What's Your Favorite Automotive Legend?

Illustration for article titled What's Your Favorite Automotive Legend?

Car-related lore goes back a long time; to the very beginning in fact. Legend holds that Karl Benz's wife Bertha "borrowed" the car (and we mean the car) to take their two children to her folks' house some 50 miles away. The farthest Karl had ever driven it was perhaps a mile or two. I'm going to let Dan Neil take it from here:

That evening, Bertha wired Karl to say they had arrived safely. But not, as it turned out, without incident. Bertha was obliged to clean out a clogged fuel line with her hatpin and mend an ignition wire with one of her garters. When the brake shoe started to give way, she stopped at a farrier's in Bauschlott for a block of leather to replace it. In Wiesloch, she stopped at an apothecary to fill up on benzene (this pharmacy still bills itself as the world's first filling station). And so it happened that the world's first motorist was, in fact, a woman.


And while that is a great story, our favorite involves an angular pony car from Japan. Don't believe the "Star of Origin" corporate spin. Mitsubishi named it "Stallion," but the guy on the other end of the phone heard "Starion."

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Smokey Yunick is always good for a story. My favorite bit of NASCAR trivia is that David Pearson used to chain smoke in the car once he had enough of a lead.

However, my all time favorite bit of automotive lore (not a legend, really) has to do with the 911. Specifically, that the 911's ignition switch is to the left of the steering column because Porsche found it enabled drivers to start the car as they were jumping into it during old-school LeMans starts.

Considering the fact that this saved them at most a second or two over a 24 hour race is so hard-core awesome that it makes my pants a little tight.

You know where.