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Steam-Powered Car Breaks Century-Old Speed Record

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the we-say-horsepower-but-not-buggywhip-power dept.

Transportation 187

mcgrew writes "New Scientist reports that a steam-powered car has broken the 1906 record of 204 km/hr (127 mph) for the fastest steam-powered automobile, the Stanley Steamer. The Inspiration made a top speed of 225 kilometres per hour (140 miles per hour) on August 26. 'The car's engine burns liquid petroleum gas to heat water in 12 suitcase-sized boilers, creating steam heated to 400C. The steam then drives a two-stage turbine that spins at 13,000 revolutions per minute to power its wheels.The FIA requires two 1.6-km-long runs to be performed in opposite directions — to cancel out any effect from wind — within 60 minutes.'"

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187 comments

All oficial times (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209131)

are from two runs of the same vehicle.
They don't ahve to be opposite directions.

Re:All oficial times (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209357)

The Stanley Steamer record is vastly more impressive. Tires, brakes, and suspension in 1906 were primitive, materials were not nearly as reliable, and design was done on a drawing board.

"That smashes the previous official record of 204 km/hr (127 mph) set in 1906 by Fred Marriott of the US in a modified version of the then-popular steam car known as the Stanley Steamer."

Sorry, but only going thirteen (13) miles an hour faster than a record more than a _century_ old is shit. He might have done better by using a replica Stanley engine made from modern materials (to allow heat increase without a boiler explosion) instead.

Re:All oficial times (5, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209591)

If it was that easy, it would have been broken before now. You belittle the achievement without understanding the challenges involved.

Another thing to consider is that during speed runs, brakes, and suspension are not really a factor. The car is driven in a straight line at maximum speed. It's not taken on a touring expedition to test is comfort and handling performance. The tires need only be capable of not blowing at high speeds.

Re:All oficial times (4, Insightful)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209611)

Is there really anything scientific or technological that we cant do vastly better now that 1906? Its like the captain of the senior football team boasting about stealing lunch money from a 7th grader.

Re:All oficial times (3, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209679)

Is there really anything scientific or technological that we cant do vastly better now that 1906? Its like the captain of the senior football team boasting about stealing lunch money from a 7th grader.

In the US? yeah I'd say we can't do 7th grade math any better without using some sort of damn dirty machine...

Re:All oficial times (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210533)

In 1906 you'd be lucky to be able to get the chance at knowing how to do 7th grade math. Count yourself lucky that you can have a machine assist you now.

Re:All oficial times (2, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209931)

Is there really anything scientific or technological that we cant do vastly better now that 1906?

My guess is yes, but I can't come up with a good example at the moment.

Here's an unbroken 1960's land speed record set by one guy with very little money working in his garage:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Munro [wikipedia.org]

Very fun flick too, if you like hackers.

Re:All oficial times (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29211027)

The only remaining record listed there is fastest speed for an Indian motorcycle, and that's just a little bit silly. Might as well have a list of records for fastest pink vehicle.

I'm not scoffing what he did, but his class record of 183.586 miles/hour has been broken at least 18 times, and a quick glean at the certified LSR records [scta-bni.org] puts the new record in that class at 240.913 miles/hour, which is 31% faster.

Re:All oficial times (2, Interesting)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210631)

Have steam engines really evolved that much since 1906? I mean materials science is better but I doubt (and I could be wrong) that we've pumped much R&D effort/funds into small steam engine design over the last 100 years. Anyone know?

Re:All oficial times (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210689)

Quite a bit. Nuclear powered navel ships use steam engines in the exact same manner as coal-fired ships.

Re:All oficial times (3, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210879)

Um, no, they don't. Coal-fired ships generated steam to drive a reciprocating piston engine. Nuclear powered ships use their superheated steam to drive turbines.

Also, "naval", unless the ships you're referring to are in fact associated with belly buttons.

Untrue (4, Informative)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 4 years ago | (#29211317)

In 1905, the British Admiralty announced all new ships of the line would be turbine driven.

Babcock & Wilcox built coal fired boilers through the 50's - most of these driving turbines.

By the time of the Stanley record, piston steam was on it's way out for capital ships

Now, some WWII naval ships used piston steam driven pumps for damage control, but it sounds like you're talking about main propulsion.

Re:All oficial times (3, Informative)

dwater (72834) | more than 4 years ago | (#29211375)

> Coal-fired ships generated steam to drive a reciprocating piston engine

References?

Here's one to the contrary :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbinia [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_turbine#Marine_propulsion [wikipedia.org]

Also from that latter article:

"Steam turbine locomotives were also tested, but with limited success."

which, I think, is what you're talking about.

Re:All oficial times (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210539)

"If it was that easy, it would have been broken before now. "

What supports that asserted conclusion?

There wasn't much of a steam car enthusiast community after they went out of popular use. Hot rodding the simple petrol engines of the time was easy (carbs, manifolds, cams, compression, OHV conversions) and there were plenty of them. If you blew an engine, more were available cheap or free. Steam cars even at their height of popularity were a niche market.

The Model T Ford, the flathead Ford, the small block Chevrolet, and the Volkswagen flat four were widely raced because they were aeasily vailable, had (and still do, Model T included!) strong general aftermarket support, and had a big enough user base to support a wide variety of companies making speed parts.

Suspension not a factor? (1)

CheddarHead (811916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210785)

You pretty quickly dismiss the suspension as not being a factor. That lake bed isn't exactly as smooth as a billiards table. If you want to keep control of the car and keep going in a straight line, a decent suspension is a good thing to have when your going over 100mph.

Re:All oficial times (3, Insightful)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209847)

Tires, brakes, and suspension may have been primitive, but in 1906, steam propulsion was a mature, well-understood technology.

Re:All oficial times (1)

PipingSnail (1112161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210123)

This is grossly ignorant. Know anything about aerodynamics? About fluid flow (air is a fluid) and lamina flow vs turbulent flow? Consider that bicycles are reasonably easy to cycle until you hit (average per person) 12 mph (Imperial miles, the ones that count) and above that it gets much harder. Magnify that to the speeds involved with this particular event. I doubt very much that just increasing by 13mph is that easy. Its almost certainly a Velocity^2 relationship or worse (almost certainly due to the problems with drive train and steam, let alone aero which I've alluded to). Given that the US record is probably in US mph and the current record will be in Imperial mph (given that its a UK university that has done it), this is a high speed acheivement, but htne again, if the FIA ratify it, both records will have been recorded in Imperial mph. Oh, and finally, the correct way to spell tyres, is with a 'y'.

Re:All oficial times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210479)

The 'Imperial mile'?

You're a little confused, sounds like to me.

Re:All oficial times (1)

Heed00 (1473203) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210291)

Perhaps it's a question of the headroom left in steam technology. Perhaps it took modern materials/techniques to get even a 10% boost in speed. Considering the need for boilers (water=weight) there must be a fairly firm limit on the amount of speed you'll be able to reach even with modern materials/techniques. Perhaps 10% is a pretty good margin.

Re:All oficial times (4, Insightful)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210353)

I was thinking the same: 100 years of technology and only 10% faster? However, at the end the article says "... the team is planning another run on Wednesday, to try to get even closer to the car's theoretical top speed of 274 km/hr (170 mph)." My interpretation is that they didn't want to go flat-out right away so that any engineering problems could show up at lower speed first. So they are doing progressively faster runs, and this just happened to be the first that was faster than the old record.

Re:All oficial times (1)

TW Burger (646637) | more than 4 years ago | (#29211175)

The Stanley Steamer record is vastly more impressive. Tires, brakes, and suspension in 1906 were primitive, materials were not nearly as reliable, and design was done on a drawing board.

"That smashes the previous official record of 204 km/hr (127 mph) set in 1906 by Fred Marriott of the US in a modified version of the then-popular steam car known as the Stanley Steamer."

Sorry, but only going thirteen (13) miles an hour faster than a record more than a _century_ old is shit. He might have done better by using a replica Stanley engine made from modern materials (to allow heat increase without a boiler explosion) instead.

Yes, these are my thoughts too.

Re:All oficial times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29211217)

Ever hear of steam engines on trains? How am I supposed to be impressed with a steamer in the 21st century?

Affirmative (0, Troll)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209137)

Guess that settles. Humans cause global warming.

Re:Affirmative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209209)

In Soviet Pleistocene, global warming causes you!

but what happens when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209145)

Valve goes out of business? :)

God (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209151)

Slashdot really has jumped the shark.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209185)

First post from the Analytical Engine

Check that off the obscure to-do list (5, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209221)

Next up...ridiculously large front-wheeled bicycle speed record.

Re:Check that off the obscure to-do list (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209295)

Wonder what the record is for the fastest cockroach?

Re:Check that off the obscure to-do list (2, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210177)

Wonder what the record is for the fastest cockroach?

What do you mean? An African or European cockroach?

Re:Check that off the obscure to-do list (1)

gaderael (1081429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29211001)

Wonder what the record is for the fastest cockroach?

What do you mean? An African or European cockroach?

Huh? I... I don't know that.
.
.
.
. ...AUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHH!

Re:Check that off the obscure to-do list (3, Informative)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210055)

That style of bike is called a Penny-farthing.

It's not like we use steam for cutting-edge tech like nuclear power plants or anything.

Re:Check that off the obscure to-do list (1)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 4 years ago | (#29211045)

That style of bike is called a Penny-farthing.

I've head of geese laying golden eggs, but penny-farting? That is a whole new level! ;-)

Re:Check that off the obscure to-do list (5, Informative)

ev0l (87708) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210225)

The name of the bike you are, presumably, referring to is called a penny farthing. They worked by direct drive. The cranks were tied directly into the front hub. You would generally get the largest wheel your legs would allow so that you could travel as fast as possible. The bigger diameter of the front wheel the further you would go with one rotation.

Interestingly the first geared bicycles, that resemble the ones we ride now, were called safety bicycles. Presumably this was because you were closer to the ground and had less distance to fall. However the invention of gearing on the safety bicycle allowed a rider to travel much faster than would of even been possible on a penny farthing. Bicycles today are far more dangerous than a penny farthing. Even going downhill, the penny farthing rider is limited to how fast they can pedal (the cranks never stop spinning) but todays bicycles employ multiple gearing ratios and free wheels/hubs that allow for extremely fast speeds. As I understand it penny farthings quickly died out after the invention of the safety bicycle.

-Will

 

Re:Check that off the obscure to-do list (4, Insightful)

beav007 (746004) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210973)

Even going downhill, the penny farthing rider is limited to how fast they can pedal

Until the bike picks up enough speed to throw your feet off the pedals. Then there is no hope of stopping without losing skin until you reach the flat again.

Disappointing result (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209285)

Over a century later - and all they can manage is 13mph more!? I was sort of expecting them to at least double the record...

Re:Disappointing result (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209889)

According to the article, the car is capable of another 30mph, they just haven't managed to get there yet.

And slope (4, Insightful)

seifried (12921) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209331)

"to cancel out any effect from wind" - and any slope, otherwise we'd have people dropping cars off cliffs claiming speed records like nobody's business =).

Re:And slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209731)

"to cancel out any effect from wind" - and any slope, otherwise we'd have people dropping cars off cliffs claiming speed records like nobody's business =).

Lol, now what i would like to see is you dropping a car off a cliff, in reverse!

Re:And slope (1)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209795)

Or how about this:

Skydiving Car [youtube.com]

Re:And slope (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209955)

Top Gear did it, though it was a crane rather than a cliff.

Re:And slope (1)

mcatrage (1274730) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210273)

Dropping cars off of a cliff wouldn't claim any speed records though due to terminal velocity. Now with a jet/rocket car it would help though.

"Smashed"? It takes 103 years to go 13 mph faster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209347)

Steam Powered Cars:
1906: 204 km/h - 127 mph
2009: 225 km/h - 140 mph (mean of runs of 136 and 151 mph)

Not bad for what started as a student project in 1997.

Fastest electric car: White Lightning 245.5 mph in 1999.

Re:"Smashed"? It takes 103 years to go 13 mph fast (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209379)

And being based on petroleum gas, at least they should have provided with some sort of performance measurement, such as Miles or Km per gallon or liter?

Re:"Smashed"? It takes 103 years to go 13 mph fast (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209459)

Bah, electric cars are just glorified golf carts, dontcha know.... ;)

One of my favorite lead-ins to an article about electric cars:

"The one-million-dollar Ferrari Enzo can do zero to 60 in about 3.5 seconds. So can Mike Willmon's 1978 Ford Pinto."

Re:"Smashed"? It takes 103 years to go 13 mph fast (1)

SBrach (1073190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209501)

What's it's 60mph to 180mph time? ;)

Re:"Smashed"? It takes 103 years to go 13 mph fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209831)

I was wondering. What does acceleration has to do with top speed?

I'm more a technology-based car fan than a muscle car fan.

Nowadays, It seems like since you are not expected to average more than 90mph, Cadillac, among other brands, has come up with ugly cars with aerodynamic coefficients probably higher than 1. That doesn't seem to be the case of the Enzo or the Carrera GT, which allows them to go faster than your pinto.

0 to 60mph seems to be, just one single metric that many people obsessively think about. But, speaking of acceleration, how does the Pinto do going from 60mph to 0?

When bringing comparisons, bring the whole bunch not just one. Because someone may just pick the color as their metric.

Re:"Smashed"? It takes 103 years to go 13 mph fast (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209959)

... But, speaking of acceleration, how does the Pinto do going from 60mph to 0?

Doesn't that depend on how solid the wall that it hits is?

Re:"Smashed"? It takes 103 years to go 13 mph fast (2, Interesting)

flibbajobber (949499) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210979)

Acceleration off-the-line is predominantly determined by power-to-weight (given traction). This is how the low-powered Caterhams and Lotus Elises can hang with the "big boys" using that metric.

Top speed, OTOH is dominated by outright power and drag. Mass features little, hence top speed is typically dominated by heavier cars with massive amounts of power.

Incidentally 60-0, and also cornering, should be dominated by mass & traction, but traction itself is influenced strongly by mass, making traction alone the dominant factor (ignoring aero which is increasingly significant at speed) - which is why almost any car with four good tires can pretty much pull the same braking and cornering (skid-pan) figures of around 1G. if you can find published 60mph-0 distances, you'll find they are usually around the 40 metre mark, almost regardless of the car model.

Re:"Smashed"? It takes 103 years to go 13 mph fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29211289)

you need to stop flapping your jaw before you get someone killed. you could take the tires off of a ferrari, slap them on a front-heavy american sedan, and still not corner or brake like a ferrari because the suspension rolls too much or is cheaply built (live axles, macpherson struts, etc.), the frame bends too much, the center of mass is too high, etc. There is much more to a sports car than big engine + grippy tires

Re:"Smashed"? It takes 103 years to go 13 mph fast (1)

Jaime2 (824950) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210289)

Judging a Ferrari Enzo by only its zero to 60 time is shortchanging the car. Mike Willmon's Pinto is also almost as fast as a fresh off the showroom floor $9,000 motorcycle. The Pinto is also faster than a ten-million-dollar Fabergé Egg thrown by Randy Johnson.

Always undersell and overdeliver. Starting a conversation about electric cars by comparing one to a supercar can only backfire.

Slow down.. (5, Funny)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209395)

Slow Down you damn Steam Punks! And stay the hell off my lawn.

useless tech? (0)

Odinlake (1057938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209409)

engine burns liquid petroleum gas to heat water in 12 suitcase-sized boilers

Am I just ignorant or does all of that sound really, really pointless?

Stanley Steamer? (3, Funny)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209435)

Stanley Steamer...you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. *shudder*

Re:Stanley Steamer? (0, Offtopic)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209745)

Was it built in Cleveland?

Re:Stanley Steamer? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210169)

I don't think a Stanley Steamer is the same as a Cleveland Steamer. A Cleveland Steamer involves shitting on a girl's face while covering it in Saran Wrap. A Stanley Steamer uses tin-foil. Now you know.

High RPM Turbines? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209445)

That seems like cheating. I guess the Stanley Steamer Rocket still retains the record for the fastest piston-powered steam car.

(Interestingly, this [conceptcarz.com] article also claims that the Rocket unofficially hit 150mph right before it crashed and was totaled in 1907.)

the real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209545)

can it get David Letterman to work on time?

Seriously, isn't that how we're supposed to design vehicles?

Re:the real question is... (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210467)

I think a steam powered car is more of a Jay Leno thing than a Dave Letterman thing.

did anyone else besides me (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209563)

fantasize about this in a mad max/ road warrior movie type setting?

talk about steampunk

although i'd be REALLY impressed if someone invents a steam powered aircraft/ helicopter

heliboiler? steamplane?

Re:did anyone else besides me (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209647)

Since neither the term airplane or helicopter indicate it's power source, I'm going with airplane or helicopter

Re:did anyone else besides me (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210279)

although i'd be REALLY impressed if someone invents a steam powered aircraft/ helicopter

Apparently [wikipedia.org] both airplanes and helicopters have been powered by steam.

Required tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209567)

Someone tag this with Steampunk.

Possibly another name? (1)

MrFreezeBU (54843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209707)

Considering the disappointing margin over the old record.... Cleavland Steamer anyone??

Meh (3, Interesting)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209715)

I have to agree with the underwhelming nature of only 13MPH faster.

We now have a much better handle on material science and metallurgy. We actually have the capability to model the predicted performance and make design tweaks. We have the ability to machine to tolerances only dreamed about back then. And we have composites and alloys that weren't available.

I realize that it's not a linear scale from a drag standpoint, but our victory could be due only to 1906 measurement error.

Sheldon

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210259)

Yes, and the improvement today could have been three times as large as reported - due only to a 1906 measurement error.

Re:Meh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210379)

fucking retard. You see 1906 and think they're retarded, yet the mayans were within a day per millenia.

Did you notice that much drag is a function of the cube of speed and the rest is *only* a function of the square of speed?

You're fucking retarded.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210623)

uhh, your predicted uncertainty just indicates you are a failure as experimentalist. you could achieve better uncertainty than 10% at 130mph by counting your footsteps and counting off the seconds...

Re:Meh (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210911)

I have to agree with the underwhelming nature of only 13MPH faster.

We now have a much better handle on material science and metallurgy. We actually have the capability to model the predicted performance and make design tweaks. We have the ability to machine to tolerances only dreamed about back then. And we have composites and alloys that weren't available.

I realize that it's not a linear scale from a drag standpoint, but our victory could be due only to 1906 measurement error.

Sheldon

"Our" victory? We as the people of 2009 banded together to defeat those godawful sons of bitches from 1906?

I think it's impressive to even make a steam powered car now. Sure, the 1906 record is more impressive, but this one is cool too. It's like getting back to the Moon would be pretty impressive after we basically abandoned the related technology.

Re:Meh (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 4 years ago | (#29211143)

We now have a much better handle on material science and metallurgy [etc]

Sure, but in the early 1900's, I'd bet they were putting a lot of money and man-hours into researching steam engines.

This was done as a student project.

hybrid (5, Funny)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209721)

'The car's engine burns liquid petroleum gas to heat water in 12 suitcase-sized boilers, creating steam heated to 400C. The steam then drives a two-stage turbine that spins at 13,000 revolutions per minute to power its wheels.

Cool, a hybrid! Where can I get the government coupon to purchase one?

More details would be nice (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209827)

NABT (not a boiler technician) but I'd like to know how much pressure the thing generates. I've been around 600 pound and 1200 pound boilers, and learned some of the problems with the high pressure system. (basically, it was shit) I'm curious how much pressure this thing is using, and why and how. 400 degrees really means next to nothing, I don't know why they even put that little detail in the story.

Re:More details would be nice (4, Informative)

RandomJoe (814420) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210851)

Sure the temperature means something. You don't get steam above 212F without increasing the pressure. So the temp tells you roughly the pressure. I did a quick search for a chart, and it says 400 degrees would be around 235 PSIG. In comparison, your 600 PSIG boiler ran about 489 degrees and the 1000 PSIG ran about 546 degrees.

http://www.indpipe.com/images/PDF/steam_temperature_pressure_table.pdf [indpipe.com]
(Just the first link I found.)

Re:More details would be nice (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210953)

Nice, thanks.

TBH, after I posted my remark above, I got to thinking a little. Yes, it's obvious that temp and pressure are related, but didn't really have any idea if it's a linear relation or what. Temps in that chart look a little higher than memory tells me - but again, I wasn't a boiler tech.

Yeah, sure it can run fast (2, Funny)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209829)

but can it get my carpets clean any faster?

Out of steam (3, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209843)

The fate of the steamers is a cautionary tale for backers of projects like the Tesla.

They were handcrafted for the extremely wealthy.

The total production run for the Stanley was 11,000 cars in 25 years. Stanley Steamer [stanleymotorcarriage.com]

No matter how you price such a car, you never generate enough cash to remain competitive in R&D - never enough to survive hard times.

Re:Out of steam (1)

PipingSnail (1112161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210187)

The total production run for the Stanley was 11,000 cars in 25 years. Stanley Steamer

Thats 440 per year, on average.

Don't Ferrari only make something like 1,000 cars (of a particular version, save F50, or whatever) a year?

Thats not such a stretch, its a factor of 2.

I agree that the Stanley was history though, whenever I see a steam car its obvious the tech has been superceded.

Ferrari is a division of Fiat. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210493)

Has been for more then 40 years.

Pimpin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209869)

Is it sitting on 22"? Because that's all I care about...

Re:Pimpin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210469)

Yo yo yoyoyoyoyoyoyoyo! I gots ta git meef one o dem steamuh whips so I cans gets about muh bitness rapin deh white wiminz. Muh dik!

Liquid or Gas (1)

davidshewitt (1552163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29209953)

liquid petroleum gas

Is the fuel a liquid or a gas?

Re:Liquid or Gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210097)

Must be a plasma then.

All kidding aside, probably a lazy article writer for writing Liquefied Petroleum Gas, so it's a gas. But gasoline isn't a gas either, or is it just gas?

Re:Liquid or Gas (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210147)

I think the liquid gas is aerosolized (becoming a gaseous liquid) and then burnt (a plasmic gas) and the exhaust (gasses and gaseous solids) are then expelled...?

IANA...well, anything relevant. (Maybe you can tell?)

Re:Liquid or Gas (1)

ross.w (87751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210159)

liquid petroleum gas

Is the fuel a liquid or a gas?

yes. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Liquid or Gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210577)

Well, it's poorly named. Liquid-gas ought to mean something that's being walked around the critical point on the phase diagram. Like, for instance, the aerogel washing process.

Is she illin in the panicillin? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29209985)

Is she illin in the panicillin?
Is she chillin in the panicillin?
Is she stealin in the panicillin?
Is she feelin in the panicillin?

Panka panka

Is she liable no suitifiable pliable style is so suitifiable
Is she liable no suitifiable im not on trial but its suitifiable
Is she reliable no suitifiable not just viable but real suitifiable
Is she try-able no suitifiable lying in the aisle im real suitifiable

Is she spillin in the panicillin?
Is she squealin in the panicillin?
Is she feelin in the panicillin?
Is she trillin in the panicillin?

Panka panka

Is it libel? no suitifiable pliable style is so suitifiable
Is it a style? no suitifiable im not on trial but its suitifiable
Is it a mile? no suitifiable not just viable but real suitifiable
Is it wild? no suitifiable lying in the aisle im real suitifiable

Drag increases at the cube of velocity (1)

Animal Farm Pig (1600047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210009)

So, the modest speed increase required either much better coefficient of drag, smaller frontal area, or much more power.

Re:Drag increases at the cube of velocity (2, Informative)

Rival (14861) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210617)

Mod parent up! This is basic physics folks; I would have hoped more people on Slashdot new this. Wind resistance is the single most limiting factor in land speed records.

To illustrate, this high-powered modern steam vehicle hit 225 km/h, or 140 mph. Bruce Bursford beat this by nearly 50% on a bicycle [britannia.com] , setting the world record of 334.6 km/h or 207.9 mph. He biked on a treadmill, with no wind resistance.

Moa8e (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210047)

the developer us the courtesy Contact to see if The timE to mmet of Jordan Hubbard needs OS. Now BSDI backward and said Roots and gets on

140MPH. Embarassing. (0, Redundant)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210237)

This is embarrassing. Look at the thing. [timesonline.co.uk] It looks like a land speed record vehicle. It's turbine powered. They took it to the Bonneville Salt Flats, where reaching 200 MPH in a straight line is no big deal. And they went 140MPH. Most production sports cars can do that. Some dragsters now exceed 300MPH for a quarter mile. If you don't have to corner, going fast is easy.

The current land speed record for wheel-driven vehicles is 451 MPH. (The record for thrust-driven vehicles is over Mach 1, but those are really low-flying aircraft.) The record for electrics is 257 MPH. There was an unsuccessful British attempt to break 300 MPH with an electric car in 2005; the power train works but the vehicle was unstable in a crosswind. 357 MPH has been reached with a TGV train. (Maglevs do slightly better, with the record there being 361 MPH.)

So 140 MPH on the Bonneville Salt Flats just isn't very impressive.

Re:140MPH. Embarassing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210333)

Most production sports cars can do that

you don't even need a sports car. I've hit 136 in my vw rabbit (not gti), I'm sure it could hit 140.

Very Optimisitic Speedo. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210519)

Just my guess regarding your 136mph rabbit.

That or you pushed it off a cliff.

Re:Very Optimisitic Speedo. (3, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210897)

I was tempted to put up a picture link for "very optimistic speedo" but on second thought, I'm afraid of what Google might turn up.

Re:140MPH. Embarassing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29210497)

Do feel free to rid the world of this 'embarrassing' record for a *steam powered* car.
140mph was the average speed over the two runs; top speed was 151mph (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/hampshire/8209288.stm [bbc.co.uk] ). They would probably have gone faster if they'd had more runs to get confident that the machine wasn't going to blow up...

Re:140MPH. Embarassing. (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210597)

Most production sports cars don't weight three tons. On the other hand, bentley makes a 2.5 ton 198 mph car.

Re:140MPH. Embarassing. (1)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210789)

I can't help but feel you've missed the point. It runs on *steam* - it's hardly a surprise that this isn't the optimum way to go fast. It's a "because we can" thing.

Furthermore, it's design speed is 170 mph, they just haven't achieved its peak performance yet.

Apples and Oranges (2, Interesting)

srobert (4099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210815)

Okay, when someone wins an Olympic medal for the 100 yard dash, do you chime in about how they're not very impressive because you could cover a hundred yards much faster in a Ferrari?

Here's what's impressive (3, Interesting)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29210977)

What impresses me about this accomplishment is that it must have been achieved among a small group of enthusiasts.

With the internal combustion engine, an amateur can draw on a huge pool of professional resources and documented knowledge to build up a high performance vehicle. In fact, very few people, if any are a master of every component on a modern race car - usually your race team will have access to suspension specialists, tire specialists, engine builders, aerodynamic and chassis design guys...

There really can't be that many experts on the automotive uses of steam engines, and a huge amount of new development must have gone into this car - that's something fantastic.

Materials have come a long way... But how much of of an advantage does that give you against the massive loss of experience we must have had over the last 100 years?

I'm a motorcycle racing enthusiast, and even at my amateur level it's amazing how much knowledge is only available through experienced teachers. There are literally more in-depth books about programing in ruby than books about motorcycle chassis engineering and physics.

Sad lack of historical relevance (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29211193)

The Powell steam engine and it's associated motor vehicle was far more advanced than the Stanley systems and also more powerful and reliable than the Packards, Duesenbergs, Auburns, etc. of it's day. Powell was devastated by the collapse of the economy in the late 20's and his patents and inventions remain locked away somewhere to this day.

Cars and Parts magazine ran a month's long series on this revolutionary inventor and his motor car in the early 70's.

It was, as I recall, a horizontally opposed, 4 cylinder engine, ran completely silent and exhaust-free, with none of the dire explosion risks the Stanley Bro's systems had.

Worth a read if you can locate the article series.

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