About alternate power sources for hot rods, I mean. Like, there is an end to the rainbow, you know, and it doesn’t include the automotive engine as we know it today. And even today’s engine/trans/diff equation is far afield from what I was introduced to back in the l930s. Back then, gasoline was under l0 cents a gallon, my stepdad knew where there were plenty of pipeline drips so we didn’t even pay for gas around our eastern Oklahoma digs, and for us, l00 mph was a phenomenal speed our old T’s and As never knew. And the only hard surface road was a cobblestone main street in town and the cement road between Oklahoma City and Tulsa (and beyond).
Yet, the engines we had then are basically the same as we use now, in the space age. As hot rodders we have continued to refine our old engineering, but there is a brave new frontier emerging, a place where hot rodders should be first and foremost in utilization. True, some of it is merely carryon, some is adaptation, but some is remarkably innovative. Let’s get on board.
A long time back, while I was at Hot Rod magazine, I got a story from Washington about a roadster using a jet turbine engine. At about the same time there was a lot of hype coming from Chrysler about their possible use of turbines in production cars (they made a few and had them on the road for a year of so for testing) Lots of fun to drive.
Fast forward to now. Move your compute mouse to Google and punch in Info@cyclonepower.com. Here we have an ancient power idea coupled to one of more recent venture. Steam and rotary. It looks really interesting, and at least this concept is to the raising capital stage.
You’ll note that the Rankine rotary radial engine, which was developed into the Wankel type engine, supplies a very smooth transition of linear to crankshaft rotation. Whether the Wankel problem of seals has been addressed I don’t know. Don’t care, am more interested in the idea of a full recovery steam system. To me, this makes the current electric schemes old timey.
Still, the electric drive makes real sense, especially when there is a small internal combustion engine producing the electricity in some manner. I think there is real possibility for a hot rod to be built as an electric, especially using a donor such as Toyota.
Already, Australia roads are awash with what they call Gas powered cars, what in America would be called LPG powered vehicles. In OZ, the problem of fuel distribution was faced years ago so that now down under rodders simply equip their supercharged big block guzzler with LPG (which is called gas as versus Petrol which we call gas). Australia has a world supply of natural gas, now they have it available at virtually every fuel stop, and it comes in at about half price of petrol (which equals about 6.50 a gallon US). For years, AK Miller touted propane as car fuel, but the large oil companies simply did not want to make the investment that production and delivery would require.
Then there is Hydrogen as a fuel. It is possible, even highly desireable, but again it is a technology that will require an investment that is staggering.
Whatever, here is the area where astute hot rodders should be dancing, perhaps at first simply for race cars (already all this is showing at Bonneville), and then transferred to the streets of the world.
Then, you simply put in your mega-sound system of blown fuel burning V8s and hook the amps to the gas/steam/whatever pedal….