Illegitimi non carborundum
FCBO Gold Member
- May 21, 2013
- Reaction score
- Marcellus, NY
Early-on, it was unclear whether gas, electric or steam would become the dominant type of vehicle. Each had advantages and disadvantages. Electric was easiest to operate but was limited in range and speed, and also had to remain in cities because of lack of charging infrastructure in the countryside. Gasoline was difficult to start and operate (hand-crank start, transmission with clutch due to narrow torque band, manual fuel mixture controls, etc). It had a long theoretical range, as long as you carried fuel with you. There wasn't a gas station on every corner like there is today. Steam was easiest to fuel (kerosene, water), had lots of usable torque, but it had the longest start-up time and was akin to operating a miniature steam locomotive.
Bill Lear (Lear Jets and 8-track tapes) started developing a steam engine Indy car in 1969. I remember reading about it back then.
Lear Steam Car
GM also collaborated on a couple prototypes in 1969.
This Experimental '69 Chevelle Is Powered by Steam
Henry Kaiser had a Kaiser Darrin converted to steam in the 50's.
The last practical production steam car was the Doble. Another fascinating car that was still being produced in 1931.
Doble steam car - Wikipedia
The steam engine fascinate me. I've seen Stanley Steamer engines and they are tiny little things that directly drive the rear end. Simplicity itself with no transmission. They make the same torque at zero RPM that they do at full speed.
I got to ride in this Stanley Steamer a couple years ago. That was on my bucket list!