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Hagerty Employee

Spin Doctor: 100 years ago, one man proved turbocharging's worth

Following the invention of the gasoline and diesel internal-combustion engines at the end of the 19th century, engineers concentrated on raising power output. In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler of Germany experimented with a crankshaft-driven supercharger. In 1905, Alfred Buchi of Switzerland, and in 1916, Auguste Rateau in France, independently patented devices then known as turbo-superchargers.

Sadly it took another 80 years to perfect the Turbo. It was a great idea but we lacked the metals, the oils and cooling for good long term reliable use. 

DI now has taken it to the next level. 


and the premium fuel
Intermediate Driver

Great article but I believe that the GNX sticker was a more collective "We brake for Corvettes" and not "I brake for Corvettes."
Hagerty Employee

Indeed! Updated, and thanks for the correction.


Bits of info have surfaced in my aviation awareness about engine testing on Pike's Peak and Don you very well detail that history, thank you! I have not been on the Peak in years but need to check if remains of this installation are still there. Also, were there other aircraft engine tests likewise on Pike's Peak? (Member, Aviation Archaeology, Colorado Aviation History Society)
Advanced Driver

Fascinating history lesson, Thank You Don!!!
New Driver

Great story that even ties in Pikes Peak. Your timeline is missing the one manufacturer that brought turbos in from the exotic to the mainstream…..Saab. First with the 99 Turbo and then the 900 Turbo. First real mass production use of automotive turbochargers and in a car mere mortals could afford.


Great history of the turbo. My Supra and other cars I have owned owe a lot to the research done here.
Pit Crew

Great article. Joined Schwitzer turbos (now Borg Warner) in ‘71 then moved to Garrett. A great career in an ever growing product. 4 of my 5 cars are turbo.
Intermediate Driver

I had a '89 Dodge Caravan Turbo with the manual 5speed. Don't floor it in any of the first 3 gears because it would go sideways. I thought it was great but the wife hated it. Sold it after a year.
Intermediate Driver

I wonder if we have those minds today to be as innovative as the men in this article. Supercharging in 1885 is mind blowing. Sure there are very smart people working on computers ,artificial intelligence and facial recognition but these pioneers were amazing.
Pit Crew

Great story. Being around machine tools most of my life I was amazed at the turbo fan they machined back in the 40’s. Wow! For something that requires such precision and balance to run efficiently at high rpm’s was very impressive. With CNC in today’s world we take a lot of intricate machining for granted. The process of building that piece could be a story in itself.