Backyard tech

Ah, physics

Monday, June 11th, 2007

This is the sort of thing you find when you browse around the Auto & Vehicles category on YouTube late at night.

Since it’s Japanese, here’s the idea: Have a pitching machine set to throw a baseball at 100 kilometers per hour (a little over 62 MPH) mounted in the back of a truck going 100 KPH in the other direction. You can guess what happens, but it’s still an interesting visualization.


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Paint your car for fifty dollars

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Everyone who’s had a project car and is a little strapped for cash has been at the point where the car/truck’s ready for paint. This is usually the point in the project that people really dread. Not only do you have the prospect of your car being in “paint jail” for six months or longer, but you also have to swallow a big pill when it comes to the cost of decent looking paint.

The lowest quality professional paint jobs out there are from places like Maaco and Earl Scheib, and the lowest you can generally go is about $300. Personally, I’ve never heard of anyone being quoted less than $500. Mind you, that’s for single stage paint that’s generally just shiny enough to get the customer out the door in a fairly good mood. Most of the jobs at that price are going on cars that are about to be sold, so the current owner doesn’t really much care how the paint will look in a year.


What would you say if I told you the Corvair above has a $50 paint job that the owner did in his driveway?

That’s right, fifty dollars. Five-zero. American currency. Not only is it possible, but it requires no special tools, no air compressor or spray guns or paint booth. I’m talking about painting your car in your driveway for $50. Check out this $50 paint job:


The secret? Rustolem mixed very thin and applied with a roller. I happened upon this website on Friday and after checking a few links like this one I had emailed a gazillion people I know who are in the same limbo of needing average to decent paint on their rides on the cheap.

It turns out the whole thing started in this thread on A year and a half and 80 pages later, there were a whole lot of disciples, including a writer for Hot Rod magazine, who did a feature for the July issue that’s in stores as we speak.

Take a look at some of the pictures posted up by folks who have tried it, including this one (Martin is the guy who got all this started on and check out the wicked satin black job on the Mustang here. Here’s a preview:


As it’s stated many times in the links I’ve listed on this post, this isn’t something you’d want to do with your super rare 70 Hemi ‘Cuda. However, if you have a driver and don’t want to spend at least $3K in paint, what do you have to lose by trying this?


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150 HP 50 MPG two cylinder engine

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

The late Smokey Yunick (1923-2001) was one of the greatest automotive engineering minds the world has known. Smokey was also notorious for cheating and being so full of BS in NASCAR that stories about him are legendary. One of Smokey’s most legendary engineering feats (and rule violations) was building a 7/8 scale Chevelle and racing it in a NASCAR race.

It’s no surprise then, that one of his most significant accomplishments has people who doubt it’s very existence. The adiabatic engine project by Smokey was an engine design that promised unreal feats from a carbureted gasoline engine. The claims of a 150 horsepower, 50 miles-per-gallon, two cylinder engine are enough to set the tin-foil hat brigade chattering about a possible government-big oil conspiracy to keep Smokey’s invention out of the hands of Joe Consumer.

After a few Google searches and a few days looking around to see what I could find, I didn’t come up with much beyond theory and anecdotal evidence. I did notice a few patents, with this one being most likely the one that sets everyone’s brain gears a-whirring. Here’s the only diagram of anything remotely related to an adiabatic engine:


It seems this guy probably did more research than just about anyone, but most of the links are broken now, and the site’s a bit hard to read due to a language barrier.

Nearly every Smokey Yunick historian remembers the adiabatic Fiero, but no one can find evidence of it’s existence or an actual guide to the technology it possessed.

After reading a few days about Smokey, it seems to me that he would have enjoyed the controversy.

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About Automotive Blogger

Some people use their automobiles only to get from Point A to Point B. You know there's more than that. You get mad when someone makes a remark about your car that's less than flattering. You get riled when a cool car is destroyed in a straight-to-video movie. You realize when a new car doesn't deserve it's name of a great car of the past. When you see someone driving a boring vehicle, you feel sorry for them. You know it's not the destination that counts - it's the journey. Welcome home gearheads. Welcome home, car freaks. Welcome to the site that fuels your automotive obsession -

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