automobile

automobile

[aw-tuh-muh-beel, aw-tuh-muh-beel, aw-tuh-moh-beel, -buhl]
automobile, self-propelled vehicle used for travel on land. The term is commonly applied to a four-wheeled vehicle designed to carry two to six passengers and a limited amount of cargo, as contrasted with a truck, which is designed primarily for the transportation of goods and is constructed with larger and heavier parts, or a bus (or omnibus or coach), which is a large public conveyance designed to carry a large number of passengers and sometimes additionally small amounts of cargo. For operation and technical features of automobiles, differential; fuel injection; ignition; internal-combustion engine; lubrication; muffler; odometer; shock absorber; speedometer; steering system; suspension; tachometer; tire; transmission.

Automobile Propulsion Systems

Reciprocating Internal-Combustion Engines

The modern automobile is usually driven by a water-cooled, piston-type internal-combustion engine, mounted in the front of the vehicle; its power may be transmitted either to the front wheels, to the rear wheels, or to all four wheels. Some automobiles use air-cooled engines, but these are generally less efficient than the liquid-cooled type. In some models the engine is carried just forward of the rear wheels; this arrangement, while wasteful of space, has the advantage of better weight distribution. Although passenger vehicles are usually gasoline fueled, diesel engines (which burn a heavier petroleum oil) are employed both for heavy vehicles, such as trucks and buses, and for a small number of family sedans. Both diesel and gasoline engines generally employ a four-stroke cycle.

The Wankel Engine

For some years, it was hoped that the Wankel engine, a rotary internal-combustion engine developed by Felix Wankel of Germany in 1954, might provide an alternative to the reciprocating internal-combustion engine because of its low exhaust emissions and feasibility for mass production. In this engine a three-sided rotor revolves within an epithrochoidal drum (combustion chamber) in which the free space contracts or expands as the rotor turns. Fuel is inhaled, compressed, and fired by the ignition system. The expanding gas turns the rotor and the spent gas is expelled. The Wankel engine has no valves, pistons, connecting rods, reciprocating parts, or crankshaft. It develops a high horsepower per cubic inch and per pound of engine weight, and it is essentially vibrationless, but its fuel consumption is higher than that of the conventional piston engine.

Alternative Fuels and Engines

Internal-combustion engines consume relatively high amounts of petroleum, and contribute heavily to air pollution; therefore, other types of fuels and nonconventional engines are being studied and developed. An alternative-fuel vehicle (AFV) is a dedicated flexible-fuel vehicle (one with a common fuel tank designed to run on varying blends of unleaded gasoline with either ethanol or methanol) or a dual-fuel vehicle (one designed to run on a combination of an alternative fuel and a conventional fuel) operating on at least one alternative fuel. An advanced-technology vehicle (ATV) combines a new engine, power train, and drive train system to significantly improve fuel economy. It is estimated that more than a half million alternative-fuel vehicles were in use in the United States in 2002; 50% of these operate on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, or propane) and almost 25% use compressed natural gas (CNG).

The ideal alternative-fuel engine would burn fuel much more cleanly than conventional gasoline-powered internal-combustion engines and yet still be able to use the existing fuel infrastructure (i.e., gas stations). Compressed natural gas, propane, hydrogen, and alcohol-based substances (gasohol, ethanol, methanol, and other "neat" alcohols) all have their proponents. However, although these fuels burn somewhat cleaner than gasoline, the use of all of them involves trade-offs. For example, because they take up more space per mile driven, these alternatives require larger fuel capacities or shorter distances between refueling stops. In addition, conventional automobiles may require extensive modifications to use alternative fuels; for example, to use gasohol containing more than 17% ethanol, the spark plugs, engine timing, and seals of an automobile must be modified; since 1998, however, many U.S. automobiles have been manufactured with equipment that enables them to run on E85, a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Fuels derived from plant materials, such as ethanol, are a popular concept because they do not deplete the world's oil reserves; in various locations, "biodiesel" test cars have run on fuel similar to sunflower-seed oil. Similarly, dual-fuel (gasoline-diesel and gasoline-propane) and water-fuel-emulsion cars are being tested.

Alternative propulsion systems are also being studied. Steam engines, which were once more common than gasoline engines, are being experimented with now because they give off fewer noxious emissions; they are, however, less efficient than internal-combustion engines. Battery-powered electric engines, previously used mainly for local delivery vehicles, can now be used in automobiles capable of highway speeds, but they are restricted to relatively short trips because of limitations on the storage batteries that power the motors.

Some engineers worry that widespread adoption of electric cars might actually generate more air pollution, because additional electric power plants would be needed to recharge their batteries. Therefore, design and research work has also intensified on solar batteries, but they are generally not yet powerful enough to power such vehicles. The most promising technology for electric engines is the fuel cell, but fuel cells currently are too expensive for practical applications.

Hybrid vehicles, or hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), are powered by two or more energy sources, one of which is electricity, to produce a high-miles-per-gallon, low-emission drive. There are two types of HEVs, series and parallel. In a series hybrid, all of the vehicle power is provided from one source. For example, an electric motor drives the vehicle from the battery pack and the internal combustion engine powers a generator that charges the battery. In a parallel hybrid, power is delivered through both paths, both the electric motor and the internal combustion engine powering the vehicle. Thus, the electric motor may help power the vehicle while idling and during acceleration. The internal combustion engine takes over while cruising, powering the drive train and recharging the electric motor's battery. Some hybrids can operate in electric-only mode. Automobiles with gasoline-electric hybrid engines first appeared on the consumer market in 1999; unhampered by the AFV's limitations, sales of these vehicles increased steadily at the beginning of the 21st cent.

Automobiles and the Environment

Pollutants derived from automobile operation have begun to pose environmental problems of considerable magnitude. It has been calculated, for example, that 70% of the carbon monoxide, 45% of the nitrogen oxides, and 34% of the hydrocarbon pollution in the United States can be traced directly to automobile exhausts (see air pollution). In addition, rubber (which wears away from tires), motor oil, brake fluid, and other substances accumulate on roadways and are washed into streams, with effects nearly as serious as those of untreated sewage. A problem also exists in disposing of the automobiles themselves when they are no longer operable.

In an effort to improve the situation, the U.S. government has enacted regulations on the use of the constituents of automobile exhaust gas that are known to cause air pollution. These constituents fall roughly into three categories: hydrocarbons that pass through the engine unburned and escape from the crankcase; carbon monoxide, also a product of incomplete combustion; and nitrogen oxides, which are formed when nitrogen and oxygen are in contact at high temperatures. Besides their own toxic character, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides undergo reactions in the presence of sunlight to form noxious smog. Carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons are rather easily controlled by the use of high combustion temperatures, leaner fuel mixtures, and lower compression ratios in engines. Unfortunately, the conditions that produce minimum emission of hydrocarbons tend to raise emission of nitrogen oxides. To some extent this difficulty is solved by adding recycled exhaust gas to the fuel mixture, thus avoiding the oversupply of oxygen that favors formation of nitrogen oxides.

The introduction of catalytic converters in the exhaust system has provided a technique for safely burning off hydrocarbon and carbon-monoxide emissions. The fragility of the catalysts used in these systems required the elimination of lead compounds previously used in gasoline to prevent engine knock. California, which has the most stringent air-pollution laws in the United States, requires further special compounding of gasoline to control emissions, and several states have mandated that ethanol be mixed with gasoline; as with the elimination of lead, measures taken to control air pollution have a negative impact on fuel efficiency. In 2009 the United States adopted more stringent mileage and emission standards (effective in 2012 and based on California's standards), which were designed to produce the first significant increases in vehicle efficiency and decreases in vehicle pollution since the mid-1980s.

Automotive Safety

Fatalities due to automobile accidents have stimulated improvements in automotive safety design. The first innovation involves creating a heavy cage around the occupants of the automobile, while the front and rear of the car are constructed of lighter materials designed to absorb impact forces. The second safety system uses seat belts to hold occupants in place. This was largely ineffective until states in the United States began passing laws requiring seat belt use. The third system is the air bag; within a few hundredths of a second after a special sensor detects a collision, an air bag in the steering wheel or dashboard inflates to prevent direct human impact with the wheel, dashboard, or windshield (newer vehicles sometimes include side air bags, to protect occupants from side collisions). Other advances in vehicle safety include the keyless ignition, which makes it impossible for a driver to start a car while under the influence of alcohol (over half of all vehicle fatalities involve at least one driver who has used alcohol) and antilock braking systems, which prevent an automobile's wheels from locking during braking.

Development of the Automobile

The automobile has a long history. The French engineer Nicolas Joseph Cugnot built the first self-propelled vehicle (Paris, 1789), a heavy, three-wheeled, steam-driven carriage with a boiler that projected in front; its speed was c.3 mph (5 kph). In 1801 the British engineer Richard Trevithick also built a three-wheeled, steam-driven car; the engine drove the rear wheels. Development of the automobile was retarded for decades by over-regulation: speed was limited to 4 mph (6.4 kph) and until 1896 a person was required to walk in front of a self-propelled vehicle, carrying a red flag by day and a red lantern by night. The Stanley brothers of Massachusetts, the most well-known American manufacturers of steam-driven autos, produced their Stanley Steamers from 1897 until after World War I.

The development of the automobile was accelerated by the introduction of the internal-combustion engine. Probably the first vehicle of this type was the three-wheeled car built in 1885 by the engineer Karl Benz in Germany. Another German engineer, Gottlieb Daimler, built an improved internal-combustion engine c.1885. The Panhard car, introduced in France by the Daimler company in 1894, had many features of the modern car. In the United States, internal-combustion cars of the horseless buggy type were manufactured in the 1890s by Charles Duryea and J. Frank Duryea, Elwood Haynes, Henry Ford, Ransom E. Olds, and Alexander Winton. Many of the early engines had only one cylinder, with a chain-and-sprocket drive on wooden carriage wheels. The cars generally were open, accommodated two passengers, and were steered by a lever.

The free growth of the automobile industry in the early 20th cent. was threatened by the American inventor George Selden's patent, issued in 1895. Several early manufacturers licensed by Selden formed an association in 1903 and took over the patent in 1907. Henry Ford, the leader of a group of independent manufacturers who refused to acknowledge the patent, was engaged in litigation with Selden and the association from 1903 until 1911, when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the patent, although valid, covered only the two-cycle engine; most cars, including Ford's, used a four-cycle engine. The mass production of automobiles that followed, and the later creation of highways linking cities to suburbs and region to region, transformed American landscape and society.

Bibliography

See D. L. Lewis and L. Goldstein, The Automobile and American Culture (1983); J. J. Flink, The Automobile Age (1988); B. Olsen and J. Cabadas, The American Auto Factory (2002); P. Wollen (ed.) and J. Kerr (ed.), Autopia: Cars and Culture (2003).

Battery-powered motor vehicle. Originating in the 1880s, electric cars were used for private passenger, truck, and bus transportation in cities, where their low speeds and limited battery range were not drawbacks, and the cars became popular for their quietness and low maintenance costs. Until 1920 they were competitive with gasoline-fueled cars; they became less so after the electric self-starter made gasoline-powered cars more attractive and mass production made them cheaper to produce. In Europe electric vehicles have been used as short-range delivery vans. Renewed interest in electric cars beginning in the 1970s, spurred especially by new consciousness of foreign oil dependency and environmental concern, led to improvements in speed and range. Recent laws, particularly in California, have mandated commercial production. “Hybrid” cars employing both electric and internal combustion engines and providing the best features of both technologies, have recently become commercially available. Experimental vehicles have used solar fuel cells.

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Sport practiced in a variety of forms on roads, tracks, or closed circuits. It includes Grand Prix racing, speedway racing (including the Indianapolis 500), stock-car racing, sports-car racing, drag racing, midget-car racing, and karting, as well as hill climbs and rally driving. The International Motor Sports Hall of Fame is located in Talladega, Ala., U.S. There is no central governing body for automobile racing in the U.S. as there is in most other countries.

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Four-wheeled automotive vehicle designed for passenger transportation and commonly propelled by an internal-combustion engine using a volatile fuel. The modern automobile consists of about 14,000 parts and comprises several structural and mechanical systems. These include the steel body, containing the passenger and storage space, which sits on the chassis, or steel frame; the internal-combustion gasoline engine, which powers the car by means of a transmission; the steering and braking systems, which control the car's motion; and the electrical system, which includes a battery, alternator, and other devices. Subsystems involve fuel, exhaust, lubrication, cooling, suspension, and tires. Though experimental vehicles were built as early as the 18th century, not until the 1880s did Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz in Germany begin separately to manufacture cars commercially. In the U.S., James and William Packard and Ransom Olds were among the first auto manufacturers, and by 1898 there were 50 U.S. manufacturers. Some early cars operated by steam engine, such as those made from circa 1902 by Francis E. Stanley and Freelan O. Stanley. The internal-combustion engine was used by Henry Ford when he introduced the Model T in 1908; Ford would soon revolutionize the industry with his use of the assembly line. In the 1930s European manufacturers began to make small, affordable cars such as the Volkswagen. In the 1950s and '60s U.S. automakers produced larger, more luxurious cars with more automatic features. In the 1970s and '80s Japanese manufacturers exported their small, reliable, fuel-efficient cars worldwide, and their increasing popularity spurred U.S. automakers to produce similar models. Sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and minivans, with their greater cargo and passenger capacities, became highly popular in the U.S. during the 1990s and led to a resurgence in sales of domestic vehicles. By the start of the 21st century, China had surpassed all European nations to become the third largest automobile market behind the U.S. and Japan. Seealso axle; brake; bus; carburetor; electric automobile; fuel injection; motorcycle; truck.

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Lincoln is an American luxury car manufacturer, operated under the Ford Motor Company. Founded in 1917 by Henry M. Leland and acquired by Ford in 1922, Lincoln has been manufacturing vehicles intended for the upscale markets since the 1920s. Leland named the brand after his longtime hero Abraham Lincoln, for whom he had voted in the first presidential elections for which he was eligible .

History

The company was founded in August 1917 by Henry M. Leland, one of the founders of Cadillac (originally the Henry Ford Company). He left the Cadillac division of General Motors during World War I and formed the Lincoln Motor Company to build Liberty aircraft engines with his son Wilfred. After the war, the company's factories were retooled to manufacture luxury automobiles.

The company encountered severe financial troubles during the transition, coupled with body styling that wasn't comparable to other luxury makers, and after having produced only 150 cars in 1922, was forced into bankruptcy and sold for USD $8,000,000 to the Ford Motor Company on February 4 1922, which went to pay off some of the creditors. The purchase of Lincoln was a personal triumph for Henry Ford, who had been forced out of his second (after Detroit Automobile Company) company by a group of investors led by Leland. Ford's company, renamed Cadillac in 1902 and purchased by rival General Motors in 1909, was Lincoln's chief competitor. Lincoln quickly became one of America's top selling luxury brands alongside Cadillac and Packard. Ford made no immediate change, either in the chassis or the V-8 L-head engine which was rated 36.4 SAE and produced at 2,800 rpm. An unusual feature of this power unit was the 60 degree separation of the cylinder blocks that helped to cut down on synchronous vibration found with similar engines with 90 degree separation produced at the time. After the Ford takeover, bodywork changes and reduced prices increased sales to 5,512 vehicles from March to December of 1922.

In 1923, several body styles were introduced, that included two- and three-window, four door sedans and a phaeton that accommodated four passengers. They also offered a two passenger roadster and a seven passenger touring sedan and limousine, which was sold for $5,200. A sedan, limo, cabriolet and town car were also offered by coachbuilders Fleetwood, and a second cabriolet was offered by coachbuilder Brunn. Prices for the vehicles built by these coachbuilders went for as much as $7,200, and despite the limited market appeal, Lincoln sales rose about 45 percent to produce 7,875 cars and the company was operating at a profit by the end of 1923.

1924 saw the introduction of large touring sedans used by police departments around the country. They were known as Police Flyers, which were equipped with four wheel brakes, two years before they were introduced on private sale vehicles. These specially equipped vehicles, with bullet proof windshields measuring 7/8 of an inch thick and spot lights mounted on the ends of the windshield, also came with an automatic windshield wiper for the driver and a hand operated wiper for the front passenger. Police whistles were coupled to the exhaust system and gun racks were also fitted to these vehicles.

Optional equipment wasn't necessarily an issue with Lincolns sold during the 1920s, however, customers who wanted special items were accommodated. A nickel plated radiator shell could be installed for $25, varnished natural wood wheels were $15, or Rudge-Whitworth center-lock wire wheels for another $100. Disteel steel disc wheels were also available for $60. Lincoln chose not to make yearly model changes, used as a marketing tool of the time, designed to lure new customers. Lincoln customers of the time were known to purchase more than one Lincoln with different bodywork, so changing the vehicle yearly was not done to accommodate their customer base. In 1927, Lincoln adopted the greyhound as their emblem, which was later replaced with diamond that is currently in use.

In 1932, Lincoln introduced the V12-powered KB. The same year, Eugene T. "Bob" Gregorie (1908-2002), at the styling studio created by Edsel Ford, began designing what became the Continental, eventually the most important car made by Lincoln. It started as a one-off project car for Edsel, who wanted a European-style car unlike the boxier designs his father's company produced, to drive around on vacations in Florida.

The Zephyr gave Gregorie his chance. Introduced for the 1936 model year, the sportier Zephyr featured a 4.4 liter (267in³) V12, and was so successful it almost became a brand name, rather than just a model. Its first year increased Lincoln sales almost nine-fold. Gregorie simply sectioned a 1938 Zephyr Coupé 10cm (4"), allowing most of the existing dies and tooling to be retained (a trick that would be repeated in the 1953 Buick Skylark), adding the hallmark vertically-mounted spare tire. This became the Continental, eventually the most important car made by Lincoln; by the time it ended production in 1948, 5322 were built, almost entirely by hand. The Zephyr, on which it was based, stopped production in early 1942 when Ford converted to war work, and was not revived. The Continental's spare tire mount was so distinctive, those who work on custom cars still call adding a similar mount a "Continental kit".

The Continental Mark II revived the concept. It was produced by the short-lived Continental division from April 1955 to July 1956 before it was returned to the Lincoln marque. The Mark II had a basic list price of $10,000, the same as a Rolls-Royce that year. The Edsel division merged with Lincoln-Mercury in January 1958 to form the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln division until the Edsel was discontinued in 1960.

The Continental became Lincoln's flagship model until 1981 when the Town Car, previously the Continental's top trim level, became its own model and took over that role.

As recently as 1998 Lincoln was the best-selling luxury brand in the United States, helped by the massive success of the Navigator SUV, and a redesign of the Town Car as well as the Continental. The company was also part of the Premier Automotive Group from 1998 to 2002, but was pulled out due to Ford's new marketing strategy to separate its "import" brands from its domestic marques. In recent years, however, the company has fallen behind Japanese, European, and American competitors for a lack of new models. The company is working to remedy this, however, and is sharing parts and platforms with other Ford divisions worldwide in an attempt to bring more new models to market faster. The company promises five new models in the four years 2004-2008, and has already begun with the new 2006 Mark LT pickup, Zephyr (upgraded and renamed Lincoln MKZ for the 2007 model year) and the MKX Crossover SUV.

Lincoln vehicles are currently officially available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, China, South Korea, and the Middle East.

Presidential cars

Lincoln had a long history of providing official state limousines for the U.S. President. The first car specially built for Presidential use was the 1939 Lincoln V12 convertible called the "Sunshine Special" used by Franklin D. Roosevelt. It remained in use until 1950.

A 1950 Lincoln Cosmopolitan called the "Bubble Top" was used by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and once by Johnson. It was retired in 1965.

The Kennedy car was a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible, custom built by Hess and Eisenhart of Cincinnati, and known as the SS-100-X. The Secret Service had the car fitted with a 1962 grill for aesthetic reasons. It was in use from 1961 to 1977, having undergone extensive alterations which made it an armor-plated sedan after Kennedy's assassination. A 1969 Lincoln was used by Nixon and a 1972 Lincoln used by Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush. A 1989 Lincoln was the last Presidential Lincoln as of 2004. Cadillac supplied Presidential limousines in 1983, 1993, 2001, and 2004.

The John F. Kennedy limousine also included a Plexiglas bubble top to be used in the event of inclement weather. The 1961 vehicle was notorious for its inadequate cooling of the rear of the passenger cabin while the bubble top was in place, particularly in sunshine. In order to prevent excessive heat and discomfort to the passengers, the top was often removed prior to parades, as was the case in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Though it was always assumed that President Lyndon Baines Johnson had the car destroyed after the assassination of President Kennedy, the 100-X was turned over to the Secret Service, Army Materials Research Center, Hess & Eisenhart, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, and Ford Motor Company for retrofitting of armor plating, permanent sedan roof, new interior, improved air-conditioning system, electronic communications equipment, bulletproof glass, a new paint treatment and cosmetic alterations to remove damage incurred during the assassination, among other changes. The car is also on display at the Henry Ford Museum.[5]

The Johnson Administration also used three 1965 Lincoln Continental Executive Limousines. Two limousines for the President and one for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, as well as a 1968 "stretch" Lincoln to be used in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas. This vehicle is on display at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

The 100-X was modified again in 1967. Later, under President Richard Nixon, the large one-piece glass roof was replaced with a smaller glass area and a hinged roof panel. It remained in service until 1977 and resides in its final configuration at the Henry Ford Museum.

President Nixon ordered a 1969 model limousine, through Lehman-Peterson of Chicago. This vehicle also had an added sunroof so that Nixon could stand upright when appearing before parade-goers if desired. This vehicle was equipped with several features, such as retractable hand grips and running boards, options later copied by Hess and Eisenhart. This car is now located at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.

In 1974, Ford supplied a 1972 Continental model which was stretched to 22 ft (7 m), outfitted with armor plating, bullet resistant glass and powered by a 460 in³ (7.5 l) V8 engine. This limousine was used by Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and is on display at the Henry Ford Museum. This model was also altered a number of times during its history, including a full body redesign in 1979. This was the limousine that Reagan was about to enter during his assassination attempt in 1981.

Website of Lincoln Presidential Limousines

Lincoln automobiles

2008 Lincoln Model Line-up
Model Type Price Range
Lincoln Town Car Full-Size Luxury Sedan Flagship $45,295 - $56,220
Lincoln Navigator Full-size Luxury SUV $48,745 - $62,761
Lincoln MKX Crossover Luxury SUV $35,840 - $36,445
Lincoln Mark LT Luxury Pick-up $38,615 - $42,450
Lincoln MKZ Mid-size Luxury Sedan $30,980 - $31,820

Current and near future models

Lincoln is currently switching to a new naming system. Most Lincoln models will be given a three-letter name beginning with "MK" starting in 2007. The Navigator and Town Car name will remain, but all other models are expected to use this convention by the end of the decade.

Recent models

Historical

Concept cars

See also

References

Further reading

  • David Burgess-White, "Lincoln", in World of Automobiles, Volume 10. London: Orbis Publishing Ltd, 1974.

External links

  • Official Website
  • Lincoln vs Cadillac A site dedicated to the Lincoln Mark VIII and other Lincoln Automobiles and a good source for repair and modification information
  • http://www.classiclincolns.com/
  • Lincoln Owners- Website with live community, pictures and technical information for owners and enthusiasts of Lincoln luxury automobiles
  • Lincolns of Distinction- A club dedicated to the Lincoln Mark VIII and other Lincoln models. Advice, technincal information, and general information for all Lincoln models with a focus on the Lincoln Mark VIII.
  • TheLincolnForum.Net A non-profit, user-supported forum that provides advice, technical information, and general information for Lincoln & Continentnal automobiles. TLF.Net provides an excellent source for 60s and 70s Lincoln information.

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