Daily Kos: Kansas City Mechanic Makes A Mockery of Detroit

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Normally we don't blog the bloggers, but this gem from The Daily Kos blogging a Fast Company article caught our editorial eye (ouch): "The problem with Detroit isn't the laws of physics, it's the fact that a guy who never even went to high school can do things — with stock parts — that Detroit's auto executives and their armies of engineers claim is impossible." And what awesome feats of mechanical wizardry has Johnathan Goodwin achieved that earned the admiration of The Daily Kos? First up: inserting a diesel engine into a Hummer H2 and running it on grease from a Chinese restaurant. Next, bio-dieseling a '65 Chevy Impala for MTV's "Pimp My Ride," increasing mileage to 25 mpg and bumping-up the shove from 250 horses to an entirely useful 800hp. With the acknowledged help of Kevin Kluemper, the lead calibration engineer for GM's Allison transmission unit. But does that slow down the Kos' anti-Detroit rhetoric? Hell no. "Remember — Detroit tells us it's impossible to increase gas mileage without taking a hit on horsepower. Yet here's Goodwin — with an eight-grade [sic] education — able to design motors that blow the doors off the conventional (and obviously bullshit) wisdom." And then a look at Goodwin's latest project: a bio-diesel hybrid H2 with a jet engine turbine powering super capacitor batteries, with a hydrogen injection system to cut emissions in half. "Think about it: a 5,000-pound vehicle that gets 60 miles to the gallon and does zero to 60 in five seconds!" So I guess it's official: Detroit is either too stupid, lazy or arrogant to realize your can have your cake down at the CAFE, and eat it too. [NB: I'm being sarcastic.]

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Join the conversation
4 of 24 comments
  • Dean Dean on Nov 01, 2007

    RF must have added the [NB: sarcasm] partway throught the comments. Not that I needed the disclaimer: usually a sentence starting with "So I guess its official," especially when following such hyperbole, is a pretty good indicator to switch on the sarcasm detector. The Daily Kos blogger of course completely neglects the fact that what is possible on a one-off, custom, basis is not always simple or practical on a production basis. For example, there are thousands of home-built electric cars tooling around in North America. Ask Tesla (or GM for that matter) how simple it is to produce a reliable, marketable and practical (debatable with the Tesla roadster) electric car in volume even with checks in hand from buyers willing to plunk down $100k for every one of them they can produce for the first couple years. The automotive industry is just that: an industry. They manufacture product which they intend to sell, in volume, at a profit. Innovation and engineering are part invention, part cost-benefit analysis. The fact they haven't come up with a 40mpg diesel Hummer yet has nothing to do with engineering talent, but everything to do with the fact they aren't interested in selling a couple hundred vehicles per year.

  • Guyincognito Guyincognito on Nov 01, 2007

    Why do clueless people opine about the stupidity of others in a public forum?

  • Naif Naif on Nov 01, 2007

    thank you Mr. Goodwin

  • Fallout11 Fallout11 on Nov 05, 2007

    Mr. Goodwin is clearly an ignoramus who wouldn't know his own arse from an axle. I do not even know where to begin picking apart all these child-like fantasies....... Even his one-off customs are pure bull excrement. My favorite (from the original article:) "Today, he's thinking about taking his wife's Infiniti, outfitting it with a tank of ether, and powering the engine via blasts of compressed air in the cylinders. "Zero emissions!" he crows." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diethyl_ether What we have here is a village idiot who does not even know that he should know better.