Rare Rides Icons: Arrol-Johnston, First Four-wheel Brakes and Inventor of Off-road Vehicles (Part II)

In our introductory article on historical Scottish car maker Arrol-Johnston, we covered the company’s 1895 inception, its invention of four-wheel automotive brakes, and the financial difficulties that led it to become a subsidiary company under steel magnate William Beardmore. Today we finish with the brand’s rise to luxury and rather rapid demise.

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Rare Rides Icons: Arrol-Johnston, First Four-wheel Brakes and Inventor of Off-road Vehicles (Part I)

We discussed Arrol-Johnston briefly in our Rare Rides Icons coverage of Isotta Fraschini a few days ago. Though the brand didn’t even make it to see World War II, the company’s contributions to the advancement of passenger vehicles make it an important one. Onward, to Scotland!

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Pres. Obama Says 'Maybe the Steam Engine is More Romney's Speed' While His Own Administration Funds Steam Engine Development Thru Cyclone Power Technologies

The Obama administration, through the EPA and the DOT, on Tuesday released new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that mandate a national fleet average of 54.5 MPG by the year 2025. That figure was the result of negotiations with automakers, state officials and environmental activists. Despite the industry’s apparent support, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign called them “extreme”. President Obama responded by implying that Romney was some kind of 19th century Luddite, suggesting that the former Massachusetts prefers steam engines.

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A Renaissance For The Automotive Steam Engine?

The steamer is the granddaddy of all engines, dating back some 2,000 years. All of the earliest “cars” were steamers, and the golden age of steam cars in the teens and twenties resulted in some fabulously refined vehicles. The Stanley was very successful and set the world speed record in 1906 that was only broken recently; and the ultimate development, the highly refined Doble, created a legend. The advantages of the steam engine are the ability to burn almost any kind of fuel, generate maximum torque at starting rpm, no need for a transmission, and the ability to power the loudest of horns. There have been numerous attempts at automotive steam engine revivals; but their many downsides have relegated them to the obscure pages of wikipedia: delay in getting up a head of steam, bulky condensers, oil contamination of the steam, inefficiencies, etc.. But Cyclone Power Technologies has been developing a radical update on a compact, efficient, eco-friendly steam engine. Before we dismiss it as more hot vapor in our usual dismissive TTAC manner, let’s take a closer look first:

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  • Anonymous My dad drove an 84 LTD. He always bragged about how special it was. Interesting to see that again.
  • Conundrum Here's how much Ford had to do design-wise with that engine in the article's lead picture.Zero. It was a Cosworth when Cosworth was still original Cosworth, over 30 years ago. The engine shown is a development of the original DFV. Ford paid to have its name on the cam covers for decades.I wonder who Ford will get to design this proposed new F1 engine for 2026. Because sure as hell, they don't have the in-house talent to do it themselves.
  • Sayahh Story idea or car design competition: design a compact sedan, a midsize sedan, coupe and/or wagon specifically for people 6'4" through 7'2". Not an SUV nor a crossover nor a raised chassis like the US Toyota Crown or Subaru Outback.
  • Sayahh I only check map app only when absolutely necessary and only at a red light. An observation: lots of ppl leave 2 car lengths (or more) between themselves and the car ahead of theirs so that they can text or check the internet (because they are afraid they might roll forward and hit the car in front of them?) This drives me crazy because many ppl do it and 3 cars will take up almost 7 car lengths and ppl cannot get into the left turn lane when it's bordered by a cement "curb." Worse is when they aren't even using their phone and have both hands on the stewring wheel and waiting for the green light. Half a car length is enough, people. Even one car length is too much, but 3 or 4 car lengths? At 40 MPH, maybe, not at 0 MPH please.
  • 6-speed Pomodoro My phone never leaves my pocket while driving. This is fine in my daily with bluetooth and also fine in my classic car, but people get mad in a hurry that I'm ignoring them.