Picture this scenario: it’s 2 AM, you’re stuck somewhere you’d rather not be, and you’ve lost your car keys. If you can’t call the Auto Club, what do you do? Hotwire your own car, of course. Wired.com has a wiki article detailing all the things you need to do to get that car running: how to identify which wires to connect, potential pitfalls of newer cars that require an RFID chip in the key, and so on. Of course, hotwiring a car that doesn’t belong to you is illegal, but this is one of those skills-like lockpicking-which just might come in handy in an emergency.
[Photo: D.B. Blas]
The land-speed record for steam-powered locomotion has been holding steady for 88 years at 127mph, but a team of British engineers and stunt drivers will attempt to break it with the Steam Car.
The Steam Car works by burning liquid petroleum fuel at 750° F, which heats 10.5 gallons of water, converting into steam. The steam passes through lagged pipes before it is injected into the 360-hp Curtis turbine at extremely high pressure and speed via compressed air hydraulics. It spins the turbine at over 13,000 rpm, powering the rear wheels, allowing the car to reach speeds higher than 150mph. The car itself is 25 feet long and uses about 1.86 miles of tubing. All of the hot pressurized steam is ejected from the exhaust, which means the car is only capable of running for about 3 minutes, and requires an 8-minute warmup.
The attempt to break the speed record will occur in late August at Bonneville.
We’re big fans of scratch built transportation and got some great news earlier this month: After a long hiatus, thepriceofhistoys.com has returned and is ready to serve up all the news about kit cars and home-built cars that you could want. For those who don’t know, kit cars are sets of car parts that require assembly often lacking drivetrain components, which must be acquired from donor vehicles. Aside from kit cars, home-builds, and the occasional custom job, many of the cars the site discusses are also for sale.
Kit cars can be pretty fun on their own, but many of the builds featured on the site spice it up further by adding varying levels of customization. This Tornado McLaren M6 GTR Replica, for example, uses a 3.5L V8 Rover engine and some custom body work to improve visibility. Another fascinating and rare kit uses a Beetle’s chassis and features a body that looks like a Beetle crossed with a Porche. Of course, none of these are as practical cutting a Geo Metro in half for improved milage, but to car kit builders, practicality holds a very low place on their list of priorities.
Every so often I have to slap myself in the head. I’m surprised that we haven’t covered these things by now. DeWalt’s been selling a LiIon 36 volt battery pack that’s full of the latest A123 cells. These are the same ones that were used in the Killacycle. (I think they’ve got a new batch of cells now).
A while back, [Jeff] sent in a circuit for using multiple packs, leaving the internal BMS in place. [The link is fixed now]
[Robert] sent in a scooter that’s been designed to run these same cells. The custom fabrication and machine work looks fantastic.