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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Priceless.


An old 'acquaintance' rediscovered.


http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/351903_needle20.html


Hybrids, meet your rival -- it gets 376.59 mpg


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Last updated 9:05 a.m. PT

By MIKE LEWIS

P-I REPORTER


Finally something to wipe the smug off you hybrid owners, you high-mileage acolytes, you global-cooling zealots who wash your Priuses (Prii?) with graywater while wearing reclaimed plastic fleece and hemp undies. <that right there explains many things >
Don't choke on your organic soy-double-decaf-fair-trade-carbon-neutral macchiato, < uh uh, there's the rest of it > but how does 376.59 miles per gallon sound? Makes your Honda Civic hybrid look Hummeresque, doesn't it
Does this man understand his 'local market' or what ?

That number doesn't come from some manta ray-shaped, wind tunnel-vetted carbon fiber space car. No, it's from a chop-top, steel-frame 1959 Opel T-1 (think melting jelly bean, but uglier). And the record was set in 1973 in a contest sponsored by Shell Oil Co.

Evan McMullen of Bellevue recently rediscovered the souped-down 1959 Opel T-1 that achieved 376.59 miles per gallon in a 1973 contest. (Photo by Cosmopolitan Motors) Yes, that Shell Oil, better known now as Royal Dutch Shell.

Evan McMullen, owner of Seattle-based Cosmopolitan Motors, rediscovered the Guinness world-record-setting but forgotten car in Florida.

The buzz of the automotive engineering circles in the early 1970s and winner of the Wood River Competition for the planet's top mileage car, the little Opel had been bought by the France family, owners of NASCAR, and gifted to the museum at Talladega raceway. < This is why this car survived >

And there it sat, mostly in anonymity, until McMullen, 45, heard about it and made his move. He now owns the car and hopes to sell it, maybe to a technological museum at an auction in September in Indiana.

He has a few questions about the car, about its worth mainly, but the provenance seems genuine. Guinness listed it in its 1975 record book. Technological journals from the era waxed about the Opel's simple but effective modifications and engineering.

But McMullen's biggest question is why? Why didn't this technology find its way into the mainstream? Why did the car sit unremarked, unremembered for so long?


The team that built the top mileage car in 1973 narrowed the Opel's rear axle and used super-hard low-friction tires and a chain drive to save weight. (Photo by Cosmopolitan Motors)

"If this is something they could do back in the 1970s, what happened?" he asked, poring over paperwork, including patents, for the car.

"Certainly in 34 years we could do something to make this work."
Especially with gas climbing and then bivouacking above $3 a gallon. Especially when its relatively ancient technology bettered the best hybrid mileage by a 6-1 ratio.

To be sure, the Opel isn't much on looks, luxury or performance. The team that built it stripped the interior of everything but a seat, chopped the top to lower its wind resistance. They narrowed the rear axle, used super-hard low-friction tires and a chain drive to save weight.


To achieve 376.59 miles per gallon, the Opel's interior was stripped of everything but a seat, and the top was chopped to lower its wind resistance. (Photo by Cosmopolitan Motors)

The mileage from the mostly stock four-cylinder came from heating and insulating the fuel line so the gas entered the engine as lean vapor. Then they drove the car on a closed course at a steady 30 mph.

So some of that wouldn't work in the street, McMullen concedes. But if the car were made more drivable and lost 200 mpg -- it still would get 176 mpg.

"Here's a car that was 20 years old at the time of the contest that was the project of a couple of guys in a garage," he said. "You can't tell me we can't do better than this with cars today."

So McMullen wants to see who wants the car. < That may get interesting >

And he hopes there's something to be learned about the future while looking at the past, in an era when even the oil companies sometimes responded to OPEC fuel crises by promoting conservation.

< Now, a contender for quote of the week >

"They tell us hybrids are the answer," he said. "I think the answer, at least part of it, is right here."
I think Smokey Riccardo is smiling somewhere.
 

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Re: Watch me Rocky, while I pull a 376.59 mpg '59 Opel outta my hat

Ford and GM....

GET ON IT!!!!!!!! MOVE!!!!
 

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Whoa!

The mileage from the mostly stock four-cylinder came from heating and insulating the fuel line so the gas entered the engine as lean vapor. Then they drove the car on a closed course at a steady 30 mph
I don't see why this wont work for a modern car..
 

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Whoa!



I don't see why this wont work for a modern car..

Has anyone tested a modern car by driving it at a steady 30mph? I don't think it would get 376mpg because of the weight, but if you can get 30+ mpg at a steady rate of 60mph, then there are significant saving to be had by slowing down to 30mph.
 

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This sounds like one of those 100+ mpg vapor carburetors that the conspiracy theorists say the oil companies and automakers bought the patents for so no one could produce the technology (not that I believe that). From what I've read on the internet, these carburetors supposedly provide high fuel economy by leaning out the mixture, but they only work well at a low load and a constant speed.

Which brings me to my next point, started by a previous poster. At 30 mph, the aerodynamic drag on a vehicle is 1/4 of what it is at 60 mph, and rolling resistance drag is probably around 1/2 of what it is at 60 mph, so much of the improved fuel economy is from going slow.

Also, with respect to the chain drive and hard tires, this is similar to the SAE Supermileage vehicles, which are glorified bicycles with small engines. These vehicles can get over 1000mpg.

So, if you want to drive a constant 30 mph, sit on a plastic seat, carry no passengers or cargo, and have crappy braking and handling due to a very narrow rear axle with hard tires, you can get 376.59 mpg.
 

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So, if you want to drive a constant 30 mph, sit on a plastic seat, carry no passengers or cargo, and have crappy braking and handling due to a very narrow rear axle with hard tires, you can get 376.59 mpg.
Better than a motorcycle going 30, but the point is valid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
This sounds like one of those 100+ mpg vapor carburetors that the conspiracy theorists say the oil companies and automakers bought the patents for so no one could produce the technology (not that I believe that). From what I've read on the internet, these carburetors supposedly provide high fuel economy by leaning out the mixture, but they only work well at a low load and a constant speed.

Which brings me to my next point, started by a previous poster. At 30 mph, the aerodynamic drag on a vehicle is 1/4 of what it is at 60 mph, and rolling resistance drag is probably around 1/2 of what it is at 60 mph, so much of the improved fuel economy is from going slow.

Also, with respect to the chain drive and hard tires, this is similar to the SAE Supermileage vehicles, which are glorified bicycles with small engines. These vehicles can get over 1000mpg.

So, if you want to drive a constant 30 mph, sit on a plastic seat, carry no passengers or cargo, and have crappy braking and handling due to a very narrow rear axle with hard tires, you can get 376.59 mpg.
Kinda' misses the point a bit

Read the details.

It won in a legitimate, Shell organised and administered contest.

Then somehow Bill French ends up with it.

Consider the time period and what was not on the car ie what was not used - not even available.

This is what is special about this very one ; the people who don't believe in the FE aspects of 'vapor' or better yet vapor injection can't dismiss this vehicle.

Whats really, really, special is it still exists.

Yes, most vapor kits are a hoax of one type or another.

Make your own.

Then 'adjust' the fuel chemistry.

Btw, a slant six is or was a great place to start cheap.

Lots of useable 'advantages'.

BTW, in regards to the Opel .....a biggie we almost forgot.

COST.
 

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If a more normally equiped car achieved even 25% of that figure, it would be a genuine industry breakthrough...and just think how much engines, aerodynamics, etc. have advanced since this was cobbled together. To dismiss it altogether out of hand could be premature to say the least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
If a more normally equiped car achieved even 25% of that figure, it would be a genuine industry breakthrough...and just think how much engines, aerodynamics, etc. have advanced since this was cobbled together. To dismiss it altogether out of hand could be premature to say the least.
In that timeframe we had plenty of on the road product pulling down 10 - 16 MPG.

You got that 25% right, hell, 15 - 20% looks good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
my wife drives a camry hybrid...what a waste of money....can i buy this opel? LOL
Do you remember the Vauxhall/ Opel eco speedster ?

Sorta' some of the same ideas - good looker too in a modern kinda' way.

Maybe aluminum ( versuses carbon fibre ) would work now.
 

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Uhhg... look at the plastic on the seat, and wheres the pushbutton start?


Really though, the seat looks like the ones from my elementary school days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Why do you gotta call me out?
Well, if you remember.................... reaching in.............. Bullwinkle never new exactly what was coming out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Whoa!

I don't see why this wont work for a modern car..
Even better.

Also 'modern' opens up some other possibilities.

In a sense, part of the improvement here has already been captured by the march of 'conventional' technology.
 
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