Hi folks -- currently working on the 1970s and found this interesting Youtube video. Below are some notes taken from The December 1970 Road & Track on the event. I will take this excerpt and re-write also using other sources in my text. A very interesting episode that I lived through but was totally unaware of, like much of the 1970s!
of the Future,” Road & Track,
December 1970, 26-31.
form 33 colleges and high schools gathered recently for the Clean Air Car Race.
the 1975 emission standards (as measured by 1970 test procedures), entered,
crewed and maintained by teams of students in good standing. Entrants could
have as much outside help as they could muster, an open door for existing
commercial projects to muscle in that was
used but not abused, and a fine chance for the collegiate to gain experience at
Massachusetts and California Institutes of Technology, this ambitious project
benefitted from their youthful enthusiasm and they had every bit as
mind-stretching an experience as did the
competitors. For what they were running, with only the 1968 Great Ele tric Car
Race as a precedent, was a coast to coast international rally with an array of
extraordinary special stages.
post-grad work at Cornell, was trying to revive an electric car event,
survivors of the losing team, Dave Star and Bill Carson, got MIT to issue a
broader challenge in October 1969 to students everywhere, hoping to create what
their faculty advisor Richard Thornton called a “really big event with maybe a
dozen entries,” In fact, 92 preliminary entries were received. The event soon
gained itself a co-sponsor, Caltech, and by springtime Rippel’s smaller event
Administration (NAPCA) the race was made to order to justify publically (as
required by law) the feasibility of the stringent regulations proposed for 1975
and 1980. Ninety percent of NAPCA’s quarter-million dollar (!) budget for CACR
went for photography.
even a rental outfit. General Motors led the list with a free Chevelle and
$2000 to each of 20 entrants, judiciously leaving to CACR the task of doling them
out among 35 aspirants. American Motors dealers gave Javelins, Hornets, and
Gremlins, and American Oil was pleased to assure supplies of lead-free Amoco
high-test along the route. Many gas (natural or LPG) companies across the continent
offered varying degrees of support and for the electric cars some three dozen
utilities hooked up a total of 78 charging stations, thus creating the first
nationwide electric highway (which may be permanent).
happening. Some called it the children’s crusade or Woodstock on Wheels.
Sociologically, it was a study in self-government of the students by the
students and by and large for the students. Technically, CACR can be seen as a
Glidden Tour of the future….But just as various details on the antiques of 70
years ago can be seen in hindsight to have been pointing towards the present,
so will we be able to look back at CACR 1970 and recognize the beginnings of a
very large change in our automotive habits.
Cambridge, MA to Toronto
Toronto to Detroit
Clean Air Car Race. From a raffish El Camino and a customized bug-eye Sprite
featuring Candy-apple read paint jobs and LPG conversions to a one-off
fiberglass coupe form Toronto featuring three modes of operation to bent-metal
pure electric ugly from Georgia Tech (alas, the name Rambling Wreck had been
usurped buy a perfectly presentable Ford running on compressed natural gas).
why they selected it and how they managed to finance, assemble and test it.
Most numerous by far were conventional internal combustion engines running on
gaseous fuels LPG and CNG
teams chose unleaded gasoline to get a head start on the particulate emissions,
but Ethyl Corp. sponsored the Louisiana State entry, UCLA ran a turbocharged
Daihatsu 138 cu-in diesel in a Mustang and the Stanford Gremlin which won the
class ran on Methyl alcohol.
recirculation of exhaust gases into the carb to reduce peak temperatures and
therefore cut NOX (ti’s as of the atmosphere the cylinders see contains less
oxygen); catalytic reactors, sometimes several of them, sometimes wrapped in
foil and asbestos to speed their warm up; and even the old stand-by of carnival
barkers, water injection. Here it was to cut temperatures and NOX, not to give
you “that smooth surge of power you get on a rainy night.” And a more recent
old stand-by air injection into a thermal reactor for finishing off the HC and
able to beat the ’75 regulations, Wayne State was able to get an unofficial
rerun to prove they could too. Their official run was spoiled by not having
pushed in the choke soon after making the cold start at the critical Detroit
test. The not-for-points results of the retest showed, astonishingly, that they
could even meet the ’80 limits. The Car? A ’71 Capri with its 1600 cc four
replaced by a 302 cu-in V-8 and a C-4 automatic transmission (automatics have
fewer transients and ear easier to control for emissions).
Germany’s Competition Dept., while tips on shoehorning in the V-8 came from
Ford of South Africa – it meant fiddling with pulley drives and creasing the
pan. …Less valve overlap (22 degrees) cut hot residual gases, in turn
permitting external (therefore cooler) recycling of as much as 17% of the
exhaust gases, all this to cut NOX. Hardened valve eats gave longer life and
the combustion chambers were trimmed of projections and contoured to match the
head gasket, thus eliminating hot spots and those overcooled nooks and crannies
that can extinguish the flame to make HC and CO. A restriction in the vacuum
line to the distributor slowed the latter’s transient advances and retarded
responses to throttle movements….A big slow turning engine was important part
of the story but so was a carefully tailored intake system which was designed
to keep the air/fuel ratio between a tight 14.5 and 15 to one to get the
greatest effectiveness from the four reactors. This was done by controlling the
temperature and therefore density of both air and fuel. Also, the 2-barrel carb
was fitted with a dual power valve to isolate the fuel metering of the two
bores and cut bore-to bore imbalances in the air/fuel ratio.
included two carburetor engineers who are full-time at Ford and a part-time at
graduate level at Wayne. Because the panel of five judges were so impressed
with Wayne’s entry matching the 1980s standards (even if unofficially) as well
as with its practicality on a large scale, its cost, safety, durability,
availability and producibility, they awarded Wayne State the overall prize
based on the entry’s degree of innovation, measure of improvement and student
involvement, and quite without regard to the rally score itself. The matter of
student involvement led to some sharp questioning by the press but it turns out
that the team had worked out their won ideas, spurning some from upper echelons
in the corporate jungle.
JP4/Chevy C 10
-- Worcester and
Univ. of Toronto
LPG 3 mode/Special