1. Back in 1900, a new car company named Horch appeared in Germany, founded by former Benz engineer August Horch. He didn’t get along with his directors and, when he left nine years later, the company took legal action to prevent him from putting his name on any new automobile. Horch roughly translates to “listen,” so he used the Latin version: Audi.
5. Henry Ford started two unsuccessful companies before hitting his mark with the third, the one that exists today. His second company was taken over by its board and run by director Henry Leland, who renamed it Cadillac to build cars of his own design. After selling Cadillac to General Motors, Leland started Lincoln, which Ford eventually purchased.
7. Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls-Royce, was the first Englishman ever killed in an airplane and the 12th person worldwide when the Wright Brothers biplane he was flying at an air show in Bournemouth, England, in 1910 snapped its tail and crashed. Henry Royce ran the company after his partner’s death, mailing instructions to his employees when deteriorating health confined him to his home.
9. The tow truck dates to 1916, when Ernest Holmes of Chattanooga, Tenn., was asked to help pull a crashed Ford Model T out of a creek. It took 11 men almost a day to do it with ropes and blocks. Figuring there had to be a better way, Holmes bolted three poles to a 1913 Cadillac chassis, added a pulley and ran a chain through it, which provided leverage to lift vehicles. He also built up a truck body on the chassis for tool storage. His patented design became the standard for vehicle recovery.
10. BMW started as an aircraft company, moved into motorcycles and truck engines, and in 1928 built its first car, the Dixi, a licensed version of the British Austin Seven. Bigger and better models followed, but the company fell on hard times after World War II. It was saved in 1955 by the Isetta, its version of a tiny Italian model. It used a motorcycle engine and its single door was the car’s front end, but its low price resounded with buyers, and its success put the automaker back on track.