Steve Soper is a racing driver from Surrey, born in 1951. He raced in major sports touring car categories in the 1980s and 1990s, he won the 24 Hours Nürburgring in 1987, the 24 Hours of Spa in 1995 and the Guia Race in 1997 – many of which through his longest association, with BMW. Across just over two decades Soper won three major races: the 24 Hours Nürburgring in 1987, the 24 Hours of Spa in 1995 and the Guia Race in 1997. Soper had been successful in one make series, before making his BTCC debut in 1982 in a Metro, his talent was spotted by Tom Walkinshaw and he joined TWR in 1983. He won the championship in his first season with the works Austin Rover team but rival Frank Sytner protested the TWR team and his Rover Vitesse was deemed illegal due to an issue with the engine installation. TWR was disqualified and the title was awarded to Andy Rouse, he joined Eggenberger Motorsport and finished as runner-up in the series in 1988 in a Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, enjoying many on-track battles with Andy Rouse in the process.
Soper would challenge for the title in 1991, finishing 4th and in 1993, finishing as runner up behind teammate Joachim Winkelhock for BMW. Soper had led the championship for most of the season but a run of bad luck towards the end of the year damaged his title challenge. During the season finale of the 1992 championship, Soper was involved in the infamous collision with John Cleland, which cost Cleland the title and famously led him to label Soper'an animal.' 1995 saw Soper race in the Japanese Super Touring championship for Schnitzer BMW, winning the championship outright that year. Soper raced in the German Super Tourenwagen Cup in 1996, challenging for the title until an incident late in the season with his team mate ended his championship chances, he finished second overall to Emanuele Pirro. In 1997 he came second in the FIA GT Championship. Soper finished fifth driving a Ford Sierra for Eggenberger Motorsport in the one-off World Touring Car Championship in 1987 run under Group A regulations.
That year, he won the Bathurst 1000, but was disqualified for a technical infringementSoper was offered a works drive for BMW, competed in the night European and German Touring Car Championships. During the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, he expressed dislike of the 24-hour classic race, established in the early 20th century. By 2000, Soper fell out of favour with Gerhard Berger, in charge of BMW's motorsport operations and retired from racing as he was interested in racing BMWs and acquired a BMW dealership in Lincoln. For 2001, he reluctantly made a surprise return to the British Championship for Peugeot; the car's build rendered it less successful than the Vauxhall Astra. He finished 6th in a thin field and was advised to retire on medical grounds after a heavy crash in the final round. In 2013, who had earned the nickname "Soperman" from his fans during his career, announced plans, on medical clearance, to race. Soper was voted the greatest saloon car driver by readers of Motor Sport. ^ – Race was stopped due to heavy rain.
No points were awarded.† Events with 2 races staged for the different classes. ‡ Endurance driver. * Overall race position shown. Registered WTCC points paying position may differ. * 1987 finished 1st on the road but disqualified. Driver DB Profile Official Steve Soper Website
The Ford Mondeo is a mid-sized or large family car manufactured by Ford since 1993. The first Ford declared a "world car", the Mondeo was intended to consolidate several Ford model lines worldwide; the Mondeo nameplate is derived from Latin mundus, meaning "world". For its first two generations, the Ford Mondeo was produced using the Ford CDW27 platform, with the third generation shifting to the EUCD platform; the fourth generation uses the Ford CD4 platform. As of 2018, Ford has produced five versions of the Ford Mondeo across four generations. In 1996, the first-generation Mondeo underwent an extensive redesign, becoming the Mk II. In North America, the Mk I and Mk II Mondeo was produced and marketed as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique from 1995 to 2000; the 1999-2002 Mercury Cougar is a rebodied three-door hatchback variant of the Mk II, sold as the Ford Cougar in export markets. The Mk V Ford Mondeo is the second Mondeo designed as a "world car", as it adopts the Ford Fusion nameplate in the Americas, Middle East, South Korea.
In January 2016, Ford showcased a facelift in USA for model year 2017. As of June 2018, it's unknown whether this facelift will be brought to Europe and the Mondeo branded version; the current Mondeo is still the pre-facelift of the Ford Fusion. The Mondeo competed in the British Touring Car Championship between 1993 and 2000; the cars, prepared by former series champion Andy Rouse, did not enter the 1993 season until the 8th round at Pembrey in Wales. Rouse and Paul Radisich were the drivers in the Mondeo's first season. Radisich went on to win the FIA World Touring Car Cup in both 1994 driving a Mondeo. Ford ran a factory-sponsored team, called Ford Team Mondeo, for eight seasons; as mentioned above, Andy Rouse Engineering ran the cars from 1993 to 1995, when West Surrey Racing ran the works team from 1996 to 1998, with Prodrive taking over beginning 1999. In 2000, the team expanded from two cars to three when drivers Alain Menu and Anthony Reid were joined by 1998 series champion Rickard Rydell, recruited from the disbanded Volvo team.
The team dominated the season of 2000, finishing 1–2–3 in the drivers' standings and winning the manufacturers' championship by a staggering 104 points. A complete overhaul of the BTCC following the season of 2000 had the supertouring regulations scrapped as the series moved towards less expensive, but slower race cars. Ford withdrew from BTCC competition prior to 2001; the Touring Cars after their withdrawal went on sale to the public and are now in the hands of other drivers. Two of the 2000 series Mondeos have been spotted in the BRSCC series of LMA Euro saloons; the Mk I and Mk II Mondeo have followed many other previous Ford models into the world of banger racing in the United Kingdom, with plenty of older cars being available for little money, the Mondeo is now a popular and easy car to race. The Zetec engines are converted to run off a carb set up and the Mondeo bodyshell is tough, but they are proving rather rigid, with many drivers getting injured in high-speed impacts. Mondeos are proving more popular than the Mk III Granada.
In Argentina, the Mondeo is one of several cars to compete in the local Top Race racing category. The Mondeo is so far the most successful car in the category, with three championship titles in the TRV6 class and two championship titles in the Top Race series; the winning drivers in the TRV6 class were Omar Martínez, José María López, Guido Falaschi with the Mondeo II, in the TR Junior category, the championship was won by Gonzalo Perlo in 2008 and Humberto Krujoski in 2010. In 2009, the Mondeo III bodystyle was presented as an option within the category. In the United States, the Fusion/Mondeo Mk 5 bodywork began use for the sixth-generation body in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starting in 2013, replacing the current Mazda6-based Fusion. Mondeo Man, stereotypical figure in the 1990s England Ford Mondeo UK - official website Ford Mondeo Australia - official website Ford Mondeo Sport Club - biggest fan club at Taiwan
Ecurie Ecosse was a motor racing team from Scotland. The team was founded in November 1951 by Edinburgh businessman and racing driver David Murray and mechanic Wilkie Wilkinson, its most notable achievement was winning both the 1956 and 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans; the team raced in three Formula One races. Ecurie Ecosse's cars were always distinctive in their Flag Blue Metallic paint. Ecurie Ecosse had four Formula One Grand Prix entries, over three seasons; the first was by David Murray himself. However, he retired with engine trouble early in the race. For the 1953 event the team entered two cars a Cooper T20 for Jimmy Stewart a new Connaught A Type was entered for Ian Stewart. Neither of the drivers finished the race; the team's last F1 outing was at the 1954 British Grand Prix, where the Connaught was again entered, this time driven by Leslie Thorne. Although this time the car did take the finish, it came in twelve laps down on the leaders. From this point onward the team concentrated on sportcar events.
Ecurie Ecosse raced in the European Formula Two Championship, from 1969 until 1971. Their first race was in 1969 at Thruxton where driver Graham Birrell finished 11th in a Brabham BT23C. At Enna Birrell couldn't start the race because he had crashed the car in practice and the team couldn't repair the car before the race. In 1970 Ecurie Ecosse entered the same car for Birrell. At Crystal Palace Birrell finished in 11th position. In the next race held at the Hockenheimring Birrell finished in 12th position. In Imola Richard Attwood took over from Birrell. In 1971 Ecurie Ecosse had a new driver. At Thruxton Walkinshaw retired on lap three due to a puncture. At the Nürburgring, Gerry Birrell finished in ninth position. In their last two races, at Jarama and Crystal Palace, Walkinshaw failed to qualify for the race. In the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson were the winning drivers in a Jaguar D-Type. Ron Flockhart won again with a D-Type in the 1957 event, partnered this time by Ivor Bueb.
The team's second D-Type – driven by Sanderson and his new partner John Lawrence – finished second, a rare privateer 1–2 finish. The 1958 Le Mans race was less successful; the team would again field a D-Type alongside a newly acquired Tojeiro-Jaguar. Once again, neither car made it to the final flag, the D-Type suffering engine failure after 70 laps, the Tojeiro a fire after 137. Things went from bad to worse for the team in the 1960 running. The, by now much modified, D-Type was again entered, lasted until the 168th lap before being forced out with a broken crankshaft. Ecurie Ecosse's second car for this year, a Cooper T49 Monaco, did not make it to the start line; the entrants for the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans – a Cooper T57 Monaco and an Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite – retired after accidents in their 32nd and 40th laps respectively.1962 saw Ecurie Ecosse moving on to a Tojeiro EE, but this too failed to finish after gearbox problems. This would be the last time that the original Ecurie Ecosse team would enter a car for the greatest endurance race in the world.
Financial troubles and the self-imposed tax exile of founder David Murray had ended the team's competitive era by the mid-1960s. The drivers included David Murray himself; the original team ceased operating in 1971, but the team name was revived in the 1980s by enthusiast and driver Hugh McCaig. In 1986 the team won the C2 class of the World Sportscar Championship, they entered Vauxhall Cavaliers in the British Touring Car Championship with some success in 1992 and 1993, including a win at Thruxton in 1993 for David Leslie. Team boss Hugh McCaig announced that four young drivers, Alasdair McCaig, Andrew Smith, Joe Twyman and Oliver Bryant, would revive the team once more and drive a return to sports car racing for the team, 25 years after winning the World Sportscar Championship in 1986 in the C2 class; the team will enter an Aston Martin DBRS9, along with the help of Aston Martin Racing Partner Team Barwell Motorsport, into the 2011 24 Hours of Spa in the GT3 class. They will be racing for outright victory for the 2011 edition of the famous Spa 24 Hours as it is the first time that GT3-spec cars are the top class of car, before it was GT1 and GT2.
The driver line-up will consist of Andrew Smith, Joe Twyman and Oliver Bryant. The team was accompanied by a 2-axle double-deck car transporter capable of carrying three cars together with a support crew, with mobile workshop facilities; the transporter was designed by Selby Howgate and built by coachbuilders Alexander, of Falkirk, Scotland. Based on a Commer chassis it is powered by a Commer TS3 three-cylinder horizontally-opposed two-stroke diesel engine. From the early 1990s enthusiast collector Dick Skipworth built up his remarkable Ecurie Ecosse Collection. Int
The Toyota Carina is an automobile, manufactured by Toyota from December 1970 to 2001. It was introduced as a four-door counterpart of the Celica, of which it shared a platform, it was realigned to the Corona platform, but retained its performance image, with distinctive bodywork and interior — aimed at the youth market and remaining exclusive to Japanese Toyota dealerships Toyota Store. It was replaced in Japan by the Toyota Allion in 2000 and was succeeded in Europe by the Toyota Avensis; the inspiration for the name Carina came from the constellation Carina, sharing a naming inspiration from the Celica, derived from the Latin word coelica meaning "heavenly" or "celestial". The first-generation Carina was manufactured from December 1970, sold at Toyota Store dealership channels in Japan, sharing its platform with the Toyota Corolla Store exclusive Toyota Celica sports coupe, while the established Toyota Corona was sold at Toyopet Store locations, its European release took place in October 1971.
Toyota was able to save development and tooling costs by building a family sedan and a sports car on the same platform and in the same factory. The Carina filled the size gap between the larger Corona. Features included reclining seats with built-in head restraints, clock, reversing lights and servo-assistance on the brakes; the chassis code was A10, with 17 and 18 being reserved for hardtop coupés. Excepting the anomalous RA16 hardtop, A16 and 19 were used on vans. Beginning in 1975, A30-series numbers were used for some hardtop coupés; the wagons/vans of the first generation were not exported. Carina vans entered production in December 1975; the A10 Carina was exported to the US, but its introduction coincided with the introduction of a 10% import duty and sales volumes were disappointing. Cars destined for export were switched towards other markets in Europe and elsewhere, US exports stopped after only two years: instead the company progressed with plans to build car plants in the USA; the original model featured a choice of a 1407 cc OHV or 1588 cc OHV engine, choice of a four-speed manual gearbox, two-speed automatic gearbox or three-speed automatic gearbox and front-wheel disc brakes.
It was revised in 1972 with a restyled body, new rear light cluster, filler cap repositioned in the rear quarter panel, restyled front grille and fascia. The specification was once again revised in 1974 including sealed cooling system, improved brakes, restyled wheels with flared wheel arches, restyled interior fittings. In late October 1975, the Carina received a new front and rear-end styling, dual-line braking system with servo, a repositioned handbrake and gear lever in a modified dashboard; the wheelbase and tread were increased as for the sister Celica series. Some chassis codes were accordingly changed, the Japanese market cars received a plethora of altered engines, ranging from 1.4 to 2.0 liters. Vehicles installed with engines with displacement at 1.5 litres or larger obligated Japanese owners to pay more annual road tax, were considered top trim level packaged cars. Toyota introduced the "TTC-V" on the 19R engine only, using an exhaust gas recirculation implementation to comply with enacted emission regulations passed by the Japanese Government.
The 1.4 was dropped from sedans and coupés, a mid-range 1.8 was added at the time of the late 1975 facelift. In December 1975 a Van version was developed; the new rear end uses the cargo door of the 30-series Corolla wagon. The Carina Van received a unusual opera-style side window in the cargo area, was available with the 1400 or 1600 T-J/2T-J engines with 80 or 93 PS; the Carina Van was not exported. The Van's TA16V/TA19V chassis codes continued to be used for the next-generation Van, until it was facelifted again in August 1979. To bring these models in line with the second-generation Carina, they received a new TA49 chassis code. Released in Japan August 1977, the next-generation Carina was available in Germany in December 1977 and in other European countries during 1978; the chassis was the same as that of the facelifted late Carinas of the first generation. In most markets Carinas were fitted with the same 1,588 cc 2T engine as its predecessor. In the Carina, an output of 75 PS DIN was claimed.
The option of automatic transmission was new to many export markets. An estate car model was introduced to export markets for the first time, with heavy-duty leaf-spring rear suspension as it was intended for commercial use in Japan. In 1980, all models had revised front- and rear-end styling and headlights, received improved interiors; the following year and coupé models were fitted with five-speed gearboxes as standard, still with optional automatic transmissions. Starting with this generation, fuel injection was available optionally on top level models. In November 1977, the 3T-U 1,800 cc engine emissions are updated. In May 1978, the GT 1600 cc was added, a three-speed automatic transmission became available; the 1600GT 2T-GEU engine was made to comply with the Showa 53 emissions regulation, while output improved from 110 PS to 115 PS. The options list was updated to include a urethane bumper for impact improvement. In September 1978, the 3T-EU engine was installed in the ST-EFI and SR-EFI models only with a five-speed manual.
At the same time, the 2000GT with
Joachim Winkelhock is a German motor racing driver. The younger brother of the late Manfred Winkelhock, Winkelhock was born in Waiblingen, near Stuttgart; the youngest brother, Thomas Winkelhock, Manfred's son Markus Winkelhock are racing drivers. After the death of his brother interrupted his career in 1985, he resumed on, winning the 1988 German Formula Three Championship as well as that year's European Cup, at the unusually late age of 28; the next year was less successful. Failing to pre-qualify on 7 occasions, Winkelhock linked up with BMW Motorsport in touring car racing and the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, he won the 24 Hours Nürburgring in 1991 with a BMW M3 entered by Schnitzer Motorsport. His first title was the 1993 British Touring Car Championship. There, he was commonly known as Smokin' Jo, for his cigarette smoking habit. Winkelhock's next win was the 1994 Asia Pacific Touring Car Championship, in 1995 he won the German Supertouring Championship, he triumphed in the 1995 Spa 24 Hours, the 1994 and 1998 Macau Grand Prix's Guia touring car races.
His last success for BMW came at the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, which he won driving the BMW V12 LMR prototype run by Schnitzer Motorsport. In 2000, he joined Opel in the new Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, in 2003 he announced his retirement from motor racing at the age of 43, he runs his family's Waiblingen-based truck-crane and towing business getting involved in recovering crashed trucks. A special edition of the BMW M5 has been made in honor of Joachim Winkelhock. A 2005 poll run by Motor Sport magazine voted Winkelhock the 16th greatest touring car driver ever. Personal website Winkelhock at ChicaneF1
New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia and Tonga; because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal and plant life; the country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington. Sometime between 1250 and 1300, Polynesians settled in the islands that were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the United Kingdom and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands.
In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a dominion. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.9 million is of European descent. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration; the official languages are English, Māori, NZ Sign Language, with English being dominant. A developed country, New Zealand ranks in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic freedom. New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy; the service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, agriculture. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
Queen Elizabeth II is the country's monarch and is represented by a governor-general Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes; the Realm of New Zealand includes Tokelau. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ASEAN Plus Six, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand in 1642 and named it Staten Land "in honour of the States General", he wrote, "it is possible that this land joins to the Staten Land but it is uncertain", referring to a landmass of the same name at the southern tip of South America, discovered by Jacob Le Maire in 1616. In 1645, Dutch cartographers renamed the land Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand. Aotearoa is the current Māori name for New Zealand.
It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the whole country before the arrival of Europeans, with Aotearoa referring to just the North Island. Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui for the North Island and Te Waipounamu or Te Waka o Aoraki for the South Island. Early European maps labelled the islands North and South. In 1830, maps began to use North and South to distinguish the two largest islands and by 1907 this was the accepted norm; the New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised, names and alternative names were formalised in 2013. This set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, South Island or Te Waipounamu. For each island, either its English or Māori name can be used. New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations suggest New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300, concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands.
Over the centuries that followed, these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into iwi and hapū who would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight against each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to Rēkohu, now known as the Chatham Islands, where they developed their distinct Moriori culture; the Moriori population was all but wiped out between 1835 and 1862 because of Taranaki Māori invasion and enslavement in the 1830s, although European diseases contributed. In 1862 only 101 survived, the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933; the first Europeans known to have reached New Zeala
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker that has its main headquarter in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903; the company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and most luxury cars under the Lincoln brand. Ford owns Brazilian SUV manufacturer Troller, an 8% stake in Aston Martin of the United Kingdom and a 32% stake in Jiangling Motors, it has joint-ventures in China, Thailand and Russia. The company is controlled by the Ford family. Ford introduced methods for large-scale manufacturing of cars and large-scale management of an industrial workforce using elaborately engineered manufacturing sequences typified by moving assembly lines. Ford's former UK subsidiaries Jaguar and Land Rover, acquired in 1989 and 2000 were sold to Tata Motors in March 2008. Ford owned the Swedish automaker Volvo from 1999 to 2010. In 2011, Ford discontinued the Mercury brand, under which it had marketed entry-level luxury cars in the United States, Canada and the Middle East since 1938.
Ford is the second-largest U. S.-based automaker and the fifth-largest in the world based on 2015 vehicle production. At the end of 2010, Ford was the fifth largest automaker in Europe; the company went public in 1956 but the Ford family, through special Class B shares, still retain 40 percent voting rights. During the financial crisis at the beginning of the 21st century, it was close to bankruptcy, but it has since returned to profitability. Ford was the eleventh-ranked overall American-based company in the 2018 Fortune 500 list, based on global revenues in 2017 of $156.7 billion. In 2008, Ford produced 5.532 million automobiles and employed about 213,000 employees at around 90 plants and facilities worldwide. Henry Ford's first attempt at a car company under his own name was the Henry Ford Company on November 3, 1901, which became the Cadillac Motor Company on August 22, 1902, after Ford left with the rights to his name; the Ford Motor Company was launched in a converted factory in 1903 with $28,000 in cash from twelve investors, most notably John and Horace Dodge.
The first president was not Ford, but local banker John S. Gray, chosen to assuage investors' fears that Ford would leave the new company the way he had left its predecessor. During its early years, the company produced just a few cars a day at its factory on Mack Avenue and its factory on Piquette Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Groups of two or three men worked on each car, assembling it from parts made by supplier companies contracting for Ford. Within a decade, the company would lead the world in the expansion and refinement of the assembly line concept, Ford soon brought much of the part production in-house in a vertical integration that seemed a better path for the era. Henry Ford was 39 years old when he founded the Ford Motor Company, which would go on to become one of the world's largest and most profitable companies, it has been in continuous family control for over 100 years and is one of the largest family-controlled companies in the world. The first gasoline powered automobile had been created in 1885 by the German inventor Carl Benz.
More efficient production methods were needed to make automobiles affordable for the middle class, to which Ford contributed by, for instance, introducing the first moving assembly line in 1913 at the Ford factory in Highland Park. Between 1903 and 1908, Ford produced the Models A, B, C, F, K, N, R, S. Hundreds or a few thousand of most of these were sold per year. In 1908, Ford introduced the mass-produced Model T, which totalled millions sold over nearly 20 years. In 1927, Ford replaced the T with the first car with safety glass in the windshield. Ford launched the first low-priced car with a V8 engine in 1932. In an attempt to compete with General Motors' mid-priced Pontiac and Buick, Ford created the Mercury in 1939 as a higher-priced companion car to Ford. Henry Ford purchased the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, in order to compete with such brands as Cadillac and Packard for the luxury segment of the automobile market. In 1929, Ford was contracted by the government of the Soviet Union to set up the Gorky Automobile Plant in Russia producing Ford Model A and AAs thereby playing an important role in the industrialisation of that country.
The creation of a scientific laboratory in Dearborn, Michigan in 1951, doing unfettered basic research, led to Ford's unlikely involvement in superconductivity research. In 1964, Ford Research Labs made a key breakthrough with the invention of a superconducting quantum interference device or SQUID. Ford offered the Lifeguard safety package from 1956, which included such innovations as a standard deep-dish steering wheel, optional front, for the first time in a car, rear seatbelts, an optional padded dash. Ford introduced child-proof door locks into its products in 1957, and, in the same year, offered the first retractable hardtop on a mass-produced six-seater car. In late 1955, Ford established the Continental division as a separate luxury car division; this division was responsible for the manufacture and sale of the famous Continental Mark II. At the same time, the Edsel division was created to design and market that car starting with the 1958 model year. Due to limited sales of the Continental and the Edsel disaster, Ford merged Lincoln and Edsel into "M