies, and advice. O’Reilly provides all of that – and the stock has outperformed the overall markets in recent weeks, losing 14% in the same time that the S&P 500 has slipped 21%.Morgan Stanley’s Simeon Gutman, reviewing O’Reilly shares, sees the DIY auto sector as a solid position to take in advance of an economic recovery. Gutman writes, “DIY Auto has long behaved counter-cyclically as a weak economy depresses new car sales, which results in an aging of the car fleet and period of outsized same store sales.”Gutman believes ORLY is due for better times, noting, “We view ORLY as a best-in-class operator in a fundamentally healthy sub-sector of Retail. Near-term COVID-19 disruption is a risk, but we think the stock’s recent selloff is overdone and presents a compelling buying opportunity with a valuation discount
VinCheck.info offers a 100% free vehicle history report. How to run a free VIN check, no credit card needed? To scan data from over 268 million registered cars in the US: 1) Enter a 17-digit VIN, 2) Click Check VIN.
VinCheck.Info’s vehicle history report covers a range of topics that buyer’s need. It includes vehicle description or specs, theft/accident/damage/sales records, warranty, and other information. VinCheck.info compiles data a network of government, non-government, and auto industry sources. Access our comprehensive database to get a full vehicle history report using our free VIN check. You can also quickly decode your VIN using our Free VIN decoder tool. Don’t have the VIN? No worries. Run our free license plate lookup tool to get the same full report.
Worried about the alarming increase of flooded cars for sale? Find out if a car has been damaged by flood using our free VIN Flood Check Tool.
Why Do I Need a Free Vehicle History Report?
VinCheck.info can help a used car buyer make an informed decision. We sift through tons of data to give you details you can use to evaluate any car:
year of build
optional equipment installed, and more.
Compare and contrast the details provided to you by the seller with what the vehicle history report provides.
Safety Ratings: (IIHS test results)
crash-worthiness (how well does the vehicle protect its occupants in a crash)
crash avoidance and mitigation (available technology to prevent a crash or lessen its severity)
Market Value: the estimated average value people are paying for the same car in your area.
This is a valuable tool for finding out the car’s worth to help you negotiate for a fair price.
4. Fuel Efficiency: how far a car can travel on a specific amount of fuel.
This is important information at a time like this with unstable gas price and uncertain economy.
5. Warranty/Manufacturer Recall: warranty problems or recalls.
In most cases, dealerships offer recall repairs for free.
6. Title Records:
Name of the state/city
Number of times the vehicle has been registered
Sales Records: listings of a vehicle for sale by a car dealership or a private party.
This information can help you find out the car’s price in the previous sale.
8. Lien Records: records of a claim to ownership of the vehicle by a finance company.
A lien on a vehicle means you have to pay the lien-holder first if you are going to buy it.
9. Accident Records: minor and major accidents especially those covered by a police report.
Every year, the NHTSA reports close to six (6) million car accidents.
In 2016, fatal vehicle crashes led to 37,461 deaths.
Some cars sustain damages so extensive they become unsafe to ride. Make sure to buy a car with reliable and safe parts for the road.
10. Theft Records: reports of theft and theft recoveries from NICB (the federal crime bureau) and industry sources.
A crucial step in any used car purchase is getting a vehicle history report. It’s like a window into the car’s past, providing a wealth of material so you can make an informed decision about whether to buy the vehicle and how much you should pay for it. They’re often referred to as Carfax reports, though Carfax.com is just one provider, joined by AutoCheck.com and other sources in providing vehicle history reports. AutoCheck is a division of credit reporting bureau Experian.
Vehicle history reports provide details about a car’s ownership, accident history, title status, mileage, and more. You’ll just need to know the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) to get started. This guide will walk you through all of the different types of information you can find in a report on a vehicle’s history, including:
How Do I Get a Vehicle History Report?
Many dealers offer free Carfax reports for the cars they have on their lots. If you want to buy a single report from AutoCheck or Carfax, you can expect to pay between $25 and $40. Both companies offer quantity discounts if you need to check out more vehicles. Other vehicle history report providers offer various levels of information, and some do so at lower prices than the market leaders Carfax and Autocheck. Some lenders will also provide customers with a vehicle history report, as it is in their best interest to ensure that any vehicle they are financing is sufficient collateral for the loan.
Sellers of used cars can benefit from purchasing a vehicle history report on their own vehicle and providing a copy to potential buyers. Not only will it save buyers money, but it’s a sign of good faith that you’re not trying to hide anything about the car’s history.
To get a vehicle history report, you simply fill out an online form and provide the VIN, which is found in the lower corner of the windshield on the driver’s side in most cars. If you are looking at a report from a dealer or a seller, take a look at the car’s VIN to ensure it matches the number on the report.
What’s in a Vehicle History Report?
There are volumes of useful vehicle information in a Carfax or AutoCheck report. Some of it can confirm good news about the vehicle you’re considering, while other information can raise red flags. Not every piece of negative information is necessarily a deal-breaker – some can even help you negotiate a better purchase price.
In the next several sections, we’ll explore what is, and is not, in a Carfax, AutoCheck, or other history report.