If all the petroleum left on the planet were to suddenly vaporize, would drag racing survive? That's just the sort of what-if scenario that keeps tenured philosophy professors up at night.
GM is preparing for just such a contingency with its electric wheel-hub-motor concept. Essentially a hub motor is an electric motor fitted inside the rear wheels of, in this case, a Chevy S-10 pickup. The motors supplement the output of the S-10's normal drivetrain, adding about 70 hp while grabbing power from a battery pack. The result is better acceleration (or, theoretically, towing) with little effect on fuel economy. The hub motors function, in effect, something like electric nitrous.
Right now, the hub motor concept is just that: a concept. But the potential is obvious for enhancing performance through the use of such gas-electric hybrid technologies-and, should anyone come up with a long enough extension cord, pure electrics that might actually be exciting to drive.
Stone Soup Pony
The story of stone soup goes something like this: A long time ago there was a famine in Europe (a pretty regular occurrence) and everyone was hoarding what food they could. Then one day a peddler came into a village, sold some of his things, and then was told there's not a bit to eat in the whole province.
"That's OK," he replied, "I'll just make some stone soup to share with all of you." With that, he took out a cauldron, filled it with water, lit a fire beneath it, and with a flourish, added one ordinary stone. "I love stone soup," he went on, "but I once had stone soup with cabbage, and that was even better." Soon a villager brought back a cabbage from his hoard and added it to the pot. Then a butcher added some beef. Someone else a few carrots, and someone else some peas, and pretty soon they had a great soup that everyone enjoyed.
Using the same principle, Detroit classic rock radio station WCSX's morning team of JJ and Lynne decided to build a Mustang in order to support the work of the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan. Starting with a ratty '67 notchback, they solicited donations from throughout the Detroit region to turn it into a stout street machine. Parts included a Roush Performance-built 430hp 347Rci small-block Ford crate engine, seats from Recaro, shocks from Bilstein, Bendix brakes, Auto Meter gauges, Hedman headers, and a Flowmaster exhaust system. Whatever parts they couldn't get by donation were paid for through an "Adopt-A-Part" program that allowed individuals to pay for specific pieces needed to complete the car. Every part was acquired.
Built at shops like Great Lakes Customs, Collision Craftsmen, and Livernois Motor Sports, the tubbed Mustang was completed in time to trawl along the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise in August. WCSX sold 4,000 tickets at $25 each to raffle the Stone Soup Mustang with all proceeds going to the Children's Leukemia Foundation. That's $100,000 for a really good cause.
The raffle itself was scheduled for early October (about a month after this was written) as part of JJ and Lynne's drive to raise money for the foundation that week. Will they do another stone soup car? "That's up to the listeners," the radio team told us.
Lightning Goes For Guinness
The Ford SVT F-150 Lightning has set the standard for production pickup performance for years. But with competition growing stiffer-particularly from the upcoming 500hp, Viper V-10 powered, Dodge Ram SRT-10-Ford decided to take the Lightning on a run for the record books while it still could.