This Week in Automotive History: March 24-March 30

March 24, 1930


Steve McQueen is born: Actor Steve McQueen, nicknamed “The King of Cool,” is born in Beech Grove, Ind. Best known for films such as “Bullit,” “The Getaway” and “The Thomas Crown Affair,” McQueen was also an avid motorcycle and racecar enthusiast.

March 25, 2006


Hyshot III tested: A revolutionary scramjet engine, designed to fly at seven times the speed of sound, is successfully tested at Woomera, South Australia.

March 26, 1927


First Mille Miglia: The Mille Miglia race from Brescia to Rome and back is held for the first time with 77 starters, of which only 51 actually finished the race.

March 27, 1952


Toyota founder dies: Kiichira Toyoda, who founded the Toyota Motor Corporation in 1937, is born in Japan.

March 28, 1941


Work starts on Ford plant: Workers begin clearing land for what will become Ford’s Willow Run plant near Ypsilanti, Mich. The plant was constructed for the mass production of military aircraft, and would later be owned by Kaiser Motors and then General Motors.

March 29, 1927


Sunbeam hits 203 mph at Daytona: Henry Segrave becomes the first person to exceed 200 mph in aland vehicle while racing his 1,000 hp Sunbeam at Daytona.

March 30, 2009


Obama announces auto industry changes: President Barack Obama informs struggling GM and Chrysler that they must make dramatic changes in order to be eligible for further bailout loans from the government.

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