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Hey, Who Needs a Hybrid? Lark Gets 97 M.P.G.

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  • Hey, Who Needs a Hybrid? Lark Gets 97 M.P.G.

    From the May 4, 1959 edition of Automotive News






    Esau, an automotive engineer for Standard Oil Co. (Indiana), drove the distance in what was once a six-cylinder Studebaker Lark. The purpose of the test was to see just how far an economy car could go on a gallon of gas if all the fuel had to do was power the engine to drive the wheels.

    Every power robbing, comfort-giving and styling accessory and safety device was stripped from the Lark. Removed were the generator, water pump, fan and belt, radiator, headlights, shock absorbers, door and window handles, hubcaps, chrome grille, seat cushions, sun visors, and windshield wipers.

    Only the economy jet on the regular carburetor was used. The driveshaft was realigned to run straight to the rear axle. Only high gear was used with freewheeling locked in.

    Friction drag was cut by sealing the door and window cracks and by blocking the radiator opening. Tires were shaved and inflated to 80 pounds and speed was kept between 15 and 35 m.p.h.


    Eric DeRosa


    \'63 R2 Lark
    \'60 Lark Convertible

  • #2
    How could the car go 97 miles without a radiator? BP
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
      How could the car go 97 miles without a radiator? BP
      Maybe they put air cooling fins on the "flat"head!
      Mark Hayden
      '66 Commander
      Zone Coordinator
      Pacific Can-Am Zone

      Comment


      • #4
        At 15 to 35 mph, we're talking about 3 hours of running with no coolant. I gotta call BS on this one. You couldn't even idle the engine for 3 hours let alone start moving a car from a standing start in high gear and maintain any kind of speed. Realign the driveshaft to run straight to the rear axle? So they took the angle down by lowering the rear, but how did they get rid of the off center left and right? Move the engine sideways or shove the axle out the driver's side? Probably made interesting copy, but obviously never duplicated.
        Jim
        Often in error, never in doubt
        http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

        ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

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        • #5
          I'm betting he used some sort of auxiliary method for electrical power and water pumping. Air cooling a water cooled engine would be highly impractical. The radiator could easily be moved to the trunk area and vented. A lot of hotrodders use this method today to maintain the Gasser or Drag Car look on their Rods. Easier to streamline the body that way also.
          sals54

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          • #6
            It's called hyper-mileing.....you get up to speed, and shut the engine off in nuetral, and coast down to a few mph, restart and do it all over. The engine only runs for a few seconds at a time.
            Bez Auto Alchemy
            573-318-8948
            http://bezautoalchemy.com


            "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

            Comment


            • #7
              That's what I thought too, Brad, but they specifically said no freewheeling, so if the engine was shut off it would actually hurt the mileage.
              Jim
              Often in error, never in doubt
              http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

              ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                It says freewheeling locked in??? (what does that mean)?
                Bez Auto Alchemy
                573-318-8948
                http://bezautoalchemy.com


                "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

                Comment


                • #9
                  The freewheeling locked in means they have the overdrive locked into freewheeling all the time. this way, anytime you lift your foot off the accelerator, the engine is not "braking" against the trans. Its like automatically going into neutral. It is indeed another gas saver.
                  sals54

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                  • #10
                    If they used the term freewheeling restricted to the overdrive function, they certainly intentially mislead their readers who would interpet the term to mean no coasting downhill, etc. In that case, My F350 gets 100 miles per gallon coming down the Great Divide, fully loaded by their rules. I once used the starter to make the last mile to the gas exit once in my MG Midget. They don't rule out wind-aided either. Again, BS
                    Jim
                    Often in error, never in doubt
                    http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

                    ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Story is a total lie, not possible to get that mpg with the way described

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