February 1962, Automotive Fleet - Cover Story
MULTI-FUEL PISTON ENGINE
Still another power plant possibility is a piston engine that will burn kerosene, furnace oil or almost any fuel under a newly developed principle developed by Texaco Inc.
Ford has a production agreement with Texaco, which has developed such a multi-fuel engine and has been testing it for the past 10 years. Texaco engineers say the engine is ready for production and claim it will run a standard six cylinder car more than 40 miles on a gallon of kerosene or furnace fuel.
Under the Texaco principle, low grade fuel is shot directly at the spark plug in a swirling manner. This high concentration of the fuel around the ignition plug causes it to burn more completely than the high octane gasoline used in today's engines.
The result is high fuel economy, very little exhaust fume plus the advantage of being able to use almost any fuel and change from one fuel to another.
Engines aren't the only automotive components coming in for attention in the million dollar experimental cars.
Startling innovations in the car of the future may include space-frame body construction using a lattice of lightweight structural members placed where the loads require them and covered by stressed panels. Plastics and other lightweight metals would be incorporated into body design. Transparent steel, already in the development stage, could replace glass in roofs. And color-filled metal used in the body would eliminate sprayed-on surface paint.
SEE SPECIALIZED VEHICLES
If this isn't enough, Andrew A. Kucher, Ford vice president of research and engineering for-sees anticipatory auto-control mechanisms to supplement slow human reactions behind the wheel.
One of the most interesting prospects, according to Kucher, is vehicle specialization.
"Distinct types of autos should be available for diverse purposes ranging from turnpike driving to localized commuting, each with its own advantages of performance, interior space, comfort and ease of handling," Kucher said.
One of latest idea cars is the Dodge Flitewing.
Built at a cost of $125,000 and resembling a present-day production model in both styling and interior features, the Flitewing has "flip-up" windows in place of conventional roll-down windows. When the door is opened, a window-roof canopy automatically cantilevers upward. When the door is closed, the canopy descends and fastens firmly in place.
A new speedometer, which utilizes a series of 13 elliptical windows to indicate speed at a glance in 10-mile-per-hour increments, replaces the traditional speed gauge. Dashboard knobs and dials are replaced with pushbuttons. Radio and heater controls are located in a full-length console. Other non-driving controls such as the light switches and turn indicators are located on the driver's door panel.
All of the experimental or dream cars have one thing in common. They are designed to increase driving pleasure and cut down the amount of maintenance problems. This is good news for fleet users.