GIMMICKS = POWER
Over the years and the lifetimes of automobiles charlatans have seen the light of day, and into the pockets of the motorist too.
One of the greatest scams ever perpetuated by a motor fuel company was the“S**** S**** with platformate” advertisement which hit the streets during the early 1950’s The impression given was that of an additive which seemingly would give most skidonks a massive power boost. During the late 1940’s Universal Oil Products developed a more efficient method of producing fuel via new technology. This method was called “Platforming” and in fact was the forerunner of the distilling and cracking process used today. . “Platformate” does not exist: But as a snazzy decoy, like others, to erode the purses of the unwary motorist. Some of these advertisements have lived through the test of time and can be seen in some of the older rural towns in SA.
During the early to late 1960’s a popular gimmick hit the market. It was supposed to increase the spark intensity produced by the installed ignition system and produce large fuel saving benefits and of course power increases. It was marketed as the“STROMBERG” spark intensifier. The HT lead between the coil and the distributor had to be cut and the ends pushed into the receptacles of the unit.The usual promises were made and attracted motorists by the dozen at the princely price of about R5-00. Intrepid apprentices opened a unit and found nothing inside other than two copper plates connecting to the receptacles. Indeed the gap will force the coil to produce a higher voltage and probably induce a higher spark for cold starting and at the expense of damage to the coil and other sensitive parts of an electronic ignition system which would have been much higher than a paltryR5-00. It died a quiet death.
My favourites are the claims made by oil companies selling viscosity index modifiers. These are additives to the engine oil that keep the oil at a higher viscosity thereby promising less wear on older engines and lower fuel consumption overall. Ever seen the TV ads where a fancy car is driven across the USA without oil in the sump, only the remnants of the magical fluid remaining after the sump was drained. Racing cars without oil, Shovelling dirt into engines and valve equipment and Hey presto: As good as new. This libation even has the property to seek out heat and sort it out.
Take a steel plate 500mmX 500mm. Weld a square bar 10mmX10mm onto the perimeter like a wall around the plate, onto one side. Support the plate on all 4 corners then pour some of the magic oil all around the surface of the plate and heat from the bottom. The oil flows to the centre. Why? Because the wall prevented the plate warping. The middle section warped (bulged) instead from the heat and stress and the heated oil, now thinner, simply flowed, via the shortest route, to the lowest point. This bit of trickery was actually demonstrated on TV.
Another interesting scam was the round magnet with a hole through the centre. The fuel pipe is inserted through the hole and exposed to the magnetic field. The magnetic field is supposed to align the molecules of fuel into straight lines and thus burn more efficiently in the combustion chamber and of course more power and speed.
An electronic gismo was/is advertised in an popular automobile magazine which promises 20HP additional power. Installed somewhere near or into the distributor.High pressure water injection into cylinder chambers to boost compression, hence greater output and induced cooling.
High pressure water/steam injected into exhaust manifold to increase exhaust gas volume, exit velocity which may induce improved fuel induction.
Plastic orange on aerial and fluffy stuff on the dash, made for cool looks,While white wall tyres made for good looks and the envy of others.
Automatic transmission systems were only pipe dreams of mad scientists during the1920’s/30’s. I was fortunate to have read the instruction manual on “How to modify your car’s gearbox to an automatic gearbox”. It was a mechanical system working off the vacuum of the engine: With rods and cylinders, pipes, sensors, and a host of other goodies. It never worked very well and the idea was scrapped. (Borg Warner designed the first functional automatic gearbox)
Trials and tribulations in the design of blowers and turbochargers without blowing the entire engine up. LLOYD, UK: came up with the idea of a 3rd cylinder to pump fuel alternatively to both driving cylinders (Wiki- LLOYD motor car.) DKW used something similar too. Lloyd died in the early1960’s
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