The dream of producing a self-propelled vehicle which required no beast of burden goes back to at least the 13th century, when Roger Bacon mentioned the possibility and Leonardo da Vinci went on to

draw such a vehicle in the 15th century. Although the first definite steam wagon was built by Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot in 1769. It only survived a short while for it also became the first recorded road accident when it smashed into a wall.
The main problem with producing a viable self-propelled vehicle was that steam was too awkward and bulky. A new method of propulsion was required, which came with the internal combustion engine, where petrol made from oil is exploded in a cylinder to produce power. The basic principles of the ICE were laid down by Sadi Carnot in 1824. In 1858 Etienne Lenoir produced the first viable engine, and by 1862 Alfonse Beau de Rochas had produced a reasonably efficient four stroke engine. By 1876, Nikolaus Otto had designed a reasonable engine that could be said to be efficient. Otto joined with one Gottlieb Daimler to patent their high-speed petrol engine, and Karl Benz had a working tricycle on the road by 1885. Two years later, with Emile Roger in Paris, the modern motor industry came into being with the first production line. From 1894 to 1904, the motor car advanced rapidly, producing vehicles that went from a walking pace to 80mph by the end of the period. And with Henry Ford creating the world’s first mass production line for the motor car in 1914, the car’s place in modern life was assured.

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