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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  • Lorenzo It's an election year, and Biden will drag down enough democrats without the state going deeper in the budget hole than it is now. Newsom isn't the smartest guy, but he has smart guys to tell him the state is running out of other people's money.
  • MaintenanceCosts The symbol is the standard international sign for "controlled access highway." Presumably they are trying to evoke the Autobahn.
  • MaintenanceCosts Absolutely. Most old classics are not Boss 429s or Busso Alfas. Most of them have powertrains that are just crap by modern standards. I'd love to have a classic without the pre-emissions stinky exhaust or the need to futz around constantly with points and jets to maintain drivability.
  • Ravenuer No, I wouldn't be interested in doing this at all. Seems like it would be quite expensive.
  • Tassos Why buy either when you have two matching 2007 diesel e-classes with combined over 950k km. NO ONE SHOULD WANT MORE THAN I HAVE SETTLED FOR.