The Topic:

This project contains a supplemental webpage titled Car Manufacturers that has lots of links to makers of today's automobiles and also to some sites for vintage models. Don't miss it!
Easier - An automobile or car is a passenger vehicle that usually has four wheels and is moved on land by an engine. A truck is a motor vehicle that is designed to carry heavy loads.
Harder - The origin of the automobile cannot be attributed to one person, but its history can be traced back to technology developments in Europe. However, it was in the United States where pioneering auto makers like Ransom Olds and Henry Ford began mass-producing cars and made the automobile a major transportation mode.
Today, the automobile is the most important way of personal transportation for millions of people around the world, especially in developed countries. People depend on their cars and trucks to travel to and from work, to run errands, to transport goods, to visit friends and relatives, and to travel. The increased number of automobiles that are produced and sold has made the auto industry a global giant.
Americans have been described as having a love affair with their automobiles. The U.S. has became a nation on wheels as affordable cars revolutionized our way of life and changed living patterns. The automobile has brought suburban sprawl, motels, shopping centers, superhighways, theme parks, drive-in restaurants, and drive-through banking. The widespread use of automobiles has also brought some major problems that include alarming increases in vehicle accidents and their related injuries and death, exhaust and noise pollution, dependence on fossil fuels, and the need to maintain extensive roadway systems.
 Autoshop Online
Here you find lots of help on automotive repair, maintenance, and operation.
Not To-Be-Missed Sections:
2) Automotive 101
3) Automotive Emergencies/Tips
4) Tips from the Car Care Council
Related Websites:
5) Automobile: Engines, Differential, Gears, Shocks, etc.
(Online Calculators from Martindale's Reference Desk)
6) Automobile Maintenance and Repair Tutorial
7) Automotive Learning Online
8) Ask the Mechanic by M. Miller
9) Interactive Automotive Vehicle Repair Solution
10) Mister Fixit's Autorepair by B. Hewitt
Early Cars: Fact Sheet for Children from the Smithsonian Institution
Learn about early cars, how they worked, and who drove them.
Related Websites:
2) Automotive History
3) Early Adventures with the Automobile (Eyewitness and participant accounts)
4) History of the Automobile
5) Mileposts of Automobile History
6) Millennium Icon: Cars
7) Model T Ford Kid's Page
How Hybrid Cars Work at Howstuffworks
Hybrid cars combine the technical advantages of the electric car with the economical advantages of conventional combustion-engine powered vehicles.
Related Websites:
2) Electric Auto Association - Phoenix Chapter
3) History
4) Hybrid Cars
5) Hybrid Electric Vehicles at Dept. of Energy
6) Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles
7) Solar Hybrid Car Soon to be on the Road
Buying a Safer Car: New Car Assessment Program
Find the safety ratings of any new car from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Related Auto Safety Websites:
2) Automobile Safety During the Early Years and
3) Dilemma of Automobile Safety
4) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (Dept. of Transportation)
5) Safety Problems & Issues at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
6) Vehicle Ratings (Crash Worthiness Testing) at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
After visiting several of the automobile websites, complete one or more of these activities.
Interview People About Cars. Conduct a series of interviews with people of different ages and backgrounds about their memories and feelings about cars. You may want to first visit the 42eXplore project on Oral History to get ideas and information about interviewing. Prepare a list of interview questions. What was your first car memory? Do you remember your first car? What car do you wish you had never sold? What was the funniest thing that ever happened with a car? How did you learn to drive? What is your favorite car? Why?
Take an Online Practice Drivers Test. Go to Drivers Test and see how you do on a practice test for a automobile, motorcycle, or commercial drivers license.
Design a Car for the Future. First, you may visit sites like Alternative Cars in the 21st Century, a review of a book by R. Riley, and It's the Only Way to Live: In Cars by J. Cascio. Then list the attributes that you would want a car of the future to have. What would your car look like? What would you name this innovative car? Construct a model of your car and an advertising poster that promotes its qualities.
Map Automobile Businesses. Map your town or neighborhood and locate all the businesses or organizations that are directly associated with automobile transportation; businesses that provide goods or services directly related to automobiles.
Do a Traffic Survey. Pick two or three different locations such as at street near your home or school. Pick a time period(s), an hour or two, and record the numbers and types of vehicles that travel by your location. You could survey different days of the week like a weekday and weekend day. Compare and contrast the data collected at the different locations and days. Remember to position yourself at a safe distance away from the roadway and prepare for the weather conditions; i.e., appropriate clothing, water, lawn chair, umbrella.
Chart Automobile Fuel Prices. Keep a record of fuel prices in your area for two weeks. Identify any changes or differences that occur. Interview a fuel retailer to find out how much of the price goes to taxes, for transport, and for the oil company. Display the results of your research on a chart(s).
Plan an Auto Trip Across the United States. Use MapQuest to help decide the route that you would take to motor across the United States. Select an automobile and use Fuel Economy Site to help estimate the miles per gallon of fuel. Then project your fuel expenses to make the entire trip.
Debate Use of Personal Cars Versus Mass Transit Transportation. Ownership and use of a personal or family vehicle is a pervasive trait of most people in the U.S. However the expenditure of oil resources, continued pollution, cost of road and bridge maintenance, and inefficiencies associated with automobiles point to the need for change. Debate the issue of personal car use versus mass transit transportation and decide what the best course is for the future.
Debate Restricting Teenage Driving. Visit sites like Automobile Safety and the Teenage Driver at MedLine, Automobile Safety and the Teenage Driver, and Driving Safety For Teenagers. Then debate the issue of restricting teenage driving. What if any criteria would you recommend?
Websites By Kids For Kids
Automobiles (2000 ThinkQuest Project)
From Audis to Porsches, this site explains the functions of different cars using pictures and diagrams.
This student project site houses a collection of articles on hybrid cars.
Future of Cars (1999 ThinkQuest Project)
This site traces the evolution of automobiles through the past century and also provides insight into cars in the future.
Physics That Powers Automobiles (2000 ThinkQuest Project)
This website covers four topics: starter, engine, transmission and brakes.
Automobile Websites
Automobile Emissions: An Overview from the Environmental Protection Agency
This fact sheet provides a description of the required emission systems for automobiles.
Automobile Society
This online guide describes the automobile's place in our society and provides guidance for their use.
Automotive Industries History
The site of an industry magazine, this resource summarizes the past 100 year history of the automobile.
Here you can find archives of auto sounds, racing photos and events, tours of automobile museums in the U.S., and technical information on foreign and domestic cars.
Automotive Technology from Popular Mechanics
This series of articles give an inside look at the mechanics -- the why and the how of modern automobiles.
Car and Driver
This online site for the magazine has a buyer's guide, archives, news, and more.
Other Online Magazines:
2) Automobile Magazine
3) Automobile Quarterly
4) AutoWeek
5) Custom Rodder
6) Motor Age
7) Motor Trend
8) Popular Hot Rodding
Car Times Auto Directory
This is the site of a collection of links and resources for car topics.
Similar Website:
2) Auto Channel
3) Auto Directory
4) AutoGuide
Hemmings Motor News
This site houses a large collection of resources and links for those interested in the collection and restoration of classic cars.
Related Websites:
2) Antique Automobile Club of America
3) Car Collector
4) Old Cars Weekly
Life of Henry Ford from the Henry Ford and Greenfield Museum
Learn about the life of Henry Ford and his contributions to the development of the automobile.
Related Websites:
2) Ford, Henry at Compton's Encyclopedia
3) Henry Ford
4) Ford, Henry at Encarta
NADA Story: A Short History from the National Automobile Dealers Association
This site houses a series of articles from the 1992 75th anniversary edition of NADA's AutoExec magazine.
Sloan Museum, Flint, Michigan
At this site, you can tour the gallery of cars made from 1902 to 1983 or take a trip through the early days of car making in Flint, the birthplace of General Motors Corporation.
Other Automobile Museum Sites:
2) National Automobile Museum
3) Toyota Automobile Museum
So You Want to Make a Car
This site explains the work in a modern auto manufacturing plant by taking you on a virtual tour.
Here you find information and photographs of the world's fastest and most expensive automobiles.
Auto Racing Sites
1908 Road Race from New York to Paris
On February 12, 1908, six cars leave Times Square in the dead of Winter. Machines and racers braved ten foot snow drifts and frigid weather to race across the United States, transfer to Siberia by ship, and continue on to Paris.
This is the official website of the Championship Auto Racing Teams.
Related Websites:
2) CART Racing Update
3) CART Rock
Indianapolis 500
This is the official website of the 'greatest spectacle in racing.'
Related Websites:
2) Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum
3) Open Wheel News: Indy 500
4) Slam! Motorsports: Indy 500
Indy Racing Online
This site focuses on the cars, drivers, and events of Indy car racing.
Related Website:
2) Indy Racing League Crew
This huge site is the official online presence of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.
Related Websites:
2) NASCAR Racing at
3) NASCAR Racing Network Forum
4) Ovaltrack (Links-site)
Race Net
This site covers auto racing in NASCAR, Pro SCCA (Trans-Am, FF2000), NHRA, IHRA, UHRA, Skip Barber, Indy Racing League, Jasper Motorsports and other automotive organizations.
Related Websites:
2) American Racing 'Zine
3) AutoRacing1
4) Canadian Racing
5) Flag World (Canadian Auto Racing)
6) Motorsport
7) RaceWire
Websites For Teachers
Planes and Trains and Automobiles … and Study Skills! at Education World
This lesson planning article includes a dozen activities that provide practice in reading maps, schedules, timetables, and more.
(Note: Several of links are no longer valid, but can be updated by resources found here and on the other 42eXplore transportation projects: Railroads and Flight.)
Transportation by J. Bryant (Grades 6-9)
The purpose of this lesson is to increase knowledge and understanding of diesel and gasoline engines.
internal combustion
hybrid car
drive-in theatre
alternative fuels
drive train
traffic signal
driver education
buying a car
drivers license
auto mechanic
pneumatic tire
fossil fuel
auto racing
stick shift
mass production
'deuce coupe'
'hot rod'
automobile safety
mass transit
fuel efficiency
'green' vehicle
'lemon law'
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 1/99.
Updated, 5/00.