Blast From the Past - A Steam-Powered Chevy Chevelle


steam-powered-chevelle-1


The recent obsession with alternative fuels is nothing new, and can actually be traced back to America’s first fuel crisis in the early 1970s. Automakers saw this problem coming, but were still poorly prepared to respond to a jump in gas prices at a time when most cars averaged, at best, 10 MPG. This led so some far-out solutions and ideas, almost none of which made it past the pen-and-paper phase.
However, in 1969 GM commissioned Bill Besler to build a steam-powered Chevy Chevelle…and he did, sawing a 305 V8 in half and stuffing a steam setup under the hood. The engine was converted into a double-acting piston valve setup based on the 1920 Dober concept (explained in this video by Jay Leno) but only produced about 55 horsepower, as the small boiler was also stuck under the hood. Besides being underpowered and lacking air conditioning though, the test car rain admirably, racking up some 5,000 test miles before being donated to Harrah’s car museum in Las Vegas.

steam-powered-chevelle-3

The Chevelle SE-124 was built as a cost of between $100,000 and $125,000 at a time when the top-of-the-line Chevelle SS with the 396 V8 could be had for around $5,000. In other words, like many alternatives, it just wasn’t affordable enough to be practical yet. The two-minute warm-up procedure was also inconvenient compared to conventional gas engines, making it a non-starter even if it was affordable.
Not that that has discouraged other automakers or entrepreneurs from attempting to make steam power viable. The Cyclone Power steam engine has made great progress in recent years, and the long-standing speed record for a steam-powered car was finally beaten. As for the Chevelle SE-124? It supposedly still runs, and may even get a bigger boiler for more power and driving range one of these days. It may not technically qualify as a piece of steampunk, but it’d make a great end-of-the-world ride, that much is for sure. There was also a Pontiac Grand Prix called the SE-101 commissioned with a 160 horsepower steam engine, but the setup weighed in at a tremendous 450 pounds heavier than the V8 engine, and with half the horsepower. Suffice to say, it was a non-starter.
As far as the viability of steam power is concerned though, I think it’s better as a conversation starter than a replacement for petrol.

steam-powered-chevelle-2 steam-powered-chevelle-4




Source | Images: KimmelSteam
New car, Used Cars For Sale, Reviews, News, Service, auto insurance, quotes auto insurance, cheap auto insurance, online auto insurance, new auto insurance, west auto insurance, car auto insurance, automotive, automotive cars, automotive sales lead, automotive parts, automotive trucks, automotive accessories, automotive vehicles, tires automotive, tools automotive, performance automotive, automotive repair, car automotive parts, automotive repair tools, automotive parts accessories, gps automotive, automotive jobs, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Benz, BMW, Bugatti, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Citroen, Corvette, DAF, Dacia, Daewoo, Daihatsu, Datsun, De Lorean, Dino, Dodge, Farboud, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hummer, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, KIA, Koenigsegg, Lada, Lamborghini, Lancia, Land Rover, Lexus, Ligier, Lincoln, Lotus, Toyota New car, Used Cars For Sale, Reviews, News, Service, auto insurance, quotes auto insurance, cheap auto insurance, online auto insurance, new auto insurance, west auto insurance, car auto insurance, automotive, automotive cars, automotive sales lead, automotive parts, automotive trucks, automotive accessories, automotive vehicles, tires automotive, tools automotive, performance automotive, automotive repair, car automotive parts, automotive repair tools, automotive parts accessories, gps automotive, automotive jobs, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Benz, BMW, Bugatti, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Citroen, Corvette, DAF, Dacia, Daewoo, Daihatsu, Datsun, De Lorean, Dino, Dodge, Farboud, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hummer, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, KIA, Koenigsegg, Lada, Lamborghini, Lancia, Land Rover, Lexus, Ligier, Lincoln, Lotus, Toyota