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Automotive Milestones

The Technological Development of the Automobile
By (author)  Rober L. Norton
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Book Description

What readers are saying about 

Automotive Milestones, by Robert Norton...


If you are just looking for a general understanding of the automobile, looking for inspiration in support of a new idea, or just want a concise history of automotive milestones, this book is a must read."

—Parker Ackley, Antique Automobile Enthusiast


 Automotive Milestomes is a clear presentation of the internal workings of the automobile over the will enjoy reading this book.

 —William J. Crochetiere, Professor Emeritus, Tufts University


This general-interest trade book describes the development of automotive technology and engineering from the start of the industry before 1900 to the present day. It explains how various systems and elements in the automobile work in layman’s terms, without resorting to mathematics, and highlights the key milestones in the historical development of automotive technology. All photos and illustrations are in full color. 

The intended audience is older teens to adults of any age who are interested in cars and may be involved with them as a hobby. Sometimes referred to as “gearheads” or “motorheads,” they form a huge market. Over the years, many of the author’s engineering students were in this category, and he often would meet with on-campus car clubs to explain the internal workings of automobiles, being careful to damp down or eliminate any complicated mathematics—just as he does in this book.

The other books that cover this subject are either “hard-engineering oriented”—such as publications from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)—or just compendiums of dates without much explanation at all of how the changes in technology actually work, which is the aim of this book. 

Table of Contents

Introduction. Motive Power: External Combustion Engines. Internal Combustion Engines. Electric Vehicles. Chassis Layouts and Drivelines: The First Production Automobiles. Other Early European Makes. Engine Configurations: Cylinder Arrangements. Floating Power. Summary. Valve Trains, Inductions, and Supercharging: Valve Actuation. Valve Cam Functions. Valve Arrangements. Variable Valve Timing (VVT). Cylinder Deactivation. Fuel Control. Summary. Transmissions and Differentials: Gearboxes. Friction Drive. Planetary Transmissions. Overdrive Transmissions. Semi-Automatic Gearboxes. Preselector Gearboxes. Dry-Clutched, Semi-Automatic. Automatic Transmission. Differentials. Summary. Suspension and Steering: Sprung versus Unsprung Weight. Rear Suspension. Front Suspension. Dampers. Steering. Brakes: Mechanical. Hydraulic. Air. Power. Parking. Body: Body on Frame. Streamlined. Unibody. Monocoque. NVH. Summary. Glossary. Index

About the Author 

Robert L. Norton, P. E. is author of two of the most successful college textbooks in mechanical engineering. They have sold many tens of thousands of copies. He has 50 years of teaching experience at Northeastern, Tufts, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he is the Milton Prince Higgins II Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering. Additionally, he has published many technical papers and holds 13 U.S. patents. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. For Norton,  preparing this book has been a labor of love. Intent on using original sources as much as possible, he visited museums and collections and read numerous patents and original technical papers. He took many of the photos for this book and verified many facts by personally examining the actual vehicles.