Steam-Car Speed Record Of 148 MPH On The Line

Back in the very early days of automobiling, steam cars outnumbered other forms of propulsion such as gasoline or electricity. In the U.S. in 1902 for example, 485 of 909 new car registrations were steamers and models such as the Toledo Steam Carriage, the Vapomobile, the Locomobile Runabout and the Stanley Steamer enjoyed their heyday.

The era of the steam car came to an end thanks to the adoption of the electric starter, which eliminated the need for risky hand cranking to start gasoline-powered cars. The introduction of assembly-line mass production by Henry Ford, which hugely reduced the cost of owning a conventional automobile, also played a role in the steam car’s demise as the Model T was both cheap and reliable.

Speed_Demon_2010

image via Cyclone Power Technologies

Steam cars never went entirely extinct, however, and models have popped up here and there with companies such as Saab, Pelland and Enginion toying with steam car concepts.

Now, Cyclone Power Technologies, a developer of a modern, efficient steam engine is attempting to once again raise the profile of steam power. The company issued a press release saying they’re in the process of attempting to break the land speed record for a steam powered car. To accomplish this goal, they’ve joined forces with Bonneville champions George Poteet and Ronald Main and will use a car design based on their state-of-the-art streamliner Speed Demon, which has hit 462 mph on the salt flats.

The Cyclone team has a bit more modest speed in its sights. The current steam-powered world record is 148 mph set by a British team in 2009. The Cyclone vehicle will be powered by an advanced Cyclone Engine which, the company says, can one day be placed in modern clean-emission, all-fuel production cars and trucks.

The Cyclone engine is an all-fuel, clean-tech external combustion engine designed to achieve high thermal efficiencies through a compact heat-regenerative process, and to run on virtually any fuel — including bio-diesels, syngas or solar — while minimizing the release of greenhouse gases.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.

6 Comments

  • Reply May 18, 2012

    Jeffrey Mauerman

    Been following Cyclone Power for a while now, and I firmly believe they will revolutionize the auto industry, and are key in ending our dependence on energy from hostile nations.  Exciting to see they are making inroads further into the public eye.

  • Reply May 18, 2012

    Transfer Online, Inc.

    Cyclone Power Technologies continues to push barriers in the steam engine industry. The possibilities are endless in what they can do and where they can go with their all-fuel, clean tech external combustion engine! Looking forward to seeing what’s to come!

  • Reply May 18, 2012

    Mike

    Great invention…game changing for the auto industry in my opinion!

  • Reply May 18, 2012

    Levi Strauss

    This is the most amazing engine to come out in many years. Simple, high torque, no starter, no gears, no smog control and it burns almost anything. From liquid fuels to powdered solids and almost ZERO pollution! The applications are endless as indicated by the interest of the military manufactures.  As an example, Raytheon, Using Moden fuel (an oxygenated fuel) has already purchased and is taking delivery this month, for use in under sea applications. Dang! I want one! Sure be to start my fifth wheel up hill from a start with over 850 ft.lbs of torque at a dead stop. If the LSR attempt can’t blow the 148 mph record off the track I’ll be very amazed.

  • Reply May 21, 2012

    michael powers

    Harry Schoell and the Cyclone Steam Engine first came to my attention during research for a school project just over six years ago. I have been following the Cyclone story very closely  ever since

  • Reply October 12, 2013

    Eugene Kosinski

    I admire the Cyclone Power Technology’s strides in steam engineering, but in my humble opinion steam is not a suitable power source for automobiles. The low horsepower, extra weight, and a roaring furnace under the hood present performance, reliability and safety issues. Since the 1840’s engineers have known that steam power is not efficient, and has a low power to rate ratio. Steam is only suitable for stationary power generation and large farm tractors. It cannot develop the high horsepower and torque that is needed in trucking, and construction machinery, such as bulldozers.
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