1770: Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built a three wheeled steam powered wagon. An example is preserved at the Musee des Arts et Metiers, Paris.
1801: Richard Trevithick built a steam powered coach. (His later 1803 carriage had a road accident.)
1861, UK: Speed limits of 10mph (16km/h) in the country and 5mph (8km/h) in town were imposed on powered vehicles.
1865, UK: Speed limits were lowered to 4mph (country) and 2mph (town) and a man on foot and carrying a red flag had to precede each vehicle by 60 yards, esp. to warn those with horses. (After 1878 the man on foot no longer needed to carry a flag.)
1884: Starley and Sutton invent the Rover Safety Cycle (bicycle); the company later developed into Rover cars.
1885: Karl Benz (1844-1929) built a motorised tricycle driven by an oil-spirit internal combustion engine in 1885. This is widely held to be the first successful motor vehicle.
1885: Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900) built a motorised bicycle in 1885 and a 4-wheel motor carriage in 1886.
1896, UK: Speed limits on light [road-] locomotives were raised from 4mph to 14mph and they no longer needed to be preceded by a man on foot. The first London to Brighton run was held in celebration.
1898: The World Land Speed Record was set at 63.15km/h (39.24mph) by Gaston the Comte de Chasseloup-Laubat driving a Jeantaud electric car [Geo00].
1898: The Renault Voiturette type A.
1898: Latil (France) made front wheel drive units and then 4x4.
1898: Tatra started manufacturing.
1899: Camille Jenatzy and de Chasseloup-Laubat traded the Land Speed Records until Jenatzy raised it to 105.88km/h (65.75mph) driving the electric La Jamais Contente [Geo00]. The car survives at the Compiegne Musee de la Voiture (Automobile Museum).
1899: Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Fiat) was formed.
1899: August Horch began a car company carrying his own surname in 1899; it evolved into Auto-Union...