1903: Vauxhall Motors Builds its First Motor Car

Designer, F. W. Hodges created the 1903 Vauxhall, the first frameless automobile body.
The first Vauxhall weighted 610 lbs. 50 lbs. than it’s target weight.
The Model 719 only had two forward gears, no reverse.
  • Vauxhall’s roots were in marine engines
  • Featured a five-horsepower engine
  • Called the Model 719
The first Vauxhall was intended to weigh less than 560 lbs. because of a law allowing it to dispense with a reverse gear. It missed this weight cut-off by 50 lbs. but still only had two forward gears.

In striving for this low weight, its designer, F. W. Hodges, created the first unit body construction. With his background as a marine engineer, Hodges designed his first frameless automobile body like that of a boat, because to him this was the logical way to do things.

Most historians credit the 1922 Lancia Lambda as the first unit or monocque body, but Jan P. Norbye, in Special Interest Autos, Aug. - Oct. 1973, correctly gives this honor to Vauxhall.