Diesel is a fuel with a fascinating history. From the first paraffin oil-burning engines, through to the wonders of modern turb0-diesels and hybrids, these are Diesel Car’s top three moments in diesel history, so far!
Many will no doubt feel that April 1988, when Diesel Car first hit news stands was the most important event in diesel history. While we’d never be the ones to disagree with that sentiment, we’ve dusted off the history books to pick out these three key moments:
1. Rudolph Diesel invents the diesel engine
An obvious, but important one to include. Rudolph Diesel was a German inventor and engineer who, in 1892 obtained a patent for the diesel engine. The first engine to use a pressurised inject system was actually built by a Brit, Herbert Akroyd Stuart, a year earlier but it was Diesel who gained the patent, building a working prototype in 1893. His name would be forever linked with the fuel that powers our cars. Otherwise you’d be reading Akroyd Stuart Car…
2. Diesel becomes Europe’s fuel of choice
Diesel has always enjoyed a strong following in France and Germany, two countries which have arguably done more for the development of the fuel than any other. The 80s were when the diesel engine arguably reached modernity with the VW Golf diesel and the Peugeot 205. Peugeot would go on to gain a enviable reputation for both naturally aspirated diesels and turbo diesels with cars like the 205, 405 and 505 boasting impressive performance, drivability and fuel economy.
3. A diesel wins Le Mans
Motorsport had almost always been the preserve of the petrol car but by the dawn of the millennium, that would all change when Audi took a diesel-powered car to the most famous endurance race in the World – the Le Mans 24 Hours. With 641bhp and an incredible 737ft lbs of torque the 5.5 litre V12 was rapid, yetthe diesel’s lap times weren’t all that much faster than their petrol-supping rivals, the TDI’s fuel economy was much, much better. So while the opposition had to stop for fuel the Audi’s continued on, building a bigger a bigger lead.