The first car to the modern car

The first car 

The earliest road vehicle powered by an engine, the cugnot steam traction engine, was built in 1770. More practical steam carriages, such as the Bordino,were available in the early 19th century, but they were heavy and cumbersome. Restrictive laws and the introduction of railways,

 faster and able to carry more passengers, saw the decline of "cars" powered by steam. It was not until 1860 that the first practical power unit for road vehicles was developed, with the invention of the internal combustin engine by the Belgian Etienne Lenoir. By around 1890, Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler in Germany, and Albert de Dion and Armand Peugeot in France were building cars for sale to the public. These early cars, despite being primitive,expensive,and produced in limited numbers, heralded the age of the motor car. 

Elegance and Utility 

During the first decade of the 20th century, the motorist who could afford it had a choice of some of the finest cars ever made. These hand built cars were powerful and luxurious, using the finest woods,leathers,and cloths,and body work made to the costumer's individual requirements some had six-cylinder engines as big as 15 litres. The price of such cars was several times that of an average house,and their yearly running costs were also very high. As a result, basic,utilitarian cars became popular. Costing perhaps one-tenth of the price of a luxury car, these cars had very little trim and often had only single-cylinder engines.

Mass Production

The first cars were hand assembled from individually built parts, a time consuming procedure that required skilled mechanics and made car very expensive. This problem was solved, in America, by a Detroit car manufactured named Henry Ford. He introduced mass production by using standardised parts,and later combined these with a moving production line. The work was brought to the workers, each of whom performed one simple task in the construction process as the chassis moved along the line. The first mass produced car, the Ford model T, was launched in 1908 and was available in a limited range of body styles and colours. However, when the production line was introduced in the year 1914, the colour range was cut back. The model T became available, as Henry Ford said, in "any colour you like, so long as it's black". Ford cut the production time for a car from several days to about 12 hours, and eventually to minutes, making cars much cheaper than before. As a result, by 1920 half the cars in the world were model T Fords.

Early engines 

Steam and electricity were used to power cars until early this century, but neither power source was ideal. Electric cars had to stop frequently to recharge their heavy batteries,and steam cars gave smooth power delivery but were too complicated for the average motorist to use. A rival power source, the internal combustion engine, was invented in 1860 by Etienne Lenoir. This engine converted the force of a controlled explosion in to rotary motion, to turn the wheels of a vehicle. Early variations on his basic model included sleeve valves, separately cast cylinders, and the two-stroke combustion cycle. Today, many internal combustion engines, including the Wankel rotary and diesels, use the four stroke cycle, first demonstrated by Nikolaus Otto in 1876. The Otto cycle, often to described as "suck, squeeze, bang,flow", has proved the best method of ensuring that the vengine turns over smoothly and that the exhaust emissions are controllable.

The "people's car"

The most popular car in the history of car manufacture is the Volkswagen Beetle, originally called the k.d.f  Wagen.  The car was developed in Germany in the 1930 s by Dr . Ferdinand Porsche. At that time, Germany had only half the number of cars of Britain or France, and Adolf Hitler took a personal interest in the development of the Volkswagen ("people's car").The intention was to provide a new industry, new jobs, and a car so cheap that anyone in work could afford it. Dr. Porsche designed a car that was cheap to build and run; its rear-mounted, air-cooled engine cut down the number of parts needed and also reduced weight. However, few civilians managed to obtain the Beetle before the outbreak of the second world war in 1939. After the war, the Beetle proved so popular that eventually more then 20 million were sold.

Modern engines

Today's petrol engine works on the same basic principles as the first car engines of a century ago, although it has been greatly refined. Modern engines, often made from special metal alloys,are much lighter than earlier engines. Computerised ignition systems, fuel injectors, and multi-valve cylinder heads achieve a more efficient combustion of the fuel/air mixture (the charge) so that less fuel is wasted. As a result of the greater efficiency,  the power and performance of a modern engine are increased, and the level of pollution in the exhaust gases is reduced. Exhaust pollution levels today are also lowered by the increasing use of special filters called catalytic converters, which absorb many exhaust pollutants. The need to produce ever more efficient engines means that it can take up to seven years to develop a new engine for a family car, at a cost of many millions of pounds.

Alternative engines 

The most common type of alternative engine is the diesel engine, which, instead of igniting the compressed fuel/air mixture with a spark, uses compression alone, heating the mixture to the point where it explodes. A diesel engine 's fuel consumption is low in comparison with similarly sized piston engines, despite its heavier, reinforced moving parts and cylinder block. Another type of engine is the rotary-combustion, first successfully developed by Felix Wankel in the 1950's. Its two trilobate ( three-sided) rotors revolve in housings shaped in a fat figure of eight. The four sequences of the four stroke cycle, which occur consecutively in a piston engine, occur simultaneously in a rotary engine, producing power in a continuous stream.
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About Ashith kp

An Energetic Blogger,Software Developer, Photographer From Thalassery,Kerala,India. Founder of Popskope Entertainment and WeBTv.India


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