Where does that new car smell come from? How many parts does an average car have? When did the first car accident occur? There are so many fascinating facts about the automobile that we could spend hours reviewing them. But, since we’d rather spend more time driving our cars than talking about them, we’ve narrowed the facts down to 11 of our favorites.
What's that smell?
The “new car smell” we love so much doesn’t come from leather. Not most of it, anyway. Instead, the smell is a combination of more than 50 volatile organic compounds (VOC) found inside the vehicle. These VOCs come from sources such as cleaning and lubricating compounds, paint and carpeting.
Now that's fast
The current title Guinness World Records holder for the world’s fastest street-legal production car is the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, which was certified for the average top speed achieved on a two-way run and registered 268 mph.
License and registration, please
It’s a debate as to when the first recorded speeding violation took place, but if you’re going by the first paper ticket handed out, that occurred in 1904, when Harry Myers was ticketed after police saw him blazing along West Third Street in Dayton, Ohio at 12 mph.
Cars, cars and more cars
In 2010, the number of cars in use on the planet exceeded… wait for it… one billion! With 239.8 million of those cars found in the United States, it has the largest vehicle population in the world, while China is in second place with a paltry 78 million.
The road to recycling
With so many cars in the world, it’s good to know that they are the most recycled consumer product in the United States. More than 95 percent of retired automobiles are recycled every year, providing the steel industry with more than 14 million tons of steel.
To the moon!
If you could drive at the speed of 60 mph, it would only take about an hour to get into space. If you want to take a trip to the moon, however, be prepared to hear “are we there yet?” more times than you can imagine. The moon is approximately 250,000 miles from earth, so the drive would take about six months, if you didn’t stop to stretch your legs.
Driving while distracted
With smartphones becoming more prevalent, worries about the dangers of distracted driving are top of mind these days. However, those worries are nothing new. When the car radio was introduced, some states, including Massachusetts and Missouri, wanted to ban it, arguing that it could distract drivers and cause accidents. Imagine what those lawmakers would make of Spotify.
That's gonna leave a mark
The first car accident involving a gas-powered automobile occurred in 1891 in Ohio City, Ohio. Engineer James Lambert was driving one of his inventions, a gasoline-powered buggy, when he hit a tree root sticking out of the ground. This caused the vehicle to swerve and crash into a hitching post. Thankfully, Lambert and his passenger suffered only minor injuries and he went on to patent more than 600 inventions, mostly associated with the auto industry.
The world's first road trip was completed in 1888 by Bertha Benz, wife of automobile inventor Karl Benz. Bertha drove the Benz Patent-Motorwagen Number 3 from Mannheim to Pforzheim, her birthplace. The trip was about 66 miles each way and took two days. Before Bertha’s trip, drives were very short, so her adventure brought the Benz Patent-Motorwagen worldwide attention and secured the company its first sales.
Cruise with me, baby
Ralph Teetor came up with the idea of cruise control while riding in a car with his lawyer. While talking, the lawyer would slow down, and then he would speed up again while listening. The back-and-forth motion annoyed Teetor so much that he decided to invent a speed control device, and he received his first patent on it in 1945. (Oh, and the reason why Ralph Teetor wasn’t driving that day? He was blind.)
How many parts must a car have before you call it a car?
The average car has 30,000 parts. That may seem like a lot, but when you consider that the 30,000 number is reached by counting every bolt, washer, screw and pin, well… okay, it’s still a lot!
Get quality replacement parts for your car installed by a NAPA AutoCare Center. To learn more about NAPA AutoCare, visit NAPAAutoCare.com.