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1966 Batmobile - Auto News and Events

Gearhead News

Photography by Courtesy Of The NHRA

ASC + SSR = This Drawing
The problem with deadlines is that as we write this, the SEMA show in Las Vegas is still weeks in the future. And as you read this, the SEMA show is already history. Anyhow, somewhere in the cavernous cavity of the Las Vegas Convention Center, ASC Inc. (big-time Detroit supplier to big-time car-makers) and the So-Cal Speed Shop will be displaying-er, displayed-a Chevy SSR something like this illustration during the SEMA event. More later ... maybe.

Wright Way Dyno
While Orville and Wilbur Wright are famed for the aerodynamic achievement of the first powered human flight in history, almost as remarkable was their ability to build an internal combustion engine light enough and powerful enough for that first airplane. So in order to recreate that first flight exactly 100 years later on the same spot in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, it was necessary to recreate that first engine.

Steve and Jim Hay of Hay Manufacturing in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, researched the Wrights' engine designs for decades, and though the original drawings are long gone, they were able to faithfully reproduce the 1903 engine. The handbuilt engine, pieced together using authentic materials, would then power the absolutely authentic 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction built by The Wright Experience of Warrenton, Virginia.

Ford, which is a sponsor of The Wright Experience, helped by allowing the Hays to use one of its engine dynos to tune the Wright repro and offered some high-tech analysis. Multiple sensors were installed on the Wright engine while it was on the dyno to provide torque, speed, and temperature information. In-cylinder pressure transducers were also used to explore activity in the combustion chambers.

The Wright engine, which used four cylinders with 4-inch bores and a 4-inch stroke in an aluminum block, peaked at 17 hp on Ford's dyno. That's a rounding error for today's engines, but a remarkable achievement for a 180-pound engine in 1903.

As this is written, the December 17th re-creation of the Wright flight is still more than a month away. This is just cool. More information is available at www.countdowntokittyhawk.org.

All-Wheel-Drive GTO?
The Australian-built Holden Monaro coupe is the base upon which the '04 Pontiac GTO is built, and starting in June the Monaro will be sold in a new all-wheel-drive version in its home country.

Called the HSV Coupe 4, most of the car is familiar to anyone following the current GTO saga. But added to it is "HSV Quad Drive," a full-time all-wheel-drive system pumping 38 percent of the available torque to the front wheels and 62 percent to the back. According to Holden, that additional traction allowed one Coupe 4 to rip from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in just 6.6 seconds-on a gravel road. Power for the Coupe 4 comes from a 362hp version of the LS-1, 5.7L V-8, and the only transmission offered is the 4L60E four-speed automatic.

Does this mean an all-wheel drive GTO is inevitable? No, only that it's possible.

The Edelbrock Army
Edelbrock is certainly a major force in the performance aftermarket, but they're not quite at that point where they need an army. At least not yet. The real deal is the company sent a collection of Edelbrock hats and T-shirts to a unit over in Iraq commanded by Army Major Victor Bakkila who is related to Vic Edelbrock Sr.'s wife Nancy. "The guys are enjoying them very much," the major wrote Edelbrock. "As a matter of fact, on a recent mission, a few got into trouble for wearing their Edelbrock hats instead of their helmets!"

"We just wanted to show our support for them," Vic Edelbrock said. "I hope they all come back soon, safe and sound."

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