There’s no need to know everything about how a car is made to be able to drive safely. But it’s interesting to learn a little about the development of our favourite form of transport. These interesting car facts might be hard to believe, but they’re true!

Car facts from the beginning of motoring history

Karl Benz of Mannheim in Germany is credited as the inventor of the petrol-powered car. His creation had three wheels and he wowed the world with it in 1885.

However, Frederick William Bremer drove the first four-wheeled car on UK roads in 1894. He began building it in 1892, using knowledge gained from his profession as a plumber and gas fitter to create his own automobile.

One year later, in 1895, George Parfitt drove the first three-wheeled car on UK roads. It was his own petrol-powered invention. This is despite Karl Benz having invented and patented his own version a decade earlier.

Facts about car manufacturing

70 million cars are produced every year, 1.446 billion cars are in use around the world and an estimated 1 million get scrapped each year. Which begs the question, what happens to all those cars that don’t get sold? All those excess cars have to go somewhere, right?

Dealers aren’t able to send unsold cars back to the manufacturer. When a car isn’t selling, the price will drop – but only so far. If a car price goes too low, it harms the sale value of newer models. If dropping the price doesn’t help, a dealer might trade it with a dealer in a different area where the make and model sells well.

When these options still don’t work, dealers turn the dud car into a loan car for the car servicing department or possibly as a demonstration car. After that, it might get sold as a used car; a good opportunity to find a bargain. Vehicle auctions for dealers are the final avenue for dealers to off-load cars that just won’t sell.

For car manufacturers that can’t get rid of the cars they make, they’ll entice employees with exclusive deals and unique offers. When this doesn’t work the cars get sent to a car cemetery – vacant airbases and parking lots where they are left to rust. The cost of excess, unsellable cars is figured into the price of the cars that do sell.

Female focused car facts

Women have helped with the evolution of cars too. All of these interesting car facts have something to do with women.

Car windscreen wipers were invented in 1903 by a woman named Mary Anderson. The idea for her invention was sparked when riding in a streetcar in New York City. Sleet had caused a loss of visibility and the only option was for the driver to completely remove that section of the windscreen, letting in the cold and rain.

Mary came up with a removable set of wiper arms made from wood and rubber. She patented her invention and tried selling it to a Canadian manufacturing firm. However, she was told the invention was worthless. Her patent expired before the idea caught on and Mary never made any money from it.

Karl Benz may have come up with the first petrol-powered car, but it was his wife who invented the brake pads! Bertha Benz took Karl’s invention for a 120-mile test drive with their sons. Over the journey, she wore out the wooden brakes and had a shoemaker install leather soles to replace them, inventing the first set of brake pads.

Brake lights and indicators were also invented by a woman. Florence Lawrence is responsible for this one, coming up with the idea in 1914. Unfortunately, she failed to patent her innovation and Oscar Smiler got the credit for her invention.

Hedy Lamarr created the frequency-jumping technology that enables GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This Austrian-American actress was also a prolific inventor with a great interest in science. She created the technology in order to scramble the radio frequencies used to control enemy torpedoes in World War II. Since then it has been used to develop the technologies we use today to stream music and navigate road trips!

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