A brief history of cars

The Automobile: Its First 100 Years - WheelsTV

The eight-track tape's days were numbered from the start, and the format was rapidly pushed out of the marketplace by the compact cassette. The first cassette head units showed up in the s, and the format was substantially longer-lived than its immediate predecessor. The first cassette deck head units were relatively hard on tapes, and Maxell actually based an ad campaign in the early s on the concept that its tapes were hardy enough to stand up to the abuse. Everyone who ever put a cassette into an in-dash tape deck remembers the sinking feeling associated with the head unit "eating" a precious tape.

The first CD head units showed up less than 10 years after the first tape decks, but adoption of the technology was much slower. CD players became increasingly popular in head units during the s, and there were a few notable additions toward the tail end of the decade. Head units that were capable of reading CD-RWs and playing MP3 files became available, and DVD functionality also appeared in some high-end vehicles and aftermarket head units. During the first decade of the 21st century, head units gained the ability to interface with phones and other devices via Bluetooth.

This technology was actually developed in , but it was originally intended as a replacement for wired networks. In automotive applications, the technology allowed for hands-free calling and created a situation where a head unit could automatically mute itself during a phone conversation.


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The accuracy of consumer GPS systems also increased during the first part of the decade, which led to an explosion in both OEM and aftermarket navigation systems. The first infotainment systems also started to appear, and some head units even offered built-in HDD storage.

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After about 30 years of service, the format was finally retired to make way for new technologies. According to some reports, the CD player could be the next one on the chopping block before much longer.

A Long, Distinguished List

So what comes next? The most obvious candidate to replace CD players are HDD-based music players, but an Internet connection removes the need for physical storage altogether.

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Evolution of the Automobile

Near town centre. Near meet and greet. Peacetime Is Paint Time More innovations followed after World War I ended, when the world was at peace again and the automotive industry could turn its attention from tanks and wartime vehicles to civilian cars. Drying tunnel ovens shortened time even more, and were worked into conveyor systems already in place on assembly lines. Like Dorothy stepping out of the house into Oz, manufacturers started to produce brilliant colors. The early s saw brilliant shades — the colors of the time were exotic, Tutt explains, with two, three and even four colors ont he same car, as well as painted birds and butterflies on some Lincoln models.

Lincoln ads from first two from left and advertising exotic color schemes. Fast forward to the s, when General Motors worked with the Dupont chemical company to create something known as pyroxylin, a substance that could be mixed with pigments to come up with new automobile coatings in a rainbow of colors, was more durable than previous pigments, and even better — could dry in minutes instead of hours.


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  • All seven touring cars were painted with Duco, each receiving two different shades of blue and accented with racing stripes of red or orange. An attractive product more people could afford? We were off — color was the new thing. Try telling that to Henry Ford, however, as Tutt says he resisted the change because of the elaborate process he already had built for painting his cars. In fact, Tutt says, any Model Ts that were repainted in a different color other than black would have their warranties voided.

    Dorothy, meet Oz. Such a service was very much at the pulse of consumerism, as the industry tried to figure out what people would buy other than black. There was a bit of a pause in the color parade when the market crashed in , Tutt notes — colors got dimmer, more depressing, in somber greens and grays. And when cars were colorful, fenders were often painted black in a melding of the practical and the aesthetically pleasing: Dinged fenders could be easily and cheaply painted with asphalt paint, saving on repairs. Despite the downtrodden economic times, the s saw the addition of metallic paints, which were first made from actual fish scales and reserved only for the very rich.

    American paint companies used aluminum flakes in their metallics, which were much cheaper than fish scales. Color names still paid homage to their fishy predecessors, with colors like Fish Silver Blue.