Today – September 25 – is the birthday of a man that has somehow evaporated from the spotlight within the automotive industry. Back in 1725, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot was born. The behemoth that can be seen in the photo below is Cugnot’s steam-powered…automobile? It ‘hit the road’ in 1769 for service as a military tractor. More specifically, it hauled artillery. It was far from a speeding bullet – with a top speed of 2.5 mph - but it can be argued that it pulled the trigger on the timeline that led to the automobile we know today.
Is Cugnot the inventor of the automobile? Many think of Henry Ford. Others think Benz and Daimler. The first made the gas-powered automobile popular in the U.S. in the early 20th century. The other names filed the first patents on gas-powered automobiles in completely separate ventures - and coincidentally on the same day - back in 1886. Well, Cugnot’s invention is the first self-propelled vehicle. Let’s call it the first automobile. Mr. Cugnot, bon anniversaire!
Speaking of starting points, my automotive passions were – at the very least – accelerated after hearing my uncle’s ’65 Buick Skylark rumbling down the block. It’s noteworthy to say that listening to my parents’ music collection – which included ‘[She’s real fine my] 409’ from the Beach Boys - could have set the tone. I’ll always credit the early-and-often viewings of MotorWeek for developing my knowledge base and fueling my automotive enthusiasm. This Saturday, you’re welcome to MotorWeek’s CARnival Car Show and Collector Car Auction. Maybe you’ll have a chance to bring the family and set a new generation on the road to a life of automotive enthusiasm. For more information on the event, check http://horsepowering.com/regional-events/. See you down the road!