4. The First Car

With the invention of the four cylinder engine and efficient fuels, motor driving has become fast, easy and enjoyable. Yet at one time the car was crawling at a speed less than the speed at which a person can walk!

Nicholas Cugnot, a French artillery officer, was the world’s first motorist. His vehicle with three wheels appeared in 1769. It had a two cylinder engine driving its front wheel. It worked on steam. It could carry four persons and travel at two miles per hour!

But the copper boiler placed in front of the car was both huge and heavy. It was so large and bulky that the driver could not steer the vehicle.

On it maiden run, the car demolished a stone wall. Cugnot was not only the first motorist but also became the first motorist to crash his car!

Visalakshi Ramani


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