This Week in Automotive History: July 2-July 8

July 2, 1912

William L. Mitchell Born: Only the second General Motors design chief, Bill Mitchell was a tough customer who knew what the public wanted. On his watch GM produced such greats as the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray and the 1963 Buick Riviera.

July 3, 1909

Hudson Production Begins: With funding from Detroit department store magnate Joseph Hudson and the guidance of industry veterans Roy Chapin and Howard Coffin, Hudson began production with the Model 20.

July 4, 1948

Journalists Drive Porsche Prototype: It may have been a holiday in the United States, but in Austria, journalists had their first drives of Porsche prototype 356-0001.

July 5, 1865

Red Flag Act Enacted in Britain: The Locomotives and Highway Act, better known as the Red Flag Act, imposed a 2 mph speed limit in town and a 4 mph speed limit in the country for all self-propelled vehicles. Just as onerous was the requirement that a man walk ahead of the vehicle with a red flag.

July 6, 1903

First Motorcycle Crosses North America: George Wyman arrived in New York City on his 1902 California motorcycle 51 days after leaving San Francisco.

July 7, 1928

Plymouth Debuts: The Plymouth brand debuted at the Chicago Coliseum on this day with famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart behind the wheel.

July 8, 1907

George Romney Born: Today, the best-known Romney is presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but his father was a major player in the automobile Industry throughout all of the 1950s and into the 1960s. As CEO of American motors, George Romney steered the company toward its niche market of compact, affordable cars before serving as Michigan governor and the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

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