Motoring Trivia - frostbite
I wonder if other backroomers have some favourite piece(s) of motoring trivia they like to trot out? Especially handy when an 'expert' shows up.

My all-time favourite is:-

The Rolls-Royce badge changed from Red to Black letters.

When, and why?

Perhaps you would like to add to this with your own questions, but no answers until 14th December please to give everyone a fair crack at it.
Motoring Trivia - henry k
What fourteen and a half goes THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP?
Motoring Trivia - THe Growler
The US standard railroad gauge (width between the two rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? -- yes it has motoring relevance.
Motoring Trivia - L'escargot
The US standard railroad gauge (width between the two rails) is
4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was
that gauge used? -- yes it has motoring relevance.

>>

The UK gauge is also 4 ft 8.5 inches.

I think it was adopted because this was the track dimension of Roman chariots, and roads existing at the time of Trevithick, Stevenson, etc had grooves in them to this dimension.
--
L'escargot by name, but not by nature.
Motoring Trivia - El Hacko
returning from Belgium on Sunday, roads in France relatively quiet - because (I learn) the country bans HGVs from roads midnight Sat to Sun (unless they're carrying perishables. Good idea.
PS I also admire the way Belgium mostly closes up on Sundays!
Motoring Trivia - Andrew-T
In fact the gauge of much of the world's railways is 4'8½", and what's more, most of them 'drive on the left'. The reason is that many of the lines were engineered by ex-pat British and their first rolling stock came from the only suppliers, mostly in the North or Birmingham.

The only European exceptions for 'standard' gauge are Spain and (oddly enough) Ireland, which use 5'3".
Motoring Trivia - Phoenicks
Did you know that the Ferrari 308GT4 uses the same wheel bearings as a 1970's Ford Transit.
Motoring Trivia - THe Growler
OK OK here's some more:

The US standard railroad gauge (width between the two rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
Because that's the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates.
Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.
Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons which used that wheel spacing.
Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?
Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.
So who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (and England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions.
The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots first formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for (or by) Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses. Thus, we have the answer to the original question.
Now the twist to the story..............

When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds. So, the major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass.

You could also argue there are plenty of horses' asses still planning roads and transportation systems in government and you'd probably be right.




Motoring Trivia - NitroBurner
Growler:-

Have you read "Auto Mobile" too?
Motoring Trivia - CMark {P}
Hi Big G, Hmmm...although it is a good yarn, the excellent snopes.com say that this urban legend is technically false, or "true but for trivial and unremarkable reasons".

You can find it here:
www.snopes.com/history/american/gauge.htm

and over on The Straight Dope, Cecil say it is partly true and partly false:
www.straightdope.com/columns/000218.html

Though I agree with your last sentence!
Motoring Trivia - Mark (RLBS)
& snopes said this...

Claim:The United States standard railroad gauge derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot.
Status: False.

...isn\'t exactly false in an overall sense and is perhaps more fairly labelled as \"True\"....


Oh good, that clears that up then.
Motoring Trivia - THe Growler
But who said snopes knows anything about anything anyway?....:-D

Let alone Cecil, who he?
Motoring Trivia - terryb
It's official. On BBC News last night they said the axle on the A1(M) Iron Age Chariot was "Just under 4ft 9in long".

Now my history isn't that good, but surely that pre-dates the Roman Invasion?

Terry
Motoring Trivia - Pugugly {P}
And there's a good reason for the wide guage in Spain. That was down to Brits as well.
Motoring Trivia - John R @ Work {P}
What fourteen and a half goes THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP? <<


Go on Henry, I'll be the fall guy...

What fourteen and a half goes THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP?

John R
Motoring Trivia - Vansboy
Why was I 'saving' 15 nearside plastic headlamp surrounds for LDV sherpa, 2 pairs rusty brake drums for same, a radiator for an Astramax, assorted used hoses, unidentified distributor caps (new) complete set of seats for LDV 200 minibus (can't be fitted with belts)& .........

All gone now & wondering if their now in someone elses shed??

VB
Motoring Trivia - P 2501
"15 nearside plastic headlamp surrounds for LDV sherpa"

LOL

You never know when they might come in handy.

Motoring Trivia - henry k
What fourteen and a half goes THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP?
John R


14.432 litres FOUR cylinder 1907 Itala

www.beaulieu.co.uk/motormuseum/motordisplay.cfm?C=T

I worked for a motoring nut, many years ago, who with fellow students had one of these. He claimed it was akin to a frog progressing down the road in that each time a cylinder was fired it hopped a little. Three litres a bang and on the road.
100 MPH plus in 1907. Brakes???.
Motoring Trivia - THe Growler
>>>>>>100 MPH plus in 1907. Brakes???.

Cornering as well on that narrow wheelbase designed to fit the chariot ruts......
Motoring Trivia - matt35 {P}
John/Henry,

Could it be Michael Jacksons nose?
I read somewhere that when he was 40, his right ear was 17 and his nose was 12.
Matt35.
Motoring Trivia - BaseRSXmanual
What country and company currently has the fastest growing global auto sales in relation to the all the other auto makers? It is very easy?.

Motoring Trivia - THe Growler
You have to be almost an OAP (whoops!! -- a citizen with significant advancement along the gender-free population life expectancy curve, sorry about that, this PC stuff never uses one word where 18 will do, gotta keep those bureaucrats in work, but I think I'm getting the hang of it)--- to get this.

The year: 1958
The place: Chichester Driving Test Centre
The occasion: THe Growler's driving test
The weather: Driving sleet (no pun)
The first question: Examiner: If it was snowing heavily, to the extent snow had built up on, and obscured road sign wordings, how would you distinguish a "HALT" sign?
The second question: what did THe Growler say in reply to the examiner which caused a wry smile and a congratulations you've passed and here's your pink slip?

DVD: I regret we cannot entertain answers from you on the first question, owing to your considerable knowledge advantage, and your archive of well-thumbed Highway Codes through the ages.

Motoring Trivia - No Do$h
Good lord, a fellow of Chi!

Passed my test at the Chi test centre in 1987 - near Tangmere now, no idea where it was in 1958 due to me not even being a twinkle at that time.
Motoring Trivia - THe Growler
Well, you did get a pink slip, I worked at County Hall/Chi on West St and the licensing office was there. You exchanged your slip with your prov licence and got a nice little red book marked Driving Licence. The test centre was on the A27 out towards Tangmere etc, after Eastergate (I think).

No one answered the snow on the sign question, but I'll spill the beans on the driving test. I was working with (and going out with) the examiner's daughter. She lived in Felpham and worked in the County Finance Dept. She was 16, gorgeous with long red hair and rode a Triumph Tiger Cub. Her name was Virginia. Now with what I know I might have declared an interest, in those days it didn't occur.....


Motoring Trivia - Vin {P}
Shape of the sign? (I seem vaguely to remember my grandad telling me they were upside down?)

If so, still valid, thanks to octagonal "Stop" signs.

V
Motoring Trivia - billy25
think i remember them when grandad took me out in his old austin,weren\'t they a red triangle mounted on the top of a black white (belisha beacon type)pole, with the wording on a seperate plate mounted a couple of feet below the triangle?.

billy
Motoring Trivia - Robbie
Showing my age now.

I was asked the same question, and the answer was the halt sign was a T shape whereas the slow sign was oblong.

I was 17 and got the pink form at my first attempt.
Motoring Trivia - THe Growler
billy25 you have it right (subject to final conformation by DVD quoting case law back to Magna Carta :=). The "HALT" sign (so much more authoritative than today's feeble "STOP" don't you think? - redolent of horse-drawn carriages, touched forelocks, times when the lower classes knew their place and your children were presented to you once a year at Christmas, you gave them a shilling and they called you "Sir") -- was indeed a triangle as you describe.

My answer to the examiner was facetious, off the cuff, but I got away with it. Simply that if it was snowing that bad, I wouldn't be driving......
Motoring Trivia - THe Growler
Ok, just to tie up the loose end. Before the dawn of recorded motoring time (almost), there were "HALT" signs. So much more authoritative that a feeble "STOP" don't you think? Yet another feeble Euro import in the name of standardisation. "HALT" couldn't be more imperative if it had an exclamation mark after it. Redolent of times when the uniformed bobby would raise an arm with a brassard on it as the squire and his lady swept by in their coach and four, and woe betide you if you failed to halt your horse and cart in sufficient time to free a hand to tug respectfully at your forelock.

Well the Halt sign consisted of a triangle covered with reflectors, with an oblong panel underneath with the word on it. So covered in snow or not, the shape would have been visible and the command inherent.

TGIF.


Motoring Trivia - henry k
The first question: Examiner: If it was snowing heavily, to the
extent snow had built up on, and obscured road sign wordings,
how would you distinguish a "HALT" sign?


Oh that was a regular one but I will not spoil it.

I got asked "What are guard rails?" I subsequently asked many drivers around me the same question but not one knew the answer.

I had a rural stand in examiner who was intersested in asking about tractors and mud on the road.
I ask you in Hounslow - I was not too impressed or prepared for
that approach.
The second question: what did THe Growler say in reply to
the examiner which caused a wry smile and a congratulations you've
passed and here's your pink slip?

Nice frock??? My one is pink too.

or what was the instructor doing with you pink slip in the first place.
Motoring Trivia - Pugugly {P}
THe Growler's

Why "TH" as opposed to "th"
Motoring Trivia - CM
While the French drive on the right hand side, their trains run on the left

(I think that this is because the Brits built the first French railways. It's a shame that they could not do such a good job over here!!)
Motoring Trivia - THe Growler
I watched "Voices From A Locked Room" on the Hallmark Channel the other night. That's the movie about that schizoid music composer who fell in love with an American torch singer, supposedly a true story but it seemed like a lot of horsefeathers to me. The first scene after the titles clearly states it is "London, 1930".

During the film we are treated to lots of street shots of (supposedly) London, where the producer has found some (naturally) always wet cobblestoned streets without any yellow lines on them. These persistently include shots of a red RT bus, which I know couldn't have been around before 1950 and a 1938 Austin 10 (I know it was a '38 because my Pa had one).

Fire that continuity manager(ess).


Motoring Trivia - patpending
All this talk of which side trains drive on has thankfully failed to attract too many trainspotters.

However Andrew-T, in Finland and in ex-Soviet countries there is a 5 foot gauge (see www.sdrm.org/faqs/gauge/) and of course narrow gauge in Sardinia, Corsica, northern Spain etc.

Meanwhile CM, in Alsace trains run on the right (was German in heyday of trains)...the main line to Strasbourg has a flyover across itself on the way there...

I read a report in a German newspaper recently that Roman roads had separated carriageways and a raised stone (= crash barrier?) in the middle! this because it had been ordered that goods traffic could only go at night and carts kept blundering into stuff coming the other way...

pat
Motoring Trivia - henry k
I read a report in a German newspaper recently that Roman
roads had separated carriageways and a raised stone (= crash barrier?)
in the middle! this because it had been ordered that
goods traffic could only go at night and carts kept blundering
into stuff coming the other way...


I always understood the raised stones were to allow pedestrians to cross from one side of the street to the other thus avoiding stepping in the carp.
Sebsequently a local guide told me they were the equivalent of sleeping policemen. He said they were on the approach to crossroads in towns so that the horsemen had to slow down to allign the wheels either side of the stones hence improving Roman road safety.
Any other suggestions?
Motoring Trivia - henry k
This is before the two part test for a license was introduced.

There was a question, sometimes used during the test, that asked what a certain, current road sign signified.

After many complaints about the asking of such a question it was deleted as unacceptable.

What was that road sign?

Why was the question dropped?

Motoring Trivia - SR
Henry,

Minimum speed limit?
Motoring Trivia - henry k
SR
Correct answer for the first part.

I recall the ONLY example at the time was at the Dartford tunnel.
After protests that it was not reasonable to ask the question country wide it was dropped.
There may well be more around now.
Motoring Trivia - SR
Judging by some of the idiots on our roads today, I'd have thought there would be a danger they would try to stick to the minimum speed limit even in congestion....
Motoring Trivia - No Do$h
There is a minimum speed posted on the A45 in Northampton. Sign has a placard that reads something along the lines of "No vehicles with max speed below xxmph" but it's a while since I was last driving through there so can't be certain.
Motoring Trivia - frostbite
What, no takers?

"The Rolls-Royce badge changed from Red to Black letters.

When, and why?"

Answer is 1933, when Henry Royce died.
Motoring Trivia - THe Growler
Aha! Now it's my turn to bring up urban myths.

The badge on the Rolls-Royce was changed from Red to Black not, as popularly believed to commemorate Henry Royce's death, but because Royce himself decided Black was aesthetically more appropriate. Some customers complained that the red badge often clashed with the colour of the car. The Prince of Wales was particularly outspoken on the subject.

It's in a history of RR I have somewhere among all the junk I have in the empty apartment above me.
 

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