Automotive Milestones

Automotive Milestones: The Technological Development of the Automobile
Who, What, When, Where, and How It All Works

Author: Robert L. Norton
Publisher: Industrial Press
Publication date: August 2015

The Amazing Evolution of Automotive Technology … from the Beginning to How Cars Actually Work Today

Written by a “certified car nut,” Automotive Milestones tells the story of how the automobile’s major systems and subsystems developed over time and explains how they work in layman’s terms, without using complicated math. Combustion cycles, chassis layouts, engine types and designs, valve trains, transmissions, drive lines, suspension, steering, brakes, and body design – all are discussed in detail. You can read this book front-to-back or cherry-pick your favorite topics in any order.

This is a general interest trade book that 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 the subject and may be involved in it 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 way things automotive worked, being careful to damp down or eliminate any complicated mathematics, as he does in this book. An Internet search found only titles that are either “hard-engineering oriented” – such as publications from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) – or mere compendiums of dates. Books in the latter category note the milestones but without hardly any explanation at all of how these developments actually work in a technical sense – which is the aim of this book.

Reviews from Amazon

I would highly recommend this book

As a former contributor to Cars and Parts Magazine, I found this book to be most informative on many aspects of our automotive history…PAST and PRESENT. I would highly recommend this book.

So that’s how it works!

Whether it’s self energizing brakes or a hypoid differential, Mister Norton takes you by the hand and patiently explains the how, what and why each system functions. Starting with the dawn of the motor car to today, he takes you through the development of each system in layman’s terms. Thank you, thank you thank you. Now, even I understand.

Good read for newbies to well versed vehicle enthusiasts

For individuals eager to learn about how the contemporary vehicle has evolved this is the book to buy. The author covers various aspects of the vehicle including powertrain, suspension and body styling. Good read for newbies to well versed vehicle enthusiasts.

“Automotive Milestones” is a truly valuable technical automotive resource!

From Barney Rubble to Mario Andretti, from peddle power to steam, gasoline and electric this is a serious, expert overview with rich detail of how technology progressed in developing the Automobile. It is a must have for anyone wanting the full story of the development of the Automobile or any of the myriad of sub-systems, engine, transmission, brakes, etcetera. A truly valuable technical resource.

A Readable Reference

Great book! Puts it all together. Contains enough history to make it an interesting read, unlike a textbook. Enough math to clarify concepts, but you don’t require a degree in mathematics. Lots of diagrams and illustrations.

Well written and very informative.

My first contact with this book was as waiting room-literature, in a car dealership (on that particular occasion I actually did not want my vehicle serviced quickly 🙂

The book is well written, well organized, and very informative to both the novice and the experienced. Photographs and diagrams are all in color and of excellent quality. I highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to know more about their car inner workings, and about the history of the automobile.

Very enjoyable and thoroughly researched

This is a must have book for any car enthusiast! As the title describes – it reviews key events in automotive history. Ever wonder when the first hydraulic brakes, automatic transmission, electric car, supercharger, differential, unibody, boxter engine, or fuel injection appeared? Or how about who made the first inline 12 cylinder engine, 4WD, flywheel driven hybrid, watts linkage, or air suspension? The answers will surprise you! Spanning technologies from 1050BC through 2015 the book is laid out in major groups such as motive power, suspension and steering, brakes, body design,transmissions and differentials, and more. What sets this book apart is that is also explains how these technologies and other phenomena (such as bump steer, anti-squat, etc) work in a simple and easy to read manner enhanced with quality illustrations and photos. You (or the car person in your life) will not be dissapointed.

Great Book

Being a car nut (and mechanical engineer) I have learned about cars and how they work by taking them apart and finding and fixing the problems discovered. I still remember learning to set the points or repacing the first set of brake pads. And then eventually cam shafts and crank shafts. But how about the parts and assemblies I’ve never seen? This book answers all of those questions that start with “I wonder how that works?” and is great for understanding and appreciating those items you’re not familiar with and for those historical automobiles and accessories you’ve never been exposed to. This book is a delightful companion for anyone with an interest in the true art form of the automobile. I passed my copy on to my son in hopes that my interest here will also be passed on.

This is a car person’s book explaining all the technical stuff that you have heard of but were “afraid to ask”

As a car guy, I’ve heard all sorts of technical terms from McPhearson Struts to Limited Slip Differentials, and thought I understood what those were. After reading Mr. Norton’s book, I have a much greater understanding of automotive history and technology. The writing is narrative and easy to read, and exceptionally technical or mathematical explanations were written as sidebars that don’t impede the flow of the book. This is a MUST book for the auto enthusiast.