We here at the NARGroup have unlimited passion for innovation. From our work on classic sports cars, to innovating and redesigning cooling systems, to our on-going work with the Ministry of Defence, we have followed a path of excellence and innovation since our inception.
Our passion for cars and the automotive industry doesn’t just stop where we do, it encompasses the whole field of automotive history and innovation and today we’d like to give you a little showcase of 6 important automotive innovators throughout history.
Benz Patent MotoWagen – 1886
All the way back in 1886 we find the first motorcar ever made. The first stationary gas powered engine was developed by Carl Benz, starting life as a single cylinder two-stroke unit which ran for the very first time on New Year’s Eve 1879.
After the success of this revolutionary innovation Benz focused on creating a lightweight car powered by his new engine, taking the first steps to making an engine and a chassis as a single unit.
In 1885 he had managed to produce a compact, high speed single cylinder four-stroke engine, mounted horizontally at the rear and outputting 0.75hp. Compare that to the horsepower in even the smallest of modern engines, and you’ll understand just how far we’ve come since those early days.
In 1886 Car Benz applied for a patent for his ‘vehicle powered by a gas engine’, and that patent, number 37435, can be regarded as the birth certificate of the automobile.
Ford Model T – 1908
The Ford Model T is known the world over as the first real production car available to the masses. Henry Ford’s vision was simple; an affordable, simple to operate and durable vehicle that is easy to mass produce.
To create the Model T Henry Ford reinvented the way we manufacture items, from handmade and handcrafted pieces, to mass production of units that carry the same quality and standards across the board. Mass production meant that the Ford Motor Company could see their vehicles for between $260 and $850, passing savings directly back to the customers.
This revolutionary vehicle saw the steering wheel placed on the left-hand side for the first time, rather than being mounted in the middle, allowing easy access for passengers to and from the car.
The first car to have its engine block and crankcase cast as a single unit, and the first to make sure its cylinder heads were removable for easy access.
The Model T’s agile transmission made shifting gears a breeze and these innovations allowed the world to move towards an urban way of life, travelling larger distances with ease, and bringing people closer together than ever before.
Willys Jeep – 1940-1949
Developed at the perfect time when the allies needed it, built to go anywhere and do anything, thousands of allied heroes relied on the innovation and spectacular capacity and simplicity of the 1940’s Willys Jeep.
With World War II looming the U.S Army decided to take bids from 135 different automakers to create a ¼ ton light reconnaissance vehicle, tailored to the armies specifications. Only three out of the 135 companies responded, Bantam, Willys, and Ford. But together they created the template, in just one year, now known the world over, for the first ‘jeep.’
1941 saw the introduction of the MB, an upgraded version of the original Jeep that started a revolution among the military and its use of small motor vehicles. Over night horses and motorcycles were rendered obsolete as the MB was so amazingly versatile.
Mounted with a .30 or .50 caliber machine gun for combat, and modifiable for long-range desert patrol, snow plowing, laying telephone cables, saw milling, fire-fighting, field ambulances, tractors, and with the right wheels, could even be placed on railway tracks. There was nothing getting in the way of the Jeep, and therefore nothing stopping the allied forces getting where they needed to be to do the jobs and good work they needed to do.
We owe a lot to the Willys Jeep and the innovators who built it.
Jaguar XK120 – 1948
First introduced at the 1948 London Motor Show, the positively gorgeous Jaguar XK120 is one of the classic sports cars we’ve had the joy and privilege of working on.
A beautiful two-seater, the sleek body was originally made of aluminium, but as demand for the car rose it was refabricated from steel instead. The XK120 was a limited production model to showcase the new XK engine before it went into full production on the Mark VII saloon.
It was the worlds first mass production engine with twin overhead camshafts and hemispherical combustion chambers. Enameled manifolds and a carefully polished camshaft cover offered a look that’s just as gorgeous with the bonnet up as it is when its down.
Producing 160bhp from its 3.4 litre engine, the XK120 could reach speeds of up to 125mph, taking 0-60mph in 10 seconds.
Pushing boundaries in automotive engineering and coupling it in elegant styling, the XK120 was the model that established Jaguar as a leading import brand over in the American market.
GPS systems are common place today, they are in our phones, our cars, our computers. Everyone relies on them, and have helped us all to stow away our A-Z road maps and simply concentrate on the enjoyment of driving.
The road to efficient GPS systems was a long one, and can even be seen to begin all the way back with Einstein and his theories of relativity. Without Einstein’s insight we may have gotten a satellite in orbit, but we wouldn’t have been able to explain why they never synced up properly with the stations on the ground.
Strangely, time moves slower the faster you move, and so satellites in orbit have to change the speed at which their on-board clock ticks so that they stay in sync with the time we have on the Earth and allow our GPS networks to talk to each other and give us accurate information of where we are and where we want to go.
GPS systems were developed by the US Military initially, though militaries across the world were developing their own systems, as the winners of the space race the US was set to put satellites in orbit first and begin the road to mapping a world so that everyone could navigate with ease.
Thanks to the cold war it was a long time before countries could put trust in each other, and with Russia being the other big player in the space race, keeping satellite signals scrambled became extremely important for the defense of the nation.
Once the political air had cleared and the applications for civilian technology became too big to ignore, Bill Clinton, president of the US at the time, signed into law the use of GPS systems for commercial and civilian use in 2001, opening the way for companies to bring to market the familiar and useful GPS service we know and use today.
NARGroup – 2006 to the Present
NARGroup are all about innovation. From our early days of working on and improving upon old classics like the XK120, through to our first Ministry of Defense contract in 2006 we have always strived to push the boundaries of innovation and automotive excellence.
Our first military job was to design a complete cooling system upgrade for the CVRT range of fighting vehicles, and since proving ourselves with that first contract have continued to innovated, manufacture and supply cooling system across all military platforms.
In 2011 we set up our first dedicated military workshop to design and install complete cooling and HVAC systems, supported by highly qualified technicians from Automotive and Military backgrounds.
Our current workshops are able to manufacture, design and fabricate an extensive range of cooling options for all vehicles running on any terrain.
We can ensure your vehicles cope easily with dust, mud, extreme temperatures, and much, much more. We specialize in producing radiators, charged air coolers, oil coolers, hydraulic cooling systems, air coolers, specialized cooling for electronic systems and HVAC.
We rank ourselves here against some the greatest innovations throughout automotive history, our track record is just as extensive and as deeply impressive. We have shown the world of motoring and the excellence of the military that we are up to the task, and we truly believe there is not a job we can’t do. We will continue to push the boundaries of automotive excellence and reinvent cooling systems the world over to the highest standards we have come to expect from ourselves as our customers expect from us.