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Rickenbacker came up with an innovation that all cars use today, but it destroyed the company

Jan 24, 2018

 

 

In the early days of making cars, many companies quickly appeared and then disappeared just as fast. 

 

In an article in Michigan History MagazineSteve Ostrander noted there were 34 automakers in the 1920s. One of them was named after a World War I flying ace — Eddie Rickenbacker. 

Ostrander joined Stateside to tell us about the short-lived car company and its namesake.

 

Listen above for the full conversation, or catch highlights below.

 

On the company's downfall

 

"...most cars only had brakes on the rear, so Rickenbacker decided four-wheel brakes is the way to go." 

 

"After all, he was a race car driver; he knew about these things. So the company decided to go this way, but other companies kind of tried to run a smear campaign against them, saying four-wheel brakes are dangerous – the car will stop too fast. People behind them will run into them. There will be all these rear-end collisions."

 

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