Steam powered what?

April 7, 2015

Did you know that the first police cars in Boston
were steam powered? The first police vehicle in the
city was a 1903 Stanley Steamer. These steamers
were faster than their gas powered counterparts,
but only held together for about 7,000 miles.

Why are we bringing up steam powered police cars?
Glad you asked. It ties into a story about how
California decided to fund a trial of steam powered
law enforcement vehicles to offset pollution.

What could go wrong with that idea? Would you
believe just about everything. Oh, did we mention
this happened in 1969? Anyway, the California
legislature funded a trial of steam powered police
cruisers and even found two companies who take on
the task of converting gas burning police cars to
the more environmentally friendly steam power.

1

The Dodge Polara was chosen as it was popular
model in law enforcement at the time along with an
Olds Delta 88. The Olds was sent to Thermodymanic
Systems for conversion and the Polara went to
William P. Lear’s company.

Neither vehicle was ever seen again. The group
assigned the Olds raised the white flag almost
before they started and the company working on the
Dodge soon followed. Of course when this happened
the plans for steam powered buses also went up
in smoke.

We can’t pretend to guess if the government even
thought this one out before passing it. A heat
source had to be available to make steam and
propane was being seriously looked at as a source.
But the government wanted no pollution and the
project was finally officially ended.

And that is yet another reason some people scream
in fear when they hear the words “I’m from the
government and I want to help”.
Comments are always welcome.


Not what you think

March 26, 2015

1963_427

Some people will look at this picture and see a
409 cubic inch Chevrolet engine. In this case those
people would be wrong.

The engine shown is a 1963 Z-11 427. This RPO
option would cost you $1,240 over the cost of a new
Impala. What did you get for that? You got a 427
cubic inch engine that produced a rated 430 hp
yet actually made 480-525 hp!

You also got aluminum hood, front fenders, front
and rear bumpers, fan shroud, and more that
dropped 300 pounds off the weight of your Impala.
Most were ordered with the heater delete option
to save weight.

There were metallic brake shoes and special
backing plates with venting screens and air scoops
for cooling, a T-10 4-speed, and a a bullet proof
posi rear end with 4:11 gears.

The RPO optioned Impala would set you back a total
of a little more than $4,000 and that didn’t
include destination charges, taxes, plates, etc.

This option was made for drag racing, but rumor is
that around 20 1962 Impala’s were sold COPO with
this engine also. That means they made it to the
dealer’s lot. Now the kicker, only 57 of these
Impala’s were produced and only 7 are believed to
survive today.

And there you have the story of this small piece
of automotive history. For those who don’t remember
or weren’t around, here’s a little musical history
from 1963.

Now we have to pop back to the present lest we get
lost in 60s again.
Comments are always welcome.


Keep on trucking

March 21, 2015

Sometimes something catches our eye and usually
that something has wheels and an engine. This is
no exception to that rule.

People either love or hate WalMart. We find it
good exercise to walk the acres of aisles while
trying to find something we don’t really need.
But WalMart has another side you may not know
about.

WAVE, or WalMart Advanced Vehicle Experience, is
the truck design end of the company that looks to
improve efficiency, lower emissions, and thus
have an impact of their bottom line.

As the video shows, the aerodynamic truck cab has
a center mounted steering wheel with LCD screens
on both sides instead of gauges. The power-train
is a Capstone micro-turbine and an electric motor.

Even the trailer is different as it made of carbon
fiber. The single piece 53 foot sides are the
largest carbon fiber pieces ever manufactured. But
enough of our take on it, Watch the video and judge
for yourself.

Since we’re talking about trucks anyway we’ll add
a couple more to the mix. Even if these never hit
the road they are fun to look at. And there are
some out there that look stranger. Check out the
following and see for yourself.

In 1992, the Mercedes EXT 92 debuted at an
exhibition in Hanover. All these years later and it
still looks like something from the future.

So we wonder if we will see WalMart’s version, or
one of the other versions, in our lifetime actually
cruise the concrete ribbons. That would be
something.
Comments are always welcome.


Future cars

March 5, 2015

Since we haven’t talked cars in a few hours it is
time to share some videos of concept cars. A few
may even make it to production while others are too
far out into the future to predict. You can make
your own decisions.

If the 2016 Chevy Malibu SS looks anything like
the concept, we’re sold.

Another car that hope looks as good as the concept
version is Buick Grand National GNX.

Not a car, but have you heard that Ford is going
back to building bicycles? Here in the United
States the bicycles will be powered by the pedals
and a 200w electric motor.

A little farther into the future, Apple is saying
it will release the ICAR by 2020. Rumors have been
all over the map from it being a driver-less vehicle
to getting a rebate for a cell phone contract. Time
will tell.

What do think our cars will look like by 2030? We
don’t pretend to know, this but this video contains
some concepts that may just make the cut.

And what about tires? In 20 years, Hankook thinks
our tires could look something like this. These
look so wild they may just work!

You should now be prepared to buy a car, or a
bicycle, in the future. Don’t thank us, we’re more
than happy to share.
Comments are always welcome.


Helpful hints and oddballs

March 2, 2015

Although we are supposed to get more snow, with
freezing rain, tonight we think of summer. Since we
have central air at our place keeping cool isn’t a
problem in the summer months.

But if you don’t, or you are looking for a cheap
way to cool your garage, here is a video that will
show you how to make an air conditioner for $8. It
may not be the fanciest but it will cool you off.

Are you looking for a new car but don’t know which
models come with a manual transmission? there may
be more choices than you think. The people at
OPPOSITELOCK can help with that.

What if a car could be made that didn’t need
refueling for 100 years? Believe it or not it may
be in our future. Powered by a radioactive metal
called Thorium, and just 8 grams of Thorium could
power the car for 100 years!

For something a little different, how about a 48
cylinder Kawasaki making noise?

Since we’re on a Kawasaki kick, how about a snow
blower powered by a Ninja 900cc engine? Seems like
it works.

We’ll end with some music. This one from 1965 and
one you probably haven’t heard in a while.

So now you know how to build an air conditioner,
get a new car with a stick, a little about the
possible future of our transportation, seen a few
different motorcycle engines, and heard an old
song. We need a pizza.
Comments are always welcome.


Strange lights

February 24, 2015

Ever heard of organic light-emitting diodes (OLED)?
Or of it being used in the automotive industry?
I hadn’t either until now. So, what is OLED?

The scientific version goes like this: An organic
light-emitting diode (OLED) is a light-emitting
diode (LED) in which the emissive electroluminescent
layer is a film of organic compound which emits light
in response to an electric current. This layer of
organic semiconductor is situated between two
electrodes; typically, at least one of these
electrodes is transparent. OLEDs are used to create
digital displays in devices such as television
screens, computer monitors, portable systems such
as mobile phones, handheld game consoles and PDAs.

Car nuts, like myself, simply that to: it’s neat!
Just look at the video to see what these critters
can do on an Audi.

Think about it; you could scare drunks sober,
cause other drivers to watch your rear end instead
of the road, and be a hero to your kids if these
things go into production cars. At least for a
little while until they became commonplace.
Comments are always welcome.


Here we go

February 23, 2015

When we cruise the information highway we like to
share the best of what we find. We’d like to, but
you have to settle for these.

We’ve all seen the Moms in minivans dropping their
kids off at school, but have you even seen Mom do
that in a 550 horsepower minivan? Well watch and
learn. And remember, don’t try this at home.

We find it a little hard to swallow that this is
actually a Famous Footwear commercial even with all
the graphics on the vehicle. Stranger ones have
been seen though.

For something a little more sedate, check out this
commercial that has a housewife drooling over the
features on the 1956 Ford. Notice the car even had
the optional, for that year, seat belts.

Now let’s go head first into the future. What
is designed to do what a helicopter does, but cost
less? Hint: it combines the simplicity of a
motorcycle with the freedom of a helicopter. Still
don’t know? It’s the Hoverbike!

And one about the animal kingdom. A friend shared
this one that got us thinking about how some
critters would seek revenge. No crocodiles were
harmed in the filming of this video.

These are a few of our favorite things this
Monday.
Comments are always welcome.


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