1911 Marmon Wasp: The Rearview Mirror
When the first Indianapolis 500 ran in 1911, the usual practice was for both a driver and a "riding mechanic" to be aboard each car. Besides patching the primitive cars together as they ran, the riding mechanics would serve as lookouts for the drivers and report what or who was behind them. Driver Ray Harroun, then 32, an engineer for the Marmon Motor Car Company, had a better idea: He used a mirror mounted high and forward of the cockpit. So he competed without a mechanic, won the race, took home the $14,250 prize, and retired. By 1914, rearview mirrors were showing up on production cars.