Twofold

February 2, 2018

This post will cover two completely differet subjects and we
hope you enjoy them both. First we’ll share a link to some
pictures of lunar eclipse and then we’ll mention a new engine
that may be a game changer.

As a teaser we’ll share this photo by Mike O’Neal taken in
Oklahoma that is the first picture on the EarthSky website.
The pictures are among the best we’ve seen and may even make you
smile.

Now on to a different kind of engine that is getting tested in a
Ford F-150 pickup. Estimates are this two-cycle, three cylinder
engine with six pistons and no spark plugs, should bring gas
mileage up to 37 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined city and
highway driving according to Achates Power and Aramco Services.

Claim is gas engines now use 25% of a gallon of gas to move
the vehicle with the rest wasted to heat. This new engine would
up that to 45% of a gallon to move the vehicle. The control of
this engines response curve is done by modulating pressures
through both a supercharger and a turbo.

There is a 4-cycle version and other companies are doing
research also. Being old school it seems odd to have a three
cylinder engine using 6 pistons and two crankshafts. But hey,
if it performs as promised and is reliable why not?

Enjoy our Friday. Now I need some coffee before I grab the
camera and head outside.
Comments are always welcome.

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Is green really green?

January 24, 2018

Yesterday while cruising the information highway an article
about wind turbines grabbed my attention. It should be no big
secret that I don’t think much of these overglorified windmills
but the information in the article got me thinking.

This guy never bought into the hype that wind energy is clean
energy, the article mentioned was on a conservative site, and I
didn’t check the numbers or research data. That being said,
here’s what I took away from it.

If the article is correct, and I have no reason to doubt it,
you can’t build or operate an offshore wind turbine without
using a lot of oil. Up to 18,857 barrels each not including
lubrication oil. And some of these structures leak contaminating
the ground around them.

So besides killing birds of every shape and size said turbines
can also pollute. Cost has been an issue also and the article
claims a offshore wind farm costs $25,000 for every home it
powers! Coal and natural gas sound better now.

On our nations east coast it will cost $1 billion to build an
offshore windfarm that would produce 200 megawatts of
electricity, which would be enough to power up to 64,000 homes.

Perhaps our technology isn’t there yet to make these turbines
a real alternative to what we have. Through research and
development the technology could reach a point that such energy
sources are viable and cost competitive. We just haven’t reached
that point yet.

If you wish to read the article please go to the web page.

Enjoy the rest of our Wednesday as I have. At least if getting
constantly distracted counts.
Comments are always welcome.


Last dance

December 31, 2017

Since today is last day and last month of the year and soon
people will be celebrating a new year with a new dance, it felt
fitting to do this now.

The February edition of Motor Trend magazine arrived in the
mail yesterday and was set aside until a short while ago when
there was time to peruse it properly. You may notice the text at
the bottom of the picture which says “Supersized Subaru
3 rows 19 cupholders.

Naturally I assumed it referenced a 19 passenger SUV type
vehicle that looked like a station wagon on steroids. After a
quick read of article inside it was discovered the 2019 Subaru
Ascent would carry 7 or 8 passengers. Which made me wonder if it
had so many cupholders because it didn’t have any other options.

Turns out it will be the biggest vehicle Subaru ever made and
will be powered by a 2.4 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder engine
with a variable speed transmission about the size of a Toyota
Highlander, Ford Explorer, or Nissan Pathfinder. Prices will
start around $30,000 and the American version will be made in
Lafayette, Indiana.

It can tow 5,000 pounds, has Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive, and
has a smart rearview mirror that gives the option of camera
views. It has power outlets, Wi-Fi, and 8 USB ports to reduce
the need for seat mounted DVD screens. The vehicle also has
ledges in the front for phones, Starlink for connectivity, Apple
Car Play, Android Auto, a Harman Kardon stereo, and the earlier
mentioned 19 cupholders.

All this leaves me with a couple questions. Do all those
features allow for any time to drive the thing? And; what in
the hell do 8 people need 19 cupholders for?

Enjoy our Sunday for tomorrow is a new day of a new month in
a new year.
Comments are always welcome.


Selling a dream

December 11, 2017

We follow car auctions just to see how certain cars stand up
to pre-auction estimates. We’ll be paying attention in January
2018 when the RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale comes around. There
will be what we consider a rare car there and pre-auction
estimates are between $1.25 and $1.5 million.

The car is Preston Tucker’s personal Tucker 48. A rare car to
begin with as only 51 cars were built by tucker in 1848 before
the company folded. Tucker cars were advanced for the time and
had features many others didn’t.

The third head light in the center turned with the front
wheels, the engine was an adaption of the Franklin 0-355 flat
six aircraft/helicopter engine converted to water cooling. It
had 355 cubic inches, made 166 horsepower and was installed in
the rear of the car.

For a transmission Tucker used an adaptation of the Cord 810/
812 with a Bendix electric shifter. Tucker’s personal car had
a Tucker Y1 transmission, a larger, more improved version of
the Cord tranny.

The car being auction has less than 20,000 original miles.
The vehicle was Preston Tuckers personal car from 1948 to
1955, was then a daily driver of future Arkansas governor
Winthrop Rockefeller, and was in the Francis Ford Coppola’s
1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream”.

When we hear the results of the auction we’ll put them up.
Now we know a little more about this event. Enjoy our Monday
as we’re one step closer to spring.
Comments are always welcome.


You ever wondered?

November 21, 2017

Yes, this post is late again. But a thought stuck in my head
and a little research is sometimes necessary for me to truly
understand a situation.

I got to thinking about pictures of the earliest cars and how
they all had that tall flat glass. Reasoning that this era was
not known for a population of giants why was the top so high?


from the Model T Ford Club of America

Looking into photographs of the era one notices that if people
are in the shot they are wearing hats. In particular, the men
wore top hats. So I wondered if that had anything to do with
the design of the automobile.


from IFCAR

In the thirties the windshields shrunk as top hats were no
longer in fashion. Fedoras, derby’s, and straw hats were the
rage. These hats didn’t need the extra clearance of the top
hats so windshield height lessened.


unkown


by sicnag

Around the 1950s hats were starting to be phased out as a
daily part of ones wardrobe. And the tops again got lower. Some
of the 1960s vehicles appeared to have taller roofs as the
body height of cars was shortened.


U.S. News

Today there are cars around that I honestly don’t know how
anyone over the age of 20 can even get into. Tne new Camaros
come to mind. While the lower body has gotten taller it looks
like a designer chopped the top.

You may have noticed that the most popular hat today is the
baseball cap. That doesn’t need a lot of clearance, and there
are many who don’t wear any type of hat when it’s warmer out.
And in the winter, a basic stocking cap doesn’t add height.

I haven’t found confirmation of this yet but do believe our
cars were designed around our fashion trends at the time they
were built. If I’m wrong I’ll admit and if I’m right it was
worth the time trying to figure it out.

Enjoy our Tuesday. It means Thanksgiving is only 2 days away.
Now I need some coffee and a couple chocolate doughnuts.
Comments are always welcome.


Sunday service

November 5, 2017

Yes, it’s time for another edition concerning cars. In this
one we’ll take a quick walk down memory lane before going back
to the future. This is one concept we hope makes it to
production.

If you’re old enough to remember commercials from the late
1960s this one might start a stroll down memory lane, “Ford
has a better idea”. Wonder how many Mustangs they sold with
that ad campaign? Well, we don’t know if they had a better
idea in 1968, but we’ve heard of one they have now that
caught our eye.

Ford engine designer, Jim Clarke, has designed an engine that
has a turbocharger for each cylinder. Ever since the fuel
economy standard and the emission laws came out designers have
been looking for a way around them. Ford is already in the
game with their EcoBoost engine with its turbocharger.

If you have an EcoBoost powered vehicle, as we do, you know it
has enough power for a long Interstate cruise and sips gas
while doing. Ours has been reliable in the short time we’ve
had it. The engine also doesn’t suffer from turbo lag.

The new engines are being designed with the intent to get more
and cleaner power out of a smaller engine. These won’t have neck
snapping, tire smoking, super car power but more than enough to
get out of its own way.

Back to Mr. Clarke’s new engine. His concept is called
synergistic induction and turbocharging. That’s 10 dollar words
for an engine with two throttle bodies on each cylinder instead
of just one, and a turbo on every cylinder. The turbos will also
be smaller as there are more of them.

For now this is only a concept, but with a CAFE standard that
will force car-makers to produce vehicles that get over 54 mpg
in the foreseeable future, it’s an option to an electric car.

This isn’t a pipe dream. BMW has 3 and 4 cylinder engines with
multi-turbos, Volkswagen has one with electric turbos, and as
mentioned Ford has the EcoBoost. It will be an honest rival to
the electric with great gas mileage, and we hope they run with
it.
Comments are always welcome.


Tremor

June 26, 2017

On the way back home this past weekend we came across a
pickup truck I’d never heard of before that got my
attention. I knew it was an F-150 Ford, yet it was unlike
any I’d seen. When we got closer the side of the bed
proudly proclaimed it was a Tremor F-150.

I also noticed it had “twin turbo-charged” badging which
almost made the low profile tires make sense. It just looked
fast. Turns out Ford has discontinued this series according to
research I’ve done since we got back.

It does have two turbos on a 3.5 liter ecoboost V6 making 365
horsepower and 420 pound feet of torque. That size would equal
about 213.5 cubic inches. With the torque and a set of 4.10
rear gears it would be a stop light bandit. And you could get
it in 2-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive.

Marketed as a truck that would appeal to street truck
enthusiasts looking for V8 power with V6 fuel economy. It does
look like they might bring both the Tremor and the Lightening
as Ford promised 12 new global performance vehicles through
2020.

I looked at the Lightening when it first came out and wasn’t
impressed. Yes it had a V8 and was fast for truck. But it had
as many options as a Cadillac and a stripped down version was
not available. If you want a laugh, go to a dealer and tell
them you want a half-ton pickup with manual transmission but
without air, power steering and power brakes. The look on their
face is something to see.

Enjoy our Monday and have a great one.
Comments are always welcome.