Maybe it comes from growing up here in the Rust Belt and having my family's food budget tied to a healthy Big 3, but I eat up anything to do with innovation in automotive history. A press release from Bosch reminded me that this weekend is the 2008 Woodward Dream Cruise, where classic American iron gets turned loose on Detroit's Woodward Avenue for a day. Think of it as like one of those movie truces between the muscle car guys and the cops, except you actually have to breathe in the burned rubber.
I remember going down to see this in the mid-90s, when I was still entertaining the idea of getting hired on at Car & Driver (I had met some of the staff during a college project on industrial design, and like many young and foolish people was taken with the idea of driving fast and expensive cars for a living.)
Anyway, I thought the following video and the below list from Bosch were a cool cruise, Detroit style, back through time. Looking forward, I wonder what the next automotive milestone will be? Another GM innovation like the EV1? Or 235 MPG, maybe?
1913 - First complete automotive electrical system comprising a magneto ignition with spark plugs, starter, generator, lighting system and regulator.
1927 - First Bosch U.S. mass-produced diesel pump.
1936 - First U.S. mass-produced diesel injection systems for passenger vehicles.
1951 - Development of gasoline injection pumps for vehicle engines.
1978 - Global launch of ABS, the first series-produced antilock braking system; debuts in United States in 1985.
1985 - Bosch platinum spark plug introduced in U.S. market.
1995 - Introduction of Electronic Stability Program; debuts in United States in 1999.
1997 - Introduction of diesel common rail direct injection system; debuts in United States in 1999.
2002 - Series production of adaptive cruise control; debuts in United States in 2002.
2004 - Series production of third-generation common rail system; with piezo in-line injectors.
2007 - Series production of stop-start system begins with BMW.
2008 - Second generation gasoline direct injection system.