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Iceland: The First Automobile

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The first automobile came to Iceland in June 1904. It was a used Cudell car of German make, bought by Ditlev Thomsen, a merchant in Reykjavik, with a grant of 2000 ISK from Althing. Thomsen wanted to ascertain if motorized vehicles could be used in Iceland. The car was three years old at the time of import. It had already become obsolete and looked more like a curricle rather than car. It was, however, a great novelty attracting enormous attention. People from all over thronged the streets to see merchant Thomsen drive around town in his car. The vehicle did not do well at all. It broke down on its first trip and had to be towed back home. The roads were bad and domestic technical knowledge was limited so that spareparts and instructions for repair had to be brought in from Denmark. When the car had been on the road for about a year, it was parked for good and finally shipped back to Denmark in 1908.

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