Model of the car oldsmobile Curved Dash, 1901

Two important things held back car sales in their earliest days. One, obviously, was price: these new toys were prohibitively expensive for most. The other was mistrust—people often felt happier traveling by horse, and many were only just getting to grips with the idea of the bicycle. Keep Reading

Model of the car Lohner-Porsche, 1900, elektromobil

The Porsche name first hit the headlines in 1900, when a groundbreaking new vehicle was unveiled at the World Exhibition in Paris. The 24-year-old Austrian-born engineer Ferdinand Porsche was already showing his brilliance, in this case with electric power. Keep Reading

Model of the car Jenatzy La Jamais Contente, 1899

You can probably blame the French count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat for our global obsession with covering ground as quickly as possible. In 1898, he drove his rickety Jeantaud electric car on a stretch of road near Paris, and was thrilled when timekeepers confirmed that he had reached a speed of 39.24mph (63.15kph). Keep Reading

Model of the car Henry Ford Quadricycle, 1896

The neighbors might not have realized it, but there was something of a “Eureka!” moment at 58 Bagley Avenue, Detroit in the early hours of June 4, 1896. At about 4am, Henry Ford’s first car clattered into life and set off on its maiden journey along the city’s dark and deserted streets. Keep Reading