This Month in Automotive History

March 30, 2011

Ford celebrates 1 millionth Mustang… Charles B. King is the first to drive a “horseless carriage” down the streets of Detroit… David Dunbar Buick dies… VW Bus goes into production…

Here’s a look at some historical automotive anniversaries happening in the month of March

March 2, 1966

Ford Celebrates One Millionth Mustang

This is Mustang Serial #1, produced in 1964, titled as a 1964 1/2 Mustang because the first Mustangs did not come out until the middle of the year.

The “working man’s Thunderbird” made its automotive debut on April 17, 1964, at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. Less than two years later, the one millionth Mustang—a white convertible— rolled off the Ford assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan. With an average price tag of $2,300, the now iconic Mustang was as sporty as it was affordable. Roughly 500 Mustang clubs had already been formed by 1967. And while the Mustang has appeared in hundreds of American feature films, the first was in the James Bond movie, Goldfinger in September 1964.

March 5, 1929

David Buick Dies

A 1902 Buick two-passenger runabout.

After founding the Buick Motor Company in 1903, Scottish born David Dunbar Buick headed the company for just three years before he lost control of the business to investor William Durant. Buick decided to sell his stock in the company, which would later be worth millions. A series of unsuccessful real estate, oil and automotive ventures followed until—penniless at age 74—Buick died of colon cancer.

March 6, 1896

Charles B. King Drives the Streets of Detroit

A “horseless carriage’ and driver.

When Charles B. King became the first person to drive a “horseless carriage” on the streets of Detroit, Henry Ford was there—on his bicycle. According to theAutomotive Hall of Fame website, “King’s momentous first drive started when he steered his vehicle down St. Antoine Street to Jefferson Avenue, and then swung north on Detroit’s famous Woodward Avenue to Grand Boulevard, at which time he turned around and headed home, only to be greeted by a policeman who threatened to ticket him for disturbing the peace.”

March 8, 1950

VW Bus Goes Into Production

Vans like this 1966 Volkswagen Type2 T1c Kombi (wheels and curtains are not original) were produced in Brazil and Europe until 1967. Original asking price was around $1,800.

After the War in 1944, the Wolfsburg Volkwagen factory where the VW Beetles were made had no means of internal transport. So the people who worked in the experimental department came up with the idea of a flatbed truck utilizing parts from another vehicle—the Kübelwagen. Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon is credited with the “bus” concept after impressing engineers with a sketch of the vehicle showing the cab moved forward and the flatbed covered over.


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