Looking toward economy in car design (1918)

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Looking toward economy in car design

“When statisticians point to a yearly national waste of $300,000,000 in gasoline and tires alone,” says Glen A Tisdale, Franklin dealer, “it is not strange that automobile design should come in for its share of attention so as to reduce this waste and conserve our war requirements. In this connection, Director Manning of the United States Bureau of Mines recently came out with a statement urging more efficient engines as the foremost step. Now, more than ever before, engineers are recognizing many other elements that make an engine consume less gasoline and that extend a car’s tire mileage.

“Airplane designing, which has shown such rapid strides since the war,” Mr Tisdale cites, “is being reflected in the construction of automobile engines. While valves in the head, always recognized as an influence in greater efficiency, have been incorporated in motors in an off-and-on way since the beginning of the industry, it took the success of this construction in war service to give it the place it deserves.

“Most motorists have given the closest study to the proper method of cooling, because in the past the limits imposed by water have led to waste of power through over-cooling. Water-cooled engines are fighting this waste through a thermostat attachment, while the inherent ability of air-cooled engines to operate at about 150 degrees higher temperature removes the limitation without mechanical attachments.

“Little refinements, like automatic spark control, light reciprocating parts, seven-bearing crank shafts, dash control of the carburetor needle valve, all have a part in making gasoline go further.

“The progress toward greater efficiency is reflected in the development of lightweight construction. It is no uncommon thing to hear of one thousand pounds of superfluous weight being removed through refined design. The success of the five-passenger Franklin weighing 2,280 pounds is often mentioned as an indication of the possibilities along this line. It used to be regarded as impossible to make an enclosed car to weigh less than 3,500 pounds, but scientific light weight as worked out in the Franklin now produces a sedan and a limousine weighing only 2,610 pounds.

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“This weight reduction is all a matter of the use of light-weight materials, such as aluminum and heat-treated steels; the elimination of superfluous mechanism, like torque tubes and reach rods and frame cross members and breaking apparatus, and even the casting aside of the entire water-cooling system, with its radiator, pumps, piping and the water itself.

“And it has been my experience,” Mr Tisdale continued, “that when the subject of unsprung weight was mentioned, only a short time ago, nobody knew what was being talked about. But now, with maximum tire mileage taking on added consequence, engineers are seeing to it that axles, wheels and all under-construction are as light as possible, so that tires may be relieved of unnecessary pounding. In fact, it has been established that one pound of weight below the springs is equivalent in destructiveness to ten pounds of weight above the springs.

“The search for efficiency has also developed the easy-rolling car. Ineffcient bearings have been cast aside, and any complication of mechanism or dead weight that acts as a drag on the car, is becoming highly unpopular.”

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