Wayback Machine 1933: "Aeromodding" a Model T


Getting better efficiency out of a car through good aerodynamics is certainly not a new idea; Bucky Fuller did it in the Dymaxion car and Chrysler did it with the Airflow. However before either of them, Harry Stevinson of Bashaw, Alberta took a junked model T Ford (top speed 45 MPH), "aeromodded" it and got it to go 70 MPH. Darin Cosgrove of Ecomodder tells us that fuel economy also went from 25 miles per gallon to 38 mpg. Darin continues:



But the improvements to the car's performance didn't come exclusively from better aerodynamics. Harry also made a fundamental change to the driveline to squeeze every last bit from the Ford engine's 20 horsepower.

"He did it by mounting a Chevrolet transmission inline - backwards - after the original Ford unit. This gave him 7 forward gears, and 5 reverse. Of course not all the gear combinations would have been practical or even usable, but with some experience and forethought, the driver could pick the best one for the job.

Stopping the whole works was also done using the transmission's service (shaft) brake and gears rather than the stock Model T's rear drum brakes. Their brake shoes tended to get worn down quickly anyway in the prairie dust & mud."


Harry went on to become an engineer with the National Research Council and is credited with inventing the "Crash Position Indicator" (CPI) - one of the first reliable aircraft emergency beacons.



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