late 1896, the Daimler Company began making cars in a former
cotton mill in Coventry, thereby founding the motor industry in
following year Coventry journalist and engineer Henry Sturmey
completed the first ever John O'Groats to Land's End journey by
car. It took him two weeks, driving a four-horsepower Daimler
company went on to became the first British manufacturer to sell a
car to the Royal Family, delivering three cars to Edward, Prince
of Wales, the future Edward VII, in 1900.
then more than 130 companies have tried their hand at making cars
April 1900, Coventry sweethearts William Riley and Ellen Simkins
created a new fashion by using a motor car for their wedding.
afterwards a Daimler worker in the city became the first person in
Britain to be taken to his final rest by motor hearse. Coventry
was also the scene of the first newspaper delivery by motor
Iliffe started Autocar magazine in Coventry in 1895. One of its
first cub reporters was Alfred Harmsworth, later the press baron
first electric car appeared on the streets as early as 1894. The
city is now one of the European partners in the Zeus electric
1912 local man Charles Humpherson invented traffic indicators to
be fixed to cars.
years later, Britain's first military tank was made at Coventry
Ordnance Works, but was found to be unable to negotiate a double
row of trenches and was scrapped.
1919, four Coventry schoolboys built a car in their spare time and
became familiar figures around town, driving about in it.
1938, with war looming, Daimler and Rootes both began building
shadow factories on the edge of Coventry in anticipation of air
raids. Sixty years later they are still in business as
manufacturing headquarters for Jaguar and Peugeot.
1943 Coventry manufacturer Humber made the so-called 'Victory
car', used by Field Marshall Montgomery from D-Day until the end
of the war in Europe. It's on display at Coventry's Museum of
British Road Transport.
Rover Company of Coventry demonstrated the world's first gas
turbine car in 1950.
years later, the Standard Motor Company, another of the city's
the first British diesel-engined private car, a version of the
was known as Britain's Detroit in the 1950s. Car workers in the
city were the first blue-collar workers in Britain to receive a £5
note in a peacetime wage packet.
the film The Italian Job, the famous scene of Mini Coopers being
driven at speed through Rome's catacombs was actually filmed in
Coventry, using what were then the country's biggest sewer pipes.
London black cab, symbol of Britain abroad, is made in Coventry,
automotive design course at Coventry University is widely regarded
as the best of its kind in the world. Recent graduates have been
responsible for the Ford KA and the Mercedes A class.
consortium of Coventry engineering companies made a key
contribution to Thrust SSC, the supersonic car which smashed the
world land speed record in 1997. Its record-breaking predecessor,
Thrust 2, is on permanent display at the city's motor museum.