Reviewing the Highlights of Automotive History

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SAE International - Mobility History Committee

Technical Sessions – 26 Thursday 2012 – Room D320

Reviewing the Highlights of Automotive History”

Organizer: Donald C. Siegla, Retired Leader: Donald Wood


Taming Spontaneous Combustion-Historical Reflections on the Diesel Engine

Charles A. Amann-KAB Engineering

The compression-ignition diesel is the most fuel efficient reciprocating internal-combustion engine known today. Considering its ungainly construction at the end of the 19th century, its development into an engine capable of propelling an automobile is a tribute to the many men whose work has brought it to its current state. Gains came from new combustion chamber geometrics and new fuel injection systems. Super charging and turbo charging have decreased engine size. Engine noise, exhaust smoke and odor are better controlled. The need to control exhaust emissions has fostered new approaches. Reducing cylinder heat loss via ceramic construction has been examined. The backgrounds of some of the men contributing to these advances are discussed.


Electric Vehicle Battery Development History

Robert Galyen-Magna E-Car Systems

Electrification of the automobile is not a new idea. In fact, the electric vehicles existed before petroleum-based propulsion systems. There is an enormous amount of information on the topic during the surge times of technology while great voids of time during which very little was done due to the explosion of the internal combustion-engine into the market. This paper will give a high level overview of the history of batteries as they relate to the electrification of the automobile from early times through the 1900s. Examples of battery products and vehicles will be portrayed as we step through the evolution of technology leading up to present times. As the chairman of the SAE International Battery Standards Steering Committee, the presenter will finish the presentation with a description of the 18 committees established to assist in accelerating the development of energy storage systems of the future, demonstrating the large cross sections of disciplines necessary for implementation into vehicles.


Chrysler’s 1,000 HP Recuperated Turboprop— 6,927 Inconel Tubes!

Robert Pauley and Alfred D. Bosley

When World War II, ended the automobile manufacturers in Detroit were already making plans to convert their factories back to civilian production. Like the other auto companies, Chrysler had made major contributions to the war effort but was anxious to return to its primary business of building automobiles. At Chrysler's corporate headquarters, the Research Department was wrapping up work on a major wartime development program, the 2500 hp XI-2220 inverted V-16 aircraft engine.

Anticipating the switch to gas turbine-power plants for future aircraft designs, Chrysler had begun preliminary studies for a company funded gas turbine engine. The analytical work was assigned to engineers Sam Williams and John Jones, who had earlier designed and tested an axial flow supercharger for the XI-2220 engine. They studied a variety of configurations, all of which featured a heat exchanger to recover heat from the exhaust gases as a mean of improving fuel economy, the major shortcoming of early gas-turbine engines.



The Reach for Economy in the 1920’s – Scripps-Booth and the Cycle Car Craze

Thomas Booth

By about 1910, the expense and complexity of the automobile meant there were already people left out of the new era of mobility. An answer some thought was to use solutions being used in motorcycles. Adapting these to three and four wheel use, the cycle car was born.

Over 200 makes attempted to meet the need of simplicity and economy, many constructed in the greater Detroit area. American cycle cars were somewhat larger than their numerous European counterparts - more precisely they were light cars. Their emergence caused Henry Ford to be concerned they might affect the sales of his Model T.

To save on engineering, it made sense to borrow as much as was available. Largely assembled from existing components and proven power trains, they rapidly appeared and then disappeared by 1924. Scripps-Booth produced its first cycle car in 1914, was acquired by Chevrolet in 1917, and discontinued by GM in 1922. Tom Booth will describe the Scripps-Booth vehicle he restored including its features and design.


Intermodal William Porter Transport from 1800 to 1960

Catherine Aska Thompson-Isuzu Manufacturing Services, Inc.

An overview of intermodal transportation beginning with pre-railroad freight transport, tracing the development of wagon trails into train rails, documenting the development of commercial motor vehicles through the 1930's, and concluding with a study of container commercialization legislation in the 1960s and the effect of this legislation on commercial vehicles.


Streamlining the American Car, 1918-1949

William Porter

During the depths of the Great Depression, streamlining burst upon the American scene and designers, especially Norman Bel Geddes, proposed full teardrop form for automotive design. Teardrop shaped fenders began replacing clamshell fenders by 1934 and automotive styling proceeded steadily toward the streamlined automotive body form. By 1940, fenders were gradually absorbed into the body and by the early post war years the full envelope body form was achieved. However as the 1940s drew to a close, designers, led by Harley Earl, became enamored with aircraft elements such as bombs, fins, wings and bubble canopies. Although born in wind tunnels, these shapes as applied to automotive design undercut the original functional rationale of the streamlining ideal.

Room D3-20

Cobo Hall

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