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25 Automotive Firsts Inventions That Changed the Car Industry

Vukasin HerbezFebruary 6, 2019

  1. Fiberglass Body – Corvette

Steel was the material for cars, and for decades nobody dared to do anything different until Chevrolet presented the 1953 Corvette. The most interesting thing about the new Corvette was the fiberglass body. Back in the early ‘50s, plastic was still the material of the future, so they rarely used it in the car industry. The Corvette was the first production car with a full plastic body, making Chevrolet one of the pioneers of fiberglass construction.

  1. Touch Screen – Buick

Today, almost all cars have touch screens, so most people consider this technology to be standard. However, think back to 1986 with those monochromatic touch screens car customers thought was a technological marvel. That is exactly what Buick wanted when they introduced a special touch screen as an option on the 1986 Riviera. There’s no doubt that design and technology have come a long way since.

  1. ABS – Mercedes

It is hard to believe, but the Bosch Corporation, one of the leading manufacturers of car electronics systems in the world, thinks the introduction of the antilock braking system (ABS) and its widespread use has saved over million lives since 1976. The invention of Antilock brakes came in the ‘60s. But Mercedes was the first to use them in the ‘70s. However, since then, they have become an important standard in car safety.

  1. All-Wheel Steering – Nissan/Honda

Today, many cars have four-wheel steering. It’s a complicated system that steers the front as well as the rear wheels. And that gives cars a better turning circle and more precise steering. Most automotive engineers thought about all-wheel-steering for a long time. But, just a few companies dared to put it in regular production. Nissan was the first in 1982, soon followed by Honda and its Prelude 4WS.

  1. Monocoque – Lancia

Today, almost all cars have unibody construction or monocoque, as they sometimes call it in Europe. But for a long time, most cars had a sturdy, heavy, ladder-type chassis. But that type of chassis affected handling, making cars taller and chunkier than they needed to be. The first unibody car was the 1922 Lancia Lambda, which revolutionized the construction of passenger cars.

  1. Disc Brakes – Citroen

The invention of disc brakes happened early in car history. However, drivers had to wait almost 50 years for Citroen to present the DS. The DS was the first mass-produced car to feature this type of braking, among other notable features. Today, disc brakes are the norm and almost nobody remembers the drum brakes of yesterday.

  1. Safety Glass – Tucker

The car safety glass that shatters into small pieces to avoid cutting passengers is the standard for decades. But once upon a time, cars had real glass, which was dangerous in the case of a crash. The ill-fated Tucker Car Company invented safety glass to use on their Torpedo model. The car never got a chance to compete with the Big Three. But, safety glass lives on, and not just in cars, but in many other items.

    1. CD Player – Lincoln

After the radio revolution, car manufacturers started installing newer, better sound systems. Also, they added updated stereo speakers as well as eight-track and cassette players. But the first factory-installed CD player was in the 1986 Lincoln Town Car. After that, almost all luxury manufactures offered CD players as part of their standard equipment.

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