There are some very extensive archives available on the Net that contain virtualy every single instruction manual and catalog ever published by Lego. The pictures below show some of my catalogs. As you can see, they've been used a lot! The oldest one dates back to 1972, the oldest Technic is from the late 1970s. Once I get around to scan these, I'll add them here
hi book tech 1
hi book tech 2
This is the first Technic kit ever! Number 850: it features a working lift mechanism and a rack and pinion steering. The steering is built using six small turntables.
Here is another view of the same model.
This is kit number 854. It features a single piston engine, driven by one wheel and a rack and pinion steering. Note that the number nine sticker is the original: for some reason I kept it in one piece, even though I mix all my bricks together and rarely re-build kits.
This view shows the rear mounted engine.
Imagine that you are in 1975 and sudenly you have to build a vehicle with working rack and pinion steering... Remember, Lego Technic are not available yet: all you have are the old cog wheels and the Lego Expert wheels. The first problem is the rack: I solved that by using four links of the old chain. Each link has two studs on top of it, so a chain made of four links can be turned into a rack by attaching it to a two by four plate mounted up side down on top of two "Swiss cheese" bricks. The rest of the mechanism is pretty strait forward, although the absence of "plates with holes in them" makes the whole thing quite bulky. In order to try to hide this fact, I built a truck, rather than a car.
A few more notes: the driver is one of the first figurine made by Lego. The truck has an anachronical load: the icon used by Lego for their computer games! The plate and bick used to show off the rear "suspension" are very old: the plate is made of cellulose acetate and has a "square hole" bottom. It was probably made between 1963 and 1966. The one by eight beam is probably from the same era.
hi old car3
hi old car4
The tractor kit (number 851) was the first with the big "sponge" wheels. It features rack and pinion steering and a working tool lift mechanism.
This view shows the rear of the tractor, with the three point tool attachment and power outlet (the bevel gear). When the tractor moves, that bevel gear moves and if the tool is in the lowered position, then its own mechanism is activated as well.