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Where did it all start? A horse and buggy. Excellent horse-power huh? People got tired of the nurturing it took to take care of a work horse. People wanted more and as with anything the need for something better fuels the spark for innovation. How about something to do work, but doesn’t need rest? Doesn’t need medication? Doesn’t need someone to shovel up its crap? Take this formula and you get the steam engine, not a crazy engine, but an engine none-the-less. Suddenly the glowing aura of potential is perceivable, right on the horizon. Now we can have multiple horse-power without the care. Still needed someone to shovel though.
Enter, the mother of current automotive technology today, the oil industry. Instead of burning coal, why not find some ways to refine oil to be used as fuel sources to run things on? Who knows, we could have been running advanced versions of steam engines today? (They actually can be made to be fairly efficient and clean using current technology.) Silo Direct Link to the 1918 Stanley 735B Steam Car
Then the internal combustion engine enters the scene the oil companies love this, and a mass marketed engine that is completely dependent on oil is born. Just think, this is awesome for business, these engines need oil for fuel and lubrication. Then all the different designs start flowing. (Off the top of my head and in no chronological order) The single cylinder, then 2, then 4, then 6, then the flathead V8. Now this is where we start to see major horse-power and design improvements. The trusty ol’ inline 6’s, the small block eating slant 6’s,The overhead valve V engine, big blocks, small blocks, hemi’s. There are pancake engines, W engines, rotary engines, v-tecs, and many, many more. (Not to mention all of the different fuel delivery systems!)
The one thing that really makes me scratch my head is the fact that we are just in the last few years getting hybrids, smart-cars, electric cars, and hydrogen cars that are actually worth looking at and driving. I mean, why is it that I can take a full size 2008 Chevrolet Silverado with a 5.3 L vortec engine, put: a cold air intake, a magnaflow exhaust system, and a good edge products programmer, and I can get an average of over 36miles per gallon, with the same horse-power? Why is it that I (not being an automotive engineer) can do this, but you can’t just buy one with those numbers from the manufacturer?
Not to mention brown-gas converters that have been tested on most common engine types that can take, mineral water, and a reaction from current between two electrified plates (similar to a car battery) and create a safe amount of hydrogen gas as a by-product which can make your car run the same on half the amount of fuel. The thing that boggles me is that most people have never even heard of these. You can buy the plans off the internet (not as complicated as it sounds) or I can even get ready to install ones from my performance part supplier. I just find it strange that automotive technology and fuel sources have taken this long to start to veer just slightly away from oil (or as ‘ol Jed calls it “Texas tea”).
At one point we bridged the gap from a horse and buggy to a steam engine, and then to internal combustion. With the technology we have now, we should have much higher mpg’s and horse-power or an extremely viable alternative. It really makes me wonder where we might be now if this technology was steered in a different direction from the start. It’s now been almost 100 years now of improving the same technology using more or less the same fuel source. There are guys in the states who run their own garage refined deep fryer grease to power their small pickups and vw buses. There are guys who run pickups off wood-fire smoke. Just something to think about. Robb Price, owner of WC Kustoms in Windham Centre, Norfolk County, Ontario and sometime automotive writer for The Silo. Search “Robb Price” from our site to read more.